Japanese Missionaries Share Stories Before Departing America
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, resulting in travel restrictions and closed borders in many countries. In order to protect ourselves and keep the virus from spreading, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises to keep our hands sanitized and clean, cover our mouths with our arms when coughing, and to avoid close contact with others.
Amid this global epidemic, many businesses and organizations are being compelled to close for the time being. Among other states, New York requires that all non-essential businesses close in-office functions, and has banned all non-essential gatherings of any size for any reason, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA has been adapting to the stay-at-home guidelines by hosting online Divine Principle workshops, weekly prayer calls, a 40-day prayer condition, holding virtual Sunday services, and initiating a Text-to-Give option to donate to local church communities.
Regional Chairman of FFWPU North America Dr. Ki Hoon Kim discussed the effects of COVID-19 during the weekly FFWPU-USA leaders’ meeting held online on March 24. He said it has affected mission activities and Tribal Messiahship in particular, noting outreach has become challenging with the new rules on physical interaction and gatherings.
Dr. Kim invited three of the seven Japanese missionaries⎼Rie Furuta, Juria Shiratori and Atsumi Tanida⎼to speak during the online meeting and share about their experiences in America. They spent [how long] in the U.S. and will be flying back to Japan soon. “These missionaries traveled to America and all around the world just like their parents did,” said Dr. Kim. “They are inheriting the spirit of their parents and practicing it here in America.”
The missionaries expressed their gratitude and appreciation, stating they felt so much love and hospitality while in America doing outreach on college campuses and inviting students to Divine Principle workshops. “Through this experience I realized I’m so loved by Heavenly Parent and True Parents, and I try to love others with that same love,” said Atsumi. True Parents is an affectionate term used by Unificationists when referring to FFWPU co-founders Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.
The missionaries met many people and heard countless stories, realizing the incredible breadth of experiences each person has in life. “I really felt God’s love and His hope for all of humanity,” said Rie. “This whole experience has stimulated me and cultivated my heart and character.”
Juria said outreach in Japan was very challenging, by contrast, likening her experience to the similar anguish of God. However, Juria said she felt the love of True Parents and their investment in America through talking with students who regularly attended the workshops. “This was a one-of-a-kind experience for me,” said Juria.
The online meeting concluded with renewed hope and excitement for outreach in America. “We appreciate your great heart of dedication and spirit,” Dr. Kim said to the missionaries. “You are truly a deep inspiration to the Unificationist communities here in America.”