Near and Far: Spreading the Word from Vegas to Florida
Following the Christmas weekend with True Parents in Las Vegas, Unificationists are doing their best to close 2014 with a big show of commitment to spread the news of True Parents. Americans have just joined the Korean witnessing team and local Japanese missionaries in Las Vegas to support their 14-day witnessing workshop while Cranes Club participants from Korea, Japan and America spent four days touring the great canyons in the West Coast. In Florida, two young Unificationist couples hosted a Christmas party for friends and shared True Father’s words as their main message of love and peace and ACLC Houston discussed the importance of family values with local clergy.
Americans Join the Witnessing Team in Las Vegas
Today the the witnessing team battled cold weather to reach out to new people in Las Vegas. They are totally supportive of each other and so determined to find the people whom God has prepared. Every spare minute is spent going through their name lists and contacting their guests. They are here for such a short time, so every moment counts.
Because of the cold weather and busy schedule, many of them are now feeling challenged physically. Some are catching colds and feeling a little weak, but they don’t show it. True Mother gifted beautiful cashmere scarves to all the sisters on the witnessing team today to help keep them warm.
Today 13 American Unificationists joined the witnessing workshop. These amazing brothers and sisters dropped what they were doing and came from all over the country to support True Mother’s witnessing workshop. The new team members will be divided among the teams, two per team, to help with witnessing and translation. As the Americans started arriving, the Korean and Japanese teams became extremely excited about working together with them. They are so grateful to those who are showing up to help.
Tomorrow they will start the day at the Shine City Project, cleaning the area around Lake Mead, and in the afternoon they will work with the Food Is Love project to feed the homeless. Please pray for the Korean, Japanese and American family members joining together to answer True Mother’s call. One thing is for certain: God is bringing a whole bunch of really cool people together!
Contributed by Demian Dunkley, director of evangelism, National Ministry Team
Cranes Club Participants Enjoyed the Sites
With an early morning start on December 22, Cranes Club participants visited the Cheon Hwa (Heavenly Dwelling Place) Gung, where True Mother warmly greeted them. She laughed and joked with everyone and was so happy to see them all. After an intimate talk with her, they hit the road to Zion National Park in Springdale, Utah. Grabbing new friends and old, they ate lunch in small groups and excitedly explored the winding road that wraps around the canyon. Red and tan hues of Navajo Sandstone effectively added to the dramatic beauty there. They capped off their day with a stop at Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped groove of the Colorado River near Page, Arizona. Walking a sandy path, the travelers arrived at steep cliffs overlooking the river. With panoramic views in every direction, they experienced even more of the profound beauty of our Heavenly Parent’s Creation.
The next day was another early rise—this time at 4 a.m. But everyone was wide awake and the bus was full of chatter as they headed to the Grand Canyon! And indeed, it is GRAND. Carved by the Colorado River, the canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and stretches 277 miles (446 km). Years of mineral deposits have embedded several layers of colorful sediment in the rock. The views were sweeping and incredible, and the travelers huddled along a protective rail, completely captivated by the unbelievable beauty before them. A family of deer was spotted in a wooded patch nearby. A trail offered new yet equally stunning views of the canyon. The temperature was freezing, but they were too caught up in this amazing moment to care. They piled into the bus again, this time to visit a theater showing an IMAX film about the canyon, followed by an airplane tour. They boarded a small plane in groups and gazed out at the spectacular scene below. Their day was packed, though, and soon they continued on to Sedona, Arizona, with its famous red sandstone formations. A quick trolley ride later and they were atop a red-rock cliff where the Chapel of the Holy Cross sits against the tranquil Sedona backdrop. There was a welcoming prayer and meditation area—where True Father once prayed—and a gift shop downstairs. It was very peaceful here, and large orange and red sandstone formations dotted the skyline, casting a unique beauty all their own.
The final day of the tour took the group to Death Valley National Park, which at 3.3 million acres of land in California and Nevada is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It is the hottest and driest place in North America. The country was arid and stark with surreal-colored sand dunes. Then the bus turned around and took everyone back to Las Vegas. The trip may have been short, but it was filled with the unforgettable beauty of God’s creation and the amazing opportunity to make new brothers and sisters from across the pond.
Contributed by Ariella Toren
Sarasota, Florida, Celebrates Christmas with Friends
Two young Unificationist couples from the Beutl family organized a Christmas celebration for their friends. The event took place in one couple’s home and was attended by 11 guests, who were all very wonderful young adults. There were exciting activities and discussion time, with the highlight being a reading from True Father’s autobiography, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, on the topic of “family.” Everyone listened attentively and applauded warmly afterward. The day concluded with a toast to long-lasting friendships and building a community centered on true love. The Sarasota Family Church has made a goal for 2015 of continuing its bimonthly youth service to educate guests on True Father’s teachings.
Contributed by Jin-Myung Beutl
Houston, Texas, Welcomes Bishop Gutke at True Family Values Banquet
On Sunday evening, December 28, 2014, the Houston branch of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) had its local True Family Values Banquet at Pastor Donald Mims’ New Covenant Deliverance Church. We were honored to have Bishop Jeff Gutke from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be the guest speaker. Bishop Gutke spoke about the importance of family values, saying that Jesus Christ is the one who unites us all as one family. We started the program by showing the “Power of True Love” video. Houston Family Church Pastor Lowell Mitchem read from True Father’s words about the importance of marriage. After the entertainment and dinner we gave Pastor Mims and First Lady Mims the True Family Award. Pastor Mims then awarded the Certificate of Devotion, Community Service and Appreciation to several members of his congregation and also to Pastor Lowell Mitchem and his wife, to Minister Helen Kashiwa, to Minister Gregorio Villafana and several other members of the clergy. We all felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and true love and celebrated the evening as one big family under God.
The next day we met with Professor Dr. Sheela Keshiwa, an Ambassador for Peace, and Harvard Professor Tyagi, both of whom are very supportive of UPF interfaith activities and partners in faith. They belong to the Universal Brotherhood organization. Professor Tyagi specializes in DNA research at Harvard University and is very interested in attending one of the upcoming UPF programs in the Northeast. Both are originally from New Delhi, India, and would like to introduce many scholars in India to UPF.
Contributed by Reverend Bob Exler