Prayer Meeting Ignites Hope and Courage
A special prayer meeting was held at Shim Jeong Garden in Northern California from March 31 to April 2. Twenty Kodan leaders participated in an effort to launch a new prayer initiative and team, who will continuously pray for God’s Providence, the Unification movement, True Parents, and the American Unification family.
The retreat was emceed by Rev. Hiroshi Inose, Director of Kodan and Cheon Il Guk IW. Throughout the weekend the group explored the power of prayer through organized talks and testimony-sharing. Among the guest speakers were FFWPU North America Continental Chairman, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim; Unificationist couple Dr. and Mrs. Durst; and FFWPU USA District Pastor, Rev. Kevin Thompson.
Dr. Kim’s guidance was themed on the idea that the key for the victory is the relationship with Heavenly Parent and True Parents through sincere devotion. Participants reflected on the importance of True Parents’ teachings and of creating a daily lifestyle of prayer.
Mrs. Durst talked about how she join the Unification movement in Japan and guided the group on building an attitude eager for outreach. She emphasized many times that without God, we can’t do anything! But once we align ourselves with God, everything is possible. She also asked everyone to share their personal testimony about meeting with God, experiencing God’s love, receiving the Holy Spirit, and challenges of family.
“We started this sharing at 10pm and finished at 1:30am,” said Rev. Inose. “We laughed a lot, cried a lot, and felt so much love by God and True Parents. We understood the significance of each one of the brothers and sisters here.”
Dr. Mose Durst bought ice cream for the group and shared a presentation on the culture of America and how to create good relationships with other people. Rev. Kevin Thompson’s talk was about Unification history and the significance of the early days of the movement (1970-1980). He shared the key points of why witnessing at Oakland Church was successful.
Through the reading of True Parents’ words, the group discussed how to break through with prayer, gaining courage and wisdom, and cultivating a peaceful heart. The group also practiced a 40-minute prayer session, during which they reported to God sincerely and honestly.
“At the end of our prayer, we really felt like 40 minutes was actually very short,” remarked Rev. Inose.
Dr. Kim invited everyone to a delicious lunch at a Korean restaurant. “I felt as though I was a True Parents’ Birthday Celebration, having a special lunch time together with True Mother,” said Mrs. Takako Kawamura from Seattle. “I experienced the same spirit, heart, and love as True Parents’ through the lunch together with Dr. Kim.”
After lunch, the group paid visit to the Oakland Holy Ground for a prayer, an experience recommended by Dr. Michael Balcomb, FFWPU USA President. At the end of the retreat, they made a strong determination to save America by uniting its people and sharing the Marriage Blessing.
“I’d like to really express my deep appreciation that we were able to have this special prayer meeting at SimJeong Garden. This meeting was very successful thanks to Dr. Kim and Dr. Balcomb’s absolute commitment, heart, and love, and also because of the support by District Pastor, Rev. Thompson and local Kodan sisters.”
-Rev. Hiroshi Inose
“I was very excited to attend this prayer meeting. I appreciate Dr. Kim and Dr. Balcomb’s support for this special occasion. I am grateful for Dr. & Mrs. Durst, that they have laid such sincere devotion for the early American movement. Also, I could feel such a deep love for True Parents from Mrs. Durst. I could pray with deep repentance, with tears and gratitude that the Holy Spirit was with us. And I could feel peacefulness and comfort, and then courage and strength to go forward in Tribal Messiahship activities, which True Parents want us to fulfill. Also I understood the necessity of Tribal Messiahship deeper, as the way to restore the nation. It was a renewal of my spiritual life of faith.”
-Kumiko Sutker (District 7, Kodan District leader)
“I am so glad that l could meet Dr. Durst and Mrs. Durst. lt was such a precious time. They gave us a very special testimony about True Parents on many occasions. Onni Durst told us that we should ask Heavenly Parent many times for what we want. She told us that we have to have a Holy Spirit experience. Once I got it, I don’t have fear; I can get confidence and a peaceful mind and also encouragement. I really got hope for the future of our movement though this prayer meeting.”
-Aiko Stearns (District 8, Kodan District leader)
“I am very grateful to attend the special prayer meeting with Mrs Durst. I wanted to learn from Dr. and Mrs. Durst the methods of how they had brought great results of witnessing 40 years ago in America. It was key to bring the power of the Holy Spirit of God through prayer. Also, I was very inspired by each sister’s testimony and experiences of prayer, and very moved by Mr. and Mrs. Durst’s love to us. Even though Mrs. Durst is 85 years old, she had been praying and fasting for the American providence. I felt that I can’t complain about anything because of my age and health. I got a lot of power of spirit toward bringing victory for Vision 2020.”
-Kimie Stana (District 9, Kodan District leader)
“Thank you for this historical prayer time. I Iearned deeply about the Holy Spirit. I realized when I pray I unite with the Holy Spirit. I can do anything. I felt so much hope, joy, and courage.”
-Mihoko Monestere (District 5, Kodan District leader)
“I am grateful to the FFWPU International Vice President, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, Dr. Balcomb, Dr. and Mrs. Durst, and Rev. Kevin Thompson for this opportunity. It was a blessing to listen to the testimonies by Dr. & Mrs. Durst, who had been victorious in the early days of our American church. I was inspired by Onni’s conviction as a daughter of God and all actions in unity with Him, as well as Dr. Durst’s closeness with people and efforts to listen to them with a joyful heart. While focusing in my prayer, I strongly felt the value of prayers. Listening to everyone’s testimonies made me realize what it meant to receive the Holy Spirit.”
-Masako Aull (District 2, Kodan District leader)
Contributed by Hiroshi and Hatsune Inose