Thanking You, Happily
Demian Dunkley, Vice President, Family Federation for a Heavenly USA, wishes to say Thank You to our American Blessed Families.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Wow! Oh boy, what an incredible season for Thank Yous. The victory of the November 12 Peace Starts With Me rally at Nassau Coliseum with True Mother was nine months in the making. As you have probably heard, planning for the event started at the top of a mountain while I was in prayer. But clearly, based on the victory that was claimed, this victory was decades in the making.
It’s interesting to remember, that even the peace rally at Madison Square Garden in 2017 seemed inconceivable at the time, and yet, we pulled it off under the great leadership of Dr. Ki Hoon Kim and Dr. Michael Balcomb, along with all of the National Ministry team members and all the leaders that made it a national effort.
This year was a different kind of challenge. And some of those differences are listed in the letter to Blessed families sent out before the peace rally.
Now, after successfully completing the peace rally with our True Mother, all that’s left to say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you to all who prayed in earnest for the success of this rally. Thank you to all of you who supported financially and thank you to all who attended in person. Without you this victory would not have been possible and our True Mother would not have been as happy as she was. Because of this we were able to send her off with wind in her sails for the next leg of her tour.
The biggest question you may have is how did our precious True Mother experience and receive our efforts? Well the answer by all accounts is that she received it with 1000% satisfaction and gratitude. Even though there were external challenges both leading up to and during the day of the rally itself, it was as if True Mother had already claimed the victory way in advance of November 12. We heard the same remarks from all the leaders around her, from the security team, from the East Garden staff and hospitality team. They all seemed to say the same thing, “We’ve never seen True Mother so happy!”
To tell you the truth, I was waiting for that moment when True Mother would gather us to give some guidance about what we need to do next. Perhaps let us know we didn’t do something quite to standard, or at least give some type of adjustment to our trajectory to make sure that we were on the right track moving forward. But that meeting never happened.
Perhaps I am—more than anyone—fully aware of how we could’ve done better and in which ways we need to improve as we move forward; but what startled me was that True Mother never had one word of concern. She just seemed totally happy and thankful. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have never seen True Mother so consistently happy, satisfied, and trusting in our team to advance God’s Providence.
In the days that followed the peace rally, True Mother hosted not one, but two victory celebrations. Dr. Kim mentioned that he had never seen True Parents conduct two victory celebrations back to back in the same place for the same event.
Furthermore, with the extra days that True Mother had left to spend here in America, she continually extended her hand to love us and take care of us. She personally selected a group of leaders to take out shopping, just like the early days of their ministry when True Parents would take church leaders out to buy a new suit or a new dress. She then took us out to lunch in the mall—just a cheeseburger and fries, but it really felt like a relaxed outing to the mall with Mom. It was so wonderful, so natural, it just felt like being with family.
Then, just a day before leaving for Zimbabwe, True Mother invited us for a Thanksgiving Dinner. Originally planned for just 30 or 40 people, she let the name list balloon up to over 100 people, reminding us that she is our mother and while she is fully aware of the providential urgencies of the time, she still cares about our clothes, and our food, and our time to fellowship with each other.
Let me give you just a little example of what is in our True Mother‘s heart and how she pays attention to the little details. I was fortunate enough to sit again with True Mother at the head table for the Thanksgiving Dinner. The first thing she said when she sat down, was “Who is that playing the piano off to the side?“ Dr. Kim mentioned to her that it was Jonathan Gullery, the man who had designed the poster and the program for all of the events. To which Mother replied, “Please tell him that I really love the design of the poster, and I really love the music that he is playing right now, so please thank him. And after this song is over, please be sure he takes a rest and sits down at his table and enjoys the beautiful foods we prepared.” You can bet that Jonathan was happy when I relayed the message to him. Just for your information, photo credit for the image on the poster goes to Graeme Carmichael.
As it turns out that was the only direction that I had received from our True Mother during the entire 10-day period that she was here.
November 12 was an Absolute Substantial Victory
I can say that Heaven received the peace rally on November 12 as an absolute victory. We were reminded of this not only by True Mother at the rally itself, but as was exemplified by her heart, her love, and her smile for the 10-day period she was with us.
The most important ingredient for the victory was unity. Right from the top. But also, I experienced a different type of unity with our ministers and churches. I felt that we made a much stronger foundation of substance with the Christian Churches of various denominations. Considering that last year we had about 30% guests and 70% members. This year, I believe because of the heartistic foundation with Christian leaders that is being built, the participation flipped to 70% guests and 30% members. We are committed to continuing in that work and personally growing as a result of it.
Rallies and Follow Up
I know that some people—or should I say many people—in our movement are weary of campaigns, rallies and events. You may be wondering, “What is the real impact of such an event, and what is our follow up program?” Well, here again you can see the wisdom of True Mother’s strategy. Having already divided nations into five subregions with five new headquarters and five new presidents at the subregional level, we not only have the desire, but increased capacity to take care of and follow up with the new relationships and foundations that have been established as a result of creating this rally.
So if you’re wondering what is the plan? Well, True Mother already said it at her sugregional rally in Korea about four weeks ago, when she said, “The clergy in America are waiting for me in November and they are conducting Marriage Blessing Ceremonies in their own churches.” We will be following up with the ministers to expand the Blessing Movement.
Over 98% of the reports and feedback from guests who attended the November 12 peace really is outstanding. Comments flowed in, such as, “That was amazing, when is the next one?” or, “I’ve never experienced such a high spirit before; it was the first time I’ve seen Heaven,” or, “Finally, we have a Queen of Peace.”
We want to continue to build relationships that we deepened over the last few weeks. We want to let these ministers know that we love them and we care about them. We value their work, and we want to support it.
One of the reasons we worked diligently to find more volunteer power from our local communities is because we were always more concerned about November 13 than November 12. It’s as if we knew November 12 would be a victory, but where the victory would be secured was in how we prepared for November 13 and beyond. Our strategy with the mobilization leading up to the event was done with that in mind. We mobilized up to about 80 local Unificationists from the tri-state, along with the usual volunteers, to build a team not just for mobilization for the rally, but to build a team that would be able to help us maintain relationships with these new churches and ministers after the rally.
The Power of Thank You!
The next big thing we want to work towards is a Thank You party in December, to which we will invite all of the ministers, the choir directors, and all the people that made the peace rally on November 12 possible. We’ve all been in those planning meetings where somebody in the group says, “The problem is we never do a good job with follow up.“ We’ve all heard that sentiment and we all know that we need to improve on follow up. One of the simple realizations that I had during this campaign was that we have the habit of placing overly high expectations on ourselves and that is what affects us more than anything. For example, in terms of follow up we may worry about mapping out a complicated educational pathway or program, and while education and Blessing is important, we can easily overlook the power of a simple “Thank you!”
That is why we would like to organize a Thank You party. I would like to be able to say, “Gone are the days when the only time people hear from us is when it’s time to come to our next big event!” That’s why this Thank You party will have no other agenda than to say, “Thank you!” This is really the same spirit with which True Mother hosted a series of victory celebrations and Thank You parties and gifts for all of us after the peace rally. We are taking from Mother’s good example. It’s time for us to turn around and exemplify True Parents’ standard of heart and love by extending that heart to each other and to the new friends that we’ve created.
As we enter into the weekend of Thanksgiving, it seems that there could be no greater meaning to the words Thank You.
Thank you to God and True Parents for trusting in America and continually Blessing us.
Thank you to our leaders all across the country who usually go un-thanked for at least 95% of what they do for the sake of the community.
Thank you to our elders and those who paved the way for the victories of today, often sacrificing their own lives and the lives of their children and extended family to be able to keep pace with God’s Providence centering on True Parents.
Thank you to the second generation Unificationists born into those families who unfortunately, more often than not, had to feel the brunt end of the sacrificial pathway.
We Really Are Family
No matter where we are currently on the spectrum of our faith, all of us are in relation with each other because of our True Parents. We are reading this letter together because of our connection to True Parents. We are truly one family, and we are in the era where we open our arms and open our embrace to include all of God’s children into the heavenly culture that True Parents have been exemplifying all these years. There is not one of us in the entire movement who fully exemplifies and understands the depth of True Parents’ heart. None are perfect, but we all do our best, and I can promise you, that the leaders whom I am fortunate enough to work with, like Dr. Kim, Rev. Buessing and all the other church leaders on our National Ministry team and all our amazing subregional leaders, are the best people that I’ve ever worked with, and I can clearly see God working through each of them.
Family Federation is not the same as last year or the year before. True Mother carved a new path for us; she opened up a new era for America and it seems the harvest is now ours to reap.
There is no turning back. The harvest is great and we are an incredible winning team to claim it on behalf of Heaven. The more that we can widen our embrace and work with the people that God has prepared, the greater victories we will see.
Keep Your Eyes Open for the “X” Factor
On a final note, remember this: If everything is simply going to plan, then that may be an indication that God is not really involved in the thing. Yes we need to have a plan, but more importantly we need to have unity and space in our hearts to grow as we go and to recognize that “X” factor that only God is capable of putting in. Let’s all get used to looking for that grace and beauty that God adds to our work so we can complete our work victoriously. At the end of the day, this is all God’s creation, God’s dream, and God’s harvest. We just need to show up, recognize how God is working, and be thankful.
Thank you again for all you do. Let us continue to pray for our True Mother on her world tour, and from all of us here on the National Ministry team, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families, with your friends, or whomever God puts on your path in this season of Thanks.