TribeNet Kicks Off in Las Vegas
TribeNet, a gathering of tribal messiahs, kicked off at the International Peace and Education Center (IPEC) on December 15, continuing until Monday. Tribal messiahs are Unificationists across America who are on a mission to bring the Holy Marriage Blessing Ceremony to 430 couples. Since the workshop began on Friday, the tribal messiahs have shared their testimonies and best practices, taken a pilgrimage in the footsteps of True Parents to their favorite sites, and enjoyed some of the wonderful family entertainment of Las Vegas.
Here are a few highlights from the first two days:
Co-Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) Dr. Michael Jenkins and his wife Reiko Jenkins shared their testimony about completing 430 Holy Wine Blessings this year. The tribal messiahs roared with laughter while listening, as the Jenkins shared their lessons learned with gracious and self-effacing humor.
After True Mother spoke at Madison Square Garden, the Jenkins realized they had just one week to meet a goal set by Dr. Kim that we should complete 430 blessings before the next Seonghwa anniversary, so Dr. and Mrs. Jenkins went out every day for several hours a day trying to bless people. They tried setting up tables in front of a grocery store; that didn’t work. They were carrying around a jug of grape juice in a paper bag with plastic cups in hand; that also didn’t work. They were sheepishly approaching people, coming across as weird and startling them; that didn’t work. They tried out holding a raffle with the people they met; and that did, kind of, work.
Eventually, they wound up in a Walmart parking lot, prepared their own Blessing certificates and a marriage registry to collect names and contact information of the couples they Blessed; they also had a bag of prefilled juice cups that they had received from the National Ministry Team; and they filled a shopping cart full of groceries and started approaching people as fellow Walmart shoppers—and that worked! Miraculously, after trial-and-error, the Jenkins were able to make up the remaining numbers and surpass their goal in that one week.
FFWPU USA President Rev. Richard Buessing gave the opening remarks, explaining the purpose of the weekend to share with one another, to listen to each other, and to spend time together, making valuable memories and honoring God and True Parents.
“I love the word tribe because it’s a gathering of people. But also I like the word net because it makes it sound highly technical. And also, when I think of net, I think of fishing. We’re fishing for our tribe, aren’t we? We’re trying to build the foundation of love around us because we all know that the energy we get from loving other people is the greatest joy we can have in our life. So we are actually building the kingdom of heaven, and when you get that taste of heaven, you can’t stop. It becomes part of you and you can’t stop reaching out and loving other people.”
FFWPU Continental Chairman Dr. Ki Hoon Kim also shared his heart with the Tribal Messiahs, speaking on the five main best practices of the American movement in 2017, his hopes looking forward to 2018, and the importance of maintaining one’s life of faith through the ups and downs of life, since there is no retirement, really, from a life of faith.
“Times have changed since we first joined the movement….and the culture has changed. These days, our lives are richer and richer externally, but internally, we’re hungrier. People are looking less for internal celebrations. This generation is not the hippies; that generation was thinking so deeply about the internal life even though they externally had many weak points.”
Demian Dunkley, National Director of Witnessing and Education, also inspired the tribal messiahs by describing how we may not know where and how to start our tribal messiahship. Ultimately, Demian insisted, we start wherever we are—even if that is in a spiritual atmosphere equivalent to a jungle thicket or a dense forest.
“Even though it looks like you’re going alone, we’re all going to the same destination. And also every family has a unique circumstance: unique skills, unique situations. As we listen to each other’s testimonies, the similarity you have to look for in everyone’s testimony is going to be God, True Parents, and the Principle. Then we can also learn different methods from each other. But what’s central? The Principle is central.”
Stay tuned on familyfed.org for more from TribeNet!