During the Famicon conference that was held at the International Peace Education Center in Las Vegas from April 3 to 6, 2017, Friederun Abrahams from Tennessee gave a testimony about the 40 days that she spent in Thailand from January 8 to February 27, pursuing Tribal Messiahship together with Sukhont Convery from Philadelphia. The following is a written report of that testimony.
Our planning started one year ago, when Sukhont and I started making prayer conditions and Hoon Dok Hwe conditions in order to prepare ourselves for our trip to Thailand. Our goal was to give Divine Principle lectures and the Marriage Blessing to Sukhont’s many relatives and friends and contacts in Singuli, her hometown in Thailand.
One-third of the town’s population is made up of her cousins from a family that has lived there for at least four generations, is very well known and respected, and has donated and contributed to the community and local Buddhist temples. Sukhont has eight siblings, and her parents and grandparents as well had at least that many siblings on both sides. The name of her grandmother is written on a school which she donated and built near her ancestral home. Sukhont has gone there repeatedly to witness to her friends and family, and 10 years ago she gave the Holy Wine to at least 500 people in the town. Some of her cousins are teachers, and many others are business owners and are very wealthy.
Sukhont trusted me as a lecturer and invited me to join her in Singuli so that she could focus on each person as she translated the lectures for them. Also every day Sukhont coordinated our activities as I focused on studying the Divine Principle and True Father’s speeches. Therefore we really experienced the spiritual world very actively helping us!
Sukhont has long been very active in the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) and other related activities, investing her whole heart. So I respected her a lot and felt honored to help her with this. Honestly, I had felt like a dry desert, unable to find even one person who was interested in hearing the greatest truth that humankind had ever heard, the Divine Principle. For over 20 years I hadn’t brought even one person to be active with our movement. I felt I could not face our Heavenly Parent.
Our first step, after arriving in Thailand, was to meet with the national FFWPU leader. After many years of heavy persecution and three years of imprisonment, this brother accomplished the goal of giving the Marriage Blessing to 430 couples in his own tribe, working together with some of his spiritual children and another Thai leader who had been imprisoned with him.
He described three types of Tribal Messiahship:
- an established tribe of relatives in one area, which is how Sukhont was working,
- the relatives of one’s spiritual children, and other people in their area, which is how this leader was working,
- home church-type areas that we build up.
This leader gave us all the details of how to facilitate a Marriage Blessing in Thailand, including having a Buddhist priest present to sprinkle the Holy Water. We also had 10 VIPs present, three of whom gave a speech. One cousin made a flyer for us to give out, which invited people to the Blessing, described as “a celebration of marriage and family.” We also had a banner made (Sukhont’s cousin, a teacher, freely offered to do this for us!).
A Thai sister and her husband, who also had fulfilled the goal of giving the 430 Couple Blessing, came freely to officiate for us. This sister gave a speech clearly explaining the meaning of the Blessing, the Holy Wine, and Father and Mother Moon as our True Parents. They also brought a screen with True Parents’ pictures, since I had only a small photo with me because of traveling.
The Blessing ceremony took place on our last day in Sukhont’s hometown, with 57 people attending the ceremony; unfortunately more than half of them did not bring their spouse. But most attendees were very educated people. There were two school principals (one of whom was a PhD), teachers, a lawyer and his wife, the second-in-command to the governor and his wife, and several village leaders.
The room was the largest air-conditioned room at one of the local schools. We spent a lot of time, at the request of the principals and teachers, teaching character education. In addition, in the evenings some children came to the house of Sukhont’s sister, where we were staying, to practice speaking English.
From the first day in Sukhont’s hometown we spoke to several people a day and could teach Divine Principle, which was received with enthusiasm and interest. Usually it was a relative and his/her spouse or a group of 10 or more. On Saturdays the village leader gathered the villagers, and there usually were 40 to 50 people. We taught them Divine Principle three times.
Another group to whom we taught Divine Principle were 60 people of a volunteer group of wealthy retirees who teach poor villagers skills to earn a living. This group was headed by one of Sukhont’s cousins, who introduced us to them. After that, they continually wanted us to visit them, and several of them came to the Blessing. There was one top government official with who heard all of the Divine Principle over five evenings, as well as a testimony of True Parents’ life. He invited his sister and her husband to the Blessing ceremony, and he also volunteered to be the photographer.
The first week we were there, we also were asked by one of Sukhont’s cousins, a teacher, to present the first chapter of the Divine Principle during an awards ceremony at the town high school with about 100 people present, including all the teachers.
We also went several times to the “coffee shop” where Sukhont’s dad went for 50 years every morning. Everyone there remembered him. We met a policeman there to whom we gave the Divine Principle. A top community leader and former principal, after hearing the introduction to the Divine Principle, promptly called his successor, who wanted us to give a lecture on the environment (the Third Blessing!) to 25 village leaders a week later. Each time, of course, we gave the participants the Holy Wine.
We also had no transportation in very hot weather, so we either walked or else rode in a Tuk-Tuk (auto rickshaw).
We met the acting minister of the only Christian church in the area, who told us about her feeling God’s heart and her difficulties in bringing people to the church. It is a new and big church, which Sukhont’s cousin helped build with his money after converting to Christianity. But only eight or 10 people attend it; they are simple people who have had healing experiences.
We gave the pastor the Divine Principle, and she was grateful and very receptive and also very sad when we said goodbye. We also gave the lecture on the Three Blessings to the small congregation.
Sukhont always gave donations to religious groups, schools, volunteer groups, and the two of us gave a lot of little presents to people we met. Sukhont also broke down barriers by always laughing with anyone!
One thing that moved me very much is the traditional greeting that all Thai people give each other: praying hands over your heart and a slight bow. There is still respect shown toward each other, especially children toward the elders!
It reminded me of True Father’s explanation that God equals two that have become one (two hands put together vertically).
- Both of us felt the key is to make heartistic relationships that are eternal.
- I am all in, no holding back. Giving up my comfort zone.
- True Father said: prayer and commitment.
- We had the approach of “promoting the family” and “establishing the culture of heart” through the FFWPU, not another religion!
Thailand does not have the divisions in religion that we have in the United States. People there have an Old Testament faith with five commandments (Buddhism) and a visual faith (the bigger the statue, the more faith!). Many do not think about life after death, so talking about the spirit world really brings out their interest.
So for us here in the United States, our all-out efforts, working together with commitment and follow-up and investing all our heart, should bring what we have been waiting for: results in Tribal Messiahship.