My first week of pioneering I had so many experiences with God and so many insights, I wanted to share them with someone, but I was all alone. For more than six months I had been living with more than one hundred brothers and sisters 24/7. I missed them. I tried to join a Christian group in their evening prayer service, but they were suspicious of me. I also knew that their understanding of God was different from mine. God is Almighty on a throne to most Christians; complete without us. Divine Principle teaches that God is suffering akin to being in prison, reaching out to us, longing for a relationship with each person and incomplete without us. Thus I felt a yearning for brothers and sisters who knew God as I did and knew that True Parents were on the earth. I imagined if I were in a communist country; members might not even be able to talk to one another, but even just seeing each other, knowing that we know what we do- that would be such an immense comfort. We could just subtly nod and continue on, vividly aware of our cosmic connection. Then I imagined the most homely brother from Barrytown, one whose face had always been morose. Even to see him would be such a joy. In this way I felt the profound value of every brother and sister.
I witnessed to a man who turned out to be a newspaper reporter. He was inspired by what I shared about Divine Principles and our ideals over the course of a week. So much so that he decided to write a positive article. When he presented it to be published, the editor refused, saying he had already decided to take a negative stance toward Rev. Moon and the Unification Church. He would not budge.
At some point missionaries were given a condition to street preach. I chose rush hour to stand on a downtown street corner and loudly proclaim that God was alive and well, etc. A female news reporter came over and asked if she could interview me for the evening news; I was nervous, but I said yes. This is a way I can support God’s providence, I thought, and reach more people. The news truck came over; sound equipment was set up. The woman introduced me on her microphone, then right before I was about to speak, she hissed very threateningly in my ear, “Don’t you DARE say anything about God!” I was so shocked, I couldn’t say anything. NOTHING! First I was totally taken aback by her virulent attitude- it was completely unexpected. Next, my mind was doing somersaults trying to figure out a way to talk about God without saying God. She walked away with contemptful disgust.
If I didn’t know it before, I now knew that I do not think fast on my feet. Was that my ‘15 seconds of fame’ that I just squandered?
With True Father in East Garden
Before Yankee Stadium Rally, True Father held monthly meetings at East Garden with international leaders and representatives from each state. One month I was chosen to represent Wisconsin at the meeting because I had brought three young men to join. But American missionaries were sent out more than six months earlier with the goal; 1-1-1. (Each missionary should bring one spiritual child every month) I went to NY, but I deeply dreaded being asked my result since it was inadequate.
When I arrived, European leaders were giving their reports. In Germany and France, communists were attacking our centers sometimes with handmade bombs. When guests came to the centers for an evening program, their license plate numbers were taken down and researched. Soon they were threatened at their workplace- if you continue to visit the Unification Church, you will be fired.
After these reports, True Father shared his plans to build a factory to make chocolates for fundraising product. He passed around some samples to everyone. He also spoke about America’s sin of racism. “We need black and white marriages to solve this problem”, he said. Then he asked a few white leaders, “What race do you want your children to marry?” They each answered, with slightly red faces, “Korean, Father.”
After a while, True Father dismissed everyone except the American missionaries. He wanted to talk to us alone. About fifty of us gathered around his chair, sitting on the floor. He just looked at us for a while- all young, eager faces- perhaps like baby birds waiting for food from their parent. Finally, he asked, “Is it difficult?” A handful of members responded, “Yes, Father.” (There was no way I was going to say, Yes. I knew True Father had been in prison and tortured.) True Father smiled, then said, “How else can you understand my heart?” Then he said the last thing I expected him to say, ”I trust you.”
I do not know if anyone there had brought the result asked of us, but now True Father was saying that he trusted us! How awesome!. I don’t remember anything else he said. I was stunned. My brain stopped. This profound love- is not trust love?- It filled me so thoroughly there was no room for anything else. True Father trusted me! I shall never forget it. I carried this gift with me back to Wisconsin; I carry it with me still.
It is an awesome thing- to be trusted. It evokes the desire to be worthy of that trust. Wherever I have gone since then, I remember- True Father trusts me; I do not want to ever betray that trust.
I was raised Jewish and did not know much about Jesus while I was growing up. However, American society is imbued with Christian principles. I had heard that we should love everyone. (Jewish focus is on universal justice.) I remember sitting under an overpass, 1972 when I was in college, watching thousands of cars drive by on a freeway far below. I wondered ‘How is it possible to love everyone?’ thinking of all those people driving by. It seemed impossible. I thought loving required knowing something about each person, their hopes and dreams, their character. I left without an answer.
God must have put a bookmark there- to return to later.
One night, in Milwaukee’s suburbs, I had just finished fundraising door-to-door and was waiting at a bus stop to go home. A very light snow was falling. The street lights had just flickered on and a soft glow surrounded them, beautifying the scene. It was dusk. Sunday. No one was out; it was very quiet. I was alone with my thoughts when suddenly, about a block or two away, a person exited one door and entered another. In that split second, an energy from my being, perhaps some part of my aura, reached out to include that person in my energy field. Beyond my conscious effort, my energy stretched out like that. I felt an immediate connection to this person; my spirit knew intrinsically that all human beings are interconnected, brothers and sisters. Most likely I will never see this person again, or ever meet him or her, but I felt their value. Then I remembered my overpass experience and realized that I did not need to know a person’s character, their hopes or dreams. Because every human being is precious to God, they are precious to me as well.
Also, God is such a sincere Being. He/She will answer every question we have ever asked when we are ready to receive the answer.
A Dark Cloud Over Madison
Although I started off my pioneering alone in Milwaukee, eventually more members were assigned there along with a leader. At one point, I was mandated to go to Madison, for a few weeks. It lies about eighty miles north- a university town and the state’s capital. When I got off the bus, I immediately felt a dark cloud over the city,
On campus, there was a chapel; I was pleasantly surprised. (In Milwaukee someone bought and transferred the original chapel where Joan of Arc prayed- before her execution).This chapel had brochures for upcoming services and sermons: the theme was ‘Liberators of the people’: Jesus, Karl Marx, Che Guevara. It was my first exposure to Liberation Theology, a mixture of Christianity, politics and social action- invariably promoting communism.
About a week after I arrived, a traveling CARP team came with a public event which I supported. As I was handing out flyers, a male student rapped me hard on the head and threatened confidently, “When the revolution comes, you’ll be the first to go.” CARP had large promotional posters with True Father’s face on them; pro-communist students kicked and ripped them apart.
Years later I learned that three key universities had been chosen by Marxist strategists to infiltrate America - through its youth: Columbia on the East Coast; Madison in the Midwest; Berkeley on the West Coast. Pro-communist professors were, unwittingly (or not), employed on these campuses, teaching various subjects: Political and Social Thought, History, Russian Language- even Art and Literature. Of course, every campus was and is an opportunity to spread dialectical/materialism which appeals to the idealism of youth and their desire to bring about change. Fully aware of that, True Father started CARP- Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles and, soon after, CAUSA, which directly addressed Liberation Theology with a counter-proposal- Godism.
Crazy is Normal
A month before Yankee Stadium Rally, the entire state’s membership drove to NY to support the event- except me. I was asked to stay behind and fundraise to pay the center’s bills. A day or so before the event, an associate member was supposed to drive me, but he disappeared. I had no license and very little driving experience, but I drove myself anyway (I left from Chicago where I had fundraised for the month- twelve and a half hours- about 780 miles) I hope that my children never do the crazy, dangerous things I did when I was young. But I have always considered fighting communism with the Messiah as emergency time, thus crazy was normal.
After Yankee Stadium, I never returned to Wisconsin.
Love, Gratitude and Blessings to a Sacrificial Brother
One of my spiritual sons, GC, was an associate member in Milwaukee. I would hear about him throughout the years through other members; he was matched, then blessed, then received a gift child. One day, a national CARP leader came to encourage youth in my state. She shared about how sacrificial her parents were; she rarely saw them while growing up. But one associate member took such good care of her and her siblings for years: picking them up from school, feeding them, taking them to martial art classes, etc. It turned out to be my spiritual son! It was a gift from God to hear that this person to whom I had witnessed many years ago was busy helping others so unselfishly!. What a joy and a comfort to my heart! Stories like this make life worth living.