The Words of the Haydon Family
John Haydon met the Unification Church in 1972 in England. He came to the United States in 1980 and for the last eighteen years has worked at The Washington Times, where he writes a weekly soccer column. John and his wife, Pat, have four children and live in Maryland.
Finally, thirty years after joining the Unification Church, a dream came true, and I made the trip to South Korea in 2003. Little did I know when I set off from Washington, D.C. with my laptop that I would end up eating breakfast with Father Moon and discussing soccer.
I was sent to Korea by The Washington Times to cover the Peace Cup, a major soccer event involving Reverend Moon’s professional soccer team, Songnam Ilwha Chunma. I have always loved soccer, and it was very much part of my life until I met the church as a skinny seventeen-year-old back in England in 1972.
I was so happy when I heard that Father Moon had sponsored soccer teams in Korea and Brazil and had organized the Peace Cup, which involved some of the world’s biggest clubs. But Reverend Moon’s involvement in soccer, as it is with all things he does, has a deeper and higher purpose. “Our founder believes that sports, art, hobbies and culture move the human mind and bring people together,” Peace Cup organizer Chung Hwan Kwak told me.
“Sincere sports come through the mind and not material things. This is the origin and vision of Dr. Sun Myung Moon. He always taught that the future world culture will be God-centered, a culture of love, and a culture of heart. This culture should not be achieved by military force or material forces or even diplomacy. The culture of love will result from art, hobbies and sports, especially soccer.”
On my third night in Korea I got a call from a Korean church leader, asking me to bring a report on soccer to Father Moon’s house at Hannam-Dong the following morning. That night I wrote up some notes, thanking Father Moon for his investment in the game, praising the Korean World Cup team, and suggesting that Father was probably a great soccer player in his youth, one I would certainly have rather played alongside than against. When I arrived at the house early in the morning for Hoon Dok Hae (HDH) -- morning inspirational reading -- I gave my two page report and my article on the Peace Cup to Reverend Moon’s assistant, Mr. Peter Kim.
Unknown to me, throughout the two hour reading, Mr. Kim was tirelessly translating my article and report into Korean. After HDH, Mr. Kim introduced me to Father Moon, and I was seated near him at the breakfast table. Then Mr. Kim read my report and article to Father, who listened intently and laughed at my jokes. At one point he gave me the thumbs up. I was deeply moved that Father Moon would give me so much time. Here I was, a minor sports writer, yet Father Moon made me feel at home and important in the warmth of his house. He is a very busy man, a world leader, who lives life to the fullest and has an incredible schedule even at the age of eighty-six, yet at that moment I felt he was there for me. I was amazed at how he gave me his full attention. He no doubt had other things to do and more important providential things to discuss, but he listened to my report and asked me questions with genuine sincerity.
I was deeply moved. Never in my life have I felt someone be so attentive. It then occurred to me that this is a man whose mind and body are truly united. This is what unity of mind and body means. This is what the first few pages of the Divine Principle teach. When a person is totally united within himself, he becomes a pure vessel for the love of God.
In Reverend Moon’s presence, you feel his love and warmth, because he is a perfect channel for that heavenly love. Reverend Moon is like this with everyone he meets. He is always pouring out his love because he can’t help doing it. He is the perfect example of what consistency is. This is a man you can trust, because he is THERE IN THE MOMENT for you. To be in Father Moon’s presence is to feel the love of Heaven. Here is a harmonious man of perfect unity, totally at ease with himself and his relationship with the Divine.
A simple talk about soccer with an old Korean man overlooking the Han River became a deeply spiritual and rewarding moment, maybe the greatest moment in my life.