The Words of the Mayumi Family
When I considered God's will for my mission as the leader of Japanese missionaries to the Gambia, I thought I should lead the way, including financing the visit by all ten members to the country. To give the conclusion first, we were able to finance the July 1-17 mission for seven women, who have returned home safely. For that, I am truly grateful.
When we arrived in the country, eight Americans, including the national messiahs Randy and Beverly Berndt and young second-generation members (sixteen and seventeen years old) had already been engaged in the Gambia. Thus, the number of active foreign members became sixteen, which seemed to compensate for the three members absent from our Japanese group.
Apparently, the second-generation members from the United States had the flexibility to cope with the local environment and lifestyle, which are quite different from those in the U.S. Mrs. Berndt said, "In order to help American people understand the importance of living for the sake of others, it is best to bring them to Africa." Based on our live, firsthand experiences there, I agree with her.
The Japanese missionaries, all of them sisters, became inspired and invigorated by the second-generation members. On the other hand, I believe the second-generation brothers and sisters must have felt the Japanese woman power, so to speak. I am pleased that the good qualities and dispositions of the teams were mutually beneficial. Among the many good memories I took home, I will not forget the moment we prayed together after delineating a new Holy Ground.
Our activities were mainly focused on reading Father's speeches to the local people and giving them the blessing.
We were delighted to learn that the local members had been already been engaged in steady activity and had reached about thirteen thousand people.
We paid visits to the homes of some contacts, trying to demonstrate true love, reading the word and giving them the blessing. In this way, we attempted to leave a stabler foundation, hoping a new level of developments could emerge from it.
A good case in point: When we visited the Isat family, Mrs. Isat said she had been invited to visit a kindergarten the following day and suggested we go with her and pass on Father's message to the people there. We went half-heartedly. It was the kindergarten's graduation day. About fifty children and two hundred adult guests, parents and others attended. We were somehow allowed to do everything we had wanted to do. There was prayer and the reading of Father's message, a congratulatory address and the Blessing Ceremony. Though small in scale, we were so impressed that we could conduct a providential rally there.
On another day, we visited Rabacorre Village, where we have been providing some scholarship funds. There again, we read Father's message and gave the blessing. We danced a Japanese folksong piece called "Soranbushi," and the villagers in return performed a local dance, raising an atmosphere of joy and communion.
We could also witness the fruit of seeds sown by five earlier missionaries (from a worldwide group of 1,600 Japanese missionaries in 1994). In particular, we were deeply impressed by the local blessed children, who are a great testimony to the heavenly lineage and the heavenly traditions transmitted through the generations.
In Africa generally, members cannot meet Father frequently, nor do they receive the word in abundance. They do not have many Abel figures of a certain caliber nearby to guide them properly.
The African members are constantly in a desperate position and seeking God in prayer. We would like to express our high appreciation of the members who keep faith centering on the church national leader, Rev. Ebrima Jadama, and his wife. We also want to express our gratitude and pay tribute to all the previous missionaries and the national messiahs for their pioneering efforts.
I was also impressed when hearing about a couple who read the word by candlelight each night. It reminded me that God is surely alive and active in this tiny corner of the world.' When we were reading out Father's message on the street to some students and giving them the blessing, our local brother confidently instructed us, saying, "You should give them the blessing after confirming that they have maintained sexual purity and do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes." His personality seemed reliable and respectable. [Never more than 50 kilometers wide, the Gambia is the smallest nation on the African continent.]
Another objective of our mission was to engage in public relations, but we could not meet top-tier individuals this time. We could not help feeling powerless; we felt we hadn't made sufficient conditions. However, we cannot leave things this way until September 17, so we will renew our resolve and find a way to send important figures to the Abel UN conference without fail. In order to accomplish Father's expectation by 2013, by all means, we have to achieve a definite, perceivable outcome for the September 12-17 event during this mobilization period.
Nonetheless, we were able to experience a renaissance with more unity among the missionaries, having observed the situations in the Gambia firsthand. We took the opportunity to discuss plans that were more concrete in nature. One item of good news is that the husband of one missionary sister who for the first time went to the Gambia with us pledged to financially assist the education of the blessed children in the country.
Before I finish my testimony, I would like to include this excerpt from a letter by Rev. Nishiki Toshiaki, the Japanese national messiah.
"The reason you could begin the journey of the mission perhaps earlier than most others, was a union of heart with God and True Parents' wish as well as unity with the missionaries. You could offer a miracle of positive results to Heaven by becoming one with the other Japanese members and with the American and the Gambian members. It must have been one of those 'a thousand years is as one day, or one day is as a thousand years' experiences."
Not everything in this mission was satisfactory, for which we need to apologize candidly to Heaven. At the same time, we could renew our lifelong commitment to love our Heaven-assigned mission country, the Gambia. In this sense, it was a great new beginning for the Gambian providence.