The Words of the Fleisher Family
This testimony and reflection is probably long overdue and comes on the foundation of approximately 9 years of STF participation by my 2nd generation children - Gelo, Yongil and Sammi. I am extremely grateful for the spiritual life infusion that resulted from 1 (Gelo - 1999 - 2000), then 2 (Yongil - 2001-2003) and now 4 years (Sammi - 2004-2008) of participation in the STF program.
Prior to its inception, in my opinion, there were very few tools or opportunities available to the young people in our movement that could both give them the opportunity to take personal ownership of their faith and to personally inherit the rich faith foundation of their parents. The stifling influence and pervasive impact of the current fallen world culture is quite powerful and the amount of cultural counterbalance able to be generated by Sunday School programs and even BCF culture often pales in comparison.
Beginning with the STF program and since then, other general programs, have and continue to give our young people a refreshing opportunity and space to immerse themselves in the Cheon Il Guk culture, or as I describe it, to participate in concentrated spiritual growth. I laud the efforts of programs that can drill down that experience to even younger aged children (Jr. STF, Blessed Teens Academy). Of course, much hinges on the individual being able to take advantage of and develop personal faith ownership of these opportunities- both during and after, but the fact that they offer an opportunity of immeasurable value, in my opinion, must not be undervalued.
In the case of my three children, it literally saved each of their spiritual lives and then allowed them to truly touch their original mind and find out the missions God has planned for each of them. Over the years I have heard criticism and critique of this program but my heart response is always this; what alternative is the criticizer offering. When we didn't have this tool, our faith lost so many of our young people and though it is certainly not the answer for everyone nor a perfect program, it has given our movement a great hope for the emergence of a faithful younger generation.
In its favor, I have also witnessed that the STF leadership is very willing to change and adjust and improve; a great attribute in my mind. I am currently of the mindset and absolutely convinced that each of our young people should participate in some type of public service program for one or two years between high school and college or work (gosh, I'll even take a one month RYS tour - anything that can get them out of their ethnocentric/self-engulfed perspective and let them meet God.)
Best, of course, is that the program be structured to encourage the development of spiritual growth and a truly owned relationship with God. I personally can testify that taking the time to participate in STF actually enhanced each of my children's college experience and absolutely did not hinder their ability to pursue a college education. In reality, had they gone to college right from high school, I doubt if they would have been as focused or valued the opportunity as much as they did after their one, two or four years of STF participation.
In each of their cases, after STF, they took a hold of the college opportunity with zeal and a vengeance or, rather than depending on their educational institutions of choice to determine their agenda, they were the ones driving the train, each having a clear sense of their purpose and goal in life and how to use the opportunity afforded to them by their education to further that goal.
Please receive this testimony as my sincere support for the opportunities that programs such as STF can provide to the young adults in our movement.