The Words of the Franklin Family

ETF Reflection of the Whole Year

Michael Franklin
October 23, 2002

One year ago I was fresh out of college and about to face the exciting prospect of going to ETF. I wasnít in the best position at that time. My faith was good but I had trouble disciplining myself and living the kind of life I wanted to. ETF didnít scare me but I had very little idea as to what I would have to face. I remember standing up in Sunday service with the other British participants and getting a round of applause for going on ETF.

A year later, it is difficult to summarise everything that happened. I havenít yet had proper time to digest the experience and it will take a while to completely separate from ETF and pick out what Iíve gained. Reflecting on each day can sometimes be hard enough.

When I think back on what we did in the past year, FR sticks in my head the most. Although witnessing took up a longer time period, it doesnít always seem that way. FR was scattered all over the year and it definitely proved a pungent reminder when I needed it. It came along at the right times and provided new chances to gauge my situation.

My first FR day went well. Switzerland is a great place. It is a beautiful and spectacular country and provided comfort when things got tough. I could just stare beyond the houses and be blown away by the mountains and nature. I had done FR before but this was very different. The language was alien to me and I didnít make much effort to change that. After a while, I could realise that language didnít matter that much. If your heart was in it, the people would feel that without necessarily understanding you.

After a while, I realised that something was wrong as I was struggling heavily with FR. As the team members improved on similar wavelengths, I was progressing on my own chart. My improvement was negligible. My confidence and technique improved during the time but it wasnít reflecting on the goal sheet. I felt bad not just for myself (actually it didnít trouble me too much) but also for everyone else because people were worrying about me and trying to help me out, but nothing seemed to work. I managed to assess myself on my own level and take charge of my own development.

The whole day was spent alone and also due to the van Ďdifficultiesí we experienced, we learnt to be a lot more independent. I didnít rely on anyone to make my experience worthwhile. I tried to push myself in the right ways, set my own conditions and make sure I didnít regret not trying hard enough during the FR period.

On certain days I Ďbroke throughí and got a decent result but the inconsistency I experienced made it hard to feel stable. Every day was different and I could never predict the outcome of any given day.

The subsequent FR conditions were somehow less intense. Switzerland will always be where I fundraised on ETF. We did one short run in Korea, just to experience it, and that was precious. I remembered more Korean than I thought I would and the people were so nice and warm. Norway was difficult. It was the first FR condition after Switzerland and it took me a while to get back into it. That didnít go too well. But Denmark followed straight after and that was a very good experience. Being Danish myself helped me a lot as I could feel a connection to the country and I was looking forward to speaking the language and meeting the people. Most of all it was ETFís first condition with other HARPies. I could feel like an elder brother as I was in the position to give them advice and help them to develop. Even if my own fundraising wasnít going anywhere exciting, I could be inspired by the Ďnewcomersí as they grew to surpass me very quickly. They were inspired by FR, which is something I found very hard to be at that stage. The passing-on aspect appealed to me a lot as I could realise the importance of this whole year of ETF.

When I first heard I was going to Hungary, I wasnít too excited but I tried to keep an open mind. WT was completely new to me so I was expecting nothing. I knew what WT was and the idea was both scary and exciting at the same time. In comparison to FR, WT seemed a thousand times harder. Itís not too difficult to get someone to give you a small amount of money, but to convince them to change their whole life because of what you say is a different thing. This along with the fact that last yearís ETF didnít have great results when doing WT, made it hard to really believe that we would be successful. However, FR didnít go well with me and I saw this as a new start. I had a clean slate. I had no idea of my ability in WT so I was eager to begin and see what this next period would have in store.

The goal we came up with almost seemed like a joke at first. But the spirit we had convinced me that anything was possible. We had broken every concept we had in our fundraising time. So I united with the goal and allowed myself to dream big.

The situation wasnít the best in Hungary, externally speaking. But this was the challenge we needed to spur us on to dream great things. We had the feeling of starting from scratch and being able to build something up ourselves. We moved into the unused CARP centre and really made it our own. We decorated it and restored its former glory, and somehow brought the place back to life.

WT was new to all of us. And we had no one to show us the ropes. We may not have started with a steady footing but we werenít fazed. After setting a strong internal foundation with challenging conditions, we rushed head on into the WT. We learnt by ourselves and learnt from our own mistakes. After time we realised whom to approach and who not to waste time with. We learnt how to do it and how to get people up to the centre as soon as possible. Experimentation and an adventurous approach helped us find our feet.

We started with a real bang. The Hungarians were used to humble results in WT but we shook the centre and even got some response from the national level. Everyone was bringing guests and the centre was alive and brimming with people who had little idea as to what they were doing there. The Hungarians did an amazing job of welcoming the confused but inspired guests, and giving their best to bring the Principle across to them.

This pattern continued. Our numbers were very impressive, but then our next problem faced us. We werenít seeing much result in our guests. The Slovakian team had just sent news that they had already gained three spiritual children. This was great news that inspired us, but we hadnít reached that level yet. We figured out how to bring guests but had little knowledge of how to take care of them. The few Hungarians working with us had no time to look after all our guests so it was our job to take charge of them and raise them up. For me this was a real challenge and I lost many early contacts because of this. I didnít realise the level of commitment and responsibility this mission required.

We learnt slowly, and gradually we could see progress. It was inspiring to see the guests develop even if they werenít your own. It was a team effort so we all shared in the joy of personal success. Many times I found myself lecturing to other peopleís guests and I still cared because you were helping them to grow in some way.

I have two guests who I invested the most in. My first good one came when I found a scruffy looking guy who was older than the people I would normally approach. He spoke no English or German so I had no way to communicate with him. He came up to the centre quite easily and from then on, things went by themselves. He was attentive and interested in the DP content, and he pushed the lecturers hard as he listened patiently for hours. He soaked in the content really well and came almost every day. On the second day he heard about TP, one of the most memorable days in the whole WT period, and after the he reheard lectures many times and had long talks with the Hungarians. Thatís where it got difficult for me. Peter (the guestís name) built a strong relationship with one Hungarian member (which in itself is very good) and that made it difficult for me to feel connected to him. After a while, Peter was dealing with personal problems and came less often and I could do nothing but pray. I felt useless as I was losing my best guest. I think heís still around somehow but itís not going as smoothly as I dreamed.

My second guest was completely different. Betti was a 16-year-old schoolgirl. I met her one day on the street and a while later she came by herself to the centre. She was intellectual and grasped the content well. She then fell into a pattern by which she would come every week at the same time and hear a new lecture every time. So after a while it was hard to see how much she was getting out of it and whether or not she had just fallen into a comfortable, but nonetheless fruitless cycle. I made efforts to talk to her more in very broken English and we established a friendship. Things seemed to be going well until the end. She missed the last two weeks for various reasons and the pressure was mounting as there was only one final workshop left. She seemed to be held back when I had suggested workshops in the past, but she suddenly said yes. I was so excited as this would be my first guest at a workshop. At the last minute she called and said she would arrive late, meaning she would miss the beginning. So, still hoping, I waited anxiously at the workshop venue. Then she called again and said she had to cancel completely. The reasons were valid but I still felt bitterly disappointed. That was a hard way to end the WT, but seeing the developed guests at the goodbye party raised my spirits once more. We had made a significant impact.

Although we did many more things on ETF, I wonít mention them all here, as I want to focus on the overall picture. If you look at all the details together from a distance they blur together and form a picture in front of your eyes. The picture is not always easy to decipher and Iím sure it will take a lot longer before I understand everything I learnt on ETF.

The two main goals of ETF only became clear to me after Iíve finished. The first: to prepare for the Blessing. Of course ETF is great for character development. Living with so many different characters and learning to get on is a challenging but rewarding process. Hopefully weíre all more rounded as people now. I definitely had struggles that I had to overcome. And I grew close to the people I least expected. But now I have greater confidence and am able to relate with people much better. I am much better prepared now for when I have to face the Blessing myself. I am going next year.

And a life of public service. Before ETF, my knowledge of church activities was very limited. Now fundraising and witnessing are very close to heart. They may not be second nature yet but Iím confident to do both. Most importantly, I have understood the importance of keeping this Ďpublicí attitude everyday, no matter how menial your daily activities may seem. So, next year will see me doing some more witnessing and Iíll do my best to bring what I have learnt back to Britain. Who knows what the future will bring. A life of church work and mission, like that of my parents, is very important to me now. And I might end up doing that until Iíve past it, too. Iím grateful to God, True Parents and especially my parents for letting this happen. Iíll try my best to keep raising the standard.

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