The Words of the Selle Family
Left to right: Mr. Do Wan Kim, Mrs. Mal Sook Lee, Alice Boutte, Linda Perry, Pauline Verheyen, Nora Spurgin, Rev. Jin Hee Ibo, Dr. Mose Durst, Rev. Yong Suk Choi.
Two and a half weeks have passed since Father had called all sisters to a special meeting at Belvedere. The day of the departure is scheduled for April 1, 1983. One day before, 250 sisters from different states of America as well as from Europe assemble in the Grand Ballroom of the World Mission Center in order to receive their final instructions.
It is five minutes before 10:00 a.m. when I enter the room to attend the meeting and to absorb the atmosphere. At 10:00 sharp we berm with holy songs, led by a brother: "When I behold the
Lord...." I also behold the faces of my sisters around me, wondering what might be on their hearts and minds. Certainly everyone has been going through many different feelings and thoughts in order to wholeheartedly unite with Father and his request to leave husbands, children and missions behind and go out into the field for three years.
Some sisters have closed their eyes while singing, concentrating on the words of the song; others are looking around to find out who else "belongs to the club," moving their lips slightly along with the words; others' faces are directed straight ahead -- I can see their determination, their clear and happy- looking eyes. Another group of sisters just remains silent.
Slowly but surely some kind of atmosphere begins to develop as we sing along. "... I will take the living message..." -- "I'll bind my heart, my life to yours that it may be an offering." Yes, everyone is ready to go. I feel so proud of my sisters! They leave everything behind. Some are obviously pregnant, some had just started their family life, some still have conditions to fulfill.
On January 16 and 17, Father had called all the Japanese members working in America to New York to meet with him. Nearly 500 brothers and sisters came to the meeting. Many were sent out, five per state, to work under the guidance of the Korean regional leader. Their children are being taken care of in special nurseries around the country, organized by Mr. Kamiyama and directed by Mrs. Lee from Jacob House. The Japanese members set the foundation for all others to follow.
Considering that some blessed sisters had participated in the CARP witnessing condition from 1980-82, other members had been fundraising for seven years or more, still others had been on the IOWC teams during the peak years of 1973-75 -- one could imagine questions such as "Why again?" or "Why me?" coming up. In a meeting earlier in March, Rev. Kwak said, "Our members have to recognize that we are a heavenly army working for the restoration of the world. Our basic attitude should not be to make excuses or argue about setting conditions."
Rev. Kwak reminded the members that according to Heavenly Father's standard, we have not made enough conditions to merit our Blessing, and that we are not living in a blessed environment. "Therefore, we have to restore the blessed country and blessed world, through laying indemnity conditions as blessed couples. In this sense, our separation is the most precious condition, because it is love- indemnity, separation from husband and children."
Before 1981, all conditions laid by members belong to True Parents' 21-year victory foundation, Rev. Kwak continued. From 1981 on is the children's course. "This is our era, and all our conditions and efforts can be for our own benefit. Our position at the beginning of the children's course is similar to that of True Parents in 1960. After True Parents' Blessing, for three years Mother did not live in the church with Father. Father's family laid many kinds of indemnity conditions."
"Separation can be a re-creation process," Rev. Kwak concluded. "The formula course includes three and a half years working to restore all things and three and a half years to re-create man. After receiving the Blessing, we need to restore heartle; this is the reason for the three and a half year separation period."
After a strong prayer by one of the new IOWC leaders, Mr. Nishi, the opening speech is given by Dr. Durst: "Externally the United States is like the kingdom of heaven. Every external pleasure is available to us, and every internal and external horror is confronting us if we open our eyes.... I believe that you are the hope of the world; by going out you are giving America hope. That simple action of going out and seeking the benefit of others is as royal as the deeds of the saints and sages of the past." He finishes his introduction by encouraging all sisters to be good examples.
Then Rev. Yong Suk Choi, the leader of all IOWC activities, elaborates on the meaning of these three years of mobilization for the sake of America, giving examples from his own witnessing experiences. At the end he gives everyone a slogan to remember: "Think of yourselves as a locomotive -- not the driver but the engine." How to make witnessing really exciting? Rev. Choi: "During your prayer, think that you received this revelation directly from God; in that way you can teach easily. Feel excited and feel the desire to teach this to the world. Then it comes into your heart and you'll never forget the Divine Principle."
The sisters in this meeting are formed into new IOWC teams, with new leaders. Nora Spurgin is leading a team in the northeast states, including New York and Pennsylvania; Alice Boutte's team is starting in Washington, D.C. Linda Perry's team travels to the mid-west, beginning witnessing in Minnesota. Pauline Verheyen and her members go first to Chicago, working also in the mid- west. Some sisters from the west coast join Mr. Kiyoshi Nishi in Seattle, witnessing in the northwest states.
Other IOWC teams has already been in action: Phillip and Izilda Withers head a team in New England, Doris Orme in the south, Kazuyoshi Ikeno in the central states, Dan Fefferman in Texas and the southwest, and Reiner and Barbara Vincenz on the west coast.
After Rev. Choi's speech a hamburger lunch is served; it's also time for digesting the physical and spiritual food and talking with each other. A sister and I go to the Deli-Sun next door to chat a little. Across the table we watch a couple deep in conversation: the wife all excited and determined, the husband rather reluctant and a little sad. It's easy to figure that the husbands also play an important part in this mobilization by accepting Father's request for the wives to be in the field and by supporting them.
Later on in the afternoon we listen to Mrs. Lee from Jacob' House. Father had asked her to share with the sisters some of her experiences. In her speech she brings up very practical and vital points about how the time on the IOWC would form the sisters' personalities, helping them become well- rounded and loving people. She gives concrete advice about how a sister should behave according to the heavenly standard and what kind of life a sister should lead, since she will be the one to definitely exert the greatest influence on her family and children.
Around 6:00 p.m. a final prayer concludes the general meeting. Everybody gathers around her new team leader, a woman commander, in order to plan the final steps before the departure for her area.
I cannot help but think back to the time in 1973 and 1974, an era of similar IOWC activities. At that time most of us were in our early twenties and all excited about going out and preaching God's word. Much has happened in the meantime, and certainly everyone has matured; our members grew older physically; some are married and have their own children; others founded businesses, led teams, and had many different kinds of experiences. The spirit is naturally different from that of ten years ago.
I choose Mrs. Spurgin's crew to sit among and listen a bit. She immediately expresses her heartfelt joy and hope about Father's decision to send the sisters out: "It certainly will revitalize our movement. I want to help all of you to be able to function at your optimum. Please let me know what you would especially like to do on our team, what your creative abilities are, etc."
It makes me feel very good to hear that! I could imagine that all the witnessing will be done in a more substantial way and that Americans will respond to that. Hopefully!
Following Father's desire that everybody take part in the IOWC activities, a local meeting was held for New York area members who were not yet mobilized on April 11, 1983. In order to raise the atmosphere and stimulate everybody present, Mrs. Nora Spurgin, the mobile team commander for the New York region, and two sisters from her team gave testimony about their first front-line experiences after having been ten days in the field.
"There is truly a new kind of spirit among us!" Nora began. "Nobody came here easily, but almost everybody came with a feeling of being liberated. In the street we tell people exactly what we are doing, that we left our husbands and children behind in order to go out for three years and work for a better world in which our children will live in the future. Actually, most of us are 'old ladies,' in a way, but this is our offering. On that foundation, we demand success from spirit world, and I know that there will be many miracles happening soon."
The two sisters who accompanied her expressed the excitement the team members shared. "Some of us came to the IOWC even though our central figure told us not to come."
More testimonies from "non-members" of the heavenly women's army corps were heard. One brother whose Japanese wife had already left a month earlier for the Japanese mobilization happily declared that he could really unite with the witnessing effort at this time, even though he had had to overcome many obstacles. The fact that he had not brought many spiritual children during his ten years in the family made him feel very bad. "Of course, the more you don't succeed," he explained, "the more Satan accuses you and makes you feel you are no good and that you will never find anybody. Satan has many tons of dirt to throw at us, but eventually he has to run out of ammunition. This time I decided I am not going to let him succeed. Anyway, since my wife left, there is no place to go home, so I can go out and meet many good people. I think that if I can do that, you can too."
The main speaker of the evening was Rev. Yong Suk Choi. He reiterated the key points about the mobilization as well as the significance of the coming three years. He summarized the story of how Father established the worldwide foundation for the Unification Church starting in the 1940's in Korea, which was the center of God's providence through the 1950's. From 1960 to 1970, the focus of the providence shifted to Japan, and then to America beginning in 1971. During these years Father has especially concentrated on these nations, and also Germany, as the center of Europe. From these countries he sent out missionaries to 120 nations in 1975. Originally, Koreans should also have been included in the missionary effort, but visa problems have been a hindrance.
Linking this condition to historical roots in Korea, Rev. Choi referred to our church's first evangelical crusade in 1957. Father sent out members, ranging from 12 to 60 years old, to teach Principle in villages and towns throughout Korea. Why were such young members sent out? Jesus began teaching in the Temple at the age of 12, Father had said, so people as young as even 10 years old could witness! "You are going in teams of 50 people," Rev. Choi reminded the members, "but in those days people went out only in pairs."
Father told the members going out to evangelize to give Principle lectures even if no guests came; if no physical people showed up, at least their ancestors and many spirit men would come to listen and would grow through hearing Principle.
In those days spirit world inspired many people to join our movement, and many spiritual phenomena occurred. For example, one day when Father was speaking, a member named Mr. Ahn was pulled by spirits and slid across the room, landing directly in front of Father's feet. Rev. Choi said he witnessed this amazing event.
Again Rev. Choi emphasized the importance of Americans uniting with Father. "Suppose a couple has been married for just two days, and war breaks out," he said, "wouldn't every nation immediately call even such people to protect their country? How much more should we respond when God is calling us!"
There are several different aspects as to why we should follow the call:
1. Historical factors (indemnifying the history of the Israelites' wandering in the wilderness).
2. The world emergency situation, which demands quick action,
3. The necessity of not having enemies as we enter the land of Canaan (unity among the team members of different backgrounds is important),
4. And last but not least, the educational value for ourselves: We have to pass the last stage of judgment of heart. Jesus referred to this in the Bible when he said that if people loved their father, mother, family, etc., more than him they were not worthy of him. Likewise our True Parents will ask us that question and test us. If we are able to answer this question with "Yes," then Satan will say: "I have nothing to do with you."
"If we really sacrifice for the next three years, heaven will sympathize with us and miracles will happen," Rev. Choi concluded. "Even in the last minute we can win! And please remember that Father said we should shed tears at least once a day."
A few miles further south, in Washington, D.C., about 70 women from the Washington church met on March 27 to discuss the implications of Father's recent IOWC mobilization. Some of them had previously participated in the 21-month mobilization of blessed wives for CARP which began in 1980, and reflected upon their experiences. The following report quotes from "Unification Communication".
"Fulfilling the CARP condition was a major victory for me," reported Lisa Take; "because of that, I feel 1 can go anywhere, as long as it promises my children a brighter future. As I look at my children now, I know that I did the right thing then by putting my faith in Father."
Alice Boutte, leader of the regional IOWC, commented on the value of women working together in a team: "Before the blessed wives went out in 1980, even though they might have lived very close to teach other in the New Yorker, they didn't really get to know each other. Afterwards, it was like they had gone through fire together. You should feel as if each other's children are your nieces and nephews, but you don't feel that heart unless you've gone through something together:"
A former foreign missionary, Betsy Hunter, told the sisters: "For over ten years Father has been emphasizing the importance of witnessing. As far as I can see it, Father's whole point in mobilizing witnessing efforts has been to introduce us to the heart of God. Witnessing is, in Father's eyes, the most vital activity in helping us cultivate a relationship with God, so that we can nourish within ourselves God's way of loving, God's way of feeling, God's way of thinking, and even God's way of suffering. Ultimately, our ability to restore ourselves, our families, etc., in order to exert God's influence in the world depends on how close we come to understanding and knowing God's heart.
"It is possible that Father is saying that for over ten years we've missed the point. Isn't he saying that he's giving us another opportunity to revitalize our relationship with God; that true results and success can be realized if we bear one thing in mind: consider God first?"
Pam Stein, former missionary and director of field operations under Rev. Kwak, challenged the sisters: "Father is calling a women's army corps because of the confrontation with Satan at this time. Women, especially American women, have historical merit that cat, substantially liberate the providence. Our responsibility is to hear the word of Adam, to support and follow Adam, and we are really capable of doing that. That's the key to women's liberation. The whole 65 years of women's liberation has never had an Adam figure. But Unification Church women have Adam, so we have to take his word and just do it, and God will work through us.
"I don't see any reason why the goals can't be realized. For the women who are joining this IOWC call, the key is their obedience to Father. This is the tradition we are inheriting from True Mother. There have never been women in history who have obeyed God's word -- at least very few. Mother is a model for us, of course, but not all of us have her personality. It's her relationship with Father that is our model. This is the thing that women have to understand: their relationship to Father. It's everything. Even though I am eight months pregnant and can't go out at this time, I really want to work in D.C. among the women who will be here."
Speaking in favor of a "reserve women's army corps," Paula Grey from the Washington Times concluded, "It is important that, at the end of the three years, we do not have to look at the sisters that went out and feel regret that we did not help."