The Words of the Wyser Family
Participants from all over Europe in Camberg, West-Germany
The first 40-Day workshop for church members in Europe was held from October 10 to November 18, 1983. This workshop was the fulfillment of Reverend Young Whi Kim's desire ever since he came to Europe as the representative of our True Parents.
The arrival of brothers and sisters at the Camberg training center was exciting, especially for those who have fond memories of when True Parents and some of their children were here. The 77 members came from five continents and 24 nations, and all presently work in various missions throughout Europe. They ranged from 18-50 years of age and from 1-17 years of membership in the Unification Church. All shared belief in God and True Parents as well as strong desire to fulfill their expectations for Europe. There were some language difficulties, as not all spoke Shakespeare's tongue perfectly. Yet we managed to form a harmonious group, -and the resulting spiritual atmosphere was exceptionally high.
Our daily schedule started at about 6 a.m. with an exercise session. Following morning service Mrs. Kim taught Korean language classes. It was a special privilege to have her patiently spending time to teach us proper pronunciation. Breakfast was followed by a four hour lecture period. After lunch we had different activities including sports, cleaning, choir practice, folk dancing and walks in the beautiful and colorful environment surrounding the training center.
The highlight of the afternoons was the meditation period. This gave us a chance to reflect on our past, present and future and to spend quiet time alone, focusing our attention on Heavenly Father. Many wished to continue daily meditation after returning to their respective missions. In the late afternoon we had another two-and-a-half hour lecture session and in the evening different programs were scheduled such as group meetings, lectures, prayer vigils, testimonies or films.
Throughout the 40 days, Heavenly Father gave us a special blessing! At the time of the year in Germany when the clouds usually hang dark and low, and all is drab, dripping wet, and depressing, we enjoyed beautiful, sunny blue skies and a most rich variety of autumn colors. From the Holy Ground, we could witness Heavenly Father's unique artistic touch to the sunrises and sunsets -- beauty rarely seen in the cities.
The program included inspiring lectures on Unification Church History, V.O.C., CAUSA World View, Unification Theology, the economy, the formula course and various developments of our True Parents' vision, such as the World Media Conference, CARP, New ERA, Saeilo, the International Highway Project and Public Relations. Through these topics we could realize how the message of our True Parents is reaching all spheres of influence in the world.
In nine morning periods Mr. Abe went through the whole Principle in a powerful and attractive way. Then we had one week teaching practice, a good, opportunity to check our understanding and to overcome our fear of speaking in front of an audience.
Reverend Kim gave detailed lectures on the first and second chapters in nine morning periods. Following these in- depth lectures, Reverend Kim spent an entire morning answering questions from brothers and sisters. His willingness to do this was most appreciated!
Ulrich Tuente, the assistant national leader who directed the workshop, spoke on Unification Thought for nine afternoon periods. Following intense study, we were tested three times on Divine Principle and once on Unification Thought.
Rev. Kim handing out Holy Candles congratulating each participant
We also had the tremendous opportunity to hear some testimonies from elder brothers and sisters. The most precious of these was Mrs. Kim's. She spoke for about eight hours, sharing her experiences with True Parents. She added valuable internal guidance and explanations about the tradition laid in the early years in Korea.
Mrs. Abe spoke about what she and the early Japanese family had gone through. We were deeply moved as we realized the price our True Parents and elder brothers and sisters around the world have paid. We should never forget that we are standing on the foundation of their sacrifices and suffering.
Reverend and Mrs. Kim, Mrs. Abe and other elder members were on hand to assist any brother or sister who felt a need to confide in someone whom they could trust. The wisdom, experience and parental heart of such elder members served as a pillar to the workshop.
The lecturers invested themselves completely to share their heart and knowledge with us. We were particularly moved by the parental love of Reverend and Mrs. Kim and their deep concern for the European Family. They invited some of us to share a meal with them so we could get to know them more personally.
Ulrich Tuente and his wife gave all their time and energy to take care of us and to make sure that everything went smoothly. Klaus Eppmeier had the challenge of coordinating our training. With this wry positive character he fulfilled his mission successfully, in spite of all the obstacles.
The members of the staff also invested their hearts to make us feel as comfortable as possible, so that we could fully concentrate on understanding God's heart through the teaching as well as through our brothers and sisters.
Since there were so many participants in the workshop, seven teams of 11 members each were formed. These teams met for discussions, testimonies, cleaning activities, etc. The primary purpose of these international teams was to create small family units in which each member would have more of an opportunity to share his or her unique personality.
More than halfway through the workshop many brothers and sisters had the feeling of having reached their saturation point, and we were grateful for the opportunity to go to different cities to witness. For many of the brothers and sisters it was their first time ever to work in Germany. The teams visited Duesseldorf, Munich, Essen, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe and even Berlin. The team visiting Berlin saw firsthand the despair imprisoned behind the Berlin Wall. Upon visiting East Berlin they could get a taste of what communist "freedom" is really like.
Brothers and sisters wrote daily reflections to record the valuable experiences and realizations acquired during the 40 days. At the end of the workshop, each wrote a general reflection. These reflections will be of historical and practical value, as opinions and suggestions will be considered in planning future workshops.
On eve of the 40th day, we gathered around a campfire to offer a public pledge to God. It is not so easy to open one's heart in the presence of nearly eighty people, but we all managed to overcome our hesitations and our pledges were very sincere. We shed many tears together that night.
On the last day we had a delicious Korean banquet with Reverend Kim and all of the workshop staff. The Go-World Brass Band came to open the program. Ulrich Thente gave a congratulatory address to the graduates of the 40-day workshop. Reverend Kim delivered his closing address during which he emphasized the necessity of repentance and gratitude if we were to keep the rebirth experience of the 40 days. Each participant was called on stage to receive his/her "Certificate of Merit" and "Shim Jung Candle" personally from Reverend Kim.
A very rich entertainment evening followed with various groups of singers, folk dancers and a long and humorous play re-enacting unforgettable moments of the workshop. Gifts were presented to each member of the workshop staff, including a high quality overhead projector for lecture use.
Having built strong ties of belonging to one united European Family, parting was not easy. The united spirit of the workshop will last, as we all want to keep the true relationships we built. We feel connected as sons and daughters of God. On that foundation we feel much stronger to start new lives, to dedicate all our hearts and energy for the restoration of Europe.