The Words of the Goto Family

Dr. Chang Shik Yang Speaks In The Sunday Service At Northern Virginia Family Church

Hiroshi Goto
April 29, 2007

On Sunday April 29, 2007, our Continental Director, Dr. Chang Shik Yang, spoke to the Northern Virginia Family Church in Fairfax, Virginia. Dr. Yang recently returned from an almost three-week trip that took him to several countries in the Middle East, including Turkey, Israel and Palestine.

Following his return, the Continental Director immediately went to Virginia Tech, where he prayed for the victims of this unspeakable tragedy and for the perpetrator. [A student shot students and teachers, 32 of whom died. The shooter then killed himself.]

At Virginia Tech, Dr. Yang prayed and laid 33 bouquets of flowers, one for each victim of the tragedy including the shooter. He also signed the big Virginia Tech memorial quilt.

In Northern Virginia, Dr. Yang started his sermon by reading from the Old Testament, namely from Genesis 4:13 – 15 and Genesis 16: 6-10.

Genesis 4: 13 -15
13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the LORD said unto him, therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
Genesis 16: 6-10
6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.
7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

He spoke about the source of conflicts, which emanate in the human Fall and the fallen nature of human beings. Tragedies like this one, he explained, are reminders of the kind of world we live in. He dug into the Holy Scriptures to highlight God’s response to tragic moments, made up of forgiveness and love.

Some highlights of Dr. Yang’s message include:

The human Fall as the source of conflicts in human life and tragedies like the Virginia Tech shooting
Condemnation, sorrow and regret about the shooting
Compassion for victims, their families, the community and the whole nation
God’s response in the wake of such tragedies: forgiveness and love (God’s conversation with Cain after he murdered Abel, the Angel of God’s message to Hagar fleeing from Sarai)

Dr. Yang offered insights on how to resolve conflicts in human life:

Blessing as the way to sever our ties to Satan and engraft ourselves to the new tree of life
Following the original mind and conscience

Dr. Yang also shared about the Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) tour with family members. The last MEPI tour took him to several countries including Turkey, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.

Meeting with the former First Lady of Turkey

He insisted that political solutions alone are not workable in this region. The basis of peace here lies in the communion of the three Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While in the Holy Land, Dr. Yang, Hyun Jin Nim and tour participants met with many dignitaries including President Mahmoud Abbas and prominent Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders.

Meeting with Archbishop of Istanbul Catholic church

Dr. Yang finally updated family members on the upcoming world tour and read from the speech to be delivered at this occasion.

Testimony by Rev. Hiroshi Goto, pastor, Virginia Family Church

Dr. Yang visited the Virginia Tech campus and the memorial on campus to the massacre of 32 students on Saturday before our service. The massacre and tragedy on Monday, April 16 that was so much in the national media hit really hard in our community here in Northern Virginia. The killer, Cho’s, family lives in Northern Virginia, where there is the largest Korean population in the area. There were eight students among the 32 killed that were from our Northern Virginia community. Some of our second generation went to school with the victims in past years.

We have five BC students who are attending Virginia Tech from Northern Virginia Family Church community – a total of six BCs that are attending the school from Virginia. On the day of tragedy, I recalled that one of the parents could not reach his daughter, who was attending Virginia Tech as a freshman. Her dormitory was the first place where Cho killed two students. She has been living only one floor above where the killing of the first two students took place. We were praying for this family as well as all others in the campus. She later contacted her father. When he called me to tell me that she was safe, I felt that tons of burden were lifted. Truly our families were blessed and safe. But for eight other families in our area – and 33 altogether – the fear and pain had just begun. Interestingly, the family of Cho was under police protection, having to move every day to a different place because their lives were so threatened. And the Korean community, in general, was devastated thinking that one of their own could do this.

With this background, you could see we were so grateful that Dr. C. S. Yang, representing the True Parents’ heart and the American movement, visited the Virginia Tech campus to pray for those who died a few weeks ago. He shared his pain and determination that we should expand and reach out beyond our community so that we can influence the future direction of families in this strategically significant area, a center of influence to American leadership. As it is the tradition of True Parents, whose sense of responsibility is so strong that they feel they were totally responsible for such tragedy, we resolve to love our neighbors so that our prayer and love would prevent such tragedies as this. It was good day of prayer and recommitment for us toward our larger community.

In addition, Dr. Yang shared with the Northern Virginia Family Church his inspiration of visiting Turkey – meeting Korean War Veterans who fought to liberate Korea and True Father, the former first lady, and key religious leaders in the country. His PowerPoint presentation of the most recent Middle East Peace Initiative was very informative to all gathered there.

Report by Rev. Hiroshi Goto,
Pastor of Northern Virginia Family Church

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