Unification News for August 2001
In Memoriam Tom Iversen - Creating a Life Worth Remembering
In memory of my beloved husband, Tom Iversen who passed to the spirit world March 3, 2001.
On July 1, 1982, I was lucky enough to be blessed to my precious husband and best friend, Tom Iversen in Madison Square Garden. From the moment I was matched by Father in 1980, I felt we had an instant spiritual connection as if we were made for each other. Though we went through many difficulties, suffering and challenges during our 22 year relationship, through prayer and trying to do God's will together, God brought us so close that we became truly one in heart and soul before he died. We were truly a "blessed couple" in every sense of the word.
Anyone who knew or met Tom loved him. He was on MFT for over 8 years where he trained hundreds of brothers and sisters in fundraising and learning how to work together for God's will. He was imprisoned seven times for innocently fundraising for his faith, beat up, spit at and even thrown once through a plate glass window where he was almost killed but he would never give up. When we would travel cross-country he would tell us stories that were so exciting and dangerous, we couldn't believe they actually happened to him.
When he died I received over 250 e-mails and letters from people around the world whose life he had touched with his kind heart and hundreds of cards and donations from people I had never met and known. I never knew how many lives my husband touched before he touched ours. But when he passed, all the love he had given to others was returned to us a thousand fold.
After MFT, God sent Tom to the Minneapolis region to do witnessing and become a city leader and then on to North Dakota where he became a state leader. It was in the small and chilly town of Fargo with only a couple of members where we started our family. We were then transferred to South Dakota as State leaders where Tom and I took care of a small center full of very precious and wonderful members and where our precious only son David was born in 1987.
From the moment of conception Tom fell in love with his son and showed me through the depth of that relationship how God exists in the family. It was though seeing his devotion to his child that I learned how to become a mother. Their incredible love for each other reminded me of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible. I have never seen a Father more devoted in spite of traveling the world, doing his mission and taking care of members. Tom always made both me and my son feel as if his family was the most special and precious gift on earth.
In 1987 God choose Tom for the ACC mission. Though we were just humble members, through that incredible mission God raised Tom up to become a True Leader in our state of South Dakota. He worked to educate thousands of school children about the meaning of the Constitution, Faith and Freedom. He raised funds himself and established a beautiful monument dedicated to the Constitution in front of the State Capitol in Pierre, where True Parent's pictures are sealed forever inside to watch over the leaders of that state.
During that Cold War period he lectured statewide about the reality of Communism, and brought hundreds of leaders to the American Leadership Conferences to learn Headwing ideology, True Family Values and how to work together to create world peace and ideal families.
He orchestrated over 50 United to Serve America projects in one year alone to recognize the unsung hero's of the state and we worked together to end racism on the impoverished Indian Reservations of South Dakota. Tom single-handedly lobbied every legislator in our state to establish the "Martin Luther King" Holiday in South Dakota until they finally relented and passed the bill recognizing the goodness of this misunderstood hero of our time.
We were so persecuted by the media, Christians, and liberals for our faith for over 10 years in our state, that even the Governor who we went to visit before we left asked us "why we stayed in South Dakota after the way people treated us?" We told him that, "love bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things and never ends and it was because of Rev. Moon's example that we could endure." He embraced us both with tears before we left the state and wrote a beautiful commemorative letter about my husband when he died. The entire legislature of South Dakota signed a proclamation in his honor of Tom's work which moved our hearts to tears.
In reality, my husband was an incredible fighter, with tremendous perseverance and would not give up trying to vindicate our True Parents which was his lifelong desire.
In 1992 he volunteered to go to Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Hungary where he helped lead workshops for Teachers and students in True Family Values. He loved it so much, he went again for a second 40 days. I heard a beautiful testimony that when he left his team in Russia; they all lined up at the bus and openly wept for him. Truly he had an unforgettable parental heart.
In 1993 we then moved to our hometown of Palm Coast in Northern Florida where we continued the ACC mission, worked with the Washington Times and he became a sales manager for United Vision and traveled throughout the United States.
In 1995 he was diagnosed with Cancer of the throat and underwent horrible treatments of radiation and surgery, which he endured and eventually recovered from.
In 1997 we traveled back to South Dakota where Tom blessed thousands of Native Americans (his dream) and bikers at the Stugis Bike Rally with the special "pure love blessing".
Tom had a tremendous will to live and went to Chung Pyung for 40 days in the freezing winter and climbed to the top of the mountain every day to try and liberate the evil ancestors causing his cancer. But he was re-diagnosed again this time with cancer of the colon and had an operation to remove it.
Even still weak from his cancer, in 1999 Tom led our family to Jardim for 40 days where he and his son proceeded to build the first baseball field in Jardim called, " the Field of Dreams" directly in front of True Parent's home. We had members from all over the world help and had an incredible "opening day" celebration and game. To Tom, loving and playing baseball was as close as you could get to going to heaven on earth.
In September of 2000 though he was still not well, Tom encouraged me to go to Chung Pyung for the special Registration and he came and participated too and had a special session with Daemonim.
In Jan. of 2001 the Cancer began to spread to his abdomen and he became terminal and bedridden and by March 3rd he passed to the spirit world. He died in my arms the exact moment our True Father entered the stage to speak in Florida on his Nationwide tour. His 14-year-old son David was in the audience in Miami listening to True Father speak as Tom went to the spirit world.
We had a long time to prepare the Sueng Hwa Ceremony and took all the pictures of his Tom's life and made a video history for everyone to see. We dedicated the video to True Parents and were able to testify about our True Parents to many outside people and family members.
Everyone where I worked loved Tom so much that my boss closed our real estate office for entire day so that all the associates could come and serve our family during the Sueng Hwa. Luckily, we were able to coordinate everything with Tom before he went to the spiritual world. We sat around and discussed the funeral while he made jokes and tried to cheer us up. It was unforgettable.
Members from all over the world came, called and visited before Tom died and each was touched by his love, goodness and uncomplaining heart especially the hospice nurses and volunteers who came into our home. The minister from hospice was so moved by Tom she ordered a copy of the Divine Principal and read the entire book to understand about our faith.
Tom was my precious gift from God who gave True Love to all until the very end of his life. He was truly a man of faith who lived for the sake of others. Even my father wept when his beloved son-in-law died. He thanked Tom for being such a good husband and father to his grandson and a loving son-in-law. Tom's humble and sincere heart will never be forgotten on earth or in heaven or in the hearts of those he loved.
To those who prayed, sent donations and helped us during this difficult time, we will never be able to repay your kindness and to every one who helped with the Sueng Hwa we are eternally grateful. It was our precious brothers and sisters kindness and prayers that gave us the strength to keep going during that time.
I have learned that it is only through our own suffering that we can ever come to understand the suffering heart of God and True Parents. My husband taught me that no matter what, we have to keep going forward and give the love that our True Parent's have unconditionally bestowed upon us in our lives.
I also realized that each of us could die at any moment, so we must love our husband, wife, children and humanity as if it were the last day of our lives. Tom appeared in a dream to one of his dear friends and said, "it is only what is on the inside that counts." That is truly our eternal treasure and all that we will take with us to Heaven.
These final words dedicated to Tom were written on the program at the Sueng Hwa: "All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadows shall spring: Renewed shall be the blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king." J.R.R. Tolkien
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