Unification News for September 2004
Report on the Second International STF Assembly
New York, USA
"ÖSTF for me has been a great experience in every way. But one thing that touched me the most, or turned my life around was being on the front line. We hear about the front line but never get to truly experience it. Well, I did and it put me in my place! I really got to see through fundraising and witnessing how spiritual world really works, and how God and Satan are so real."
-Testimony from STF Europe Introduction
Thanks to Hyun Jin Nimís vision and leadership over the past 3 years, second generation education has leapt forward to a whole new level. Hyun Jin Nim has been very eager to expand STF throughout the world as quickly as possible. His dream is to raise up a new generation of leaders who can inherit Godís Providence and liberate the heart of our True Parents. The Second STF International Assembly, held this year in New York from July 31 to August 4th, was a tremendous success. Over 300 STF members, 18 to 20 years old, from the US, Europe, Japan, and Korea, were very excited to welcome their brothers and sisters from a new chapter just established this year in Latin America. STF members prepared for the Assembly through at least one year of hard work on the frontline witnessing and fundraising, where they are trained through their own experiences to become rooted in the culture of heart and living for the sake of others.
One of Hyun Jin Nimís dreams has been to also establish an education and leadership training program for middle and high school age second generation as a preparation for STF. Simultaneous with the Assembly this week, the historical Junior STF Kickoff workshop began at Camp Sunrise, NY. 200 middle and high school age second generation young teenagers gathered at Camp Sunrise for 2 weeks to participate in an experiential training course in Service for Peace projects, outdoor adventure challenge and 3 days of elementary fundraising training. 50 STF USA members were helping this workshop as staff.
One of the goals of this yearís STF Assembly was to generate momentum for these Junior STF members to inherit the spirit and culture of their elder STF brothers and sisters. The three other goals of the Assembly for STF members were to realize our true identity as a member of the extended true family
Experience the joy and excitement of living for the greater good
Impact the world by building a new level of international teamwork
All activities were planned to accomplish these goals. The theme was: Creating Momentum for Second Generation to Embody Core Values: Vertical tradition, Living for the Sake of Others, Ownership, Team Work, and Dream Big. The participants and staff experienced a tremendous support from Heavenly Father as the Assembly took on a dimension far beyond their expectations.
To set the internal tone for the Assembly, the first day began with a tour to the holy grounds of East Garden and Belvedere. The morning orientation included a brief talk on Godís Providence and the course True Parentsí and True Family have walked in order to advance Godís providence here in America. 95% of the STF members had never been to East Garden. They gathered in the main meeting room to meet with our elder sister, Sang Moo Borneman. She enthusiastically answered the questions of second generation about the lives of the True Parents and True Family. They were deeply moved as they walked through True Parentsí historical dining room and Fatherís holy ground and prayer rock outside on the grounds. Mrs. Borneman shared the story of how Father prayed at this holy ground especially before he went to Danbury, often in the rain, refusing the protection of an umbrella, every morning before 5am. The True Children had also prayed there while Father was away. STF members had a tearful unison prayer at Fatherís rock at Belvedere they visited the historical garage where Father spoke so many times and prayed together again at the Holy Rock.
One second generation European sister gave a testimony expressing that she had never met True Parents before. She shared that her impressions of True Family had simply come from photos in Todayís World magazine, with beautiful smiles and clothes, and her understanding had been very superficial. She had never realized the real situation of True Family. Because of her training on the frontline through STF, coming to this place had a tremendous impact on her heart. She listened to the tearful testimony of our elder Korean sister. Every time Mrs. Borneman said Jeung Jin Nimís name, tears came to her eyes. This moved the STF member so deeply and True Family became more real to her.
Other brothers and sisters testified that they could connect in prayer on this holy ground with the heart of True Parents and True Family and come to a new realization of the depth of True Familyís course. They also could re-determine to vindicate True Parents and inherit Godís providence. When they heard that the home of the True Family was to become a museum soon, they asked, "Will True Parents ever come back here again?" little realizing that True Parents would unexpectedly arrive 3 days later from Alaska!
On the second day they attended Sunday Service at Salem United Methodist Church in Harlem NY. This visit to the church where True Mother spoke a few years ago was to give participants an opportunity to connect to the heart of True Parents who have been working so hard to restore Christianity. After the service, STF members worked on three Service for Peace projects. There they could practice international team work, rising above and beyond differences, and setting the example of melting down racial and national barriers by working side by side in the streets of Harlem. Many people passing by were impressed with these bright young people serving with such joy and enthusiasm, wearing their STF T-shirts, and representing the culture of heart to the community.
On August 2nd the Junior STF came to the New Yorker to join in with their elder STF brothers and sisters, who had been waiting with great anticipation and preparing to welcome them with genuine care and love. For the next two days they prepared together for the high point of the Assembly: to meet with Hyun Jin Nim. In preparation for Hyun Jin Nimís speech, members shared impressive video reports on the activities of STF in their countries, and their testimonies of meeting God and the heart of True Parents and True Family on the front line. Many testimonies reflected their tearful experiences of Godís love and a deep heartistic connection with Hyun Jin Nim. As they sang holy songs in 4 different languages, the whole room rocked with energy and excitement, with STF members jumping up and down and calling out to their brothers and sisters of Korea, Japan, US, Europe and Latin America. When Hyun Jin Nim arrived to greet a room full of enthusiastic STF members, all dressed in their black STF T-shirts, one by one each group presented a specially prepared greeting to Hyun Jin Nim. Hyun Jin Nimís Speech was the high point of the entire Assembly. Over 1000 members came for this precious opportunity. The room was completely packed with standing room only. Not only STF and Jr. STF members, but also the local Family Federation members, STF parents and younger Second Generation were able to connect to the heart of Hyun Jin Nim, and his filial heart to liberate the heart of God and True Parents. Without using a translator he spoke for over three hours. Even Hyun Jin Nim was surprised when he looked at his watch at 6 pm. The audience was completely united in spirit with an eager attitude to hear his words. One could hear a pin drop as he held their complete attention. Hyun Jin Nim shared deeply and candidly about his personal life, his trials, and his insight into what makes a true leader. He emphasized that becoming a leader starts with living for the sake of others. The course of leadership is not about position, and it is not easy. The burden of leadership is a heavy and lonely one. He said that the second generation must "earn their stripes" in order to qualify as true leaders, through experiential learning on the front line. He challenged them asking why they came to STF. One said, "Because I have to accomplish Godís will." He asked, "Why do you think I do this? Unlike many Unification church members I donít do this because I have to or because I believe that True Father is the messiah, the Lord of the Second Advent, but because I love my parents. If this is the mission God has given to them, I want to support my parents out of love. When we do our mission out of love, suffering is no longer suffering. I invest not because I have to but because I want to, as a filial son.
"Many STF members testified how they feel Hyun Jin Nim looks deeply into their hearts and spirits. They feel so much love, appreciation and value from him. They were deeply grateful for all his investment and love as an eternal treasure for all of us.
On the last day of the Assembly, STF members had the unexpected Blessing of being invited to East Garden again, this time for Hoon Dok Hae with True Parents! About half of them had never seen True Parents in person before. Their high spirit lifted up the atmosphere of the whole room. As True Father spoke, he had such an intimate give and take with these enthusiastic young people. Every one of them was transformed by the unforgettable experience. "This is an experience I can never forget Ė for all my life and for all of eternity!"
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