Dear brothers and sisters,
Hope you are well. Here is my report for the last week or so:
Japanese Meeting in LG: We met with many of our Japanese brothers and sisters who had asked us to join them and share about ourselves and give them part of our personal life testimony. We also heard some reports of activities they are doing, and how they are also trying to meet up and support in our local communities. I always feel there is a lot for us to learn from Japan here in the UK. For example in Japanese Primary schools, they do not have cleaners or dinner ladies.
The children do the cleaning, and the food arrives pre prepared and the children do all the serving and cleaning up. Such a simple idea, but so practical and clever on so many levels. If you just look at it from the perspective of teaching a sense of responsibility and ownership for ones environment….
Sunday fellowship with East London Region: We got very lost on the way, I had got directions on gmap and put my laptop on standby. When I opened it in the car to give Chieko directions the computer had shut down and closed all the programs, and with no map in the car I got a bit frustrated. We arrived late, which is always difficult for my German side which likes good time keeping. Also, the contradiction of being on my way to give the message and being physically lost in East London was challenging my patience. However, when we arrived and joined our brothers and sisters in the hall that they rent, I felt all my negative emotions just washing off me. It was a very simple and humble place, but the spirit from the Blessed families was very present, and I felt like I had stepped into a different world. Francis Fobbie was MC and brought a lot of energy and vigour into the room, and Marva sang a beautiful song for everyone. It is always very moving for me to be in one of our smaller community fellowships, where families are living on the front line of God’s Providence, doing their best to expand the realm of Cheon Il Guk and the tradition and culture of our True Parents.
We brought our 3rd son, Mark, with us. He behaved very well. At one point they gave us a beautiful pot of flowers and a wrapped present with chocolates inside. For the rest of our time there, Mark was very concerned about these two items, always checking where they were, or holding them, somehow, under his arms. And checking with me to make sure we didn’t forget them.
Hyo Jin Nim passed on to the spirit world. To be honest, despite feeling sad, it took me some time during the day for me to really grasp the full sense of what had happened. I went off to Livingstone house where I was involved in a business planning meeting, and it was not until later in the day I really started to consider more deeply what had happened.
UPF strategy meeting together with David Hanna, Tim, Read, Tim Miller, Robin Marsh and Juan Pique. We were concentrating on creating a membership system for the UPF, and also developing the way we volunteer in our movement, and looking at how to also connect this to the UPF membership concept. Later I emailed a summary of our meeting to the regional leaders in order to keep them more informed of all the things we are doing in HQs.
Hyo Jin Nim’s Seung Hwa Ceremony: I attended the prayer meeting in Lancaster Gate. There were many elder and younger brothers and sisters present. Trevor Jones led the proceedings with dignity. We sang together, and then had a representative prayer, and then unison prayer. We watched a part of his last public talk in East Garden where he spoke about commitment, we listened to one of the first songs he wrote and performed: Rebirth. We received two heartfelt testimonies form Ashley Crosthwaite and Ajay Rai about their personal experience with Hyo Jin NIm. And then we prayed again all together.
It was an evening I will always remember. As we considered Hyo Jin Nim’s life and his incredible loyalty towards his parents, and the depth with which he wrestled with the meaning of his own life, I started to really reflect. It put into perspective so many of my personal concerns, and helped me to evaluate what is good about my life, and what is still superficial, and how much I am really able to go beyond considering just my own needs.
Hyo Jin Nim started his last sermon by asking, “Is everybody here committed to something? When you think about commitment, what does it mean to you? Why do you want to commit to something?” and his answer was, “Because it defines you. Any kind of commitment that you make will define you, and you’ll be judged. That’s why you commit to something. Because you know that life is about learning something and it is short. Very short.”
I felt my ability to appreciate the significance of Hyo Jin Nim’s passing is really a reflection of my own personal relationship with True Parents and True Family, and thus also my relationship with God. We are now living in the era after the coming of heaven, which is essentially defined by being very much a part of the extended True family. That is where my commitment needs to be more fully placed and expressed, and that is where I see the whole process of engrafting on to God’s lineage needs to still take place for all of us as members of a Blessed central family.
This is what Father wrote about Hyo Jin Nim:
“He will open and liberate the deepest heaven and turn it into a flower garden as the lord who opens the gates of loyalty and filial piety.”
Planning with leader of Filipina Nursing Association. We met in the morning with Irene Nikien, who introduced me to him, and Margaret Ali. He is incredibly active in the UK organising festivals with 120,000 people capacity, representing the interests of his community, and generally doing a lot of good work. He actually new our Movement from when he was in the Philippines, where he was part of a Won Hwa Do club, and went to CARP projects. He has been here for a few years and had not realised there was a Unification Movement in the UK. He asked me how long we have been present in the UK, and a few other questions, which really made me think how much more we can now try to be much, much, more open about what we are doing, and publicise more.
We decided to organise a few programs together to support the Global Peace Festival project, in partnership with his organisation, and we will start at the Philippine Embassy.
In the afternoon I met with Juan Pique and a young man from Burma who has been supporting our UPF work in his home country, and is over here on a Foreign Office study program.
Worked on some emails, and various other things in LG, and joined the UPF Community Cohesion committee meeting.
Worked in LG
Met with General Affairs and Secretariat team: David Franklin, Maniyer Olson, David Freeland. Discussed various matters such as email and communication policies, HTN, how best to support the HQs departments, etc.
Met with Tim Miller in Lancaster Gate also with Chieko. And then joined part of the Faithlink Committee meeting with Rita Zaccarelli and the others to discuss future projects.
Went swimming in the morning with the family, and in the afternoon met with David Hanna and three of our regional pastors/leaders (Jeff Bateman, Mr Hayashi, and Marshal De Souza) to review the changes that were made a year ago in North London and to see what other developments would be helpful. It was very productive.
Drove down to Livingstone House with Mitty Tohma for morning meeting with President and Mrs Song and others. They had just returned from Korea and we could receive a very good report from them. We also discussed lots of different topics like the soon to be held International Leaders Conference in Korea, and they gave a lot of helpful guidance and input for our work.
Tim Miller took very good notes and we will pass this onto the regional leaders to also share with you.
In the late afternoon we visited the Rai family and saw the new baby boy. Lenny and Mark were very keen to hold the baby. Please see the picture attached. It’s so good to visit each other, as Blessed central families. Each family can really learn something special from the other family. It is easy to see the limitations in other people’s life style, and with my brother Ajay we also have different ways of doing things. But the more I become closer to him and his family over the years, the more I see how much there is for me to learn from him. And just sitting at the kitchen table with him, with the kids coming in and out, I had what I would call a Blessed cultural experience, of just being in the moment and enjoying the Rai family spirit, and feeling part of and included in that family.
After we went to the Sato’s house to pick up Il Shim and Kaz. They kindly agreed to come and help baby sit for Sunday.
We left early to visit our Welsh region. We brought Lenny, our second son, and we are trying to bring one of the children each Sunday in order to give them some time with us alone. He did well with the 3 hour bus journey. Stephen Parker met us at the coach station, in Cardiff, and we then went together to the little village where they hold their weekly meeting. Britain is such a rich and beautiful country. It was good to meet so many old friends, and I was reminded of when I was down there many years ago on a new hope team led by Anthony Mc Guigan. After lunch Chieko met with the sisters and I met with the brothers, and there was lots to talk about. We discussed about communication, and what is the best format for our Sunday meetings in order to be able to keep our fellowship but at the same time to be more than a church. Already they have been developing a plan for this. I am hoping to go there again before too long.
When we got home I was amazed at how tidy the house was, and, all the kids looked very happy, and told us about all the things they had been doing with Il Shim Sato and Kaz. Damon said I had the best day ever. There was even a new Lego creation that Lenny was so pleased with, and he was asking when Kaz and Il Shim can come back again.