August 8, 2010, Cheon Bok Gung, Yongsan Seoul Korea
Brothers and sisters, it is wonderful to be back.
Upon True Parents order, we had the chance and privilege to travel to South East Asia, this time to meet our wonderful brothers and sisters of Nepal, the Philippines and also Thailand. So we want to share with you briefly about some of the events that happened. Really, we saw the miraculous hand of God in every country; it was absolutely incredible.
What’s interesting about these nations is that Nepal is 90% Hindu; Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and the Philippines is, of course, a Catholic nation – about 85% Roman Catholic – and then, of course, other forms of Christianity as well. Let us look at some of the slides.
We have the three nations that were visited. Here we are flying to Nepal on Korean Air. We arrived at Katmandu. We only had a couple of days, only about a week where we could visit these three nations, because we had already been to America just a week past, and had missed on out too many services here on the ground. So we had to get everything done within a week.
Within two days, we spent time in Nepal. Here [reference to slide] we are arriving with the UPF International President Dr. Walsh, Taj Hamad, and our Continental Director Mr. Yong. As we arrived, we had wonderful greetings from the Congressmen and women that were present, and also the Deputy Sheriff with police force that came out. Here are some of the Congressmen and women that came out just to do some greetings. The young lady next to my wife is the youngest member of the parliament. She is a Congresswoman just recently elected. The man that is two away from her with the red tie and a black suit is our Nepalese brother Ek Nath, who is our National Director there, and he is a current Congressman in Nepal’s parliament. He’s such an incredible individual.
This report covers three nations; it’s kind of long and so we will move through this quickly. These are some of the pictures that we saw. When we first entered Nepal, we were totally saturated with the nation’s love. Because as we entered, all the great religious leaders came out to give greetings and we gave greetings to them. As we drove along, about 3,000 people lined the street. These people were sent directly by the Prime Minister of Nepal to greet our team. You can see, of course, there’s the Unification Church symbol and of course, the symbol of Korea. Let’s give it up for the UC (Applause). Yes, don’t be shy!
Wonderful people all came out to greet us. But I really felt something very spiritual about this occasion. I also felt this is very dangerous, as well, because we can fall into the illusion that because we are so great, we were receiving this kind of greeting but that is simply not true. Just because I am the International President coming to visit, doesn’t mean I deserve that kind of greeting; it is because of the foundation of True Parents. And the members who are on the ground running and witnessing and changing peoples’ lives, that is the foundation upon which this greeting comes. So it is important to keep the right proper position when you are overwhelmed by the others’ persecution or praise. With persecution, you got to keep the right position. Don’t let that affect you. But with praise as well, you have to stay in the right position and deflect it. Don’t let it come into you; otherwise, that’s exactly what happened to Lucifer. “So when praise comes,” the saying is
“… deflect it up. When persecution comes, deflect it down.” That’s a wonderful little saying, and a very powerful and important practice.
So we had the chance to meet Gushin Lama, who is one of the Tibetan Buddhist leaders there in Nepal; and other leaders who also came out to greet us. We were so grateful of their presence there. Because the schedule was so tight, they packed everything up so that we could go directly to the airport and meet the Vice President. He actually has been an associate of our movement for a long time and has been very supportive. Dr. Kittle, who is there on the ground in Nepal now, has had many luncheons with him at his residence. So he is very close, very heartistically open to True Parents. One of the tasks we have going on this tour, was to truly remember not only the members and also the Ambassadors for Peace that are associated with us, but to remember who True Parents are. They are not simple peacemakers or social activists. They are the Messiah and returning Lord. So that identity needs to be understood, because if you don’t understand that identity, you will think that it’s because of the human power, human strength, and the luck that allowed our movement do something which no other religion has done at the time of the Founder, which was able to become a worldwide movement. So we remember that it’s because True Parents as the returning Christ has that kind of history, and that kind of incredible blessing of the age is with them. That’s exactly in the Principle as well.
Next Slide: So we had to move on and meet the speaker of the Parliament. He is an incredible man who is now in the process of heading the rewriting of the constitution of Nepal. Because it was a Maoist Communist State, and because True Parents played a direct role in resolving the conflict between the Maoist and the proponents of democracy, the Nepalese government to the highest degree sees True Parents as one of the greatest leaders that has ever come to Nepal.
We told them, of course, every time we went to meet somebody — Ambassadors for Peace, the dignitaries, every time we had a peace ambassador meeting — unlike the past where we hid True Parents’ real identity, we did not do that this time. We are proud of our faith, we are proud of what we believe; and since we are proud of our faith, they respected and were able to see from our viewpoint how we view and serve True Parents. So we had a wonderful time with the house of Parliament. Ek Nath is working directly with him to actually re-institute and rewrite the Nepalese constitution. So an incredible work is happening in Nepal.
Next Slide: Here is the Buddhinat temple, one of the famous sights for Tibetan Buddhism and what you see here is the Stupa, or the Pagoda style prayer area. Here you see the eye of the Buddha, the Adibuddha – that is, the Buddha that sees all things. So this is not a physical Buddha, nor an historical Buddha, but this is a Cosmic Buddha. The number where the nose is – you see that squiggly thing – that means number one. So it means like, Hananim sees all. That’s what it means, the Stupa. It is a very wonderful Stupa, where we’re able to give our devotions and prayers.
Next Slide: One of the things that the Prime Minister did was that he sent the Military to take us all around. So we had military men dressed in military clothes with guns, leading us wherever we were going. I don’t know what they were, but they had huge guns and they were leading us all around. You can imagine there was quite a scene wherever we went, because we were with military men. But despite all that, we were still able to focus and pray at the temple. Then we had to move on to the next meeting which was a wonderful family visit.
Next Slide: Every time we go to a nation, we like to visit the families because we don’t like to stay too far away from the ground. So we want to see the local church; we also want to see the local family members, how they’re living, how’s their life of faith, etc. So we usually do a lottery to choose and select the family. The family that was selected in Nepal happened to be Ek Nath, the National Leader. It was truly a great blessing to us that we were able to meet his family and wonderful children. Every time we go visit a family, we learn to give blessings to each other. So Ek Nath, the father will give blessings to his wife and then he will give blessings to each one of his children. Like this, this kind of exercise.
And while Ek Nath was saying the three wonderful things about his wife that he is so grateful for, for God and True Parents, she began to cry so deeply. We were wondering why and asked, “Blessie,(she is a Filipina sister) why are you crying?” She didn’t say at that time, but we later found out that during their 18 years of marriage, this is the first time he has ever said anything good about her or at least encouraging her in that way. So I said, “Oh, oh, oh, Mr. Ek Nath, Mr. President, we are Blessed Central Families, it’s very important to continue to give blessing because it’s from the same mouth that blessing can come or curses can come.” We know that from the story of Isaac, right? The same mouth can give blessing or curses. So, if we only focus on the things that we don’t like about our spouse like, “You don’t listen to me, you don’t do this for me, you don’t do that for me, why you don’t do this, why you do that?” If we do that, then what is happening? We’re not becoming a Blessed Central Family, we’re becoming cursed Blessed Central Family. You see the problem there.
We have to have the culture in our family, inside the parent-child relationship, to give blessings to our spouse. Always remember the greatness, the good gifts that God has given to us through our spouse and our children. So we had a wonderful time with Ek Nath and Blessie Dhakal. We had a chance to spend time with the family and also that kind of very wonderful inspirational time.
Next Slide: The next morning, after morning training and HDH, etc., we went to meet the Prime Minister very bright and early. He is the current Prime Minister and what a wonderful man. He was such a joyful man, very small in stature but he is almost like a living Buddha. He’s very happy, a very nice smile and he loves True Parents. He testified to the huge role that True Parents played in the calming of the situation between a Maoist Communist and the then-proponents of Democracy. He is working center-stage to help with the remaking of the Constitution. Even though he is from the Communist Party, he is also center stage in pushing Democracy forward. What an excellent figure, and what a critical time in Nepal’s history that such an individual could come to know True Parents. He got blessed last year, and this year in October he will be returning to Korea and hopefully he will be speaking at the Cheon Bok Gung Temple. Let’s give it up for the Prime Minister of Nepal – a wonderful friend; and just a wonderful time. (Applause)
We then went on to meet the President of Nepal at the Presidential Palace and had a very wonderful time with him. He is actually quite a serious man, so when we first met him we didn’t know exactly what he was thinking because he looks very serious, very stern. So we explained to him and expressed our greetings from our True Parents. Also, he prepared a wonderful breakfast for us. We didn’t plan for that. Afterwards, we thought that was it; okay, wonderful we met the President, “Thank you so much and for that wonderful meeting,” and so we went on. We had other schedules during the day, we had other meetings, peace ambassador meetings, we had members meeting, etc.
But during the event at the evening time, we got a call. Ek Nath, our National Leader got a call and lo and behold it was the President of Nepal and he said, “Why don’t you come back for dinner? I want to make dinner for you all.” They said that was the first time in Nepal history that a President did that, but also it was the first time in Nepal history that because we had other schedules, we had to reject the Presidential invitation. So we felt very bad about that, but we explained to Mr. President, Ek Nath explained to the President that we understood his heart and we were very grateful.
Next Slide: We were able to be with the members there in Nepal. They also are about a hundred members that came from Sikkim, India to be with us and such wonderful brothers and sisters. Wherever we go, we are united by our faith, we’re united by our belief, we are united by our True Parents. Let’s give it up, let’s give it up one time to our worldwide Unification family, especially our Nepalese brothers and sisters. So wonderful; and we had a tremendous experience, really a faith-rejuvenating experience there in Nepal.
Let’s continue (showing slides): These are pictures we took of all the blessed families there and they’re sending you, here look, what are they sending you? What are they are sending you, True Parents and all brothers and sisters? Do you see those pictures? They are sending you a nice Saranghaeyo. So we’re receiving their love from Nepal. We are grateful to our Nepalese brothers and sisters.
[Next Slide]: Here you see of course, down at the bottom you see the Prime Minister. Although we met him in the morning, he decided to come out again to the event that night and to participate in the assembly of the Ambassadors for Peace award. Again we did not shy from our beliefs; we did not shy away from the identity of True Parents. We told them straight of our beliefs, we’re proud of this, we’re proud of True Parents, we’re proud of doing something no other religion had ever done in history and we shared all those kinds of things. The Prime Minister was very supportive, so happy.
[Next Slide]: Then we were able to go to Lumbini. This is the birthplace of the Buddha. We were able to go on the next day to take a flight out to the birthplace of the Buddha, to see the Pillar of Ashoka, the famous pillar. In the 3rd Century BC, the king Ashoka erected a pillar for the Buddha after he visited this birthplace in Lumbini. It is like a Constantine event of Buddhism that all Buddhalogists know about. Here is said to be Buddha’s footprint, he was said to be born at this exact location and above this footprint a nativity scene where his mother Maya Devi is giving birth to him miraculously. Just like Christ but from the right armpit the Buddha is being born. If you know the story of Buddha, you know the story. From the right armpit he comes out — such a miraculous birth.
Then we were able to touch and pray at the stone of Buddha, and when we came out there is a wonderful little temple outside. There were many monks going inside, many people going inside and so we decided, “Hey, let’s look inside, what’s going on inside?” I had my little phone, I was taking pictures. Whenever I go to these little religious sights, I love recording it in my pictures. I’m a student, I’m a scholar of religion, or at least I was. So I was in there taking pictures.
New Slide: Oh, this is amazing! Look how exciting this is – all the monks on the right side. There’s going to be a Dharma talk here it seems. All these Tibetan monks, different traditions of Buddhism coming here all together and then we were walking up to the front, just trying to take pictures of them. Then the guy in front of them says, “Come up here and sit over there.” And they’re pointing to sit in front of Lord Buddha, sit in front of them at the main altar! I said, “I’m not going to sit there.” I was taking a picture, “No, no, no, I am not going to sit there.” He said, “Come here, come here… hurry up!” “No, no, no, I don’t want to sit there.” The monk had to come out and grab us and had to bring us out to the center. We’re sitting there very nervous – we didn’t know what’s going on.
Apparently we were invited — the UPF and the Unification Church group — we were invited by this particular monk, whose actually one of the Peace Ambassadors. He invited us into his temple, he gathered other monks from different temples around Lambini, and brought them to pray for us. And so we were able to explain about True Parents.
New Slide: Here you can see True Parents there, and you can see the huge bundle of orange flowers that they so devotedly prepare each one, thousands on one little string. And if they did one thing, that would be great and wonderful, but they did thousands on our necks so we had like American football neck training. Absolutely like 20-30 pounds of flowers!
We were so grateful for the devotions and their prayers. The monks said a wonderful prayer for True Parents’ longevity. Yes, let’s give it up for the monks who did a wonderful prayer for True Parents’ longevity (Applause) . . . and for the Unification Church – such wonderful friends!
New Slide: Here we had to go directly back to the airport and then fly on to the next country. Here we met a wonderful brother, he is a new member, he is the President of a university in Nepal and he was so moved by True Parents. He is Hindu and within the Hindu tradition there is a tradition of the “Avatar.” So, the Brahama will come in different forms of deities to the earth and to save the world from the collapse of the truth. You know – the Vishnu, Krishna, Shivu, etc. – but the last Avatar will be the One – the Kalki which will bring back the truth and will also judge the world. There are incredible things expected: he will also bring the new lineage, he will be riding on a white horse, etc., all this sort kind of things. But this brother, after he learned about True Parents, understood what True Parents are, who True Parents were, he proclaimed True Parents as the Avatar that has returned to save the world!
Yes, let’s give it up for our brother in faith. (Applause). Not only did he just proclaim, that’s easy to do; but he donated his entire University to the Church. (Applause) He donated the land so that every student, he said, can be educated by the Unification Church. He donated the whole university that we can use as our facility. So what an incredible testament of faith, not only proclaiming but actualizing in his life. He said to me, “You be sure to say hi to my Parents,” when I was leaving. He said, “Not only your Parents, you be sure to say hi to my Parents as well.” I was very grateful to see our brother there in Nepal. (Applause).
Next Slide: Then we left, and we flew down to Thailand. You know Nepal is still a developing country. We were very moved, of course, that Nepal had a kind of hope because it is changing its constitution. It is moving into Democracy, but it has many things to do, a lot of developing to do. It is still very much undeveloped.
So when we went to Thailand, and we had never been to Thailand, we thought maybe Thailand would be at a similar level. After all it is the 42nd nation economically in the world. Korea is the 14th and America is number one, etc. So we’ve been into these other countries and we thought Thailand may be similar. But when we arrived there, we were totally surprised because it was a totally modern city. It looks like Seoul, at least at night time.
Next Slide: Here we are at the local church, offering to True Parents as soon as we arrived. We had to get our things situated, and run to the family visit because of the shortness of time that we had with our Thailand brothers and sisters. We were able to meet the Akkapong and Aransri, a wonderful incredible family. They had twins as their youngest, such a wonderful family. The wife is Japanese, the husband is Thai and he is working at Thailand Il Hwa doing a wonderful job. They were so inspired.
It was the first time we ever had Thailand food. We had Ton.Yum Soup and we had Pat.Thai with them – it was first time, just a wonderful time to be able to share both the blessings. Everybody in the family, of course, shared the blessing exercise towards each other. We really always enjoy the family visit when we get to meet the family members on the ground.
Next Slide: The next morning we had the 2:30 am morning training. We had the jeongseong training, the Chi-Gong training, we had the meditation training, and we had the devotional training. There’s Dr. Kittle up in front, we can see him, all manifesting the principle in a greater way here in the morning. And then after HDH, we had a testimony from one Thai sister who was blessed to a Laotian man. He was finishing up his doctorate in Germany and the Thai sister was blessed and decided to go to Laos which is a Communist country, by the way. It is a communist country and they severely persecute religions.
As she arrived there in Laos, she was working as an evangelist and she was a missionary and working with the Laos church which is very small there. All of a sudden at two o’clock in the morning, there was somebody banging on door and they kicked through the door and this whole group of people came in and it was the Police. They said to her, “You have two choices. You can be either be deported, back to Thailand and you will go free but you may never return; or number two, you stay in Laos and we will put you in prison.” She said because she promised God that she will make a three year condition for the sake of Laos and for the sake of her husband as well, she said, “I could not but choose the second option. I told them I could not leave this place, otherwise how will I ever love this nation? I could also break my blessing then; that would be the same as breaking my blessing.” This is what she said.
So she decided to stay in Laos, and she was imprisoned and tortured for five years. That was over one thousand seven hundred days. You talk about the level of faith, it’s unbelievable. This young woman, tortured, imprisoned five years because of her faith. Her husband, she could not see for the five years time. In Laos, because it is such undeveloped country, the men and the women share the same prisons. So you can imagine what kind of horrific events occur in prison. She had to endure that for five years in that kind of torturous situation.
And when we see that, we have to remember, brothers and sisters, we always want to reflect on ourselves. We want to see and remember, these are the real heroes of our faith. When we see people like this, we have to give them praise. We have to give them thanks. Let’s give thanks for our sister who was persecuted in Laos for her faith. So we had an incredible experience, everybody was shedding tears in the morning, seeing this kind of incredible level of faith. (Applause)
We had this kind of meeting – not just at HDH, but actually to be with the members. We focused on True Parents’ identity and True Parents’ value. Also, we focused on how to pray. We went through the Lord’s Prayer and remembered how True Parents taught us to pray. Not just asking God, “God bless me; do this for me, God; Give me this, give me that, buy me a house,” but pray always in the way God wishes for us to pray. Start with the great things first and come down; start from God and the world and then nations, etc. This does not mean that the things we need or what we pray for is unnecessary or unimportant, but it means that God already knows what we need in our lives. Spending time exclusively on our needs is not the way to pray. Also, Jesus said that in the Lord’s Prayer. We discussed these things, our spiritual life, and the fundamental way how we pray. When we pray in this way – pray in a way that praises God, praises His Kingdom and His Will first, pray with compassion for the world and for all the nations – then our life changes because the nature of our prayer changes. So when we change the way we orient ourselves toward this world, then God uses us and blesses us in greater ways. We were able to discuss this with the Thailand members.
[Slide] After that, this is the national leader of Thailand, his name is Presith and wonderful blessed families here. This brother right next to me here is Dr. Lake. He was the former National Director of Thailand. He was also imprisoned for two years – persecuted by the Government. Eight brothers and sisters, including his wife and himself, were persecuted and put into prison for two years. Imagine if we were put into prison for even one day – we would complain! TWO YEARS! Dr. Lake was explaining to me the incredible ordeal of Thailand.
We were persecuted so heavily in the 80’s because they said, “You are not a religion – you are a social movement. So freedom of religion does not apply to you. You have no protection under the law. You are a social movement that is more dangerous than communism!” That is what they said. What they said is, “You will try to overtake Thailand and make the King bow down to Korea!” This is what they were accusing us of. They sued us. They launched a terrible media campaign that slandered our church every day in the media. The Thailand Church was hit so hard in the 80’s. The legal battles – and we were able to win every single one – had gone to the Supreme Court of Thailand and they keep on delaying the ultimate decision for us, for our freedom.
Our brothers and sisters in Thailand were expressing, “We thank you so much – to the Korean Church – that finally we are not just going around saying that we are a social movement but we are standing strong as a religion. We are clear that we are a religion and we have due protection under the law! Under democratic law we have freedom of religion. Thank God we are doing that – finally!” They said when they were preparing their case for the courts that they could not make that argument because all of us were Family Feds all over the world, except for the American Church; and that is not the Korean Church, that is not our homeland.
Now they say they have found so much hope. The people – the members on the ground that actually had to fight for the existence of our church – were thanking the Korean Church and also the brothers and sisters in Japan who are fighting for their human rights. As a religion, members of the Unification Church cannot be kidnapped and confined – which is a human rights violation – and you must protect the Japanese members under the law. We are winning that fight. Because we are standing up for our faith; be clear about what we believe, don’t shy away from what we believe. The different nations around the world are finally finding hope from that. And they’re saying, “One day, when we are truly able to succeed in Korea and Japan, we will be able to have freedom from persecution and our Thailand church will finally be able to return glory back to God.” Let’s give it up for our Thailand brother and sisters wonderful – wonderful brothers and sisters who suffered so much!! (Applause)
[Slide] After this meeting, we had a chance to meet a few of their members a little bit. Then we were whisked off to the Grand Palace. In the 80’s, we were persecuted by the Thailand Government, but now – this woman here (referring to Slide) in the front, is the head of the Women’s Federation in Thailand. She has been an associate of ours. She has helped us work our way back – rebuilding the Unification Church, fighting the battles in court. She is the one who helped us. Her husband is the president of the second leading newspaper in Thailand. They are righteous people who knew this was religious persecution, and they stood up. They put their necks on the line, their careers on the line, and they stood up for us.
Now in the Thailand Church, we are not yet at total freedom, but we are at the point that when we went on this visit, the royal family allowed us to have a tour of the royal palace, which is prohibited to normal people. So we can see the great improvement this lady has played in the center role with Dr. Lake in the Thailand Church to recover our honor and our dignity as a Unification Church. So we were very grateful for her as we were able to pass through.
[Slide] This was the place of the jade Buddha, the famous jade Buddha. This is the really the center of Thailand. The king will come here on the different seasons and will change the robes of the Buddha. As you can see he is wearing summer robes. All autumn robes and winter robes were made by the donations from the people of Thailand.
[Slide] This is the place where it is connected to the grand palace. That night I had a very wonderful dream at 1:00 am. I had a dream that the crown prince would welcome us that day. When we went to the temple, we had no idea on that day that the crown prince happened to be right in the grand palace as we were visiting. So really spirit world was showing us that there were new improvements that are going to be done for the Thailand Church as well.
[Slide] This is the grand palace which we were able to tour on special admission by the royal family of Thailand. We were able to travel then to the Bangkok China town and see the five ton, pure gold, Buddha statue. We were able to go through the backstreets of Bangkok. We went to the Grand Palace through the backstreets of China Town and it was fantastic.
[Slide] We were having tea and we were holding bananas here. We were right about to leave, we had to run to another event but I grabbed a bunch of bananas and quickly handed them out to the people who were with us. And it just so happened that the number of bananas exactly matched the number of people who were with us and I said, “God is good. Even with bananas, God is good.” Yes, let’s give him some praise! We were really grateful that day.
[Slide] Right after that event we had to go to the Peace Ambassadors event. The VIP’s of Thailand and the close associates of our church were there. We had Dr. Lake, the man who fought for the church on the frontline of the courts and everything. Every month they had to go to the courts for twelve years and still they are fighting, still it is not done.
[Slide] But the monks came out, they prayed, and this is the monk from the Monastic University of Thailand. He brought 80 of his students to come out and to pray blessings upon True Parents and upon the Unification Church, as we go around and visit different countries. We are very grateful for our Buddhist friend, and monks that came out and prayed for our True Parents.
Then we had to quickly make our way to the airport and fly to the Philippines. We only had two days there. Now we’re in a Catholic country. From a Hindu country to a Buddhist country to a Catholic country – the total differences in culture we can feel every time as we entered into each country. As we entered the Philippines, of course, there is a strong Catholic presence. Wherever we go we see the cathedrals, etc.
First thing we had to do was meet the VIP’s, and so how it’s set up to meet the VIP’s, is that the next morning we do Chi-Gong training together with the members, the brother and sisters that came in the morning. Then we had the members meeting, and about 2,000 brothers and sisters from all around Philippines came to join us came to share time with us. We were able to talk about prayer, etc., in the grand sanctuary and also the small sanctuaries. Our brothers and sisters from the Philippines were really able to be present with us that day. We’re so inspired, and so grateful to see the Philippine sisters and brothers of such wonderful faith. They are so excited about witnessing, which is so exciting! We had all these sisters up in the front really so passionate about saving souls, really going out and witnessing to people about the truth.
So amazing to see these kinds of brothers and sisters once again and we had a wonderful time with them. We had time so we can spend time with each family church as well; the young peoples’ group, etc. Also sending Saranghaeyo all the way over to Korea and then we were able to go to the family visits. We met a wonderful Filipino family; Filipino brother and Japanese wife. One thing we really noticed is that in all of these countries we had of course some western missionaries that came first. They pioneered, but in the end they went back to their country and people who stayed for 20/30 years were the Japanese members. Again the Japanese members were really, in each in each country, able to offer to sacrifice themselves to go to the countries and to build the church. And wherever we went – fifty, sixty, one hundred Japanese missionaries were married to different people of those nations. That’s incomparable to any other nations of our church. Just incredible! Incredible faith of these people! Let’s give them a big round of applause and for our Japanese brothers and sisters always at the forefront of our faith. Really they are the saints of our tradition.
[Slide] Of course we are able to spend time with this family, and while we are doing the blessing – when the daddy was giving the mommy blessing – this young man, the youngest son, wants to be a scientist. He will become a great scientist, because whenever his dad was saying blessings upon his mom, he would write it all down, take notes. I’ve never seen this before. He was taking a memo of all the things that his dad was saying good about his mom; never to forget. Then when his dad would bless him, even about himself he wrote down what the dad was saying; and also about his sisters, and what the mom says. What an amazing fellow. That young man is going to be a great analyst and scientist. Let’s give it up one time for that young man, that he has a great great glorifying life of what True Parents have done. What a wonderful family! The younger kids were so wonderful together; they were so happy and encouraging each other and blessing each other. And they are so cute in a way, so simply blessing each other.
Then we were able to visit the Cathedral of St. Augustine where the Augustinian friars managed this church (slide) in the centuries past. One of the things that really struck us when we entered into the cathedral was that it was very different from the Buddhist temples that we (visited). The Buddhist temples were very opulent – with golden Buddha’s everywhere – incredible; but when we entered into the cathedral, it felt very dark – a lot of stone. This was a monastery. This was the most famous cathedral in the Philippines – in Manila.
It is a UNESCO world heritage site as well. It has a very strong focus on the death of Christ, so wherever we went there was always picture of the dead Christ, the bloody Christ, “Christo Enterno” – the interred Christ, the body of the dead Christ in the grave. It was bloody and bleeding. It was life size. It was so painful to see that. As we went into the cathedral, we could see the lifeless body of Christ – pale white like a corpse. Some of the statues were made in ivory – some of the small statues of Mother Mary – so they looked ghost white. In those statues, although they are incredible treasures, the whole general feeling of the church was very depressing. I am just honestly saying this; very sad. We touched Jesus’ feet, felt the nail driven through his bones, the blood that is dripping down from his side as well, saw his pale white body. Touching Jesus – everyone was crying when we saw that Christ (slide). For 2000 years Jesus has been hanging on the cross. My God! Give it up to our True Parents who tried to liberate him from the cross – take him down – and bring him back to glory! My God!
So everybody was in a lot of pain (slide).
But it was very nice, because we were able to meet the priest who was the museum curator at the cathedral. One of the things that the cathedral was connected to was a museum (slide). In this museum there was a heavy focus on the martyrs of the church; the Augustinian friars who went to different countries like Japan – and they were burned at the stake or beheaded. So you would see the saint’s picture where the head is rolling on the ground. There is another picture where the saint is holding skulls. There is another statue where the saint has a huge sword in its head. And this focus was very depressing. Of course there is always a focus on the death of Christ, but usually there is one glorified image of the resurrected Christ – something that gives you a little bit of hope. But in this church was almost 100% about the death of Christ, the internment of Christ, the death and beheading of the martyrs. The focus here (slide) was very painful. What a wonderful thing that Philippine Unification Church is doing in revealing the Divine Principle to the new brothers and sisters, our new members.
(Slide) After that, we were able to run over and meet the former Speaker of the House of the Philippine Parliament who was elected five times straight – Dr. Jose De Venecia, Jr. We had a wonderful time with him. His family had an incredible spiritual experience with True Parents. They lost their daughter in a fire accident in their home just a couple of years ago. What a terrible crisis they had because they were absolutely crushed. This was their baby daughter; they had previous marriages but it was their daughter from this marriage that they had together. Such a precious daughter, but she died in the fire that consumed their house. Dr. Jose De Venecia, Jr. was leaving parliament at that time – Mrs. De Venecia, Jr. was running for congress. She was hit with this terrible crisis and depression and she just could not go on. True Parents heard about that and they told her to come to Korea. She prayed with True Parents and then she had a spiritual experience.
She was telling me this. She was in Cheongpyeong and she had a spiritual experience where she realized that her child is with her. So she is praying near the True Love Tree in Cheongpyeong and right there where she is praying is a spiritual orb – right there in a picture that she took. And this is confirmation for her that the daughter is with her. And she said, “Ever since then, my daughter has been chasing me around.” And she showed us other pictures where she is meeting other people, VIPs and she sees the presence of her daughter right there in the picture. She showed us multiple pictures like this and said, “I’m so grateful for True Parents because they saved me spiritually that time. They gave me solace and they gave me comfort. They told me that my daughter is with me. And now I realized that it is real.” She testified that it was because of that strength she received from Korea that she was able to become one of the leading congresswomen that she is today. Let’s give it up Mrs. Rita De Venecia! Amazing!
The wonderfully [members in Cambodia]invited us to a Christian meeting in Cambodia in December to participate with them in Ankor Wat, together with one of my monk friends here who was helping with the Seung Hwa ceremonies. He is the head of the Korean and Thailand association for deceased soldiers. He will be coming with us and we will be stopping in Thailand again. He promised that he would organize a meeting with the King and the Prince of Thailand this time around. Really we see that the spirit world is moving. One of the things that I really realized on this trip is that, although I had met these national leaders before in Korea – Jun, (Prasieth), and (Ecnat); they came to the Cheon Bok Gung temple, but they were crying when they arrived here. I was wondering, “Why are you crying?” They were able to go back to their countries, but it always stayed in my heart.
Usually when we have a local event in a country, we stay at a hotel. We do the event and fly out to the next country; so we are not able to see the ground – how the members are fighting for their faith. Now whenever we visit nations we always stay in the churches, stay with the members, and go visit their families; So whatever anyone tells us about the nation, how it is so great or how we are changing everything we can see it with our own eyes whether it is true or not. We can see if the foundation is really as great as people say it is or not. When we went to each of these nations, we were very inspired in one sense, but on the other side we felt a lot of compassion because still most of the nation’s headquarters churches are very weak. There is still only about 200-400 people at the headquarters churches for the whole nation. That kind of small group is trying – that is amazing – if you compare it to the works of Paul the early church of Christianity; the challenge of trying to restore the entire nation of 80-100 million people.
What an amazing faith they have. Also, I felt compassion for the condition in which the churches are in. I realize when they came to the Cheon Bok Gung, they realized “My God – look at this!” in the middle of Seoul. That we can worship in a place like this with our church name up high and proud. We are not shy of our faith. One day in Bangkok, one day in Manila, one day in Katmandu, we too will able to have victory and be able to erect a temple like this with our name blazing in the sky. Now I realize why they had those tears in their eyes (applause) when they came to visit Cheon Bok Gung. Let’s give it up for those brothers and sisters!
“There is a new hope”, brothers and sisters said from the different nations, when the Fatherland finally puts its roots down – when it can proclaim clear to the world and even the government acknowledges us as a genuine faith – then all the other nations of the world will have the backing to say to all our nations governments, “Hey, you cannot persecute us. We are a religion. We have freedom of religion. Look at our Fatherland – how incredible it is!”
Brothers and sisters let us all join our hearts in prayer as we offer our thanks and glory to God:
Dearest most beloved Heavenly Father, Our most beloved True Parents, Father, you are great. You are beyond all that we can say or think. Father we thank you this day because we want to remember you first despite any circumstances we are heading into and challenged with. First and foremost, You are great. You are the creator of time and space and all matter. You moved and flung the galaxies into existence. For You Father, no challenge is great. We want to be able to return back to that hope, that fundamental center of goodness – which is You. Father, we want to move in the direction of Your kingdom and Your will and understand that our kingdom and our will are second to Yours. Father, always let us be in that proper position. For we know if we stand in that proper position, You will bless us. You will use us in great ways. In ways that the world will at first persecute us for but in the end will glorify Your kingdom.
We thank You so much because we were able to meet our brothers and sisters in Nepal, in Thailand, and in the Philippines. We realized that they are just like us – human beings like us. What makes them stand strong with such faith and conviction? What is the difference? It is not their human nature, but it is their faith and their conviction that makes them stand up for the church even in the face of tremendous persecution. Be imprisoned for 5 years and still return glory to God. Father we can see in our normal everyday lives, although our difficulties may seem great, let us always keep them in perspective – not only with our brothers and sisters around the world and the great evangelists and missionaries that are spread across this globe – but in perspective to Your greatness and your will.
We thank You so much because we know the whole world is moving towards a new era. We know that the nations are coming together. When the filial sons and daughters surround True Parents and protect True Parents then unification will come. We thank You so much for this day that we can pray for Thailand, pray for the Philippine Church, pray for the Nepal Church. We pray that we can do our part to inspire and give them strength and that we can have a strong conviction. We can go out and witness and bring people to True Parents just as they are doing every single day.
Father, we want to give glory to You. We ask You for forgiveness because we are not perfect. We make mistakes and are impure many times. Father, forgive us and let us forgive those in our lives that hurt us and scar us. Father one more time, do not let us be tempted by the ephemeral nature of this world, but always let us be focused on eternity and Your eternal kingdom. Father, we pray all of these things in our own names, offering You glory and thanks today with those wonderful brothers and sisters from around the world. We pray all these things in gratitude and thanksgiving in the names of our central blessed family bowing before our True Parents, we pray, Aju