On July 7, the “Ceremony to Begin July for the District of South Tokyo” was held at Shoto Headquarters in Shibuya, Tokyo, together with Bang Sang-il, Regional Group President of Heavenly Japan for the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community. He shared testimonies of the second generation, who participated in 21-day workshops, and called on the members to approach other second generation. (Editorial Department)
*In previous articles, “地区” (ちく or chiku) was translated as “district” and “教区” (きょうく or kyoku) was translated as “church district.” However, the term “subregion” will now be used to translate the former and “district” will be used for the latter. We apologize for the confusion.
Good morning, everyone in the District of South Tokyo. Members of other churches are also watching this through the live-stream, so good morning to you, also.
As I listened to the reports of church leaders and other representatives of southern Tokyo, I indeed felt that we are at the center of Japan.
When I became the Regional Group President of Heavenly Japan for the Heavenly Parent’s Holy Community last year, I called for each district to establish a foundation of 10,000 people. Yoshitada Sugita, District Leader of South Tokyo, was the first in Japan to make this determination and made efforts towards the 10,000 member rally. I truly appreciate his determination.
It was then that I felt that True Mother must have the same kind of feeling. How much joy must she feel when she sees those that head the frontline to meet her requests? I was able to understand this heart through Sugita’s actions. Rev. Sugita and Ms. Hisae Ariake (Women Representative), thank you very much. Please give them a round of applause.
Mother taking special interest in the reports on second generation
Currently, True Mother is placing her attention on the education and growth of the youth, including second and third generation. She is always speaking of the second generation. Every time I see her doing so, I strongly feel that one of the battlegrounds of our Family Federation lies in the youth and our second and third generations.
Yesterday, we held meetings from morning to night with regional leaders all over the country. The main discussion point was, in fact, how we can guide second generation who do not come to church. There are different reasons for them not coming to church, but if they say they don’t want to come, then that is also our responsibility as well (because) we have neglected them and have not been able to watch over them. This means that as we turn around and look behind us, we see that the second generation have gone astray.
So instead of telling them to come back to church, we need to approach them and close the distance.
At yesterday’s meeting, I was able to confirm some tendencies in the second generation. Some often go to church; some are registered but go sparingly; some have good relationships with their parents but don’t go; some don’t go because their relationship with their parents are bad, and so on. The more I heard, the more painful it was.
There are now about 50,000 blessed second generation in Japan, and many of them attend church, but it is also true that there are many who do not. From heaven’s perspective, they are so sad to see even one blessed child not going to church. This is the responsibility of everyone involved, from blessed families to the leaders, including me.
We (leaders) always give reports to True Mother, but it is rare for her to show any reaction. However, when it comes to reports about the second generation, she always leans forward to listen. Then, she would ask for specific second generation members and ask whether they come to church. I was surprised by the depth of her interest in the second generation.
Children completely reborn through 21-day workshops
I’d like to share with you some testimonies. In Osaka, there is a Korean wife in a Japanese-Korean family of the 6,500-couple blessing. Their first child was a daughter, and the second was boy. When he was still in her womb, her Japanese husband passed away with cancer. This was about 4 years after they started a family.
Her father-in-law blamed her for the death of his son and hit her. This was while she was pregnant. He told her, “I don’t want to see you anymore. Go back to Korea.” For her father-in-law, it must’ve been difficult to see his son die so young.
So, this Korean lady and her father-in-law were on very bad terms. However, she had made the determination that since she was blessed by heaven to marry into a Japanese family, she would do anything to protect her home. She endured with this determination for ten, twenty years. She went through a lot of hardship for 27 years since coming to Japan. This Korean lady has a faith that would rival the faith of any leader gathered here today.
The daughter grew up seeing her mother’s devotion to heaven and regularly attended church. She received the blessing and even gave birth to a third generation. This is very beautiful.
However, the son grew up feeling lonely without knowing his father’s face. He went to church with his mother and sister until middle school but stopped going after that. They said he only played video games growing up. Many things happened, and the mother became so worried about him that she ruined her health to the point where she could ascend to spirit world at any moment. This was just last month, not years ago.
So she begged her son and said, “I might ascend to the spiritual world (soon). This is my last request: take part in the Hyojeong Cheonbo 21-day workshop (held at the Chiba Central Training Center) and learn the word.” Since he felt his mother could go to spirit world any moment and it could’ve been her last request, the son attended the workshop.
I went to give a lecture on the 15th day of the 21-day workshop this young man was attending. I asked the participants to raise their hands if it was their first time to hear the word. Then, four participants raised their hands. Usually, people attend the 21-day workshop after learning a good portion of the word, such as at 7-day workshops. But these four people went straight to the 21-day workshop.
I asked these four people of their impressions of the workshop and how much of the word they learned so far. The first three participants said things such as, “I’m glad I came,” “I didn’t know the word was this wonderful,” and “I was moved.”
The last of the four was the son of this Japanese-Korean couple. He said, “This workshop was prepared for me.”
To these four participants, I told them, “After this workshop, please bring (to the workshop) other second generation that you know who don’t come to church.” The first three seemed iffy and gave a quick yes, but the fourth, and last, one answered firmly, “Yes! I’ll do it!”
The day before yesterday, I heard that when he returned home after the 21-day workshop, he told his mother, “Mom, thank you very much. I went to the 21-day workshop and learned many things. This is the first time I know how great of a person you are.” His mother broke down crying on the spot. How happy must she have been?
He even told his mother that he would would do a 21-day fast. When she told him that a 21-day fast is not something people just do and that he shouldn’t do it, he replied, “It’s alright. I’ve already made up my mind.” (So seeing his) determination, she told him to only do a week-long fast. I believe he has just begun this fast.
What’s more, he threw out the computer that was on his desk. He said that the computer had been his enemy and made him become evil, and that he didn’t need it. That is quite the determination.
Now, it seems he has taken the initiative to get up at 6 AM to do hoon dok hae, and at 11 at night, he tells his mother to do evening prayer and close the day. The reason is that he did hoon dok hae at 6 o’clock and evening prayer at 11 o’clock at the 21-day workshop. Every day, the mother sits next to him, both in the morning hoon dok hae and evening prayer, and can’t stop crying tears of joy and gratitude.
It is the word that transformed the son. The word is life. The Bible even says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Without knowing the word, no matter how much we may preach to second generation, they will not be moved. People don’t change just through talk. The word of the Heavenly Parent (God) is what gives life.
A second gen. who decides to support his father after seeing him live a life of faith by himself
I will share another testimony from a different 21-day workshop.
There is a family with 6 children. The third child, who is the eldest son, participated in a 21-day workshop this past March.
Before he took part in the workshop, his father was the only one in his family who attended church while his mother and other siblings kept their distance.
It was really strange, to say the least, that he partook in a 21-day workshop. Last year, his oldest sister brought a non-member back home and introduced him to the family, and told them she wanted to marry him. The father was the only one that strongly opposed, and he called the children and explained the value of second generation.
However, all of them consented with her decision to marry a non-member. Seeing this, the eldest son felt sorry for his father and asked himself, “Why does he hold on to his faith to the point of isolating himself from the rest of the family?” (Seeing this) the least the son felt he could do was be on his father’s side.
The 21-day workshop was his first time to hear the Principle, but the son devoted himself to every single thing there. After the workshop concluded, he returned home saying, “I finally came to understand my father’s feelings. From now, I will take my father’s side and help restore my mother and brother and sisters.”
When he got back, he told his father of his decision to enter a church dormitory. The father was so happy. While the eldest son was attending the 21-day workshop, the father took that as a chance to face his eldest daughter. To make a long story short, she decided to break up with the man she had brought home, and she began studying the Principle at church in preparation for the blessing.
The father told the eldest son that he would do something about the mother and his two sisters, so he asked him to help guide his younger sisters and younger brother.
The elder son made up his mind and approached his two younger sisters and younger brother, respectively, in early April. Two of them have reciprocated and he has been able to bring them to services where they are beginning to connect with the church.
The mother already knew the word, so when the eldest son approached her, she began going to church the following Sunday.
The word is such a wonderful thing. No matter how much we talk to our friends and family, even for many decades, they won’t listen to our words. However, those who have attended a workshop, even for a week, and learned the words of True Parents, immediately bow their heads to us and say thank you. God’s word and the words of the Messiah (have the power to) change people.
The couple that received the blessing and participated in the 21-day workshop
Let me share another testimony from a 21-day workshop.
This is a story of a second generation couple that were blessed on April 25th of this year.
The bride was in her late 20s and the groom, in his early 30s. They attended a 21-day workshop together.
This man (an eldest son) grew up without knowing that he was a second gen. and that his parents were blessed. He met his wife-to-be thinking it was an ordinary arranged marriage. In this family, the mother had been going to church alone, and in order to get her oldest son to receive the blessing, she registered on our matching site.
(After meeting with the bride-to-be,) she asked him in tears that if he were to accept her, she wanted him to study the word since he was a second gen. At first, the son was suspicious of his mother and thought she had brought this arranged marriage to him so that he would become a believer, but he found the bride to be very genuine and was attracted by her sincerity. He gradually began to study the word and they received the blessing on April 25th. What’s more, his-now-wife asked him to go to the 21-day workshop, so they went together. The man shared, “At first, I thought we were going to Chiba as a honeymoon. But I had to do heavenly works and listen to lectures all day. I was just surprised and confused.”
However, his faith had grown day by day through the 21-day workshop, and he made the determination to create a blessed family filled with joy while, at the same time, help guide his siblings (towards the blessing).
I went to give a lecture at this particular 21-day workshop as well, and the two of them were pretty much in love, like two lovebirds. We took a picture together, and the man told me, “This woman is my messiah.” Their spirituality completely changed through the word. I think her faith that “if you go to the 21-day workshop and learn the word, you will change” was wonderful.
Without knowing how great the word really is, the church cannot grow. And in order to grow, we must love the church.
In Christian churches, if you go to church once a week, you are considered to be a good believer. It is the same in every church all over the world.
Then, for us in the Family Federation, is it good enough for us to only attend service once a week? We don’t call ourselves “believers.” We’re called “members.” To be a “member” means family.
In the family, we see our father, mother and siblings every day and live together with them. That’s what it means to be a “member.”
So we have to go to church every day. We have to attend with devotion and be interested in the church. Please keep this in mind. In the morning, we should stop by the church and pray before going to work. After work, we should also stop by the church and pray before going home. That’s a true member.
If your church is a little far, decide what day you can go and go once, twice, three, or four times a week, if possible. These days should be exciting that you look forward to them. If a church isn’t enjoyable, you have to make it “fun.”
The second 7-year course to put an end to the providential history of 6,000 years
A few days ago, True Mother saw a Korean TV program that showed Japan’s Sandanbeki Rock Cliff (Wakayama Prefecture) as a suicide hotspot, and Secretary to the President Jung Won-ju, who was also watching the program, contacted me. True Mother wanted me to look into Sandanbeki. It seems that Mother was also concerned with the recent, rapid increase of female suicides in Japan.
I immediately contacted Region 4 Leader Kim Man-jin and other district leaders, and they found that there were about 800 people who committed suicide there. Centered around District Leader Kang Min-gu, the District of Wakayama has already given a special liberation to 400 of these spirits.
I gave a sermon at the service in the District of East Osaka last week, and then, stopped by Sandanbeki to pray. Standing there in the middle of nature designated as a national scenic site, I thought about the heart of Heavenly Parent and True Parents, as well as the suffering of those who took their own lives. It’s been about two months since True Mother contacted me, but as far as I know, no suicides have taken place there recently.
True Mother is this interested (in the suicides of Japan) because she is the Mother of humankind. I don’t think we can just sit and watch many young people kill themselves. Mother is really worried about the young people in Japan.
In 1960, True Parents had their Holy Wedding and its 60th anniversary was held last year. To celebrate the 61st anniversary, a special event was held. True Mother said that the 61st year should not be just an ordinary anniversary, but since it is the “first” year after kanreki (the 60th year), it is a new beginning. Therefore, she said the three memorial days of Heavenly Parent’s Day, True Parents’ Day and the True Parents’ Holy Wedding will be celebrated as one.
True Parents established God’s Day (Heavenly Parent’s Day) in 1968. At present, we are treading the second seven-year course from 2021 to 2027, and after this course, January 1st, 2028 will mark 60 years since the establishment of God’s Day. This current seven-year course we are treading will conclude on January 1, 2028. It is a truly crucial time to put an end to the 6,000-year providential history.
In this providential history of 6,000 years, we are the anchors—the last runners—treading this seven-year course together with True Mother. If we falter, all of history will be for naught. If we take first place, history and all the hardship that has been endured until now will be set in “first place.” If we are second, history will come in “second,” and if we are third, history will come in “third.” But for God, there is only “first place.”
True Mother is now 78 years old—79 in Korean age. So, how old will she be in seven years? She’ll be eighty-five or six. Would you want Mother at that age to take the lead in a third seven-year course?
When people are over 80, no matter how healthy, the more work they do, the more tired they become compared to when they were young. Can we let True Mother go through such hardship? That would be very regrettable. We need to be completely victorious in this second seven-year course.
We cannot back down in the providence. True Mother continues to push forward in the midst of COVID crisis, and presided over the Rally of Hope and Advancement, as well as, the Peace Festival.
If you show care and love, the second generation will surely come back
At yesterday’s meeting with region leaders, we had a heated discussion on a major reform for second generation.
I asked the following from the region leaders:
1. Have leaders visit non-church-going second generation at least once a week,
2. Youth department, witnessing department, and family department leaders will each visit at least one second generation every day, and
3. Women representatives will also meet at least one second generation a week.
They can visit their homes, dine out or have a chat over a cup of coffee.
In this way, if we all keep at visiting second generation who haven’t been to church, we’d be able to meet with all of them in a matter of a few months. Of course, just because you pay someone a visit once, I don’t think they will come rushing back to the church. Some may return to church after a visit, but others may require 10 or more visits. Some may take six months, others a year.
It can be difficult for parents to educate their children on their own. So we have to create a community. In some churches, there probably are people who are retired and have time. To these people, I hope you can love the second generation as your own grandchildren. Let us love all the second generation as if they were our own children. We need (to establish) that kind of culture of love.
True Mother emphasizes hyojeong, but if there is no love, a culture of filial piety will not form. It is the same with heart. Therefore, the hyojeong culture is a culture of love. If you really want to meet (with someone), you need to move (and take action). If you want to meet someone, you can’t just finish with a phone call. You have to pick yourself up and go visit them.
If you visit those that don’t come to church 10 times, 20 times, and 30 times, they’ll start feeling like you care for them and will definitely return to church and want to meet with you.
Second generation are very pure. True Mother calls them pure water. In fact, even if they still have fallen nature, they have no original sin. If we show them care and love, they will surely come back.
True Mother is here on Earth and at this moment when we are able to talk with her, the most important thing are the second generation. The most precious asset that True Parents left behind are the second and third generations, as well as the youth including Jacob’s children and young people.
The future of the Family Federation depends on this group of youth. Let us love the second generation, the third generation and the youth that are beloved by the True Parents, and return filial piety to them.