Good morning, brothers and sisters. As you know I was away one month and just returned a few days ago. First of all I would like to convey that our True Parents are very well and happy. Everything was an incredible success. Whenever they touch any area, miracles occur through heavenly fortune. I couldn't see any corner left missing from any area, not only externally but internally, spiritually. All of this is from our True Parents' effort and sacrifice, and also from all over the world brothers and sisters continuously pray for True Parents.
This morning I'd like to report about Blessing '99, True Parents' birthday, and Hyo Jin hyung nim's marriage. I went to Korea in order to assist True Parents in matching couples for Blessing '99. True Parents conduct many ceremonies during their mission, but one of the most important is this process of matching young men and women as husbands and wives. During a short period, they matched thousands of couples. It was incredible to be by their side and watch how much they would concentrate on the matching. Once they begin matching they don't eat, don't sleep. They are focused completely on that process.
Each day there were a number of sessions, and during each session they would go to the room where photographs are arranged for them, and they would match about 1,000 couples or so in one session.
Most the couples here this morning met through Rev. and Mrs. Moon's matching, and I don't think anyone here thinks they gave you the wrong spouse. Please raise your hand if you think Rev. Moon gave you the right spouse, and in looking at your children you feel he did a good job matching you.
Standing beside True Parents as they matched couples, I could really feel that this is not just a human effort, that the spirit of God worked through True Parents to bring these people together. There would be photographs of about 1,000 brothers set up on display. Then the staff assisting True Parents would arrange photographs of sisters of about the same age as the brothers. True Parents would take these and place a sister's photograph on top of the brother she was matched to. True Parents were concentrating so hard that after a while their eyes would ache. It was not just spiritual but also physical concentration in that effort.
There hasn't been a comfort blessing in quite a while now, but this year one was also conducted. This is probably the last time that a comfort blessing will be conducted. Father has said that the spirit world has grown so close to the physical world that in the future there will be no need for comfort blessings. Because of the children in particular families, a comfort blessing was conducted at this time. In our Washington community as well we have some people who have been alone without their spouse for five or even seven years, but they were able to participate in the comfort blessing this time.
First in February there was the tenth anniversary celebration of the publication of the Segye Times, the newspaper that True Parents are publishing in Korea. The celebration of this anniversary was attended by 1,000 or so leaders of Korean society, from all walks of life. It was attended by Pres. Kim Dae Jung, by the president of the National Assembly, by the chief justice of the supreme court of Korea and by many cabinet ministers. It was held in the ballroom of the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, and it was as if the entire government had moved to the hotel to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the newspaper. In particular, Pres. Kim stood together with Rev. Moon and praised him for his efforts in founding the newspaper and teaching the way the world must go in working to bring about world peace.
You may already know something about Pres. Kim Dae Jung. In a way he is a pioneer on the world level in the human rights movement, on the same level as South Africa's President Mandela. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a number of times. To a degree he has suffered throughout his life and has been persecuted throughout his life, and finally this time on the fourth attempt he was elected to the presidency of South Korea. He was in exile in America for a while, and during that time he visited the Washington Times. For a long time he has held True Parents in great respect.
As you know, in late 1997 Korea was faced with very severe economic difficulties and forced to go to the IMF for assistance. Kim Dae Jung came to the presidency a few months after that, but in just over a year he has been able to turn the situation around. Even though many people have lost their jobs, with his political leadership the country is turning around. He is very gifted as a politician.
Pres. Kim has attended a number of True Parents' events before he became president, but this time he attended as the president of the country and sat together with True Parents. In that sense it was symbolically the meeting of Cain and Abel and very important from a providential point of view.
The next important event that took place was on February 5th -- the holy marriage of Hyo Jin nim that was held at the headquarters church in Seoul. I think you must have had many thoughts go through your mind when you heard the news that Hyo Jin nim had been married again. Over the years we've been very concerned about Hyo Jin nim's situation, but I think those who have been most concerned and invested most effort in trying to find a solution to the situation have been True Parents.
From a Principle point of view, things that should not happen have happened in the family of True Parents, and that makes us all very sad. I think the important thing is that the problems in the True Family have not occurred just because of individual problems of the children. There is also the factor that True Parents have loved us, their Cain children, to the extent that they were not able to wholly take care of their own children. In that sense they sacrificed their own children so that they could completely love us, their Cain children. Also as a result, their children felt a great deal of alienation. There was also the impact of the environment in which they were living, the environment of American society. All these factors contributed to the result that we see.
If anyone asks any of the True Children what is their greatest desire, they would all say they want to spend time with their parents. Throughout their lives True Parents have lived a course where they could not take care of their children as much as they would like. All their time and energy, physical and spiritual, has been devoted to humankind and to the members of the church.
We are all raising children of our own. Imagine what would happen if we were not there to take care of our children. What child then could grow up normally and on a straight course under those circumstances? In coming to America I learned that American parents really take care of their children. They take their children to and from school and so forth. More than any other country in the world they invest time in their children. This is not the case in Korea.
In Korea children go to and from school on their own, and even at home the parents really spend very little time taking care of their children. But the circumstances are such that even then the children are able to grow up normally. We know well that the environment in America is such that the parents have to be directly taking care of the children in order for children to grow up on a straight path. The children of the True Family are no exception. All children need the love and concern of their parents.
The children of the True Family hardly ever experienced having their parents come to their graduations. They were usually in another country so they were not able to attend these ceremonies. Perhaps a member of the East Garden staff would attend, but sometimes even that wouldn't happen. So the child would be sad and would be seen standing alone weeping among the other students.
It is true that our members have had a painful heart because of the difficulties in Hyo Jin nim's family. I think we need to know that Hyo Jin nim is just like any of our children, needing to have the love and protection and guidance of his parents. If it were the case that True Parents were not able to be there for their children because of their private concerns, then the responsibility would be theirs. But there is no one who holds the True Parents at fault for this situation.
In any case, True Parents made a very important decision this time and conducted Hyo Jin nim's re-marriage. They took full responsibility for the situation and established all the indemnity conditions so they could marry Hyo Jin nim again. During this entire time of the difficulty in Hyo Jin nim's family, I was often with True Parents. I never saw a single instance where they blamed or scolded Hyo Jin nim for the situation. Instead, Father always took responsibility himself, feeling that because of his public work he was not able to take care of him.
This time also Father stood before many members and said, as a father I was not able to fulfill everything that I should do. But we all know why it was that Father was not able to do everything he needed to do as head of a family. Father gave a great deal of meaning to this recent holy marriage. He said that it is a comprehensive indemnity for all the history that has gone by. Hyo Jin nim was also able to stand in this position because even through all his difficulties, he always had absolute loyalty to his father. That was one important condition that led to his being able to be blessed again.
Another effect of this is that by forgiving Hyo Jin nim, Father has established the condition for all the second generation to be forgiven, no matter what they have committed. In Korea there are older couples and church leaders whose children also had a great deal of difficulty growing up because their parents were away on public missions. There have been problems there. Through Hyo Jin nim's blessing all those acts have been forgiven. The grace that was given in this blessing was really tremendous. Now there really is no sin that cannot be forgiven. But those sins must not be repeated. Now no matter what acts have been committed, the way of restoration for those people has been opened up through the sacrifice that took place through the situation of Hyo Jin nim.
The sister who was blessed with Hyo Jin nim this time was Yun Ah Choi. She graduated from the same junior high school as Mother, and she also graduated from Ewha Women's University. Her parents are a 777 couple, and her father is an editorial writer at the Segye Times. Her father comes from my own home town and I know him personally. He is a very conscientious and honest person. He is also a good writer who has a sharp viewpoint.
At this time I had a chance to meet with Mr. Choi and saw a different part of his heart that I never knew before. Mr. Choi is perhaps the only member of our church on the editorial board. Most of the employees of the Segye Times are not church members. Every time there was a situation in the news about the True Family, it would come up during meetings of the editorial board, and Mr. Choi always found himself in the position of defending the True Family. He was always telling people that he was confident that some day Hyo Jin nim would become someone like St. Augustine.
St. Augustine was a person who repented because of the prayers of his mother, and he went on to open up a new history for Christianity. Before the Holy Spirit made him a new person, however, he led a very immoral life. He was sleeping with married women and others, and he had an illegitimate child or two. But through the work of the Holy Spirit he was reborn and became a completely new person, a great person in God's providence.
As we know, our brother Hyo Jin nim has really experienced a hell of hells. I believe that he will truly be able to repent and recover and become a great leader in our presence. I would like to ask you to applaud now in hope that he will be able to have a great victory.
Next was Blessing '99. This time all the important events were broadcast throughout the world over the Internet, not just by satellite. I think the Internet is something that God prepared in order to bring the world together through advanced technology. The World Culture and Sports Festival '99 was held from February 4-8, 1999, on the theme of Family Ethics and World Peace. This completed the third WCSF in Korea, with the first in 1992, the second in 1995. The fourth time will be in 2000.
During the convocation Alexander Haig spoke at the opening ceremony and praised True Parents highly. One of the most important things this time was Father's inaugural address for the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace. This was on February 6th. It was a very short speech, only five pages long. It is probably the shortest speech Father has ever given. I'd like for everyone to read this speech.
In this speech Father advances some very basic issues and questions about the structure of the United Nations. In it he proposes that the UN structure be changed to resemble the US Congress. In other words, that the UN, which is now a political body, become a lower house in the bicameral structure and that there be a new upper house formed by religious leaders of the world. This newly formed upper house would be like the mind of the UN in relation to the lower house as the body.
The origin of all the struggles in the world is the fact that humankind fell and that the mind and body within us was separated and began to struggle against each other. Father created the Interreligious Federation for World Peace to represent the heart and the Family Federation for World Peace to represent the mind. These two have been brought together as the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace.
This is probably the final organization that True Parents will create in their providential course and it is probably their destination. We are now conducting a movement so it can be not just a proposal but so that this ideal can be presented to the United Nations as a motion in the upcoming General Assembly in September.
Blessing '99 was held on February 7th, 1999 at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul. The Olympic Stadium holds about 100,000 people. We held the blessing there in 1992 for 30,000 couples, and again in 1995 for 360,000 couples. Originally we wanted to hold Blessing '99 in Japan. Because of many reasons that wasn't possible, and on January 1st it was decided at an international leaders meetings to hold it in Korea.
Because it was decided January 1st to have the blessing in Korea on February 7th, there really wasn't enough time to prepare, so all the Korean leaders, including Rev. Kwak, said, let's have it at an indoor stadium. But the largest indoor stadium in Korea holds only about 20,000 people. No one imagined that we might be having it outdoors. Especially the first part of February in Korea is terribly cold. The normal temperature then is in the teens, Fahrenheit, and it is very difficult to be standing outside for any length of time. If there is a wind in addition to that then the wind chill is way below freezing.
But Father said, no, we must have this at the Olympic main stadium. However, it is legally impossible as well because all the water pipes in the stadium are emptied in October so they don't freeze and burst during the winter. To fill up the water pipes again takes two weeks. The stadium is about 12 stories high. The rest rooms and other facilities cannot be used during the winter.
When I received the letter saying the blessing was going to be at the Olympic main stadium, I called headquarters to see if that was an error. Even when they said it was correct information, I couldn't believe it. Then Seoul headquarters told me that's what Father had decided. From that time all the members in Korea prayed that February 7th would be a warm day.
Rev. Joong Hyun Pak said, I'm sure now the members in Seoul will experience the heart of the members in Washington because we were worried about the weather on November 29th 1997. But the beginning in February is much worse that November in Washington. However, the weather in Korea began to change and it rose to above freezing. The weather was an incredible miracle that occurred.
We chartered 3,000 buses from around the country and about 160,000 people gathered. In past events we weren't able to use the field and people could only sit in the stands. But this time we were able to use the field, as you can see in the photograph. This was the largest gathering ever held in that stadium. Thousands of people were not able to even enter. A lot of people from Seoul weren't able to get in because they arrived on time and others were there early.
This Blessing '99 was a victory for our Parents. Father was always saying it should snow and be cold that day, what a beautiful scene it would be if there was snow on blessing day, but of course all the members were praying exactly the opposite. There is about an 18 or 20 degree difference between the temperature on the field and up in the highest levels of the stadium.
This was a time when spirit world received the Blessing at the same time as the physical world, so it was really a simultaneous blessing and a cosmic expansion of the blessing. As you know, many religious leaders came, including one man from the Vatican who works under an archbishop who works directly with the Pope. Rabbi Krantz from Washington attended representing Judaism.
I really feel grateful for Rabbi Krantz. He is the chairman of the National Jewish Assembly, a very qualified representative of Judaism. He is famous worldwide as a Jewish leader. He went through Israel on his way to Korea and caught a cold on the way, which turned to pneumonia by the time he arrived in Seoul. During the seven days he spent in Korea he stayed in his room, except when he went to a hospital to be x-rayed. He was only able to go to Olympic Stadium to give his blessing and then he had to return to his room. He was also deeply inspired.
On February 21st there was True Parents birthday. Father was born in 1920, so by the Korean way of counting that makes him 80 years old this year, or 79 by Western counting. If we think of human life as being on an eternal course, and if you count the 40 weeks that people spend in the womb before birth, in that way of thinking then 80 is probably the correct figure. By Western counting you discount the almost one year that you spend in the womb.
At any rate, Father is going to have a full-fledged 80th birthday celebration next year in addition to Blessing 2000. True Parents' 40th anniversary and Father's 80th birthday and Blessing 2000 and the year 2000 will all be connected. Already Father decided that Blessing 2000 will be held in Korea on True Parents birthday on the 6th day of the first lunar month. Anyway, it will be another winter blessing.
This year American members were able to give True Parents a big birthday gift. Rev. Joong Hyun Pak worked very hard with members in order to gather 2,400 letters and congratulations from American leaders. The new Speaker of the House of Representatives sent a letter. He is from Chicago and he attended numerous WFWP sisterhood meetings. In addition, eight top religious letters sent congratulations, as well as 17 Senators and 15 Congressmen, 165 mayors and local politicians, and the chairman of the National Council of Mayors. This was a tremendous gift to True Parents on their birthday, and also an inspiration for leaders in countries around the world.
As we know, America is the elder son nation. From a providential point of view, Korea and Japan are important as the father and mother countries. But eventually the objective of the parents is to have children, to raise them properly and ensure their children's success. Even if the parents are successful, unless their children also are successful then the parents can't consider themselves real parents. In God's providence, the success of America is absolutely necessary. God's will is for America to stand straight before God.
As parents grow older, they support their children from behind. Now Korea and Japan are in a position spiritually to be assisting the United States. American members now must inherit the heart and determination of True Parents in order to accomplish God's will on this earth. To have the elder sonship means you have the responsibility to attend the parents, and horizontally to be taking care of brothers and sisters in all nations of the world. So America has a responsibility to resolve the situations of hunger and crime and disease, all the problems of the world.
As members of the American church we need to have the feeling of responsibility, of ownership and elder sonship in God's providence. It is not possible that Korea's won or Japan's yen will be able to control the world economy; that is always the role of the American dollar. For America to stand right before God is the most important factor in accomplishing God's providence. Every member of the American church needs to have this sense of elder sonship and responsibility in order to accomplish God's providence.
Particularly we in Washington are in the core of America. We are living in the heart of America. America's course in God's providence depends on the position and attitude that each and every one of the members here takes in his own heart.
True Parents are coming again soon to America. The 80-city speaking tour of True Parents has begun. On March 19th True Parents will be in Washington. Three of the 24 speeches in America will be given in our region. The speech they are giving on this tour deals with each person's life journey, the significance and meaning of that journey. It is a message that transcends religious denomination or race and nationality and gives a message for each and every person of the world.
I hope that we can have a great success in these three speeches so that God's love and God's concern can really take root in the Washington area. I think we should have a 40-day special dedication period, starting tomorrow and lasting until April 11th, in which each family concentrates on hoon dok hae and the 10 o'clock prayer services so we can truly invest all our heart and spirit in making this tour a success for True Parents as long as they are in America.
I'd like to thank you and hope that God's grace and blessing will be with your family. Thank you very much.