The Americans have landed. Fifty two of us landed in Japan on September 4 and traveled to Miyazakidai Training Center in Kanagawa, to the south of Tokyo. Our welcome banquet started at 7 p.m. Rev. Dae Hem Yu and Mrs. Chung (wife of Rev. Young Whi Kim) hosted us, together with President Katsumi Otsuka and all the Regional Directors of Japan. After a lovely meal, the Americans, then Japanese, and finally Koreans sang songs. Reverend Yu gave a speech on the providential steps being undertaken now centering on True Parents. At about 9:45 we adjourned to another room to begin our briefings.
That evening and into the next morning, intervened by two hours of sleep and Sunday morning pledge service and Hoon Dok Hae, President Ostuka gave an overview of the Unification Church activities in Japan, together with reports on CARP-PLA from Mr. Eiji Tokuno, with special attention paid to witnessing and education by its director, Rev. Ki Man Lee. Mr. Seung Yeul Park also gave a stirring report on the intensive tithing being made by the Japanese members.
The briefings totalled some six hours and were extremely enlightening. The Japanese movement is centralizing, centered on the church itself, gathered administratively into regions, districts, "areas," "blocks" or "cells," and individual families. They have faced and overcome many of the difficulties blocking the development of the American church. Their educational system is well-organized and even in an age in which the focus is on the material foundation, hundreds of new members are added every month.
We departed Mizawakidai Training Center mid-morning and arrived at the HQ church in Tokyo for Sunday Service. President Otsuka delivered the sermon, followed by a few remarks by yours truly. Then the American members, who manage to sound something like a choir, sang two songs -- "You've Got a Friend" featuring Rev. Pierre-Louis from Harlem, and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Service was followed with a lunch from the local Burger King and dividing up into groups assigned to each region. Traveling by plane, train and automobile, all arrived in their new homes by late afternoon and the activities began.
Through it all we could feel the spirit of God and True Parents. We are reading God's Will and the World for Hoon Dok Hae, and it is taking on a new meaning altogether. Pres. Otsuka told us that Father said he selected those speeches especially as a message to the Mother nation, so the Elder Son Nation now has to inherit that content.
The Pledge service especially was spirit filled. When we were together as a group, there was a strong feeling of providence lifting us up. Our Japanese hosts are desiring to be very open and honest with us about the reality, and reality brings us closer to God. We departed to our various sites with a sense of seriousness mingled with our enthusiasm. Brothers and sisters of America, don't forget us in your prayers!
ITN, your servant reporter, TH