Thought that brothers and sisters would be interested in what happened when True Parents arrived back in Korea on Friday, February 4th, 2000 and the next day. Here are a few notes that I sent out to my family. Sorry, there is no time to "universalize" this info. Please feel free to send this out to your extended family across the world.
God bless you and your family,
February 6th, 2000
Dear Omma, Young Ai, Young Nam, Sujung, Sei Pyung and Hyo Nam,
Greetings from Seoul, Korea, God's nation of hope for the establishment of His eternal Kingdom on Earth. I miss all of you! I hope that everyone is all right. I arrived safely in Seoul, Korea. The flight was pretty good. I had a whole row in the center of the plane all to myself. I could stretch out over 4 seats and get some sleep. The food was not all that good, but I got to see 2 movies during the 14-hour flight.
Mike Leone and I came on the same flight. We were the first ones to arrive from America to prepare for Blessing 2000. We arrived at our hotel, called the Garden Hotel, which is part of the Holiday Inn chain, at around 6pm on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2000. Since we crossed the date line, we jumped ahead one day, and as Young Ai said when I talked to her on the phone the other day, I am living in the future.
Mike and I are rooming together and we are determined to be the best advance team to prepare the way for our brothers and sister to come to Korea from the North American Continent. Mike joined the church in 1968. He is a happy and outspoken heavenly champion who organized many of True Parents early speaking tours in the USA. We went over to the office building, the Dowon-Building built and owned by our church. It is quite beautiful and it has a large Logo of our Church Symbol attached to both sides near the top of the building. We share our office with the other representatives of each continent. There are a total of 7 continents represented in the office.
I had a hard time to get my e-mail working, but at last I was able to do it. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me there.
The office tel no is 011-822-3279-6057
The office fax no is 011-822-3279-6059
The tel. no at the hotel is 011-822-717-9441
The hotel of course is very modern and just like any other hotel in the US or around the world. Just behind the hotel, however, we can find the "real Korean" living as they have lived for thousands of years. There are many little restaurants and the food, the bulgogi and kalbi is quite tasty and reasonably priced.
Our first mission was to go to Chung Pyung and arrange for all of our guests to have a beautiful event there on Saturday, the 12th of February. Ingui, a Korean brother who is helping Mike and me took us there. We went by taxi to the bus station and took a bus from there to a small village about 5 miles from the Chung Pyung International Training Center. We took another taxi to go there.
When we arrived, large crews of members cleaned and decorated the street leading up to the property. They are preparing an absolutely beautiful birthday bash for True Parents. I was absolutely amazed by what I saw. I could not believe my eyes. The Palace that Dae Mo Nim built for True Parents is, in the words of Mike Leone, absolutely stunning. Chung Pyung has changed so much since Omma and Appa were there three years ago, I could not even recognize it.
I forgot to bring a camera. Omma, please bring our camera when you come here! Anyway, when are you coming and where are you staying? Today, Sunday, February 6, 2000, it is now 8:00 am here in Korea; I will get the name list and the hotel assignments for everyone, so I will know where you will be hanging out Omma.
We met with Rev. Sang Chil Cha and Mrs. Soonja Richardson. They were very nice to us and after our official meeting was completed, they showed us around the temple. The temple is an incredible building. It will seat 10,000 people on beautifully polished and heated floors on two levels. The craftsmanship was absolutely perfect. Mrs. Richardson told us that Dae Mo Nim oversaw everything that was built, even the smallest details. The whole design came from the Spirit World, from Heung Jin Nim.
Workers were still putting on finishing touches in various places throughout the building. Beautiful and unique golden moldings were being attached in one area of the main lobby. As workers cut the pieces I walked over to their work place and picked up a couple of pieces that had been cut and discarded. I will bring it back to the US with me as an eternal piece of memorabilia for you to see. Mrs. Richardson told us that the design is a unique one. It will never ever be used again on any other building. It will only be displayed here in this temple.
Even when something was not correct inside the walls, Dae Mo Nim would be able to see it and have it torn down and the mistake corrected. For instance, when a wall was not completely filled with cement on the inside, meaning that there was an air bubble in the wall, she could "see" this and had the problem corrected immediately.
The third floor was built exclusively for the True Family. Mrs. Richardson told us that we would not be able to go up there because it just was not a public place. However, for some reason Rev. Cha led us up there to the floor and we were able to walk around on that floor. The finishing touches were still being put on here as well. The beauty of this place was just amazing. We truly felt blessed being able to see the place. My hope is that in the future, everyone will establish a true family and thus will be able to live in heavenly places such as this one. I am sure that that is God's and True Parent's goal as well. It might take quite a bit of time, however.
We even went up to the roof. The view was very beautiful. Mrs. Richardson told us that Father likes to come up there and spend some quiet time on the roof. In front of the building stood a tree. When I looked more closely, I realized that this tree was the "Tree of Life." I was totally amazed, because the last time I prayed at the Tree, I had to climb up quite a steep road to get to it. Now the ground has been moved around so much that actually the tree is right in front of the Temple.
Up to 10,000 people can come here at one time. Thus, even the building housing the showers and bathrooms is very, very big. It is almost like a second temple. The whole place is absolutely amazing. The spirit is very clear and I felt very free there. Finally, it was time for us to return. We had an absolute confidence that our Blessing 2000 Attendees would have a great time here.
Getting back to the city was arranged by heaven, I felt. We initially intended to return to Seoul by bus, however, the taxi driver told us that there would be no bus for a while, but we should go to a small town nearby and take a train. When we got to the train station, the train was waiting for us and as soon as we boarded it, we took off. It was about a one-hour trip.
When we arrived in Seoul it started to snow a little bit. We walked around for a little while to find an original kalbi restaurant. We eventually found one and had a good time cooking our food on the table. After dinner we went back to our hotel. There is nothing much on TV, but there are a couple of English channels that broadcast the Today Show and other US programs one day late. Yesterday I saw the last quarter of the Knicks vs Portland game on a Chinese language channel.
On Friday morning I organized my desk somewhat. However, there was not so much to do later on so, Mike, Ingui and I prepared ourselves to greet True Parents who were expected to arrive in Seoul from New York at 6:00 pm that evening. Friday was also New Years Eve according to the Chinese and Korean Calendar. It was a national holiday for the Koreans and hardly anyone worked. The streets, usually filled with bumper to bumper traffic were nearly deserted. The sidewalks were just as deserted as the streets.
The security at Hannam dong, True Parent's home here in Seoul was very tight. Since our names were not on any list, Ingui, our Korean Second-Generation friend had the solution to our problem. His family and Dr. Yang's younger sisters' families are pretty good friends. She lives right behind True Parent's house, since her mission is to serve True Parents. We arrived at her house at about 5:00pm. The Hannam dong house sits right on top of a small mountain, overlooking the Han River. Dr. Yang's sister asked us to wait in her house while she was going up the main house to prepare for True Parent's arrival.
While we were waiting, Mike, Ingui and Hee Hun Standard who had arrived late the night before ate some Korean pears and played some golf. The owners of the house had a little one hole putting game that was quite some fun to play. The four of us had a little tournament and we even did some betting on the shots. After about one hour we received a call to tell us that True Parents were on the way. We went up to the Main House were we all lined up outside to greet True Parents. The whole yard was beautifully decorated with lights on every tree. The weather was nice, about 38º F and not a breeze in the air.
The security here seems quite professional, almost like a small specially trained army unit. When True Parents car drove in, all the guards saluted. Everyone else shouted mansei and applauded. After True Parents went into the house, we all rushed in as well. There were a lot of people and the house is not so big, but we managed to squeeze in and witness what was going on. Father asked Dr. Yang, who traveled on True Parents plane to give the first report. He reported on the 80th birthday party we held on January 22nd in Washington DC for True Parents, as well as the event on "the Hill" on February 2nd, where True Father spoke to many congressmen and senators. It was a rather lengthy report but I could not understand anything that was said because the language that was spoken here was the language of the Fatherland. After Dr. Yang's report, Rev. Kwak and President Sun Jo Hwan gave a report. After the reports everyone watched the video from the January 22nd event. Before we left, Dr. Yang asked the four of us to come back the next morning for Hoon Dok Hae. He got special permission from True Father to invite us, since originally it was to be just a Korean "happening." Not even Japanese leaders were present that day.
The next morning we went to Hannam dong again. We arrived at 5:20am. This time our names were on the list, Dr. Yang must have put them there. When we got into the house there were only two sisters who were cleaning up the room, no one else had arrived yet. I was somewhat surprised, this could never happen in New York. After about 15 minutes, gradually more and more people came. When True Parents came down for HDH, there were about 50 to 60 people in the room. I was sitting about 15 feet away from True Parents. It was a unique experience, not just because I could not understand anything, but also because Mike and I were the only Westerners there. This would hold true for the rest of the day. We spent 11 hours with True Parents that day.
Mrs. Won Ju McDevitt read very well and Father seemed to really enjoy the session. True Mother tried to convince True Father several times to stop and have breakfast, but to no avail. After about three hours we stopped and True Parents stood up at front and said a special prayer for this Chinese/Korean New Year's Day. True Father actually announced that officially, the new millennium was starting today, at this very New Year's Day, February 5th, 2000. Then it began to sink in with me that this was a very special and historic moment. Mike and I were certainly very happy and honored to have participated and witnessed this special moment.
After the prayer everyone went downstairs to have special soup that is traditionally eaten on New Year's Day. It had some rice cakes in it but otherwise I could not figure out what it was made from. It was quite tasty though. Dr. Yang told us that after the breakfast there would be a New Year's Party. True Parents came back to the main room dressed in the traditional Korean attire. More people had come by now and the place was packed again.
There were some reports and testimonies until noon. Mike and I did not know what was going on, but the atmosphere was very high and we enjoyed being there with True Parents and all our Korean brothers and sisters. It was beautiful to see how True Father interacted with all the Korean members, young and old. They were True Parents' children, there seemed to be no doubt in True Parents mind and in the minds of all present, that this truly was a family affair. Even when True Father was scolding someone, he did it with so much love. It was so obvious to me that True Parents were very happy to be with everyone.
Nevertheless, even though Mike and I had a great time, I could now understand much better the Japanese brothers and sisters who are attending EG or Belvedere without understanding much of what is happening around them. It is not easy to spend an extensive amount of time in a place filled with people and not being able to understand anything. Both Mike and I had a deep experience with Spirit World teaching and guiding us directly on how to overcome personal situations. This was probably totally unrelated to what was read during Hoon Dok Hae or what True Father talked about after that. It was a great experience for me.
After a simple lunch, the New Year's Party continued. Father asked the men and women if they ever hit their spouse during a fight. Several men raised their hands. Father had the couples come up to the front one by one and re-enact the incident. Then Father told the wife to get even and hit the husband the same way she had been hit by him. In most cases this was very funny and everyone had a good time.
After that, True Father asked all the members in their 80's to come up and bow to True Parents. After the bow they lined up to receive a 100,000-Won money order from True Father. After they were through, True Father worked his way down to the youngest blessed couples. Everyone got their gift from True Parents without exception. Those who had a birthday in January also qualified for the gift. Ingui, the brother working with us was one of those lucky ones. He collected two money orders.
When that was finished, True Father asked if there were any pregnant sisters in the house. Three raised their hands. True Father seemed to be somewhat disappointed that there were only three. One sister was pregnant with twins. True Father gave her a whole stack of 10,000 Won bills. Based on the size of the stack of those bills I carried around, she must have received about two million Won, about $2,000. The other two sisters got half that.
At around 3:00 pm the inevitable Yute game broke out. Dr. Yang was our team leader and we had a good game going. However, the other team lead by Mrs. Socrates beat us fair and square in two straight games. There was no longer a reason for us to stay and thus we were on our way to the hotel by around 4:30 pm.
It was quite an exciting day, a day I will certainly not forget for a long time. Now it is getting closer and closer to the "big event" and we are getting more and more challenges to face. Dr. Hendricks has just arrived. It is now Sunday evening, 7:30 pm and we will all have dinner at the Hotel at 8:00 pm. I will stay in touch with you "guys" as much as I can.
Please send me some e-mail. You have my address.
God Bless you all,