Monday, June 24, 2013

Coming to America

Contrary to the movie “Coming to America” my arrival in America was not a comedy.  Rather, I came as part of a group of missionaries who were to participate in public crusades to introduce the American Public to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon from Korea.

It was on June 21st 1973 that our PanAm flight arrived at JFT airport in New York.  We were greeted by an enormous thunderstorm which delayed our arrival for over an hour.  When our plane finally dived through the clouds cover and New York City appeared, we were certainly glad to get off the plane.  We were welcomed by a group of members who loaded us and our luggage into several station wagons to drive us to a church property north of New York.  The rain came still pouring down and in that way New York didn’t make its best impression.  When we finally arrived at our destination, a place called “Belvedere” the rain had stopped, and we could move easily into our quarters.

How did I come to value Christianity?

I was raised in the Lutheran Church that is I went through a period of training that ended with my confirmation.  I chose the following passage from the Bible as my guide:
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
~ Proverbs 16:9
After my confirmation I didn’t have a deep faith but I always felt that I was guided by an invisible hand.  That’s why when I met a member of the Unification Church I discovered a whole new view of life, faith and values.  I truly came to value my Christian heritage and expanded in my knowledge that my life was not just my own but rather belonged to God.
True Christian values give us:

·       Personal responsibility

·       Equality of man and woman, fairness between races, and tolerance of other religions

·       Spiritual freedom to pursue technological advancement, innovations, discovery, exploration, which lead to prosperity.

·       Forgiveness – Jesus taught how to pardon trespasses

 You may say, what a minute, does Christianity implements these values?  Maybe—maybe not.  That’s why I got to appreciate Rev. Moon’s teaching.  In one section of the DivinePrinciple, we learn about the three great blessings:

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
~ Genesis 1:28

That is the essence of Jesus’ teachings, too.  We are to become mature individuals who partner between husband and wife to give birth to a family. With that spiritual discipline, we can then take care of the environment and can create a peaceful world.  Rev. Moon’s teaching makes so much more sense to me than any of the interpretations of the various denominations. 

What were my greatest obstacles coming to a new country?

When I arrived in America I couldn’t speak any English, even though I had participated in English language classes before my arrival.  I knew a few sentences like ‘how are you?’ ‘I am fine,’ ‘come,’ and just a few other words. 

I had made a determination despite my lack of English to only “converse” in this new tongue which to me sounded like people chewing gum while speaking.  My greatest advantage was that I participated in lecture presentations which I had heard before in German and could therefore understand its meaning and basic content.  On the other hand I learned the language just like any child learns new words and sentences; by repeating them over and over again.  I had several people make fun of my “speaking” because often I would translate words and they would make no sense in the new circumstances.

Why did I come to the USA?

When I left Germany in 1973 it was a divided country.  It was my youthful desire to contribute to world peace.  America was the super power with an enormous influence throughout the world.  I later on learned that Rev. Moon’s teachings contributed to the downfall of communism During the many speaking engagements, where we invited thousands of people throughout this country during the 70s, 80s and beyond, Rev. taught not only on the significance of Christianity but also on the invalidity of communism I am deeply grateful to the Rev. Moon for his contribution to the reunification of the two Germanys, and I just hope and pray that his home country of Korea can also be reunified shortly.  In his biography “As a Peace-loving Global Citizen”  he writes about his journey from the countryside of Korea to emerge on the world stage, being misunderstood, persecuted, and ridiculed.  He never wavered from his mission, a path which had been blessed by God.  Rev. Moon passed away last year at the age of 92 but his legacy and teachings will remain with us forever.

As I celebrate my 40th anniversary of coming to America, I have some regrets.  I am not sorry that I came to this country.  Every time I come back from visiting Germany I love to hear “Welcome Home” from the immigration officer.  I am just very unhappy with the ways this country is run right now.  I see that the basic Christian values are pushed aside and that the very foundation of this country is shaking.  People are asking, “Where is God in all this?”  We have been rejecting God, taking prayers out of our public schools, marriages and families are falling apart without God as the center, our country is run by politicians who are more interested in getting votes than leading this country in a constructive way, and the churches are infiltrated by immoral behavior. 
Above all, the media is totally bias to the liberal agenda that the average citizen cannot understand. What happened to those Christian Values?  Have we completely lost our love of God?  One Nation Under God?  Every time I say the Pledge of Allegiance (yes, in my Toastmasters club we recite it every meeting), I feel a tingle go down my spine and I feel proud to be a citizen of this country.


Yusun Abrahams said...
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Yusun Abrahams said...

Happy 40th Anniversary since moving to America! I am very glad you moved here. :) It's funny that you described the English (American) language as chewing gum when one speaks. I never thought of it that way.

And I also agree that it is sad that God is being pulled out of America more and more these days. I hope we can find a way to bring Him back.