As the clock winds down for July 15, Unificationists all over the nation have been making tremendous efforts to create a magnificent event and invite people from around the nation. In the following report, Pastor Shota Iwasaki of the Philadelphia Family Church details his journey in preparing for Madison Square Garden.
The Philadelphia ministry has just moved to a temporary location in the Germantown area. Upon moving, I discovered that Germantown has an interesting past. William Penn, the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, brought 13 Quaker and Mennonite families who had been persecuted in Europe to allow them to practice religious freedom. He called it a “holy experiment.” Hearing this, I felt that we, as Unificationists, must inherit the founding fathers’ spirit.
Not long after arriving to Germantown, a great opportunity was announced: True Mother will be speaking at Madison Square Garden! In preparing for the event, I chartered two buses, which is significantly larger than the size of the Philadelphia ministry.
I soon found out that only six people were confirmed to go to New York for buses that seated 50 people altogether. Initially, I could not help but panic. “How in the world can I find 44 people?” I asked myself.
Then, it hit me: my faith is smaller than a mustard seed. I lacked the spirit of the founding fathers of Germantown, and momentarily, I had doubted True Parents. I realized that I must have unwavering faith in order to bring 44 more people. I must have faith in order to bring joy to True Parents through Madison Square Garden. Realizing how I had been thinking from my own limited perspective, I became more determined to fill the bus, and to fill Madison Square Garden. Looking back, I am so grateful that God has given me this opportunity to find 44 new people.
With that inspiration, I went out in my neighborhood with our ministry. We taped posters for “Peace Starts with Me” onto telephone poles, inside Laundromats, and numerous other places. It quickly became evident to me that there are so many Gospel churches in Germantown, so I decided to create a display that shows a large photo of gospel singer Yolanda Adams and the 2,000-Voice Love of God Choir, who will perform on July 15.
I received help from local Unificationists, as well as Yuko Grosklos, who traveled three hours to Philadelphia from York, Pennsylvania. She was inspired to help in the drive to fill Madison Square Garden.
At our display, many people took notice of the photos of Yolanda Adams, stopping and looking with great curiosity. I told them, “Yolanda and the 2,000-Voice Choir will sing at Madison Square Garden!” I then explained that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon will give a message of truth that provides a modern solution to our divided culture.
Over a span of 90 minutes, 10 people expressed great interest in listening to True Mother and signed up for the event. One young man, as a choir team leader, was especially enthusiastic about the 2000 voice choir. A woman who is a member of a nearby megachurch said she loves Yolanda Adams, and that her son wants to go with his pastor to Madison Square Garden. Almost all of them were members or leaders of churches within two blocks of our table.
All of this happened in just 90 minutes. I am so grateful for True Parents and July 15 is truly a historic day for both heaven and earth.
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