True Parents' History for Children
The Time Of America's Visitation Part 2
by Linna Rapkins
This is a story of Father's first visit to the United States, during which his main purpose was to establish holy ground in each of the mainland states. It was a grueling, and sometimes harrowing, journey that had to be accomplished in 40 days.
Information for these stories was gleaned from old newsletters and conversations with early members. George Norton, one of the drivers on the trip, was especially helpful, and the photographs are from slides he took and then carefully safeguarded all these years.
Over the Pacific to California
The long awaited moment had come for Father to visit America. But this would be more than just a visit to America. It would be a trip around the entire world to bless plots of ground in every state and in many countries. In each location, Father would choose a piece of land, bless it, and it would be called holy ground. From these holy grounds, God's heavenly kingdom would grow. It would be the beginning of reclaiming the physical world for God.
Father called Mrs. Won Bok Choi to his room. "Kim Young Oon has been back in the States for about four months," he said. "Now, it's time for me to go, too, and I want you to accompany me and be my interpreter."
Mrs. Choi had been helping Mother with the children, so she had to quickly train another person. As she prepared to go, she spent every spare moment studying English and praying, for this trip would be very demanding. To translate Father's exact words into English even as he spoke would be an awesome responsibility.
On the day of departure, a small group went along to see Father and Mrs. Choi off at the airport. Their faces were calm enough, but inside they were excited. Their Son-Sengnim was going around the world! He looked so handsome in his new Western-style suit, and so dignified.
In Father's suitcase, there were not many clothes. Instead, he carried gifts and little bags of dirt and rocks. At each holy ground, he would bury some dirt and a rock from Korea. In turn, from each state, he would find a stone to bring back to Korea. Heavenly Father had revealed to him all that he should do.
The flight was very long. Never, had Father or Mrs. Choi traveled so far from home. When the airplane touched down in Hawaii to take on more fuel, they got their first glimpse of the United States - palm trees, white beaches, and balmy February air.
Then they were in the air again for the final leg of their journey. The time was drawing near when Father would meet the members he had heard so much about.
"What are Americans really like?" he wondered. "I've heard so much about them. I've met American soldiers, but are they typical?"
Then he remembered something else. Turning to Mrs. Choi, he said, "Americans like to smile a lot-big smiles that show their teeth. So we must smile, too." He had already been practicing his smile in Korea. It wasn't easy, for Koreans usually have serious faces. Maybe it is their suffering life, but they just don't smile or laugh out loud very often. When they do smile, they usually look down discreetly or cover their mouth with their hand. He smiled at Mrs. Choi. Mrs. Choi smiled at Father. They laughed silently.
The sun hadn't come up yet when Father and Mrs. Choi landed in San Francisco, California. They were a little weary from the journey and from the time difference. In California it was early morning, but in Korea it was time to go to bed. Yet, Father was eager to see these precious American members and he felt wide awake. It was 5:50 a.m. on February 12, 1965.
There they were-27 bright-eyed, excited people neatly lined up, obviously eager to catch their first glimpse of him. He strode through the gate with a big smile.
First, he greeted Young Oon Kim, David Kim and Bo Hi Pak, his three missionaries. They bowed only slightly to him and shook hands, for they were in an American public place and Father had learned that Americans shake hands instead of bow. He looked at ease with this custom, but Mrs. Choi looked a little uncomfortable shaking hands with Bo Hi Pak and David Kim. They had never done that in Korea.
Wasting no time, Father proceeded down the line, shaking hands with each member. He listened to their strange sounding names: Edwin Ang, Galen Pumphrey, Doris Walder (Orme), George Norton, Carl Rapkins.... And his face lit up when he saw a familiar face-Ernie Stewart.
They all gathered round to pose for pictures before heading for one member's home in Oakland where they would be staying.
For one exciting week Father and Mrs. Choi stayed in the Bay Area. During the days, they saw the sights. They rode the cable car up and down the steep streets, they went to the zoo, they drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and ate at Fisherman's Wharf.
"Master says things look very big and spread out here," Mrs. Choi told them. "And there's much unused space." It looked like just a crowded city to the members.
Every evening there was a meeting, and Father talked to the members, learned their names, asked them to sing for him, and answered their questions. They, in turn, felt as if they were in a dream. To finally be in the same room with their Leader left them breathlessly in awe.
Father presented them with a special gift from Korea, a beautiful lacquer box containing a big white flag with the HSA-UWC symbol. Father explained to them its meaning-the twelve gates, the four positions, and the circle of give and take. It was the first time the symbol had been brought to the West, and they proudly hung it up in the meeting room.
First Holy Ground
On the second day, it was time to create the first holy ground of America. Father led the members to two peaks overlooking San Francisco. The wind blew strongly, and they wrapped their coats tightly about them as they took their positions on the northern hill. Four members were told to stand in four spots to form a four-position foundation, approximately 10 giant steps apart. The hill came to such a peak that one person had to stand on the side of the hill.
Father walked slowly and prayerfully to each position, scattering holy salt as he went-back and forth and around it three times. Heavenly Father had instructed him exactly how to do it. In conclusion, he buried the Korean soil and rock in the center and prayed.
"Twin Peaks shall have a new name," instructed Father. "This northern peak will be Father's Peak and the southern peak will be Mother's Peak, and together they will be called Parents' Peaks. It is Heavenly Father's own sanctified spot, a place where you can come to pray and not be bothered by Satan, a place that is restored.
That evening, Father explained to the members, "I must travel to all 48 states on the mainland United States, and I will make at least one holy ground in each state. I need someone to plan the trip for me, and we will leave in about ten days."
That announcement caused quite a stir. "Who might be lucky enough to accompany him on such an historic trip?" wondered each person.
"I also need two good drivers," he continued. "We will have to travel fast, and we will not be able to stay in the other states as long as we're staying in California." He paused and looked around the room. He and the Koreans discussed something in Korean.
Then, "Gordon Ross! George Norton! Are you good drivers? Can you drive through 48 states in 40 days?"
That would be at least 8,000 miles, maybe more. Was it really possible to travel that far in 40 days? George and Gordon looked at each other, then answered, "Yes, we can do it."
"Then, please prepare," said Father.
Gordon and the AAA worked together to plot a route that would take them to every state and avoid the cold winter snows as much as possible. George prepared the car and gathered supplies.
On February 19, one week after their arrival, Father and Mrs. Choi, along with Miss Kim, moved on to the second stop, Los Angeles, California. There they were greeted by center director Doris Walder (Orme), Teddy Verheyen, and a dozen others or so.
As Father shook their hands, he could feel once again their excitement, and they in turn sensed his powerful love for them. He knew that someday they might take him more for granted, but for now they were obviously overwhelmed with emotion.
For a few days they showed Father around Los Angeles - Hollywood, Paramount Studios, Disneyland Then they said to Father, "We would like to take you on a whale hunt in San Diego. It takes a couple hours to drive there."
Perhaps he hadn't expected to spend time in America on the ocean, but as he got into the boat, dressed in his western suit and tie, there was a happy and thoughtful look on his face.
Much of the day Father gazed silently out over the ocean, looking West toward Korea in the East. Was he thinking that, up to this point, he had only seen the Pacific Ocean from the other side? Was he thinking of the vast resources hidden in the depths of its powerful waves? Was he thinking of God's dominion over the seas? Perhaps, but he didn't express his thoughts that day.
He quickly proved his seaworthiness, and the members later remarked, "You could see that he loved the ocean very much, and he kept his balance better than anyone else. Some of us got sick, but not him. It seemed that he would have been happy to stay there forever." That evening, even though Father still wasn't accustomed to the American time zone, and even though everyone else was tired from the day on the ocean, he was ready for an evening meeting.
He gave a long lecture, an overview of the entire Divine Principle. It was the first time the Americans heard the Principle directly from Father.
The next morning was Sunday. Mrs. Choi announced, "Master says everyone may come along to the blessing of holy ground." Approximately 20 people piled into the cars and made a procession to Griffith Park.
At the foot of a big hill, a mountain almost, Father walked around, looking for the right spot to climb. Suddenly, he shot up the side, and the stunned group scrambled desperately to catch up. Wasting no time, he chose a flat spot at the summit, among the tough shrubs and sandy soil to perform the ceremony.
And so it came to pass that day, unknown to the rest of America, that the Western world had two holy grounds. As the members prayed with Father, a spiritual fire seemed to flash through their arms, and they felt like they were lifted up to heaven. They would never forget how close they felt to Heavenly Father and to each other that day as they stood on the new holy ground of L.A.
Each evening, Father met with the members and talked to them and answered their questions. He even answered questions about their personal situations. And always they sang and sang. He really loved singing.
Cross Country into the Sunrise
"Tomorrow we will begin our journey," announced Father. There was a last minute flurry of preparations-filling up the gas tank, packing, and tying suitcases on top of the car.
Next morning, bright and very early, Father, Mrs. Choi, and Miss Kim took their places on the middle seat, Gordon and George sat in the front, and two other members climbed into the back.
"Goodbye, Col Pak. Goodbye, David Kim. We'll see you later on the trip," they called out. "Goodbye, brothers and sisters. We'll see you later, too-when we get back."
It was Thursday, February 25, as they headed into the sunrise in their shiney blue `65 Plymouth Fury station wagon.
As they left the smog and freeways of the congested city area and put the miles behind them throughout the day, the first thing Father noticed was the feeling of spaciousness. The brown shades of the Mojave Desert stretched endlessly on and on.
At one point, a great mountain jutted sharply out of the landscape. It was the highest mountain in mainland USA, the 19,000 foot Mt. Whitney. Following their plan, they left the highway to climb the mountain. They drove until they reached about 9,000 feet above sea level. There, in the mountain's snow and thin air amidst some hardy pines, Father created holy ground.
Their ears popped as they descended back to the highway and down further to the lowest point in America, 280 feet below sea level, to Death Valley. The ground that Father blessed in Death Valley was white with salt, and yellow cliffs rose high around them in a protective embrace. On that day, America had four holy grounds, and they were all in California. Later, as the sun set behind them, they sped through the desert toward the bright neon lights of Las Vegas.
"Tonight, we will splurge and stay at the famous Stardust Hotel `on the strip,' " said Gordon.
"What's a strip?"
"It's the most famous part of Las Vegas," he answered. "It's a string of fancy hotels and nightclubs where celebrities like to come."
Las Vegas was an entertaining city, but it was late and there was very little time for sightseeing. The next morning Father blessed ground and they just went quickly on their way.
Hoover Dam came next. This was not a place chosen for holy ground; this stop was for Father, the engineer.
"Master wants to take a tour to see how it was built and how it works," said Mrs. Choi. The half hour tour revealed to them what an architectural marvel it really is-and how enormous. Father was duly impressed.
The rest of the day, as they drove through Arizona, they saw desert, desert and more desert where only the most determined can live and grow. They marveled at its towering 500-year old cactus plants that were as big as trees. They marveled at the miles and miles of unused land. They marveled at the great heat in February.
When they arrived in Phoenix, it was late at night. Jon Shuhart had prepared a place for them in a hotel, but Father said, "We would like to stay in your center." Jon was surprised, for the house was very small, but they quickly cleared the area in the little living room, and all seven travelers slept on its floor.
The next morning, in a warm sunny park, Father chose a sapling to be the center of the blessed ground. Soon after, it was time to say goodbye. Two new passengers joined them in place of the two that had come with them from L.A., and they were off once again.
The next stop was Grand Canyon.