December 18 marked the conclusion of TribeNet, a workshop for tribal messiahs from all around the nation to share their testimonies and best practices, take a pilgrimage to True Parents’ favorite sites, and enjoy some of the wonderful family entertainment of Las Vegas. From December 15 to last night, the various tribal messiahs inspired and motivated one in fulfilling their mission of blessing 430 couples while staying at the International Peace and Education Center (IPEC).
When the workshop kicked off on Friday, the tribal messiahs had the opportunity to listen to multiple leaders of the Unification movement in America discuss tribal messiahship. FFWPU USA President Rev. Richard Buessing gave the opening remarks, explaining that the purpose of the weekend was to learn from one another, making valuable memories in honor of God and True Parents. FFWPU Continental Chairman Dr. Ki Hoon Kim speaking on the five main best practices of the American movement in 2017, his hopes looking forward to 2018, and the importance of maintaining one’s life of faith through the ups and downs of life.
In one of the most memorable moments from the weekend, Co-Chair of the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC) Dr. Michael Jenkins and his wife Reiko Jenkins shared their testimony about completing 430 Holy Wine Blessings this year. The tribal messiahs roared with laughter while listening, as the Jenkins shared their lessons learned with gracious and self-effacing humor. Click here to read their testimony.
On the following day, there were two main types of activities: learning through sharing, and enjoying and appreciating one another’s company. The learning was ample as multiple couples discussed their personal experiences in their tribal messiahship journey. The tribal messiahs shared how, in many cases, they are working in cooperation with other Unificationists to achieve their goals together. Whether through building local networks or hosting collaborative events, they are finding ways to work together and in so doing are tapping into a uniquely creative energy to meet those goals.
Another prominent theme in our top tribal messiah testimonies: begin wherever you are. Demian Dunkley, National Director of Witnessing and Education, reverberated this theme at the conclusion of the workshop: “When we hear so many different approaches and experiences with Tribal Messiahship, we are reminded that God can work with everyone who takes action, regardless of their situation, so the way is open for us all to bring our unique and exotic fruits to the banquet together.”
A particular testimony that exemplified both of these themes was that of Claudette Kambara and Sang Moo Bornerman. At Famicon earlier this year, Joe and Sun Willett shared about how they started their tribal messiahship efforts by offering the Marriage Blessing to many of their regulars at Sun’s flower business. This weekend, Claudette Kambara and Sang Moo shared their insights about the power of doing the same. Encouraged by the Willetts’ example, Claudette has stood on the foundation of her flower business to share the Marriage Blessing with her customers and contacts. Sang Moo reaches out to everyone she meets to share the Blessing: at her watercolor classes, her fitness classes, the classes she gives to teach English. Wherever she goes and whatever she does, she builds friendships and brings her faith openly and freely to those friendships.
On the third day, the participants gathered together with Unificationists from the local area for a morning worship service at IPEC, where Rev. Richard Buessing, delivered the sermon, reflecting on the course of the Unification movement in America this past year. The tribal messiahs then took the opportunity to celebrate God, True Parents, and one another as they drove out to Red Rock Canyon, went bowling together, and, later in the evening, dressed up for a formal banquet and celebration of tribal messiahs.
When the tribal messiahs bid their farewells to the other tribal messiahs across the nation, it was evident that TribeNet had been beneficial for many of its participants. “I’m more confident,” said Esther Batino, a Filipina Unificationist. “When you have the knowledge and you are equipped with tools, nothing can stop you. The reason my husband and I were hesitant is because we didn’t know how to be tribal messiahs in America. After hearing the testimonies, and insight on how to do it here, I feel nothing can stop me. In the Philippines, it was a completely different ballgame.”
Nancy Jubb, a second-generation Unificationist, also spoke about her heightened confidence: “I think everybody is a little bit scared to go out witnessing. But being here with so many other people, and seeing them go out and just do it inspired me to face that fear, and to just try and see what happens,” she said. “Even though I might not have a perfect plan for doing that, it reminds me that, at the end of the day, I want to share my faith with other people. And it’s not about convincing people to sign up to anything or join me, but it’s really just going out and sharing.”
Become part of TribeNet today! Click here to join the Tribal Messiahship Network.