Slovenia: An Unforgettable Day
July 12, 2006
Mother Moon, Kook Jin Moon and their party were welcomed at the airport of Ljubljana in a traditional Slavic way by members and children dressed in typical Slovene costume offering them bread, salt and nuts while an 11 year old boy played folk songs with the accordion. We wanted to offer the most homely welcome and make them feel the beauty of this country. And to our surprise our wish was realized when they accepted our proposal to go sightseeing on lake Bled.
Kook Jin Moon
Together with Audience
We ended up spending a beautiful family day by the lake, having lunch in a restaurant with fantastic view, riding and singing on a boat and going up to the castle to take tea and ice cream for everybody. We could almost forget that we have an important speech program waiting for us back in the capital. Finally the party arrived at the hotel one hour before the event.
The program was scheduled to start at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon, an unusual time for any kind of event. We were also worried about people’s response since many of our guests were on vacation. But after all we had made a reasonable good campaign. We sent 5.000 letters of invitation, we distributed 15.000 leaflets on the streets of Ljubljana, we had 80 large posters placed by a local company in strategic locations and many small ones in shop windows and we had a paid advertisement in two main newspapers on Saturday edition.
Compared to the event of November 2005 when Father Moon came to Slovenia, we had this time a much larger group of volunteers helping for the event. In the final days we came to be a group of 45 first and second generation working together harmoniously, among them, eleven coming from Spain, seven from Austria, three from UK, two from Italy and eight STF members. It was a beautiful experience to see our Embassy of Peace full of people filled with a high spirit.
One day as usual the group of the second generation together with some adults went to sing songs in the main square of Ljubljana to attract people and invite them for the event. All of a sudden a young priest from the Franciscan Church dominating the square came with soft drinks for the entire group singing and witnessing. They must have heard us from inside the big church. And it is interesting that the day before we had gone to visit the head of the Franciscan who is living at that church and monastery.
Besides our efforts inviting people on the streets, we also set up many appointments to visit embassies, politicians, NGOs and important people. We noticed that this time it was easier to make the appointments and also they had a more open mind to what we have to say. We also had a calling team following up all the invitations we sent. Every day several members did the calling from morning to night asking confirmations or re-confirmations of the people.
This time also we had three small symposiums, half day programs, to explain about the Principles and activities of UPF. We were very much helped by a sister, Tinka Bacovnik who is working for Women’s Federation for World Peace and helped to organize a symposium in Celje, in our Embassy of Peace in Ljubljana and in a little town in the mountains called Okonina. In all we could nominate over 30 ambassadors of peace in these events. The program in Okonina was organized by the Association of Rural Women. They had prepared the event in the Firefighters Department of the town and had prepared a choir of male singers plus boys playing folks tunes with accordions. It was a very homely and country feeling and was beautiful to see how our lectures can be adopted to any kind of audience.
Even though we had done all these efforts and we have learned a good method of work just few months before with True Father’s visit, the situation was completely different due to the time of the day and the fact that July is the typical vacation month for Slovenians. We are very grateful to the support of the Italian, Austrian and Croatian movement that mobilized many members and guests to our event in Ljubljana. Without their support it could have been very difficult to have a reasonable attendance in the Grand Union Hall, a theater that has been a witness of many important events in the nation for the past 100 years.
For a half and hour we had a very enthusiastic and diverse music contributions by a Slovene folk group, a musician from Madagascar and a female opera singer from the Baha’i Faith The musical contributions gave us an extra time to fill up all the chairs, in total 500 seats.
When Kook Jin Moon came to talk the room was full and the audience listened very carefully. He spoke with passion. Dr. Thomas Walsh did a great job as MC since this time the program was quite complex. Three representative couples at the stage and all the audience had to take the holy juice before the first speech given by Pres. Yong Cheol Song.
Mother Moon’s speech was received by the audience with respect and attention. She seemed relaxed and happy as people responded with applause to her words. After that we had the blessing of twelve couples of different nationalities, including a couple representing the Korean community of Slovenia at the stage and all the couples and people at the audience, representing the entire nation of Slovenia.
After the benediction and declaration of blessing, Mother Moon and Kook Jin received a typical Slovene lace “Cipke” gift by a couple who are Ambassadors of Peace. Then, the little grandson, Shin Joon Nim, came to the stage and joined in the three cheers of Ok Mansei. He became the center of the stage and conquered the hearts of all the people at the hall. As True Mother and Kook Jin left the stage, Shin Joon started to wave goodbye with his hands facing the audience. That made everybody extremely happy.
Ambassadors for Peace
Following the main program we had an Ambassadors of Peace award given to four people, a young Slovene world hiker, the Baha’i Faith opera singer, a famous youth educator and the singer of Madagascar, who is national reputation in our country.
That night, at the Embassy of Peace, we ended up celebrating with songs and short testimonies a day that we will never forget in our lives.