by Jose Fragosa

It was a time when I was working at Washington Times. We had a big meeting at Capitol gardens in Washington, DC. Bo Hi Pak asked us “Does anybody want to back to the main mission, to witness and fundraise?” IOWC was a good condition, we’d just come back from the Blessing. I decided to go, and my mission started in Rhode Island with Peter Brown, IOWC 41.

We stopped in Columbia, South Carolina, and David, one of the New Hope Singers, was my central figure. Reverend Lee wanted to break the IOWC into groups of three, to go out to different cities. We were supposed to go and not rent an apartment, or a house. We were supposed to stay with churches, and only after we broke through, stayed at churches three times for at least 15 days each, could we think of renting our own apartment.

We had a beatup Ford van. Me and two Japanese sisters, Yoko and Akemi. Akemi was Nisei, Japanese American. Yoko was 100% Japanese. So we were sent to South Carolina, which has deep roots of Christianity. Very strong.

We went to this place, and the first night we witnessed at different churches. When night came, we didn’t know what to do, because we didn’t find any church to accept us to stay there. So we decided, about 10 o’clock, to go to this huge shopping center parking lot. We went all the way to the end, and I let the sisters sleep in the van. I walked out.

We had these huge flower signs, for fundraising. I took two of them and leaned them together like a tent to sleep under. I was just about to go to sleep when the police came.
“This is not a place for camping! What are you doing here?”
“We’re not camping, we’re missionaries.”
“What do you mean you are missionaries?”
His partner said “Wait a minute. Are you guys the Moonies?”
“You guys are in the wrong spot. You guys have 5 minutes to pack up your things and leave.”
“Who’s inside of the van?”
“My sisters.” He was on his way to knock on the van.
“No no no.” I said. “Don’t do that. They’re so tired, they worked all day.”
“Who are you to tell me what to do!?”
So the sisters woke up, very tired and they kicked us out. We left, and we went out by some farm fields. We stayed there, sitting in the van, waiting for the day to come up.
When the sun came up, we went into the city and fundraised until about 1 o’clock. After that, we went to the library, and addressed envelopes to all the different churches. We sent out so many letters, to all the churches around our area.
So for five days, we lived like this. I slept outside, found a way to sleep outside the van. Finally, we found a church out in the middle of nowhere. We went to McDonalds, and filled our plastic buckets with hot and cold water, put them in the back of the van.

Behind the church there was this parking lot, the church was closed, nobody there. We just set up flower signs to make a shower area. I went to the front of the church to make sure nobody came back there while the sisters took a shower. After they finished, I took a shower.

My big experience there, was after we took showers. It had been a difficult day, really struggling, and I lost spirit. Struggling with my life of faith, what I was doing. I was so tired. Father was in jail at that time.

We parked the van on one side of the church. In the front of the church was an old cemetery, old fashioned crosses. After I showered, the sisters prepared some dinner, and we ate and prayed. I said good night, I set my signs up and rolled out my sleeping bag underneath. I got in my sleeping bag and stretched my arms out to the side, fell asleep.

When the full moon rose, it came up behind a cross in the cemetery, and the shadow of the cross fell on me and outlined me as I lay there with my arms stretched out, exactly. I woke up and there was the whole shadow of the cross on me. If I moved my hand, moonlight. Moved it back, shadow. I was lying in the center of the cross.
“Am I dead or am I alive?” I wondered. I rolled my head, saw the big moon. Rolled in back into shadow.
“Oh, Jesus, this is how you feel?”
Anyway, I stayed there for about 15 minutes, just reflecting upon it. Seeing the light if I moved, right in the shadow of the cross. After that I got up, I couldn’t sleep anymore. Just in prayer, with your eyes closed.
My eyes were closed for quite a while, but when I opened them I saw the shadow of the cross had moved and was touching part of the van. I came out, and stood in front of the van, just watching the moonlight in the cemetery. Then Yoko woke up.
“Jose-san! Jose-san! What are you doing?”
“I’m following the cross.”
“What do you mean you’re following the cross?”
“It was inside where I was sleeping, but now it moved to you guys. So I’m following the cross.”
“You’re crazy! Go to sleep.”

Finally Yoko found a church that allowed the sisters to stay there, but not me. I slept in the van outside the church and the sisters stayed inside. We became very famous, had a very big success in South Carolina. I think we had about 15 ministers from South Carolina come to one of our ministers’ rallies in New York.

I feel these are some of the big experiences we had, to stand up when Father was in jail. There are so many details and emotions that we went through. Sometimes the spirit world really nailed us down to see what we’re made of, to realize if we’re for real or not. To really stand up for what I believe, not because somebody told me, but because this is what I believe.

Without this, if you don’t understand, it’s easy to lose your vision, to feel frustrated and then you feel like someone’s pushing you to do this or that, and strong Cain-type feelings come up. Reject this and reject that. So easy to reach a category where people think you have spiritual problems.

For me this time was the most important, symbolically being reborn, and stand for rebuilding my faith. Since that time, I am so grateful to this Korean leader. At the time, I thought it made no sense. “Why is he doing that? Sending me to the middle of nowhere with these two sisters? We’re not supposed to rent an apartment?? Where are we supposed to live?” I felt responsible to these two sisters. I was the man, and I had to watch out them.

By the end, we were so focused on the mission, so united with each other, that we didn’t have to watch out for anything. This was one of the biggest experiences for me. I feel that I earned this connection with Heavenly Father and True Parents, this is very personal, defending my family when it really mattered. Defending is not physical confrontation or argument, but to really put your heart on the line where there’s life and death. If you can survive death, there is such an incredible blessing that can come to you.
I don’t feel like I earned much, but Father multiplied it incredibly, with the kind of family I got. So if you can persevere through those times, when it doesn’t seem to make any sense, these kind of blessings can come to you.