By FFWPU USA: Justin and Pat Fleischman began their mission work in the West African country of Senegal in 1975. Forty years later, the Fleischmans—along with four of their five sons, three of whom were born in Senegal, and two daughters-in-law—returned to the country from June 3 to 10, 2015, for the first visit in 23 years.
Upon arrival, they were greeted like family by the local Unificationist congregation. It was a thrill for Justin and Pat to meet familiar faces—those who were young and single when they left, but who now greeted them with families of their own. For the locals, it was a warm reunion with the missionaries, whose 17 years there represent the longest presence by any missionary to the country—what they consider a direct reflection of True Parents’ love for Senegal and its people.
While rekindling friendships, the Fleischman family also had the opportunity to witness the many wonderful projects of which the local Senegalese Unificationists are a part.
Mr. Ambroise Diagne, the national leader of FFWPU in Senegal, gave the family a tour of a local preschool and elementary school that he and his family had built from scratch. The vision for the school includes expanding to eventually include middle and high school, and to offer not just academic education but also the teaching of character and values. All of the students recite a 4-point pledge every day that includes “to love God, my nation, my parents, my brothers and sisters, and to retain my purity.”
Kyungil, the Fleischmans’ eldest son, and his wife, Renee Des Lauriers, who is a schoolteacher in the United States, noted the amazing spirit that was present in the school. “They were moved by experiencing [it] firsthand,” said Justin. Renee commented, “It was amazing to see that even though the school seemed lacking in resources compared to schools in America, everyone there was filled with so much excitement and joy. They were truly grateful and appreciative of everything they had. It was humbling and inspiring.” Read More