How I Found My True Parents
Angela Noriega is blind and learned about the Divine Principle and True Parents completely through online study.
FFWPU USA: On a Sunday morning last June, as Seattle Family Church Pastor David Roberts was preparing for Sunday service, an assistant came to his office to tell him a family she had never met was waiting alone in the sanctuary for Sunday school to start.
She had one more thing to tell about the couple: They were blind! Pastor Roberts went to the sanctuary to meet them, and found a married couple sitting with young girl who could see.
The wife introduced themselves. They were Angela and Tony Noriega with Tony’s daughter from a previous marriage. Angela said she had been waiting for years to visit the church, after learning about the Divine Principle and True Parents completely through online study. This is her amazing story of how that happened.
Many people have asked me how I was introduced to the Unification Church, how I came to know about the Divine Principle teachings and how I came to believe in our True Parents. I have found that the more I tell my story, the more at peace I feel in my heart. It’s as if our Heavenly Parent wants me to tell this story.
My son’s father and I were talking late one night in 2005, discussing different religions. He happens to be Korean, and he mentioned Rev. Sun Myung Moon. He referred to him as “Jesus Moon.” I asked him what he meant by that, and why it was so negative. He said that many non-Unificationists referred to him that way in Korea. “His followers claim he’s the Messiah,” my son’s father said. “And so does he.”
“You mean this man thinks he’s like Jesus?” I asked.
“Yes,” my son’s father said and laughed. “He thinks he can perform miracles.”
I thought about this for a while that night before going to sleep. The next day, I started doing research. I googled “Unification Church” and found a lot of information, both good and bad. I sorted through it and found the pages that had to do with the church itself. First, I found one that had all kinds of texts and a list of Holy Songs. That’s where I found the Divine Principle. I started downloading whatever I thought could help me understand the teachings. Next, I found the Family Federation website. This website, as we all know, has news, articles and videos. I found other websites pertaining to the church that had a lecture series on the Divine Principle, talks on the Holy Marriage Blessing, and so many other things. I downloaded all that I could. After this, I subscribed to the newsletter emails. I took about one year to study.
In June 2006, I received an email with some news about the opening of the Peace Center in Korea. I wished I could have been at the ceremony. Not five minutes later, I got an email with a link to videos of the ceremony and speeches by two of the True Children. I was so happy. I immediately told my friend about it. She said it was God answering my prayer.
Growing up, I was always told that if God was ever trying to tell me that something was the right thing to do or the right path to follow, I would dream about it. During my early time of studying about Unificationism, I had two dreams about True Parents. The one that has stayed with me the longest was about True Mother:
It was a God’s Day event, and at the end of everything when everyone was leaving, someone said that True Mother wanted to see me. I was surprised because, in the dream, I was merely a member of the audience. I followed the person backstage and sure enough, there True Mother was waiting.
“Mother,” I asked in Korean. “Where’s True Father?”
“True Father is not here,” True Mother replied. “But you must come with me so we can talk about your future.” She took my arm, and we walked away. As we did, I awoke with a profound sense of peace and I knew that this was the right path to follow.
In October of 2006, we moved to Seattle. Though I was constantly looking at the websites I found and collecting more information, I wondered if any Unificationists were really out there. Was all this only online? Were there any Unificationists in Seattle? How would I know them if I met them?
These questions haunted me until one Saturday afternoon in late October at a hair salon. The door to the salon opened and a young woman entered. She walked up to the counter and said that she a Unificationist from Beijing and they were raising funds to try to set up a church in Canton. She asked if the owner of the salon could contribute anything. The salon owner told her politely that she couldn’t help. My eyes flew open at the sound of the conversation and as the woman was walking away from the salon, I jumped up from my chair and followed her out the door.
“Sister!” I called after her. “Wait!” She stopped walking and turned around.
“Yes?” she asked.
“Did you say you were from the Unification Church in Beijing?”
“Yes,” she answered. “Do you know about us?”
“Yes,” I answered. I was so excited. I was smiling widely, but I was also trying not to cry for joy. She asked if my family knew about the church. I said no, and that they wouldn’t understand. She seemed to accept this as normal so we talked about how I came to know about the church. She was amazed that I found a lot of my information online.
After we talked, I apologized because I couldn’t help her either. I asked her if she’d be alright out there on her own. She said that she would and that she was not traveling alone.
I told my son’s father about what had happened. He said the same thing he always said whenever I mentioned the Unification Church: “You and your cult.” I had grown used to that, but I still tried to get him to try to find a church in Seattle. He never did; in fact, he told me that he wanted nothing to do with the church. I also tried to get my son interested in finding out about True Parents by showing him stories for children about True Father’s life, but he also wasn’t interested.
After meeting the young lady from Beijing in the hair salon, I was convinced that there were Unificationists out in the world, but I still couldn’t find a church. The directory pointed me to Tacoma, where there is a small Korean church. I was starting to wonder if I would have to go there to hear the teachings of True Father, but a few years later, in 2009, I found the address to the church in Ballard near Seattle.
It still took me five more years to finally come to this church, but ever since I have, I know I have found the place I can call home. After so many years, I have finally found my True Parents.