Carina Mendez from CARP Uruguay spent 21 days with CARP Los Angeles as an international student sponsored by FFWPU USA. Read our first interview with her before her stay and now the following interview after completing her work with CARP LA.
What are three takeaways from your 21-day stay with CARP LA?
The most important takeaway from this experience was realizing the importance of witnessing. I learned that witnessing is not just an activity to push people to become a member. In our daily lives, we are always trying to share God’s heart with others. Through actually doing outreach, we learn and experience deeply God’s heart. So we’re feeling in practice something that we knew by theory. By doing that, we can find real happiness.
The second takeaway was learning that the kind of heart with which I do outreach is the most important. It’s not the amount of time or how I do the outreach that matters but the attitude with which I go out to reach out to people. Some days, I would go out for just one hour but if during that one hour, I could make the right condition with the proper heart, then God could work through me.
The last takeaway was that I needed to work on myself and overcome some challenges. For example, for the first two weeks that I went out to do outreach, I could not create any substantial results. I would invite people and they would agree to come but eventually they never showed up. But during my last three days, I was able to talk to one student who came to study Divine Principle with us and became very interested.
God always prepares some challenges for me that turn into opportunities to learn and become stronger. In the end, he gave me an amazing experience like this. Thank you, God!
How was the experience of doing outreach on campus? Was it different from outreach back on your country’s campuses?
The experience of doing outreach on campus was so good. People here are so kind and friendly. I also learned a lot of things from working together with the Japanese mothers on the Pasadena Community College campus. They have a lot of experience!
Witnessing in Uruguay is done in a similar way; with a survey and one-on-one Divine Principle study.
What are some ideas you are excited to take back and implement in CARP Uruguay?
I would like to start doing outreach with CARP in Uruguay just like I did in Los Angeles. It would be nice if we can inspire our older members to go out with us as well.
During my stay in Los Angeles, we also had a big Karaoke party with all the guests and CARP members. I really liked it! I would love to organize a party like that back in my country, too.
What was your greatest challenge during these 21 days in LA? How did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge was getting adjusted during my first week and overcoming a culture shock. America is very big so there are always people coming and going. So it’s natural that if you are new, you have to introduce yourself and try to find your place. But because of this, at first I thought, “Nobody cares that I’m here.”
However, things became a lot better when I stopped thinking about myself and started to take care for people. I started to feel less like a guest and more like an owner.
I learned that I have to give love first, and that I shouldn’t wait for love. Through this, I have come to value this experience a lot more.
Have you had any change in perspective after completing these 21 days?
Yes, first of all, I came to see that God can work through everyone, everywhere. So it doesn’t matter if God sends me to another place in the future. Wherever I go, I can work for God.
Witnessing isn’t just for full-time members. Witnessing is for everyone; myself included.
I also changed my perspective about the USA. Here, I saw an active community and many young first generation members. That makes me very hopeful because the US is like an older sibling for us. So being able to see and be a part of such an active community made me feel so happy and inspired.
Do you feel like you were able to contribute to CARP LA in some way? How? (it could be a small thing)
I think so. I brought three people to study the Divine Principle and hopefully they will continue to do it. And I tried my best to create the best environment possible in every activity. But I think I was able to learn a lot more things from CARP LA and the members there.
Would you recommend international CARP students to spend some time with CARP America? If yes, why?
Yes! Of course! It’s a very good place to learn how to do outreach. There are many members who know how to take good care of everyone. They have a lot of experience and LA people are so kind, too!
We introduce the next President of CARP and former National Program Director, Teresa Rischl.
For the past three years, Teresa has been working alongside former president, Naokimi Ushiroda, as Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Program Coordinator and, in her latest role, as National Program Director.
United with Naokimi, Teresa was instrumental in raising CARP to the place it is now. Her demonstrated commitment and dedication to CARP’s mission has led her to be appointed CARP President as of February 2017, with the blessing of Mother Moon (co-founder of CARP) and the CARP Board of Directors.
Teresa is passionate about giving young people a support system, stemming from her own experience as a college student. Growing up she was a natural leader and was concerned about creating an inclusive environment where everyone could grow together.
Knowing the challenges that students face on campus, she is committed to offering students the opportunity to be involved in something greater than themselves and to truly discover what is important to them.
Teresa and a college classmate joining in on a social media campaign against human trafficking in 2012.
Teresa Goes to College
Although Teresa initially intended to participate in a faith-based gap year program after high school, she felt God was calling her to go to college and volunteer with her local youth ministry.
In 2008, she enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) as a Biology major with the hopes of going to medical school someday. As a freshman, Teresa joined a co-ed professional pre-health fraternity where she gained experience and opportunity in the health field. While this afforded her a community to study and socialize with, she was surrounded by students whose motto was, “Study hard, party harder.”
Caught between the pressures of classes, social life, and youth ministry, Teresa found herself questioning the principles she had grown up with. This is the typical experience for an emerging young adult.
A bit later, she was approached by Miilhan Stephens (the CARP chapter President at UMD at the time) and Hero Hernandez (the National CARP President at the time) to join CARP. Teresa resisted it at first but was touched by the personal care and support they offered.
Teresa at a CARP stand talking with a student at the club fair at UMD.
She had also reached a point in her growth where she knew what was important to her – family, faith, and making a difference in the world. So, Teresa committed herself and stepped up as CARP President of the UMD chapter and as the Young Adult Coordinator at her local church.
Under her leadership, CARP UMD hosted numerous events on campus including discussion forums, club fairs (where they invited ‘Mr. The Fish’ to entertain students), stress relief activities during finals week, service projects creating care packages for other students, and more.
Teresa also established a weekly ‘Divine Principle Forum’ at the local CARP center and organized trips for students to visit the CARP HQ in New York City with Victoria Roomet and others.
Teresa posing with the CARP mascot, Mr. The Fish, with a fellow CARP member.
Wanting to travel, Teresa finished her undergraduate degree online, after eventually deciding to change her major to Business. She spent some time in New York City (as Program Coordinator for a summer leadership program under Naokimi before he was CARP President) and then Europe before taking a job as a nanny in Connecticut to finish her last few credits.
Progressing through the Ranks of CARP
When Naokimi was appointed as CARP President in July 2013, Teresa connected with him about his vision and wished him luck on his new mission. Naokimi would later invite her to work part-time as an administrative assistant for CARP.
“I wanted to help Naokimi out, but I didn’t think I would stay around as long as I did. For a while it was just the two of us as staff of CARP America.”
After CARP’s first workshop at the University of Bridgeport, Teresa became a full-time staff member, taking on the role of Executive Assistant and Secretary of the CARP Board of Directors.
Teresa giving a talk at the CARP Officer’s Training workshop.
With very little staff, Teresa became a jack-of-all-trades and got experience in different areas of nonprofit management including HR, operations, strategy, membership, fundraising, communications, and more.
CARP staff members came and went, but the organization found a firm footing in 2015 after recruiting three new staff members – Taka Sugawara, Nina Urbonya, and Justin Okamoto – from an international ‘Global Top Gun‘ workshop. These young adults had demonstrated their competency, skill, and commitment as CARP students themselves.
Teresa posing with the growing CARP America team in 2016.
With a larger team in place, Teresa was promoted to National Program Director. Meanwhile, Teresa also began working towards a Master in Public Administration (MPA) from Marist College. She plans to finish her master’s in nonprofit management in May 2018.
Teresa is hopeful and excited for the years to come. She is committed to bringing joy and incredible success to God and CARP’s founders, Father and Mother Moon.
After collecting CARP alumni testimonies from the past 50 years, she hopes to continue and honor the incredible legacy that was created before her.
Teresa with former CARP president, Naokimi Ushiroda.
It’s been just a month since she took on this new role and she has already visited several college campuses, researched the purpose for CARP from its founders, listened to recommendations by the community, and initiated a national call with local CARP representatives.
“The only way we’re going to accomplish anything great is by working together. I think one of my strengths is in bringing people together so I hope I can contribute my skills in this meaningful and significant time.”
Stay tuned for further developments from this dynamic and powerful woman leader and the national CARP team. If you’d like to be part of the magic, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Teresa loves rocking out and dancing in front of the mirror when no one is watching. Her favorite tunes recently are “Wild Things” by Alessia Cara and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake.
Teresa and husband, Neil, attended the 2015 Marriage Blessing ceremony.
Teresa and her husband, Neil, just celebrated their 2-year anniversary. They’ve both traveled extensively and settled in Bloomfield, New Jersey a year ago. Already active in the NJ community, this dynamic duo spends their ideal evening cooking and spending quality time with friends.
I first came to work with CARP after graduating UTS in 1980. At that time, Tiger Park was the leader of CARP and this was an exciting time.
You could say CARP was a very masculine organization. We were trained to be tough, to stand up to rowdy leftist student demonstrators, to march in rallies and to debate over the issues of Communism and the Cold War.
In 1982, however, CARP culture shifted to a more nurturing family atmosphere, which was crucial for our witnessing and outreach activities.
The Joy of Pioneering
That year, 1982, (right after the 2075 Blessing) I was asked to pioneer a CARP chapter at University of Alabama, Birmingham.
The assignment was to become a student, do “Campus Home Church,” establish a CARP chapter on campus, engage speakers and create campus events, connect with professors, impact the culture of campus, and witness to new members, while maintaining self-support through fundraising.
Christine preparing to speak to members in the 1980s.
I remember after finding a small house to rent, I had a showdown prayer under a few trees on campus – three nights for 40 minutes – asking God, “Why did you send me here?!”
I was not particularly inspired yet to be in the south. I was feeling very small, in a place that seemed insignificant and far away from the excitement in Atlanta, or New York for that matter.
On the third night, I had a profound experience of the voice of God speaking within my heart, “You are my hope! My only hope for this campus!” This was quite a surprise. I threw up my hands to God and said, “OK I am ready for whatever you have prepared for me to do here!” The next morning, I received a phone call from a professor.
“Is this Christine Moore?”
“…Yes, how do you know me?”
“I heard you are the moonie on campus, and I’d like to ask if you could speak to my class.”
Remembering my prayer from the night before I said, “Yes, I guess I could…and when would you like me to speak?”
He answered, “Today! To my journalism class.”
Remember these were the days when journalists were not friendly at all to our movement! But I could not refuse. I went there that afternoon, and responded to a torrent of questions, the most exciting of which were about the mass weddings so I told the story of our Matching and Blessing.
By the time I finished the interview, the students were actually asking for my phone number, and showing sincere interest in CARP, when the professor interrupted and I was summarily dismissed.
Later that semester, I made friends with the school newspaper editor who invited me to do a full interview on the front page of the school paper. This was my first taste of the joy of pioneering.
Christine teaching new members on Twin Peaks in California, her next destination.
Relationships in Unlikely Places
One of my best experiences was at Stanford University. In 1984, after I requested to go to the place where there would be the most witnessing, Dr. Seuk (who became the President of CARP) sent me to N. California to establish CARP on campus as a graduate student.
I was honored to be given this opportunity to pioneer in such a stimulating environment.
During my year at Stanford, I took two classes in Moral Education with a professor called Nel Noddings. Dr. Noddings taught “A Feminine Approach to Moral Education,” and I will never forget when I went to her office to introduce myself before writing a term paper.
“Hello, have you ever heard of the Unification Church?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, I have…”
“Have you ever heard anything good about the Unification Church or Rev. Moon?”
“Well actually I have not.”
“I would like to write a paper comparing your work with the teachings of Rev. Moon, but I wanted to confirm with you first what you think about that idea.”
She answered that she would be happy to read what I had to say. And I wrote “Towards a New Ideal for Moral Education” comparing her “feminine ethic of caring” with Unification Thought’s Theory of Education.
We had a wonderful dialogue through class discussions and my papers over the months ahead, and at the end of the semester she asked students to recommend books for a future reading list. I recommended Dr. Young Oon Kim’s Unification Theology, which Dr. Noddings had read.
One student said, “Isn’t that the cult? The Moonies?”
And Nel answered, “Yes, I have come to see the Unification Church in a new light this semester, and I would like you to be aware that truth comes to us in surprising places. I will add this book to the reading list.”
Christine (center) with Carol Durnan and Jacinta Krefft.
A Mother’s Heart in Witnessing
I learned a lot from Dr. Noddings, who is a mother of 10, about the feminine qualities so essential in nurturing a heart of compassion, caring and moral values in the family and in our schools.
The following year, I worked with a team of 5-6 women who became the heart and soul of the witnessing and outreach work of CARP in the Bay Area. I deeply appreciated Dr. Seuk’s respect for women and trust in giving us important leadership roles.
Christine and Jacinta (from earlier photo) – ‘moms’ for N. California witnessing 1980s.
I learned that when women can unite with each other, embodying the harmonizing heart of a mother, everything goes well.
As Dr. Noddings had taught in our classes at Stanford, women carry the culture of the family. The heart of a mother brings new life, literally, emotionally, and spiritually.
The family culture of CARP Centers in N. California was bursting with life in the 1980’s and early 90’s in large part due to the patient nurturing education and counsel of “mother figures” and “IW’s.” This helped form a healthy balance between feminine and masculine qualities diligently practiced by our CARP members and leaders.
An overflow crowd of young CARP members surround Dr. Seuk at Ashby Avenue, Berkeley.
CARP as a Foundation for Other Roles
Based on transformative experiences of overcoming conflict, and becoming best friends with women I didn’t get along with at first, gave me great strength and confidence to work with WFWP from April 1992.
WFWP of California initiated the Interracial Sisterhood Project in 1996, which was recognized as a “Promising Practice” by President Clinton’s Commission on Race, and in the early 2000’s created a Youth Forum on Racial Harmony, held on college campuses and high schools.
To this day, my experiences with CARP have given me strength and faith to pioneer new initiatives, and commit fully to constant growth and education. The spirit of CARP is to apply our faith in Divine Principle to real issues in our culture and society.
Christine leading a team of new members.
I have been working with GPA for the past 15 years to continue this education of young Unificationists in life of faith and in application of Divine Principle. I am excited to work on addressing the issues of our times, whether educating ourselves to transcend the “culture wars” of today or creating constructive dialogues on moral and character education.
I am committed to empowering young Unificationists, men and women, to shape the environment, and create the culture of heart with a healthy balance of masculine and feminine leadership.
A short story about a real-life campus conversation.
A CARP member is walking on campus when he spots two women walking together passing out objects to other students. Noticing that their paths will cross, this CARP member (we’ll call him Jay) pays more attention to the objects they are passing out. He realizes that the two women are passing out condoms.
As the two young women approach Jay, they offer him a free condom. Jay asked them, “What are you doing?”
“We’re passing out condoms,” they answer.
“Why?” Jay asks.
“To keep people safe,” they answer.
He then turns closer and says, “I believe there is another method to keep people safe. And it has to do with practicing pure love. Can I ask you something about that?”
The two women look at each, hesitate, then look back at him saying, “Sure!”
“What are you trying to keep people safe from?” he asks.
“We want to protect people from STDs.” The two women confidently respond.
“Ah, so you want to protect people from STDs. Well then, may I ask you, are these STDs the cause or the result?” he asks intently.
“Well, I guess they are the result,” they answer.
“Okay, if STDs are the result then what do you think is the cause?” Jay asks. “I personally believe that the cause is practicing a false way of loving. Would you agree?”
Pausing to look at each other again, the two young women respond, “Well, I guess you’re right.”
Jay then says, “Exactly. Don’t you think we should be focusing on the cause and not simply the result?”
The two young women nodded, thanked Jay, and continued passing out condoms. Jay walked away that day feeling very confident and proud that he expressed his views. He also left the two young women with something to think about. And that’s what CARP is all about: empowering students with conversations that matter.
If you have a short story to share, please contact email@example.com.
Naokimi Ushiroda has stepped down as the CARP America President to accept the role of Director of the Youth, Students, and Young Adult Ministry in America. Teresa Rischl has been confirmed as the new CARP America President.
In 2012, after some years as a CARP staff and then a CARP Board member, Naokimi accidentally applied for CARP President. Naokimi was applying for a position at HSA Headquarters when his profile got introduced as a candidate for the open CARP President position.
Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon (affectionately known as True Mother) soon invited Naokimi to Hawaii for a leader’s meeting. Then, on July 5, 2013 Naokimi was officially appointed as the new CARP President.
For the next three years, Naokimi led CARP to embody a new mission statement and deliver annual student conferences, a coaching and mentoring program, the “STEP UP” seminar and a UP points incentive system for students, develop strategic relationships, and launch the first pilot series of the Culture Wars Seminar.
The First “100 Days”
“Learn to look at everything as an opportunity to learn.”
It was challenging. At that point, there was almost no CARP activity so Naokimi was working often working from scratch. But Naokimi had the desire to live up to Mother’s faith in him and to continue on his longstanding personal mission to nurture and invest in young people more directly.
Naokimi’s history with CARP and his degree prepared him to tackle the difficult first hurdles of starting up CARP activities again.
While a student at University of Pennsylvania studying Entrepreneurship in the early 2000s, Naokimi founded a CARP chapter on his campus. He would gather students of different religions to hold discussions on present day concerns with goal to help young people find a relationship with God.
Following graduation, Naokimi worked as a staff member with CARP Headquarters. During this time from 2004-2007, Naokimi often worked from dawn until midnight motivating students and colleagues, inviting people to events, and connecting to local chapters.
Naokimi (left) at a CARP meeting in 2007.
With a plethora of experiences in the organization and a business background, you couldn’t ask for a more prepared person for the task of raising up CARP to higher level of accountability and reach among young people.
Naokimi also felt strongly about personal development so toward the beginning of his presidency in 2014 he decided to attend the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). After receiving his Certificate in Life Coaching from iPEC, Naokimi founded his own coaching business and implemented a coaching program for CARP college students as one way to empower young people in embodying the CARP mission.
Leadership in a Time of Growth
“Ideally, every person’s unique capacity for creativity is being drawn out. For that to happen every person needs to be challenged and stimulated.”
Having learned mostly “on-the-job,” Naokimi encouraged CARP’s staff to seek opportunities for personal growth and growth within the organization. New staff members were given an ‘other’ section on their job description where they could develop their skills in a whole new area, beyond the job they were given. By taking initiative from the onset, Naokimi’s team developed ownership over their skills as a means to contribute to the greater good.
The CARP staff in 2016. In the back, Neil (left), Justin, David. In the front, Nina (left), Teresa, Naokimi, Taka.
Naokimi emphasized integrity within his team and the organization. He reiterated the importance of each staff member to practice the culture CARP is trying to create around the seven Unification Principles and five core values – integrity, teamwork, intention, development, and joy.
“You were a great boss. But many times I’d even forget that you were my boss, you were more like a funny, wiser older brother. Working with you, I’ve learned a lot about myself and about the world. Your passion for discovery and exploration was contagious. And your interesting life stories (about when you had breakfast with True Mother all the way to the suit scandal) were captivating and funny but with deep lessons.” – CARP staff member
Naokimi built up a team consisting of roles such as National Program Director, Office Administrator, Student Coach, International Liaison and Communications Coordinator.
“For me working with you has not just been a boss-employee relationship. You were my boss, my mentor, my coach, an older brother and a friend. So much more than that. I miss those conversations we’d have when it was just the two of us and we’d just talk about what was possible. Our conversations could go on for hours and would just get more and more powerful and visionary.” – former CARP staff member
CARP Activities under Naokimi
“I hope for CARP to invest in a better future … the alumni or elders can be there to advise all levels of youth. I strive for this space to be like a family, in many ways.”
With his team, Naokimi was able to establish ‘Momentum’ conferences starting in 2014. These conferences are designed to provide students with clarity and confidence, practical skills, and a support network.
CARP Momentum 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Another characteristic of Naokimi’s leadership has been the development of a coaching program and a mentoring program for CARP college students. Coaching provided students with one-on-one guidance on crafting and achieving goals for a semester. The mentoring program allowed young professionals to develop a relationship with current college students who might have questions about career, life of faith, relationships, and how to balance all of it while studying.
In August 2015, CARP America was invited to design and host a Leadership segment of an international program at the Top Gun workshop in South Korea. CARP America was invited back for the following Top Gun workshops in 2016.
STEP UP, or STudent EmPowerment through Unification Principles, is the student empowerment seminar of CARP established in 2016. This program offers students the space to discover their passions and unique qualities and to be empowered by them.
CARP held a celebration for its 50 Years’ Anniversary in July 2016 as an initiative to gather, highlight, and honor CARP alumni and the history of CARP’s many campaigns throughout the years.
The Board and Staff Retreat in 2016 introduced new members, Robert Beebe, Markus Karr, Kai Wise, and Clara Brunkhorst.
Naokimi’s leadership also led to a growing CARP Board of Directors that have led the organization to a sustainable position. Additionally, he has helped develop a strategic partnership with the Generation Peace Academy (GPA) program through their annual kick off and conclusion workshops. This was a chance to give new college recruits an opportunity to prepare for college and think about what kind of college experience they wanted to create after leaving the gap year service program.
Continuing the Mission
“There are many people who are excellent at what they do … but who among them are doing God’s will?”
Naokimi would ask himself this question since his college days. At the core, Naokimi is striving to follow a path he believes God has set for him. He started this journey at CARP and now he will continue his mission as Director of the Youth, Students, and Young Adult Ministry.
Even before the creation of this new role, Naokimi had been brainstorming and developing blueprints to educate, empower, and raise up young people from kindergarten to adulthood. With God’s will in mind for young people to realize their potential, Naokimi is now considering the future for all youth throughout America.
On an ideal day, Naokimi will be relaxing by a beach with his awesome wife, Shukoko, and their two growing children, Taeshin and Eri.
Please share your memories with Naokimi in the comments section. Stay tuned for a special report on CARP’s new president, Teresa Rischl, next week.