The day began with great excitement as we began the Cultural Exchange event where students from CARP Japan and CARP America gathered. Fun ice-breakers from both sets of students immediately created an atmosphere of joy and camaraderie.
CARP Japan President, Katsumichi Motoyama, and CARP LA President, Jermaine Bishop, gave brief talks encouraging the students to unite centered on Father and Mother Moon and to create a bond that can continue to bring the two countries together. FFWPU Japan Continental Leader, Rev. Song, also gave some special remarks and invited up all the new members from America. He greeted them one by one and had them introduce themselves and their dreams.
Another special event that took place was the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Ceremony. The male and female students all lined up and were paired with a student from the other country. They exchanged gifts and contact information. Then, everyone enjoyed pizza and chicken for lunch which was a treat from Rev. Song.
For some more fun activity, there was an Open Mic where students from Japan and America came up to show off their talents in the form of dances, songs, skits and even a yo-yo performance. Everyone enjoyed themselves.
“It was really interesting. I felt very inspired and saw how amazing [the Japanese students’] faith was. It was great to get to know them better.” – Ericka Olsen
“I think the significant differences in Japanese and American culture are reflected in many differences between CARP chapters in America and Japan even while we are centered on the same ideals. I think we have a lot to learn from CARP Japan’s devotion and incredible depth of heart and I hope that they can learn something from us as well.” – Krista Smith
In the afternoon, there were presentations from CARP America and CARP Japan on their various activities and later on, testimonies from CARP students who did fundraising and witnessing. Participants expressed that they were moved by the testimonies.
“When I came to CARP, what I found was friends and a community. I was lacking something in my life. CARP filled a void in my heart.” – CARP LA new member
The program concluded with a lecture from President Motoyama on the history of CARP Japan. He spoke with passion as he emphasized that Father Moon really believed in the young people because of the purity of their heart and also their desire to change the current situation of the world. The lecture was very enlightening as the students were able to revisit CARP’s roots.
Following this meeting, the students split into groups and traveled to eight different CARP centers throughout Tokyo together with the Japanese CARP members. Our team went to the Shibuya CARP center by taking the bus and subway. We were warmly greeted by the Japan CARP members at the small but cozy CARP centers. They made a lovely dinner for us – okonomiyaki.
We enjoyed the food and got to know each other better. It was a long but great day!
Today, the participants went on a pilgrimage to Waseda University. Retracing the footsteps Father Moon took during his years attending Waseda was eye-opening and moving for the members. They got to connect to Father’s heart during a painful time in his life and also saw the very places they had read about in his autobiography, A Peace-loving Global Citizen.
We visited the police station where Father Moon was questioned and tortured, the house where a Japanese elder couple took him in when he needed a place to stay and the very first church in Japan. Everyone was moved by Father’s love for Japan and the Japanese people despite the horrible treatment from the Japanese government during that time.
“It’s pretty cool that Father Moon went to this school and it’s still here and we could see where he was coming from. It’s inspiring how he went through so much and shared [how he overcame].” – Benjamin Lam
“[The Pilgrimage] left a big impression on how Father left so many big things [starting from] 70 or 80 years ago. Looking at Totsuka Police Station, even though it’s an apartment building now, I felt all the hardships that Father went through.” – Akane Horii
To conclude the pilgrimage, we all gathered in front of the Okuma Hall to take a picture where Father Moon had taken his graduation picture many years ago.
Then some of us paired up with Japanese CARP members to walk through the campus and invite people to come to our special conference for intercultural exchange.
International Borderless Conference on Waseda University Campus
What a rare occasion to be able to have 120 students all the way from America to come to Japan! Fifteen students who had been invited earlier on campus came out to our event.
The room was filled with excitement as we formed mixed groups of Japanese and American students. After students introduced themselves in their groups, we heard four wonderful talks.
One Japanese student spoke about the beauty of Japan explaining that what makes Japan really cool is not just the very popular anime books and movies but also the honesty of the Japanese people. Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world.
Then Jennifer Pierce gave a speech about America and reminded us that sometimes it’s not easy to see the good side of America while living in the country but that if we take the time to look to our roots and foundation, there is something very beautiful there. America was founded on the notion of putting God first and establishing an environment for people to really cherish freedom and equality based on Christianity.
We then heard two students talk about their dreams and aspirations. Koji from the University of Tokyo spoke about his dream to resolve energy issues in the world.
“If we can eradicate poverty, climate change and hunger by creating infinite sources of energy, we could bring world peace more quickly!”
Yasu then spoke about his dream.
“I want to make God’s dream my dream. I think God’s dream is world peace so my dream is also to create world peace! I also want to be the best father to my children and pass on a world that they deserve to live in.”
The event was truly historic for Waseda CARP.
“Actually, because of the atheistic environment in Japan, J-CARP was afraid to talk about God, Christianity, or religion, but our members proclaimed about God and His Will. Jennifer bravely stated that because of God’s Will, America was established, and that without God, America will not exist. Even for the personal dream, Yasutaka said that his dream was to make God’s Dream come true. They did not hesitate to talk about God’s Will. The leader of Waseda CARP said that it was first time CARP was able to use a classroom at Waseda because of CARP America. This was a great victory. Because of the event, the 15 guests are now interested in CARP and studying the Unification Principle!” – Naoko Hiraki
Following these testimonies, each student in their groups had a chance to write down their own dreams on a piece of paper. Then, each student shared what they wrote and each group member wrote them words of encouragement. After a lot of reflections, there were performances by both the Japanese and American students, concluding the event in laughter and joy.
Check out a Facebook Live video of the cultural performances on our Facebook page.
It was a meeting of friends and family beyond national borders. And we hope that this is the first of many more such events.
To end the day, we heard a testimony about Hyo Jin Nim (Father Moon’s eldest son who has passed away) from Mr. Harugai who served as the pianist in Hyo Jin Nim’s band for 15 years. He also played a piece for us and showed us a performance from his time with Hyo Jin Nim. After his talk, he personally pulled aside the musicians in the group and gave them personal words of encouragement and guidance.
Everyone was touched by the experience today that hopefully will lead to a deeper and greater heartistic connection to Father and Mother Moon and the Japanese culture now and in the future.
CARP Las Vegas finished up its third segment of the road trip across America. From June 17 to 19, a collaborative team consisting of CARP LV staff, Chicago YAM (Young Adult Ministry), and Prof. Gerry Servito organized a Divine Principle (DP) retreat for young people in the Midwest region.
This retreat started out at Camp KOHOE in Michigan on the first day, then continued at the Chicago Family Church facilities, and finally ended at a local park on the last day. Around 30 students participated in this weekend retreat.
With Gerry Servito as the presenter, there were four presentations that covered the introductory content of the Divine Principle – two lectures on The Principle of Creation, one on The Human Fall, and one on The History of Restoration.
The purpose of this event was to both, introduce the Divine Principle to new guests and to revitalize young Unificationists who were either born into the movement or have recently joined. For CARP LV, this was also an opportunity to raise up its leaders and members while also inspiring the local community about the Principle and this lifestyle.
Some of the participants shared with us their own intentions for joining this workshop.
“I wanted to experience healing from God’s love and connecting to my true self. I wanted to understand True Mother’s vision for the young people in this movement and in America.”
“My intention was to truly just be a student – to learn – and through new understanding and realizations to be able to receive God’s love and share that with others.”
“I wanted to understand and hear the Divine Principle from a new perspective. I also wanted to learn how to share the Principle with those who have never heard it before.”
“My intention going into this retreat was to build a strong foundation for my life of faith. [I want to] trust in God’s love, trust that God is guiding me and feel how it is to live for the sake of others.”
By the conclusion of the retreat, new guests were inspired about the Principle, relatively new members whose faith had been challenged by family and friends had their faith in the Principle and True Parents reinforced, and Unificationist-born young adults were revitalized in observing the Principle’s effect on more recent members and new guests.
There is some excitement among the Chicago young adults that they can introduce the Principle to their own friends and family. Here are a few realizations that some participants had during the retreat.
“[I realized] that a culture from Heavenly Parent’s love is deeply healing. It was something I was craving and I didn’t realize how much my heart was unable to rest in recent experiences. Coming back to the basics was very clarifying. The culture of love was really what put my heart at ease.”
“As a second generation [Unificationist], I’ve never really experienced interacting with a person my age who is just learning the Principle or has just accepted it. It was great to be with people in those positions! There was a [young] first generation sister on my team from CARP LV and it was amazing to witness her understanding of the DP. This gives me hope to be able to share the DP with people my age and to have them accept it.”
“Before I joined CARP, I always had an idea of the purpose of life. The purpose of life is love, however, I did not understand the full meaning. When I joined CARP, slowly it started to reveal itself. The purpose of life is love because God is love! Now the goal is to get through the 3 Great Blessings to fully understand the purpose of life, love, joy, and God.”
Today began with a morning reading on Mother Moon’s victorious course, detailing the training and hardships she had to go through before attaining her position.
We then continued with the second day of the 2-day Divine Principle workshop, where we delved deeper into the course of restoration and the value of True Parents. Our lecturer, Rev. Nakamura, explained that we are so lucky to be living in a time when we can meet the True Parents directly and change our lives 180 degrees based on the foundation and guidance True Parents have given us.
He went on to explain that True Parents have made it possible for us to create families that can truly bring joy to God. He shared a quote by Father Moon, “We should all become families that can contribute to humanity and bring everyone back to God.”
After lunch, we had a wonderful praise and worship session where we sang songs with energy and joy. The room was filled with an atmosphere of joy and grace.
In the evening, FFWPU Japan President Eiji Tokuno came to impart his words of wisdom to our participants. He shared his vast personal experience living in four different countries and learning two foreign languages on his path to becoming a global leader.
He explained to all the participants that as young people who are destined to become global leaders, it is a requirement to experience as much of the world as possible and learn other languages. He emphasized that the life we are living is not for our own sake but to move and change the world by virtue of our example. We thank President Tokuno for his guidance and his visit!
The workshop concluded with Rev. Nakamura sharing about his personal encounters with True Parents.
This concludes the 2-day Divine Principle workshop. Tomorrow, we go out to Waseda University and meet with Japanese students on the campus. We are excited, and we’ll keep you updated on the day’s events!
“The main point I took from the lectures was family. Just in the family, there are so many different kinds of love that you can experience. That’s all you need to really experience God’s love. So, focusing on family is very important. I was able to reflect on that today.” – Takahito Kikuchi
“That Judaism, Christianity and the Unification Church all have something similar was inspiring. We are not doing something entirely different. We just stepped it up to another level – to a cosmic level. I appreciated that.
I think the Blessing is a beautiful thing, for somebody to fully embody God’s love individually and then sharing it with another person. It’s beautiful that they’re taking two parts of God’s love and come together to have this Blessing where they can raise a child in that love.
I am hopeful and grateful to live in this time and age. I don’t have to struggle as hard as True Parents and the first generation. I am grateful that I’m standing on giants.” – Darius Clash
“I really liked that he explained why True Parents are important. He also explained that they are important to God, too. It made me think that they are very valuable because without them there are no mediators to have to relate to other people. I am focusing on keeping an open mind.” – Fuyu Fujioka
In its third installment, CARP partnered with GPA to provide a Culture Wars pilot seminar with over 40 GPA members as participants. The event was facilitated by Mi Young Eaton and the speakers included Gerry Servito, Robert Beebe, and Cheryl Wetzstein.
Participants were coming into this content without much expectation. It was their first time experiencing Culture Wars and they came with the intention to prepare for entering life after high school.
This pilot program was really about giving the participants an opportunity to experience the type of discussions and issues they will experience outside of the GPA program. For example, being introduced to the divisive nature of American politics and general polarization around pressing issues such as sexuality, education, and media.
The pilot sought to introduce “Headwing” ideology as a perspective that can be uplifting, reconciliatory, and provide a principled response to pressing cultural issues. Participants were discovering Headwing ideology throughout the program. The intention was to prepare them to be a more proactive voice after leaving GPA when dealing with the current cultural climate of America and the world. This allowed participants to be aware of and shape their own worldview while learning about other views.
“It allowed me to gain a sense of a broader view of how people view current world issues and allowed myself to gain a self realization of what worldview i take as well.”
“I felt the reality of the situation in current colleges and I could relate to the fact that society makes it difficult to speak up about our personal ethical views.”
“I actually thought the information was very VERY relevant. I took a lot of good points from this lecture, especially seeing the affect postmodern thinking has had on me.”
“The most important idea to me from this talk was that we should be pro-something and understand why instead of just being anti-everything. The effects of education and how it has changed over time was really relatable because I saw the changes in my own life. I also really like the idea of implementing the three great blessings into education.”
“It helped me to feel more confident going back home and especially for my future when I go to college.”
Some participants were engaged the content while others found the content relatively new. The pilot program is part of a process to communicate a Headwing perspective in a way that’s relevant to the current generation.
Currently, a team has been selected to begin creating content over the summer to share with CARP chapters and to use as a basis for future presentations, seminars, and media. There will be ongoing changes, including a re-branding and new name for the program. The working intention of the program in development is as follows:
To deliver a Headwing perspective that will stimulate respectful dialogue, reconcile and elevate the discussion of pressing cultural issues of the day.
To establish and embody a culture and environment of awareness, authenticity, open-mindedness, respect, and honesty among college students and professors where participants are empowered to impact the cultural discussion on American campuses.
If you’d like to join this team or would like more info please email firstname.lastname@example.org