As the final event of the semester, CARP Las Vegas held their 7-Day Retreat from December 17th to the 23rd. The workshop was packed with a total of 28 students: 7 new guests, 4 new members, and 17 CARP/community members.
The retreat was made with love with many lectures and activities. The retreat was designed to help participants practice a consistent life of faith, even after the retreat finished.
The participants were blessed to have Rev. Andrew Compton as the lecturer. With over forty years of experience studying the Divine Principle, Rev. Compton passionately conveyed the essence of the Principle to the participants. Each lecture was filled with rich personal stories of discovering the power the Principle. The testimonies gave life to the Divine Principle for many of the young people and kept them eagerly engaged.
A special treat was that some of the stories came from Rev. Compton’s personal experience working with Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Just hearing the stories gave a taste the profound and powerful beginning the American Unification movement.
After each lecture, the participants engaged in a group discussion to help them draw out what they gained. This time allowed the participants to reflect and see how the principles applied to their own life. Many participants were blown away from the lectures, especially those on Jesus, Resurrection, and the Parallels of History.
“Many people say that history is progressively turning towards goodness but they could never explain why. That’s why hearing about Parallels of History is so mind-blowing for me.” – Marcus Fuller Jr.
The participants were also were given the time to reflect each day so that they could connect to the unique message God wanted to give them through the lectures.
“I really felt True Parents are my messiah through the lectures. They taught me God’s heart as our parent and true love, my true value and purpose in life.” – Rammi Mochizuki
Each night there was an interactive activity that helped participants connect to and digest the theme of the day. These activities included skits, brother and sister bonding, movie night, praise and worship, and a talent and testimony night.
Two evening activities in particular were especially meaningful for the participants. The first was a movie night with “The Shack,” a movie about a man who had a lot of resentments throughout his life, but after meeting God, he was liberated from his past. Many tears rolled down the young people’s face in resonance with the main character. We’ve all had moments where we neglected God in our lives. They felt repentful but humbled by God’s love and forgiveness.
The second special night was a celebration of praise and worship. This allowed participants a space to let go of any unresolved emotions from the past and receive the grace of God. Through the beautiful music, presented by the CARP band, many participants were captivated by the spirit and were moved to tears. Some of the participants didn’t realize how many emotions they had that they didn’t have a chance to express before. It was a cleansing evening and a new beginning for many of the participants.
“I’m grateful for the worship evening program where I was able to experience deeper prayer and sense of liberation in my heart. I had an amazing moment where I simply let go and let God fill my heart.” – Kobe Neuhaus, new member
“The seven day retreat felt like a rebirth for my life of faith. I received a lot of emotional and spiritual healing that came from the love I received from God and the members. For the first time I experienced the joy of offering my heart to God through music during the praise session.” – Marcus Fuller Jr.
On the last full day, they were also given the opportunity to visit the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) to witness the substantial effort that Father and Mother Moon made for peace by creating this conference center for this purpose. By seeing the physical results of Father and Mother Moon’s legacy of peace, the participants had a chance to connect to their longing heart for a world of peace. After the visit to IPEC, everyone came back to the workshop house where they heard testimonies from elder members, Mrs. Sera Hirano and Mr. Nate Windman. Hearing their stories were so refreshing, as many participants could relate, going through similar experiences.
“I was hearing all the lectures, but actually the lecture was inside of me. The Principle comes from the inside out.” – Nate Windman
During the final evening, the participants shared their talents and testimonies to close off the retreat. Many shared sincerely the challenges they’ve faced in their life growing up. Coming to the retreat allowed them a chance to see God in their own life.
“After experiencing such a loving environment, a place where I felt that I was able to let out real emotions, and actually enjoy my time with people that I’ve known for only a few months and already feel like a family; it was well worth it.” – Joseph Salvador, new student of Divine Principle
The retreat was an transformational one, thanks to all the support from everyone that made it happen. Supporters from across the nation, such as Mrs. Sharon Pace from North Carolina and Mrs. Robin Schwyter from California came out to help with meal preparation. Throughout the 7 days, the young people were often stretched out of their comfort zone, confronted by their own limitations, and yet undoubtedly opened a new chapter in their journey of faith. What a way to end the Fall 2017 semester and launch into 2018!
We are in the middle of the CARP Turning Point workshop at IPEC taking place from December 26, 2018 to January 1, 2018 but we are preparing daily reports so you can get a taste of what it’s like here! For more photos, check out our Facebook album.
DAY SIX – DECEMBER 31st
On the last full day of the workshop, the participants were determined to end strong, so, despite being tired from a rigorous schedule, they came in this morning ready to “cut the dove,” a reference from the story of Abraham meaning to finish an offering.
After the morning session, we launched into our final day of lectures. Rev. Yang went over the final stages of True Parents’ life course. The morning session covered the years between 1953 and 2000, most of which Father and Mother Moon spent in America, and the afternoon session covered 2000 to the present and Mother Moon’s life.
What really stood out from the lectures was how Father Moon and Mother Moon built their foundation starting from nothing. After fleeing North Korea from a concentration camp, Father Moon’s first official “church” was a hut made out of cardboard boxes that also served as his house. From there, he built up a worldwide foundation with churches in over 100 countries.
Mother Moon was equally amazing in her attitude and faith as she continued to follow and support her husband who was living for the world. Her strength led her to attain equal status as that of her husband and as a public figure.
After the final lecture and discussions, participants reflected about their entire workshop experience. This allowed them to digest everything that they had gained.
The evening program for tonight was an exciting Open Mic where participants could show off their talents and offer that to God and the workshop.
After the final performance, the LA Family Church Band, christened Apple Heaven Hollywood by Mother Moon, came and led a praise and worship service that included pieces from True Parents’ eldest son and previous World CARP President, Hyo Jin Moon. Arranged in his favorite style, rock ‘n’ roll, his songs expressed a deep heart of loving and wanted to live a life of service to God and True Parents.
After joining the band in the performance of MuJoGeon, the participants reflected for 20 minutes about their year and made resolutions. We then closed our year out in prayer and ran outside to watch the New Year’s fireworks.
Our resolution is to not let this Turning Point begin and end at this workshop but rather to follow through with our Turning Points and make real change in our lives, starting with this year!
Happy New Year, everybody! Stay tuned to what light, bright, and exciting activities CARP has in store for 2018!
DAY FIVE – DECEMBER 30th
The morning started with a yoga session where we stretched our mind, body, and spirit to prepare for the day. Since today’s content will focus on the life of Father and Mother Moon, participants ended the yoga session with the song “Crown of Glory” based on a poem Rev. Moon wrote when he was young. This moving poem captures the heart of love that we try to practice in CARP.
Rev. Young Tack Yang, the Pastor of the Los Angeles Family Church, began lectures on Father and Mother Moon’s life, also known as True Parents. Through understanding the life of True Parents, we can get a deeper understanding of how the Divine Principle was written and also how True Parents have applied the Principle throughout their life. They are incredible role models of being a true son and true daughter of God and as we develop in our life of faith, we look to these spiritual giants.
Today, Rev. Yang talked about Father Moon’s childhood, his experience with Jesus, and his early ministry. He especially emphasized how Father Moon’s life was difficult and filled with persecution. Enduring a communist concentration camp in North Korea where most inmates lose their faith and, very often, lose their lives, Father Moon maintained his faith and determined not to die. Through experiences such as these, the participants could understand Father Moon’s heart and determination toward heaven.
The afternoon was divided into brothers and sisters. The brothers played charades, acting out a specific part of the Divine Principle without speaking and having the audience guess. The sisters heard a moving testimony from Naoko-san and held a discussion.
The evening brought a close family atmosphere with testimony night. Participants huddled to the front of the room, some sitting on the floor in front of the stage to offer their support. The testimonies were authentic, real, and demonstrated the real transformation.
“My goal in coming here was to experience God’s heart. I’m more intellectual so I can’t connect so well emotionally. I know it to be true but I don’t always feel it. My goal here was to feel it. At first I wasn’t feeling anything and it was frustrating. But then, the lecture about the Second Advent by Rev. Compton caused me to shake. I couldn’t stop. I was shaking out of happiness. It was an incredible feeling. And I realized I met my goal.
I thought God’s heart was only about sorrow and pain but I experienced God’s heart of joy, too. God was happy because He found someone He could love again and connect to with Jesus and True Parents. Through the parallels of history, God was just trying to find someone whom he could love.
CARP is how God can receive joy and happiness. We can give the same joy as True Parents gave to God as we stand with True Parents.” – Woojin Suina, Texas
“I feel so loved. Coming to this workshop was really a blessing. I’ve never felt so loved through lectures before. From the beginning, God has been knocking on our doors and heart trying to say ‘I love you.’ Before this workshop, I struggled with my value. I constantly told myself I wasn’t good enough and compared myself to others.
I asked God, ‘Why am I feeling this way? Why am I so terrible?’ The answer that came was that I was judging my value based on myself. So I asked God, ‘how do You feel about me?’ God said, ‘I love you. I love you so much that I would be willing to sacrifice my only Son. No matter the pain or sacrifice, I will love you.’ I remember that every time I feel not good enough.” – Takafumi Mashiko, New Jersey
New Student to the Principle
“When I came to New Jersey [from India] last year, one semester was really hard for me. I was missing my family and everyone back home. But in the spring, I met in the cafeteria a Kodan mom and she offered me free food. I have to thank everyone because they supported me. At first I rejected their offer to send me here but my [CARP] brothers set so many conditions to help me to come. They’ve shown so much love. These guys have done so much for me.
So many things have made me change the approach I take in my life. This has been a turning point in my life. I was an atheist before. I never thought from God’s point-of-view. I never thought of God in any aspect of my life. I’ve been moved through Gerry Servito’s lecture to think in a different way. Some changes from this workshop are looking from God’s point-of-view and show love to others. It’s been 7 years since I actually prayed…I was a little rusty but I’ll start doing it again.
I also never believed in the Messiah. One person can’t save the world. Even Gandhi tried but was killed. It seemed crazy. But I will live according to the Principle. I will continue to support NJIT CARP.” – New student to the Principle, New Jersey
There’s no doubt that everyone felt something at the workshop today. Love. We are loved. We are so grateful CARP can be a community where we can discover and share God’s love with others.
“First, I want to say thank you to Yuka who introduced me to CARP. When I came to this workshop, I noticed the way we all cared for each other. The lectures were moving. They showed how people had struggles but ultimately succeeded because of their faith of God. It was weird being here because I never thought I could be here. I also experienced being a team leader and saw how hard it was. But I also experienced how comfortable we got with each other. I didn’t know many people at first but as the days went on, we were all comfortable with each other. It was awesome! I think I will never forget about this because I’ve been ‘turned’ at this turning point.” – Kelley
“I didn’t believe in Jesus, even though I grew up Catholic. I was a relatively good boy but I didn’t like going to church. When I thought of God, I thought of something really powerful watching me. I was a God-fearing kid. When I was little, I was really close to my dog. Because I forgot to bring her back inside the house one night, I woke up the next morning and found out she died. I cried so much then. I tried to talk to God saying, ‘why’d You do this?’ I thought God was so powerful and wouldn’t talk back to me. That pain of feeling I caused my dog to die made me rebel and become a bad kid. I eventually turned my life around after reading ‘Mastery’ by Robert Green and pursuing my passion. I started to get my life back on track but I still didn’t believe in God.
The first time I prayed again was at this workshop with my team. Boy was I rusty! But there was so much love in this workshop. Everyone here was amazing. The sacrifices everyone made – people didn’t seem to sleep at all! This is so beautiful and I don’t know if I deserve this and all of you. You are all so committed. I’m not there yet but I’m working on myself. I know it will be good to bring God into everything I do. I know I want to be good, positive, meet good people like you. I love coming here to meet beautiful who have faith. It’s unexplainable but it’s so good here.” – Daniel, New Student to Principle
“First, I want to thank Angelo for inviting me to CARP. I’ve been reminiscing about where I started. Last year’s Turning Point I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go and I had a bad relationship with my father. I joined [CARP] looking for a friend but gained an entire family. CARP was a hard transition because I was going from having immature thoughts to being responsible for myself and my habits. Because of CARP, I not only reconnected with my father but we have a relationship with understanding, no longer with troubled feelings. I also made amends with my mom. Learning the Divine Principle helped me with those bonds and helped me relate better with my brothers and sisters.
I’m also learning what it means to be a leader. I used to complain about things but when you become a leader you’re like, ‘ughh! this is difficult!’ It takes heart, effort, and emotional stability to be a role model to those around you.
I feel I’ve been through the foundation stage after being in CARP for a year and now I’m at a point to stand up for what CARP believes in and be a role model for others. We’ve learned some excellent principles in this workshop and I feel it’s a problem that no one in my life [outside of CARP] knows it. Rev. and Mrs. Moon inspire not only a culture of family but show us that as a nation, we can come together as one family under God.”
“I’m really grateful for this community of heart. As a leader, I’m learning and seeing the difference in my own maturity, how I’ve grown in this last year. I’m less worried about the external factors to take care of my team and really focused on their growth. It was amazing having my spiritual son here to experience a deeper realm of heart, the heart of a parent. That only comes from understanding God’s heart as a Parent. That was my determination in this workshop: to experience God’s heart. Especially with Rev. Yang’s talk when True Father discovered the fundamental relationship between God and us is parent and child, connecting to God as a parent made the experience so much closer. True Father embodied that heart of parent with everyone wherever he went. That’s so beautiful and I want to embody that heart, too. A turning point isn’t an end; it’s just one point in the line. When we turn, we have to think about what we want to do next. Going into 2018, I want to apply God’s heart in everything I do.”
“I so grateful for God, True Parents, and Jesus for leading me here. When I graduated high school, I didn’t have any doubts about God and True Parents but I also didn’t have any faith. But then I did some fundraising and started to think about who I was. I had a passion to draw but I felt stuck without many options. I was struggling through life and felt I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do. I just worked for money but it was miserable. It was a very materialistic environment and it influenced me to be that way, too. I felt I only had to worry about my appearance. But that’s not eternal and it’s not fulfilling. I kept asking, ‘what’s my purpose in life?’ I was seeking something but I couldn’t connect to God. I just did my own thing and worshiped my own idols. But I was still looking for something more divine and precious. That’s when my brother introduced me to CARP. I hated my job and I felt CARP was my last shot in life. If it didn’t work, I felt that would be it.
From the first day in CARP, everyone came to talk to me. From that point, I knew I would stay. I realized that I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m really grateful I could be here and everyone could feel this welcomed. You change people’s heart. I had a rock hard heart and felt I would never trust anyone. But you melted my heart into something pure and bright. Now I can love God and True Parents with all my heart. Thank you so much! You can save people’s lives by being nice to people. Now I live for you, True Parents, and God.”
“I want to thank Heavenly Parent, True Parents, and the Kodan moms for the unconditional love, prayers, and conditions. I learned a lot from this workshop. My intention in coming was to connect to God’s heart more deeply. Through the lectures, I could see how God is our parent and wants to be with each one of us. It reminded me of an example of a friend sharing with another but being totally ignored. Even with parents asking their children how their day was but the children just ignoring them and turning away. It made me repentful for all the times I turned away from God in my life. God just wants to be with us, whether its in joy or tears.
I was reminded of God’s unconditional love and heart to restore this world. Just like the song, I don’t want to leave God’s side anymore. I want to be with God in anything I do. God wants to feel joy in being together with me. I felt so much of God’s love in this workshop. God loves us no matter who we are or what we do. Just like we were able to create a family culture here, let’s create a family culture around the world. Let’s create one family under God together.”
“Listening to everyone’s testimonies here, I’m so happy for everyone who’s experiencing God and is teaching me something, too. In preparing for this testimony, I felt bad because I didn’t know what my turning point was. I’m so grateful for the lecturers. I learned something each day and putting that all together, I learned that when I make a choice to do something, I think, ‘am I doing it because I love myself or love God?’ Whenever I learn about God’s heart of restoration, I see God is just trying to save us. So many people are so confused about who they are and experience so much suffering.
Being in CARP and meeting so many students and hearing those stories, I feel so grateful everyone is here to experience this. God wants to use every opportunity to reach our hearts. I’m moved by True Parents’ determination and heart to liberate God’s heart. That’s all they’ve been thinking about. Even though they receive so much persecution, all they think about is God. Because of that, there’s no way I can say ‘no’ to CARP or these opportunities. I realize so many people had a choice. I have a choice, too, and I want to continue to make the choice to live for God and support True Parents.”
DAY FOUR – DECEMBER 29th
Today, we welcomed Rev. Andrew Compton, the Education Director at IPEC, to give the lectures on the Principles of Restoration, Moses’ Course, and the Parallels of History. He had the very challenging task of covering all of human history in a few hours, but nevertheless, he brought energy and explained every point very clearly especially pertaining to the Heart of God.
“Today was my first day attending the workshop. I initially wasn’t able to attend the workshop due to work, but I was able to find a replacement last minute and flew in as soon as I could. The workshop experience is wonderful. I feel my knowledge towards the history of restoration is weak, but from Rev. Compton’s lecture, I was able to grasp so much about our ancestors and how God has felt so much sorrow throughout His life after seeing so many failures towards restoring humanity.
It makes me want to do more for God and ultimately give back joy to Him for that is why we were created. Through CARP and this workshop, I was able to strengthen my life of faith and understand God’s heart more deeply.” – Kodai Abe, California
“Jesus went through so much suffering – beyond our comprehension! And True Father, too, and especially God. We really have to work hard to rebuild God’s kingdom. We have so much
work to do and no time to waste….We need to learn and teach Divine Principle more, be able to practice Principle, and never forget where we come from and what we have to do.” – Mahnho Kazakos
While the participants enjoyed games in the lobby, the CARP chapter leaders took some time to meet together. Thirteen CARP chapters from around America were represented in the meeting. They shared both their victories and some challenges they faced throughout the year and heard guidance from Parental Advisors. A common theme was their desire to build and really feel like a national CARP movement.
The evening was CARP night! Teresa Rischl, the National CARP President, introduced the purpose of CARP and the power of courageously and boldly sharing the Principle on campus. Local chapter leaders (all 13!) shared their victories with everyone.
There were a number of people in the audience that were new to CARP, but they were impressed by the foundation CARP has been able to create all over the country. Even CARP members felt a sense of pride seeing how CARP was developing outside of their local area. The high school participants shared how they felt inspired by their older brothers and sisters laying such a powerful foundation for God.
Participants were encouraged through testimony to start a CARP chapter in their areas and join the CARP movement. As Father Moon said, “Every major turning point in history began with young people” and we believe we are those young people who will lead this nation and world to God! We can do it!
DAY THREE – DECEMBER 28th
If you’ve ever heard Gerry Servito present, you become captivated by the depth of heart from which he shares. That was especially true today as he gave a lecture on Jesus, testifying that even growing up Catholic, he never knew Jesus more than because of True Father. When he was a CARP student on campus, he shared with other students about his new understanding of Jesus, based on Father Moon’s revelation.
“Today I now understand Jesus more because I understand True Father. Through that, I now understand True Father even more.” – Angelo Martires
At the conclusion of Uncle Gerry’s lectures, he urged participants to think about the theme “Turning Point” as more than just something for ourselves as individuals. Instead, he urged us to think that this moment can be a turning point for the future of this country. He continued, saying so many people love God, love Jesus, and want to create an ideal world but don’t know where to look or how to do it. The participants were encouraged to share the Principle with others.
As a perfect ending of Uncle Gerry’s two days of lectures, he concluded with a handwritten song he wrote years ago when he discovered the principle about the heart of God. He played guitar and sang so beautifully, touching everyone who gave a standing ovation. The lyrics came from the eyes and heart of God in wanting to create and share love.
Overall, the workshop is going really well. It takes some time for people to get comfortable in a new place with new people but you can feel the love through the singing sessions, in discussions, etc. Some people have noted that even the singing sounds better and better each day. You can’t help but overhear the lovely chorus to feel deeply touched by the Holy Spirit.
Even though this may be a new experience for many people, they are opening up. We are creating something positive that brings people together. That’s the CARP experience. We come together with love to create unity and peace.
“It’s such a great environment – it feels so positive here. The whole setup of this place. It’s hard to explain, but it’s beautiful.” – California student new to Divine Principle
In the evening, Andrew Love, the Community Outreach Coordinator & Mentor for High Noon, gave a dynamic lecture on purity. He shared how our habits decide our destiny and encouraged the participants to be intentional in how they live life, especially to go to God instead of other cheap escapes like drugs, porn, etc.
He conveyed both the beautiful hope and ideal of love that God wanted for us and how, due to the Fall of Man, love was confused with lust and society has been struggling under the shadow of shame. Andrew shared examples of powerful men like King David, Bill Clinton, and Tiger Woods who lost their authority and foundation because they couldn’t control their sexuality.
According to Father and Mother Moon, we are now in the ‘High Noon’ era where there is total sunlight in order that evil can be exposed. Because of that, we are living in a time of #MeToo so that the improper use of love or sexuality can no longer remain hidden. Andrew also encouraged young people to work on themselves, develop good habits, and become people of integrity as a strong foundation for their future marriages and relationships. Participants were encouraged with the vision of creating an ideal family and could see how their actions now contribute to that.
DAY TWO – DECEMBER 27th
The second day began with prayer. Team leaders met early before the morning service begun to start the day united and centered on God. As the first full day, you could see people become more comfortable with each other during the team discussions and meals. As they connected with the content which focused on the Principles of Creation, they related on a deeper level as their minds were stimulated and their hearts moved. We were grateful to have Gerry Servito (affectionately known by participants as ‘Uncle Gerry’) taught the first day of content. As a long-time Divine Principle educator and CARP alumnus, he related with the young people with such enthusiasm, sincerity, and even tears.
“All in all it’s pretty good. I shared a lot, more than I shared with others before. I’m starting to understand love that way.” – Nitin Hebbar, New Jersey
“I’m very comfortable with my team. Even though I’m usually not the type to talk unless talked to, I do my best to input into the discussions.” – Masaho Shimobayashi, New Jersey
“I really love this workshop. I love the lectures and discussions. I love how passionate Uncle Gerry is about God. I can feel the amount of love Uncle Gerry has for God, and I can really see it through his lectures. It’s so genuine.” – Hayato Shigeta, California
Uncle Gerry shared with us about God’s heart and His ideal for creation. Something that really hit the participants deeply was the fact that God loves them so much and made them completely unique. Uncle Gerry, through song, movie clips, and his own passionate heart, shared his love for God and the Divine Principle and conveyed that powerfully to each participant.
Participants also had an afternoon break to enjoy sports and fellowship with each other.
After the afternoon lecture sessions, participants were invited to watch one of two movies, The War Room or Privileged Planet, or listen to a prayer guidance by CARP LA’s Parental Advisor, Naoko Hiraki. Whatever evening activity they participated in, participants were moved and concluded the day with personal reflection and prayer.
DAY ONE – DECEMBER 26th
Participants gathered from across the United States to participate in this year’s CARP Turning Point 7-Day Divine Principle Workshop at the International Peace Education Center. In its second year, ‘Turning Point’ has expanded its service to both number of participants (from 74 last year to over 120 this year) and number of communities participating to include Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
The participants include high school students, college students, young adults, and parental supporters. Participants also come from different backgrounds and understanding of the Divine Principle. Some of the participants grew up studying the Principle and about 30 of the young adults started studying the Principle in the last few years, months, or weeks. The diversity of the participants helps create an atmosphere where we can all grow and learn together.
The intention of this workshop is to help raise young people in their understanding of Divine Principle by experiencing the heart of God and give them a chance to develop heir own life of faith. By expanding its service and partnering with IPEC DP Retreats to host this 7-day workshop, this is a beautiful example of sharing one’s blessings with others. Hosted primarily by CARP Los Angeles, they wanted to share this workshop with others who may not have as many opportunities like this in their local communities. Since we are all part of one family under God, the only way we can truly be at peace is if we take care of each and help raise each other up.
On the first day, participants started to experience this heart for others through the orientation, ice breakers, sharing meals together, and connecting with their teams for the workshop. Participants could get a better understanding of the purpose of CARP and the purpose of the theme, ‘Turning Point.’ Participants were encouraged to think about the turning points in their lives so far and to add this workshop as a defining turning point in their lives going forward. This retreat is to help participants reflect on their life and turn from a self-centered lifestyle to a God-centered lifestyle, inspired by a personal understanding of the heart of God.
In line with this intention, some of the high school participants decided to start a condition together and get the most out of this workshop. They decided to wake up a little earlier and pray together before the schedule starts. If teenagers in our country develop this heart and discipline, imagine where our country is going! As Father Moon would say, where the young people go, the society will go. We believe this Divine Principle retreat contributes to the turning point in America and the world. Father and Mother Moon have invested in principled education to inspire the world to see from God’s perspective and develop a heart for others. We are so grateful for this opportunity and thank you for your prayers and support to create these educational opportunities for youth and young adults.
Here’s an interview with CARP’s International Liaison, Nina Urbonya, on her college experience, international travel, and what it means to be a global citizen.
Tell us more about your college experience.
College was daunting especially in the beginning where many times, I found myself being the only foreign face in a classroom full of Korean students. It challenged me to see myself in a new way and to open up to a new culture and way of living. I had thought that Korean students were only interested in academics and that they were almost robotic in their studying but I discovered students with passions, dreams and a drive to use their talents to make their nation proud.
Throughout my time in college, I found that the conversations I had with my friends outside of the classroom were as insightful as those within the walls of the classroom. My three closest friends on campus were non-Unificationists and that allowed me the space to learn to articulate my beliefs and thoughts on various social aspects. They respectfully listened and I gladly listened to their thoughts. Our conversations would go on for hours, and we would sometimes agree and many times disagree on certain things, but because of the trust and respect, these conversations broadened our minds and allowed us to see from a different point of view.
What was your involvement with CARP before your current role and what was your experience?
My first two years of college, I stayed at a local CARP center where students from various colleges lived together. Being away from home in a foreign country, CARP helped me feel grounded and connected.
On campus, we met up once or twice a semester. The seniors or grad students would take us out to dinner and share many stories about what CARP was like in the past.
During my college years, CARP Korea also hosted annual World CARP conventions and I would help emcee the events thanks to my knowledge of Korean, Japanese, and English. It was at one of those CARP conventions in 2013 that I first met Naokimi and Teresa from CARP America.
In 2015, I attended the Global Top Gun Workshop in Korea where I got to meet amazing people from all over the world. We made so many global connections through the workshop, it would have been a pity not to keep them going. That is why I was hired by CARP America to develop those relationships and keep the network growing.
What do you do as International Liaison? Share with us some of your work and achievements since you started.
I connect CARP America to other CARP chapters around the world. With my knowledge of several languages, I am also able to facilitate communication between CARP leaders of various nations and help to organize and host international events/workshops such as the Global Top Gun Youth.
Since I started in 2015, I have connected with 86 countries around the world and have traveled to Europe and Asia to introduce and share our programs as well as understand how we can support each other in tangible ways.
I’ve also been able to support CARP Los Angeles on their annual Japan trip where we organize and host a CARP conference for students from America, Japan and Korea to share best practices and get to know each other better. It’s always very rewarding to see students gain new perspectives and understandings through these experiences and connections.
I also want people to know that they are not alone. So I try to connect communities and people as much as possible. Sometimes, starting out a CARP chapter alone might be daunting but there are other people out there who have gone through the same thing from whom we can learn. And most importantly, I want people to know that there are people all around the world who have the same vision and working towards the same goals.
What do you think it means to be a global citizen?
I think a global citizen is someone who has a big heart and mind, who can embrace the world. One who uses their talents to make a contribution to the world.
True Father said, “Think of the world as your stage in setting your goal.”
Start with your family, your school and your community but don’t stop there.
We’re lucky in America, we have the opportunity to meet many international friends without travelling very far. Get to know someone from another culture, cook them one of your favorite meals and invite them over or go out to their favorite ethnic restaurant. Experiences with people who grew up from a different background than us help us to see things in new ways. And it makes for very interesting conversations!
As a global citizen, we should be able to put our feet into the shoes of everyone around the world and try to feel and understand their perspectives.
How many countries have you been to? What is your favorite thing about traveling to new places?
17 countries so far. One of my favorite things to do is exploring local places like the market and observing the different things being sold and the way of life of the people. It’s fascinating to me when I discover things that might seem very strange to us but is considered normal in those countries. It really helps to push me beyond my small thoughts.
I also like to explore and admire the various landscapes; landscape in Austria is so different from that of Indonesia. I love trying out fruits and local delicacies that I’ve never seen before!
I’ve been lucky to have local friends in most of the countries I’ve travelled to. They have been very patient with my curiosity and told me many stories upon request.
Traveling can also help you to feel grateful for what you have back home. I visited several places last year where I stayed at very humble homes. Some houses had only cold showers, no AC despite the sweltering heat, some rooms had cockroaches crawling up and down the walls and some places used no toilet paper. Living in America, it’s easy to take things for granted. These humbling experiences helped me to be more grateful.
What advice would you give to students thinking about studying or traveling abroad?
I would highly recommend doing a home-stay (preferably with a family you know or have some connection with) even if it’s just for a few days. It will help you to learn the cultures and manners of the country in a very natural way. The family can also let you know when you do something that may be seen negatively in that culture and save you from embarrassing yourself or worse, offending others.
I’ve seen foreign students who come to Korea to study and only hang out with other foreign friends who speak English. They end up going home without really experiencing the culture or language! One way that I made some Korean friends in the beginning was by joining a table tennis club on campus. There is nothing better than sweating it out together and having fun to make new friends. So if you get the chance, join a club on campus.
If you’re going just to travel abroad, try to find out the stories behind certain landmarks or lifestyles, preferably from locals. They usually have many fun stories to share.
6/4-5 CARP Korea Japan America Student Conference 2016
The two-day conference launched off with an inspiring and high-spirited opening ceremony. With students from Korea, America and Japan all gathered in one room, we could already feel the global spirit and significance of the next two days. The three CARP presidents were invited up onto the stage together to give a few opening remarks and encouragements. They all spoke about the vision of True Parents to unify the whole world and encouraged us to use this international conference as an opportunity to develop deep bonds with our peers from other countries. It was very inspiring to see the next generation of leaders from Japan, Korea and America all standing on the stage together, making a determination to work in concert toward the same vision and goal.
The CARP Presidents from America, Korea, and Japan (From left: America-Ushiroda, Korea-Kim, and Japan-Motoyama)
On this day, the group went to Osaka and then visited the Manhattan Center Japan (MCJ), a studio that Hyo Jin Moon started using in 2006. We looked around the museum about Hyo Jin Moon’s life and listened to a short explanation about the place. Hyo Jin Moon had instructed that all the equipment had to be of top quality. He would emphasize that becoming number 1 is important because if you want to change the world, number 2 won’t do. That is why he insisted on number 1 equipment in order to create the best kind of music. He created and dedicated his music to True Parents. We then had a chance to hear several pieces of the Hyo Jin Band with high quality speakers.