CARP North Lake Dreams Big

 Contributed by Jennifer Pierce

22046797_895124057320267_391697688038800909_nWoojin speaking during their first CARP meeting this semester.

Meet Woojin Suina: 20 years old from North Lake College in Dallas, Texas. He graduated high school in 2015 and spent two years on a gap year program called Generation Peace Academy (GPA) doing service work and developing his faith.

Although he recently started college this fall, he serves as Vice President of his CARP chapter and expresses great hope for the future of CARP North Lake.

Getting Inspired

His inspiration to join CARP came from the Intercultural Exchange Trip to Japan and Korea during the summer. Being able to meet the co-founder of CARP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, had an enormous impact on Woojin.

51005127Woojin with other trip participants in Busan, South Korea.

“When I saw [Mother Moon], I felt that by meeting us she was trying to tell us the importance [of CARP] and how much she has faith in us to change the culture on our campuses. That’s why I decided to join CARP.”

He was also inspired by the CARP chapters in Japan and Korea, particularly their endless dedication toward achieving their visions and goals. Woojin hopes to inherit that spirit and determination.

Inspiring a New Culture on Campus

Along with the other officers of CARP at North Lake College, Woojin envisions their CARP chapter being a community of people excited to serve others.

“I want to build a culture where we help others because we want to, and we have fun doing it.”

21368724_10209493007584512_5205535077179991993_oCARP North Lake’s kick-off BBQ event before school started!

Woojin recognizes his own growth through CARP. After attending GPA, Woojin was worried he would be disconnected from his faith when returning home and going to school. However, being involved in CARP helped keep  his faith alive.

“When I entered CARP and started doing CARP activities, I became excited by the Unification Principle. By studying it, I’ve gained a lot of insight about myself. Everything I’ve learned on GPA, I can apply in my life [through CARP]. It’s been really stressful because I have work and CARP and school, but I always keep my faith first wherever I go, and I feel more aligned and productive. Recently, I discovered what I want to do in my life. It’s been a really great experience.”

20729067_1450859214996512_5781514460655205278_oWoojin (left) with CARP Chapter President at North Lake College, Hiromi Iida (right).

CARP North Lake was started in fall semester of 2016 by Chapter President Hiromi Iida. Since Hiromi will be transferring next semester, Woojin is learning as much from him as possible as well as learning to gain support from other key members.

“I’m going to be left with two other leaders. I’m nervous, but my main motivation right now is to lay a good foundation for the future and attract [future leaders].”

North Lake also has several community supporters guiding and mentoring them.

Challenges and Victories

Woojin recognizes several challenges in CARP North Lake. Because of a significant number of Japanese exchange students and the tendency of them to speak Japanese to each other, the  language barrier excludes non-Japanese speaking members in the club. He wants to make more of an effort to be inclusive.

He also feels that there are some members who are involved in CARP because they feel obligated, due to their parents encouraging them to be there or because they feel it’s the right thing to do. He hopes that in the future they will feel inspired to help out.

22046858_895126120653394_3171924555156843777_nCARP North Lake’s first general meeting!

Despite these challenges, Woojin celebrated a few victories. Currently, CARP North Lake meets on Mondays at 3:30pm with about 20 students attending each week. About half of them are new members to CARP who joined after the Club Fair at the beginning of the semester.

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Among their 20 members, one of them is the leader of the International Group Club on campus. He comes consistently and enjoys being in CARP. He wants CARP to be represented and work with the International Group in their event, the International Education Week. Woojin looks forward to and is excited about making more of an impact on campus through this collaboration.

22406303_903811186451554_3630762029650228015_nWoojin leads a team to fundraise.

To round out their members’ experience, CARP North Lake does events off campus as well. They fundraise for CARP every other month, and members who attended the fundraising days report having a powerful and moving experience with God.

Building and Getting Bigger

In the future, Woojin wants CARP North Lake to become a hub like CARP LA or CARP LV where the surrounding community is inspired by and attracted to CARP activities and events.

“My hope is to become something where everyone’s excited to be part of CARP, not because they feel welcome. I really want to create that kind of atmosphere.”

21751887_10209584782038816_3929690880028985515_nCARP North Lake’s Club Fair.

Woojin’s parting advice to newer chapters is to create unity and harmony with your community supporters.

“When I managed to unite with my [mentors], I was able to break through in my own faith, and also, the CARP chapter was able to make a breakthrough as well. When we came together, things started to change.”

Woojin’s story shows us that by going forward with courage and faith in a larger vision and dream, things can start to happen. Also, it’s a testament to reach out for support in your greater community. Great work, CARP at North Lake College!

Share your chapter’s story and inspire others! Send it to jennifer@carplife.org!  

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HARP Club Starts at Public High School

Contributed by Jennifer Pierce

65452167First one day HARP retreat in Los Angeles, May 14, 2016. 

When I got to college, I was pretty sure about who I was and where I wanted to go. Of course, I expanded upon those ideas throughout my college years but I had a basic foundation.

However, I realized that that was not the case for most of my fellow classmates and peers who I grew up with in school. My peers and I had similar experiences growing up so at the time I didn’t understand why they were struggling so much with their identity.

I started working with CARP LA in the fall of 2015. Throughout my time in CARP, I watched college students, with only a vague understanding of who they were and what they stood for, become re-assured of their value and committed in faith, and I thought to myself, “Does this process have to begin in college?”

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A Strong Foundation

High schools have an increasing number of teenagers reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as a rising incidence of teenage pregnancy and drug use. This is the environment that is supposed to prepare them for adulthood?…uh oh.  

In high school, I mostly kept to myself and took it upon myself to study and apply the Unification Principles my parents shared with me. It helped me stay grounded and connected to my parents’ love.

Counter to what high school culture provided, these Principles are what gave me a strong foundation for college and sense of self. When reflecting on the status of my peers, I realized these Principles could have made a difference for them, too.

19052165Jennifer Pierce sharing Unification Principles to high school participants. 

So, I started staffing a series of retreats for high schoolers in May of 2016, as a project under CARP, to raise high school students to become global leaders. One theme for this age group was abstinence as a way to develop ourselves and maintain the purity of our youth. This was a way to strengthen our personal relationships with God, our parents, ourselves, and build healthy relationships.

The series was later named HARP, the High School Association for the Research of Principles, and was to become the precursor to CARP.

26993562HARP AHS members (L to R): Euna Tengan, Maika Kotani, Kayun Hiraki, Joanne Fu, Naomi Kotani, Masato Shigeta, Yoshihito Takagi, Hiroto Shigeta. 

Campus-Bound

As of Thursday, September 14, 2017, HARP has been officially established at Alhambra High School (AHS) as part of the Los Angeles regional CARP hub.

The two students who are spearheading this club, Naomi Kotani (aged 17) and Kayun Hiraki (aged 14), went through the HARP retreat series.

“Seeing CARP, they invest a lot, but I was wondering what I could offer [as a high school student].” – Kayun Hiraki

Both Naomi and Kayun are motivated to reach out to their peers about the Unification Principle. They want to prepare students to start reflecting on these important matters so they are better prepared for college and CARP.

21433915(L to R) Kayun Hiraki and Naomi Kotani learning from CARP members at Pasadena City College (PCC). 

Creating a Culture of Heart in High School

Along with collaborating with CARP, HARP AHS plans to host their own weekly meetings and become a positive influence on campus by being a part of the campus culture and events, like open house.

“HARP is about the research of principles; we want to know the reason behind it. During meetings, we are going to focus on discussion.” – Naomi Kotani

Finding an advisor and the required ten students proved to be a challenge for the club’s forerunners. Naomi and Kayun gathered seven others to become the school’s first HARP members.

The nine of them went out to look both for an advisor and the final required member. They pitched their club as a faith-based club focused on the idea of purity. However, they were rejected by many teachers before finally finding one.

21741112(L to R) Naomi Kotani and Kayun Hiraki learn how to share Unification Principles. 

Where There is a Will, There is a Way

Despite the struggle, the HARP members weren’t shaken.

“Since everyone’s a child of God, by keeping our purity and properly learning God’s principles, that’s the best way for God to claim us as His children. Keeping purity is the process. People get caught in false relationships. It’s not real. If you don’t feel value within yourself, it will affect all of your other relationships.” – Kayun Hiraki

They held their first meeting on Friday, September 15 during their lunch hour.

As pioneers in uncharted waters, they’re going to come against many challenges. With support and guidance from their big brothers and sisters in CARP, HARP members will be able to learn and grow from their experiences and get a jump start on making a difference around them.

Do you have a similar experience in creating something in high school? Let us know in the comments below. 

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The Value of Global Experiences

Contributed by Nina Urbonya

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Part of our mission statement in CARP is to create global leaders who can lead the world to peace. From August 1 – 21, 2017. CARP students from America joined 1,300 youth from 76 countries for a 21-day training workshop called Global Top Gun Youth (GTGY) at the Cheong Pyeong Training Center in South Korea. This annual workshop, initiated by our founder, Mother Moon, strives to help youth cultivate global leadership and network with people from around the world who have different thoughts and cultures.

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Learning to Respect and Understand Different Cultures

One way to combat animosity between different races, cultures, and religions is through understanding  and respecting each other’s culture. GTGY was a valuable training ground with so many different nations and cultures gathered in one place. It was challenging bringing together participants who spoke different languages and had different cultural customs. However, as the weeks went by, their constant effort and sincere desire to want to connect and understand allowed the participants to rise above differences and really feel like a family.

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Creating a Plan to Solve World Issues

During the last week, participants were asked to think of one global issue that they are interested in and to come up with creative solutions to tackling that issue. One American team decided to focus on North and South Korea Reunification, declaring that America plays a crucial role in raising awareness on the issue, especially on American college campuses. They plan to organize rallies on campuses. Other teams tackled issues in the areas of the environmental, education, poverty, and human trafficking.

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Connecting to True Mother’s Heart and Vision

The workshop began and ended with a ceremony in which Mother Moon spoke directly to the participants. She poured out her heart, educating and loving us.

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Throughout the workshop, she treated participants to ice cream and Heaven G Burger. We also heard that she requested reports from the directors of the workshop everyday. Through this workshop, many were able to connect to Mother Moon as their mother who cares deeply for their happiness and success.

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Reflections from a few CARP students:

“GTGY was an outstanding, amazing, unforgettable experience! I gained so much, connected to [Mother Moon’s] heart, and made many great friends from around the world. It helped me to deepen my faith and become stronger in who I am and what I believe in and stand for. I came for two main reasons. First, to strengthen my life of faith and connect to God and True Parents’ heart. Second, to prepare for our CARP chapter in the Bay Area.

And then of course to meet new people from around the world and see other friends. But, I got so much more then I asked for! It was incredible! I am extremely grateful for these amazing opportunities to experience God’s heart towards myself, others, and the world! Words can’t express how grateful I am and how amazing my experience was.

Going to the DMZ [Demilitarized Zone] I really wanted to connect with True Parents’ heart about North and South Korean Unification. We arrived there and could see North Korea. When we got there, I could feel God’s pain and heart towards Korea and all the suffering in the world. It broke my heart! I couldn’t stop crying because I could feel how much God longs to unite Korea and end suffering in the world. I need to step up and do something to help end God’s pain.  

Everything we did throughout the workshop was very impactful. Being with so many people from all around the world was an amazing experience! I could really feel we are one big family and God’s love for each and every individual! We may speak different languages, but the memories we created with one another speak louder than words. I came to understand how my story and my experiences were all to help me build me strength and deepen my core.” – Gabby Von Euw

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“I attended GTGY in hope that I can find my next path in my life. The reason behind this is that I graduated from university and basically I can choose any path I would like to pursue. But I want to do things that only I can do or go to the place where I’m most needed. My time during GTGY was simply described as ‘fulfilling’. Every day was so fulfilling that I really hoped for that lifestyle forever.

In addition to the system team duties, I also did interpretation and translation of lectures and the PowerPoint slides. I was so happy to meet many Universal Peace Academy graduates and current students. I was also so happy that many staffs I respected were relying on me.

At the same time, I was reminded that there are many people out there who don’t even know what it’s like to live like this. They are in pain and agony without hope. Someone needs to extend a helping hand to them and let them feel this joy and happiness. I know that this ‘someone’ has to be us, the participants of GTGY; therefore, staff play a big role in educating and training them to be heavenly soldiers who can reach out to those people.”  – Atsuki Imamura

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“My experience at Global Top Gun Youth 2017 was truly an exceptional one. I am incredibly grateful for our Heavenly Parent and our True Parents who have made all of this possible for us. Through this workshop, the words, ‘global citizen’ has been something I’ve felt more connected to.

I was touched to experience being with my global brothers and sisters, realizing that we all have a common heart. We all want to become filial sons and daughters who can substantiate God’s dream. I want to thank [Mother Moon], who expressed her love countless of times to us. I can feel how she wanted to just simply love us, over and over again. Being in GTGY, it was difficult not to feel God and True Parents’ love – it was everywhere, all the time!

I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to do anything to understand more of my Parents’ heart. I’ve made a commitment to learn Korean because I want to understand my Parents’ heart more. I can feel being in GTGY helped to unlock a deeper level of Hyo Jeong [filial heart], in so many of our hearts. I truly hope that everyone can experience the power of Top Gun and Cheong Pyeong. Heavenly Parent and True Parents!” – Ryota Naito

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Becoming a Global Leader

In a world teeming with conflict and disaster, retreats like GTGY give us a chance to experience the world and meet people from different cultures. THIS kind of experience moves us in the right direction towards peace. Education in the culture of heart helps us go beyond the status quo so we can be peacemakers in our families, schools, nation, and world. 

Mother and Father Moon were champions of the culture of heart and thus participants were able to learn so much from their example at GTGY. We share Mother Moon’s belief that young people are the key to leading the world to peace. According to the Divine Principle, we can understand who we are and what kind of culture we are meant to create by understanding where we come from. Participants took the time to reflect on God, their purpose, and their own contribution to the world through this incredible global workshop. 

We thank Mother Moon for this opportunity to experience these fundamental core values in such a short amount of time and for the opportunity to strengthen our convictions to share them. 

That’s what we do here at CARP. We invite you to join CARP and be a part of the global movement. 

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Newsbite: Back to School Edition

CARP is back in full swing! Chapters across the country hosted their first events and are gearing up for more.

Check out what they did:

Las Vegas, NV

First Tribe Talk of the Fall 2017 Semester 08/31/17

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On Thursday, August 31, CARP Las Vegas held its first Tribe Talk of the semester! It was a joyous and empowering evening. There were people 52 people in total, including 22 first timers. We were especially grateful to welcome Mrs. Sandra Blake Toles and her sister Mrs. Lois Tunstall, who were called by God to be campus ministers at UNLV.

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After everyone was introduced, the MC introduced the topic of discussion, which was “How can I be truly happy in my life.” Everyone divided into small groups to discuss the reading and find their own personal answer to that question based on the principle that “true, lasting joy is living a life for the sake of others.” Through discussion and a visualization, participants were encouraged to set goals for themselves. One brother shared his inspiration to live according to his conscience. Another brother shared his determination to live for one week with no regrets.

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Everyone enjoyed discussing and bonding with their discussion “families,” and are excited to come back for the next theme. It is going to be a semester of growth and transformation!

Bay Area, CA

CARP Sunday Service 09/03/17

Feeling a need to start off the Fall semester and connect to the young people in their community, CARP Bay Area held a Sunday Service on September 3 at the Hearst House.

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History of CARP Presentation 09/05/17

Ten CARP members heard a presentation on the history of the Cold War/Communism, the “new left” in America and about CARP from the 1960’s to 1985. The students wanted to hear stories and gain an understanding of why Father Moon created CARP. Markus Von Euw and Christine Froelich gave the presentations. 

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Dallas, TX

Back to School BBQ 09/04/17

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We had a successful Back to School BBQ hangout in Grapevine TX! Over 30 people attended the event! We had singing, dancing, icebreakers, group activities, BBQ, swimming , volleyball, and more.

It was an amazing experience!

Grand Rapids, MI

Club Fair 08/26/17

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CARP chapter debut at Grand Rapids Community College was a success. We have 30+ people interested in joining us and other organizations are willing to collaborate with us.

Bridgeport, CT

Club Fair 09/06/17

University of Bridgeport held its Club Fair on September 6!

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Newark, NJ

Sharing the Summer 07/2017

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“I thought that the sharing session with our elders went really well. I personally felt liberated to be able to share the thoughts going through my mind and the emotions that I felt during CARP Momentum. At first, I felt nervous to share because there were so many people, but, after I shared, I felt really relieved and liberated because I felt like I was holding onto so much energy and inspiration. My vision of this sharing wasn’t exactly as I thought, but I’m glad that there were more than enough people to listen to our testimonies.” – Kei Nakamura

Los Angeles, CA

Discussion Meetup 08/24/17

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We, East Los Angeles College (ELAC), hosted a discussion group event with all of CARP LA in attendance. There were about 20 people in attendance. The theme for this Discussion Event was the Reunification of North and South Korea. Takahito Kikuchi, CARP ELAC’s President, gave the introduction of CARP and of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon. We introduced ourselves in groups, read Father Moon’s words about reunification and discussed about the reading and on discussion questions. This discussion took about an hour.

Most attendees were CARP, but we had three guests: Kevin, David, friends of CARP ELAC’s core team, and Raquel. David was skeptical in the beginning, but because everyone was so friendly, he ultimately had an amazing time. David is originally from Vietnam and lived there for seven years. He saw firsthand the effect that communism had in his country and felt very passionate on the topic. Raquel really enjoyed her time talking with her group and the atmosphere we created. Raquel never cared for this issue before, but after talking with her group, she realized how important this issue on North and South Korea is.

More news stories from campuses coming soon! Stay tuned! 

Interested in becoming a CARP Member? Sign up here

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We Will Always Remember

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2017 marks the fifth year of the passing of one of CARP’s founders, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, also known as Father Moon.

Father Moon dedicated his life to making a world of peace and created CARP as a movement of young people for peace.

Today, CARP America remembers his legacy:

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“When thinking of Father Moon, I think of a universal man–a man who pioneered the idea of ‘living for the sake of others’ and ‘living for a purpose greater than the self’ as the way to peace and harmony for humankind.

I love these ideas because they go beyond religion, race and nationality. The fact that every human being regardless of their religion, race and nationality can resonate with them makes them so precious.

I believe every person wants peace and harmony, but it is in ‘how to achieve peace and harmony’ that we get stuck. When thinking of the cause of conflict and disharmony, we can come to an agreement that selfishness is in most cases the root of it all.

It is when my selfishness meets another’s selfishness that conflict becomes unavoidable.That’s why I think that Father Moon’s ideas of ‘living for the sake of others’ or being as selfless as possible and ‘living for a purpose greater than the self’ are very important.

However, for me what is very inspiring about Father Moon is not that he had these great ideas, but the fact that he actually lived his entire life applying them. Where there was war, he wanted to go there and be the bridge. Where there was hunger, he not only provided food for people, but taught them how to farm so they can be able to grow their own food.

It is his dedication to live for the sake of others that inspires me the most and It is my conviction that if each member of our society can apply Rev. Moon’s idea of ‘living for the sake of others,’ peace, unity and harmony can be a reality.”

Josue Haebangja Kisile, Grand Rapids Community College, MI

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When I was younger, I’ve had a many opportunities to attend Father Moon’s events as a student in Korea, but I didn’t really have a deep understanding of how incredible he was, and why and how he could walk his path enduring difficulties and trials that other people could not.

Now, however, I have a little deeper understanding about it. I believe I’ve come to know Father Moon’s heart a little more.

Looking at Mother Moon and following her through CARP these last two years, I can see her hard work and all her effort and her hope toward the younger generation. She is very much united with Father Moon’s vision.

Father Moon, thank you for letting me know why I was born and what we and this world are meant to become.

Someday, I hope to talk to you about how much I accomplished.”

Atsuki Imamura, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NJ

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“For as long as I can remember, Father Moon had inspired me. I have heard many stories and testimonies of all the great things he accomplished and how Father Moon changed people’s lives. However, I am inspired by an earlier point in his life when he was sixteen years old.

In Father Moon’s autobiography As a Peace Loving Global Citizen, he shares about his childhood and experiences growing up in Korea. There’s a point in his life where it feels his world is crashing down around him. His village is poor, a portion of his family’s livestock dies, and, worst of all, five of his siblings die in the same year. At the time, he was sixteen years old.

In a moment of desperation and immense sadness, he turns to God and asks why so much suffering is happening and what is the point of life. Through his discussion with God, he heard God asking him to end the suffering in the world and build a world of peace.

After battling the decision for a while, Father Moon decides to become the person who could end all suffering for God and every person on earth. He then worked the rest of his life in pursuit of this goal.

What moves me from this testimony is the commitment he maintained from that moment on. When I think of Father Moon, I think of three things: Love, Truth, and Integrity. I believe he embodied these things deeply and brought them more into the world.

Father Moon is a role model for my life and someone I aspire to inherit from. He taught me that no matter how terrible the situation I can have a heart to cry for other people in the world and work to end others’ pain. I can live not for my sake, but for the sake of others, for the sake of the world. If I can live my life in that way while giving love, embodying truth and having integrity, I can be a force that changes the world for the betterment of all people.

Thank you, Father Moon, for truly being a peace loving global citizen and teaching me to be the same.”

Sarah Takhar, Pasadena City College, CA

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“It’s strange, even though I have never met Father Moon, I feel like I know him. Father Moon is someone who has always been a leader and a role model. Books could be written about any one of his achievements, and he has too many to count.

However, what he has left behind for me is an example of love and leadership to strive for and a presence that gives me comfort. As the president of our CARP chapter in Las Vegas, I have a lot that I am responsible for as a leader and many people whom I am trusted to care for. I am also a perfectionist by nature.

Together, that combination leads me to stress out and to criticize myself, sometimes a little too much. When that happens, I try to pause for a second and think of what Father Moon would tell me.

I can imagine his penetrating gaze but with a twinkle in his eyes, his intense focus but with a grin at the corners of his mouth. He reminds me that no matter how serious and important my work is, there’s always a reason to smile.

Life is meant to be filled with joy, and there’s no time to dwell in worry and fear. This is how Father Moon’s legacy lives and grows within me.”

Jinil Fleischman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

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“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to see and meet Father Moon growing up. I saw him so many times, I’ve come to think of him as my own elderly father.

One time, when I was eleven, I was in Korea for a 40 day retreat. The retreat was located near a lake where Father Moon often fished; however, no one was expecting to see him.

I went down by the lake for water when I saw him on the dock with a few of his children. Unable to contain myself, I ran over to the bushes and watched him. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but I was enthralled.

I was breaking my retreat schedule, but still I continued to wait there, watching for the better part of an hour until he finished. He started coming up from the dock, and I began to panic. I wasn’t supposed to be there, and there wasn’t anywhere to hide.

I stood frozen as he walked up with his entourage and got into his car. From the passenger seat, he waved one of his party over and handed him something.

The man came up to me and gave me some sweets from Father Moon. I then watched as he drove away.

It’s hard for me to imagine what Father Moon went through, like his six unjust imprisonments including once in a concentration camp, but in that moment, I realized, as much as I had come to see Father Moon as my father, he saw me as his child, even though he had never met me before. Despite his experiences, he never diminished his ability to love all humankind.

I promise, Father, that I will continue to live the legacy of love you created. Thank you for everything.”

Jennifer Pierce, National CARP staff

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