In preparation for the Boston Celebration of CARP’s 50th Anniversary taking place this Saturday, November 19th, today’s Throwback Thursday is a testimony from CARP Boston alumnus and now a member of the CARP Board of Directors, Markus Karr.
“I grew up in Kansas City and got accepted to MIT in Boston, so that was exciting for me and my parents. But it was far away from home and it was a rigorous, competitive school. It was a shock to the system, not only for me but for other freshmen, too. They didn’t even give letter grades to freshmen because students were so worried about getting B’s. It was a tough environment. Being so far away from my parents, it woke me up to the real world.
Towards the end of my freshman year, I was stopped on the street by a lady who asked me if I believed in God and what my beliefs were. She invited me to the CARP Boston center where I attended evening programs about once a week and learned about the Divine Principle from Steve Pecarsky. At some point,I was given my own copy of the Divine Principle and I remember staying up all night reading it.
The Power of the Principle
MIT is a science and tech school and I was a nerdy, computer geek. My dad was a high school teacher and my mother had a solid Christian faith that I greatly respected. I never really considered rejecting a belief in God, but I didn’t have any interest in “mysteries of faith” or inexplainable phenomenon.
One of the main things that drew me in (other than the real, genuine warmth and parental heart of the CARP community) was the Divine Principle’s attempt to unite science and religion. It got me! I liked the logic and systematic nature of explaining how the world works and God’s relationship with the world, humanity, and why bad things happen.
Coming from an engineering background, I liked that the Principle built a model I could use to see and analyze behavior in the real world. I could understand it from the point of view of human nature. I was always very much drawn to the intellectual rigor and solid foundation of the teaching. It was what kept me going.
I attended a summer CARP workshop and in my sophomore year, I registered a CARP club on my campus. This was before the fall of the Soviet Union so we did some events on campus related to that (which was a huge CARP campaign at the time). I lived in the CARP center together with about a dozen other students and we hosted evening programs each weekday night, Monday through Friday.
In the 1980s, CARP members often campaigned against the spread of communism.
Occasionally we would drive down to Belvedere in New York to hear Father Moon, who often gave Sunday Services at that time. The first time I saw him speak was in August of 1987.
Pursuit of this ‘Other Side of Life’
For me, it was sometimes difficult and challenging to try and pursue this other side of life during my academic years, especially in the middle of a very intense program. But it’s very important because it does expand your mental and intellectual capabilities. It gives you resources and tools for the rest of your life. The Principle emphasizes that we can’t just go down one narrow path and ignore the other aspects of our lives like the spiritual aspect, by way of a relationship with God and a relationship with the universe.
I think it’s important, especially in our very secular-learning culture (especially on campus) to allocate time and resources of our lives to these bigger picture components: the existence of God, good and evil, and our purpose in life beyond career and money.
Try to have holistic, well-rounded pursuits. In my opinion, that’s what the Divine Principle is all about and that’s what CARP can provide students at this time in their life – a great balance to academic, scholarly pursuits.
I graduated in 1989 and got blessed in 1992. I owe my whole family to that experience.
Hear more stories like Markus’ at the Boston CARP 50th Anniversary Celebration this Saturday, November 19th. Learn more and register at www.carplife.org/boston50years
Here’s a student highlight from one of the CARP chapters in Boston.
This is Kimi, a motivated and bubbly junior studying Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She’s the student of the week because of her determination to overcome challenges, no matter what might come up.
Kimi has attended CARP workshops, including Momentum 2016, since she started university in 2014. Last spring, Kimi also participated in CARP’s pilot 10-week mentoring program. This fall semester, Kimi was inspired to start a chapter at her university. But, she’s hit a few roadblocks with the university in registering to become a student club.
“It’s been difficult. There are times when I just felt like I didn’t want to do it, to be honest. I just didn’t want to deal with it because I felt like it shouldn’t be this hard. There were all these challenges with protocol; to do it right, I have to complete the paperwork.”
However, while she was working out the registration, she still found a way to meet with her CARP chapter – at a local coffee shop! We’re proud of her for moving forward in the face of difficulties and challenges. Her victory has been to consistently work hard (even on something that seems difficult) and still establish a chapter.
“The main thing keeping me going is just doing it. Whether I believe I can or not, I just set it up and do it. Even though I had my first meeting, it didn’t go perfectly but I did it. I feel like that is the most important thing. It’s not how I imagined it to be but it’s a process. There are definitely times I want to give up. There are many times I don’t feel confident in myself as a leader. But there is always something in my life, that pushes me to move forward and a part of my heart that tells myself I cannot give up. And I realize now that I’m a lot farther than I would have been if I hadn’t done anything.”
She’s been flexible. Kimi’s leadership skills shined through in her willingness to work through the challenges. As a CARP leader, she has had access to one-on-one coaching which has helped her work through difficulties. Many inspired students have tried to do what Kimi only to become overwhelmed with some of the challenges that arise. Kimi’s success wasn’t an easy one, but her determination and CARP’s support allowed her to reach her goal of starting a campus chapter.
Kimi, along with other CARP members, will be gathering this Saturday, November 19, for Boston CARP’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. Hear more stories like Kimi’s at the event. Learn more and register at www.carplife.org/boston50years
Much of the world is in shock this week. The US presidential elections on Tuesday resulted in a President-elect Donald Trump on track to becoming the 45th president of the United States.
This election showed that America is deeply divided. CARP’s founders, Father and Mother Moon, often emphasized the importance of unity in a nation, particularly in times of crises. President Obama, Secretary Clinton, the media, and many others now recognize the need to move forward in unity and in support for one another.
It’s tempting to look at this election as black and white; however people, issues, and governments are more complex than that.
Here are a three things you can do to digest the election outcome in a healthy and empowering way.
1. Practice intuitive listening
This election has been an exhausting and bruising election for many. Sentiments of betrayal, hatred, and fear from both candidates were real for many. At CARP, we understand the value of listening as a powerful tool for healing.
By focusing our efforts on other people, in listening to their thoughts and feelings at this time, we can build even stronger relationships in our families and communities especially since these are the most intimate and immediate places for support in times of crises. Be aware of the people around you and recognize that someone might need to be heard.
You can lend a valuable ear to others right now and choose to care for them. Instead of prolonging the debate, think of people’s hearts, emotions, and situations. Listen with the intention to understand people’s decision-making process and help people to heal and move forward with positivity and hope.
2. Read, think, challenge, and hear opposing views
We can attribute the surprising result of this election to an overwhelming underestimation of the differing worldviews in this country. This happens when we don’t interact with the people who may think differently from us. CARP facilitates and encourages conversations that matter where we can listen and understand each other.
Have a conversation with all kinds of voters (Republican, Democratic, and Third Party). Read a diverse set of news and analysis articles to understand both sides of the argument. You might find a wealth of knowledge and understanding of another perspective far more dynamic than the media or like-minded people might contend.
Equipping ourselves with a good understanding of opposing views prepares us to see the whole picture. This country is a melting pot of worldviews, perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. The world is even more diverse. To truly become a global citizen, we need to be accurately and holistically informed so we do not misunderstand or under-represent the real thoughts and experiences of various communities, societies, and nations.
3. Look for ways to love and contribute, not blame
We are more than who we voted for. We are more than our worldview. One Unification Principle,each person is a valuable part of humanity, reminds us that our fundamental value is unchanging and eternal regardless of our choices and outlooks in life. Practice loving your enemy as set by the example of Jesus and Father and Mother Moon. Many leaders led the way by loving their enemies even in the face of verbal degradation, imprisonment, and death.
Remember that your brother, sister, father, mother, neighbor, friend, or faraway stranger is more complex than our simplified explanations and justifications. Remember that the federal government is just one facet of society; we also have local governments, private enterprises, non-profits, and charities that are working to solve problems in our communities, nation, and world.
Here are a few ways you can exercise your rights (beyond voting) and contribute:
Sign up for email alerts about causes you care about so you can be informed and take action
Volunteer or donate to organizations, charities, or causes you care about (you can even donate with no money by taking surveys that contribute to charity)
Engage with your state’s congressmen and -women, Senate representatives, and other delegates by getting to know who they are (via state/county/town government websites) and attend local community events
Sign petitions to get causes you care about considered for legislation
Global Citizens who Lead Constructively
In his speech, The Way of God’s Will, Father Moon explains that “unity is realized when you share joy and sadness with others” and “those who are hopeful are always constructive.” These three steps provide an avenue by which we can share our joy or our sadness at this time. With hope as our prerogative, we create peace, unity, and collaboration for a better future.
CARP is all about empowering students (in college and in life) to become global citizens who lead constructively with an understanding of Unification Principles. Take some time to understand this election and this country. Be a beacon of hope for yourself and others by moving forward in pursuit of unity.
On today’s Throwback Thursday, here’s a testimony by CARP alumnus, Tamara Starr.
“I first joined CARP in New York back in 2003. It was when big leaders like a younger Naokimi Ushiroda (no surprise he’s now CARP’s president) and Hanako Ikeno were out working hard on the scene and I just remember feeling so inspired by them … seeing what they were doing and how they were mobilizing the mission.
And it was because there was just so much energy at that time – to serve. The whole mission was to not only share the Divine Principle, but to also serve our community based on our core values. At that time, I had just finished Service for Peace and CARP seemed like a seamless transition for me. So after high school, I knew that my next step was to be a CARP member.
I’m so grateful for the years I spent within this great organization, and so grateful that I was able to work with great leaders like Kazushi Mito in Ossining, NY and Tenseng Guh at the Binghamton University CARP chapter. Those are memories and experiences that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
Some pictures from Tamara’s time with CARP.
Because of my experience in CARP, I became a much more confident leader. As a student, I learned that it was more important to serve and make a positive impact in my community, no matter where my community was (New York and eventually Boston, grad school, and so on). For me,the core values I learned from being a CARP member will always be what drives me to serve.”
Tamara is now the Mentor for Boston CARP and a key organizer in the Boston CARP 50th Anniversary Celebration on November 19th. Hear more stories like Tamara’s at the event. Learn more and register at www.carplife.org/boston50years
Having traveled all the way to Asia to take part in the 4th International Youth Assembly in the Philippines, I decided to visit a few other countries before coming back. I spent two to three days in each country of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Representing America was a big responsibility. Maybe we do not always realize it, but many countries look up to America. The four countries I visited in Asia were very happy that CARP America was taking the initiative to reach out to them to collaborate.
When I first set out on this mini tour, I opened my heart and declared, “God, I’m going to these countries. Please use me to contribute to them in any way possible.” God really took me up on that!
Our CARP founders, Father and Mother Moon, have established an amazing worldwide foundation. On this tour, I became amazed at how this worldwide network has developed. I met with CARP leaders and members in each country who shared about their activities and hopes for CARP. My goals for this tour were to connect personally with the CARP chapter leaders and to create a plan for future collaborations between CARP America and these international CARP chapters.
Warm Welcome to Manila, Philippines
Just before flying out to Bohol for the 4th International Youth Assembly, I stayed at the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) Manila CARP center for one night. The center was very humble, with small rooms and cold showers, but the spirit of the members living there was “on fire”.
Posing for a group photo after morning devotion with the CARP members.
The time I spent there was very short but the CARP members welcomed me so warmly. Most of them attend TUP, one of the top technology education institutions in the Philippines. Despite their busy study schedules, the CARP members took me around their school campus and showed me the CARP club room. They called me “Ate Nina” (a Filipino term for older sister) and shared many stories with me about life in the Philippines.
My generous tour guides, Rowena (left) and Shelaine (right), showing me around TUP campus.
Promoting CARP on Campuses in Jakarta, Indonesia
Maria Sembiring and I with University staff member (right) and Student Council President (left).
Together with one of the local CARP members, I went to three top universities in Jakarta to meet with the President of each university’s Student Council to introduce CARP and its activities. They listened to our presentation and asked questions.
Seeing that I was a foreigner, some offered me local Indonesian snacks, “It’s very good. You should try it!” They all took an interest in CARP and we exchanged contacts and information with the hope of collaborating on projects in the near future.
The following day, I spoke to a class of high school students about CARP’s Unification Principle, “We can create genuine relationships through sincere, selfless interaction” and facilitated a listening exercise, one of CARP’s coaching techniques .
Since CARP’s curriculum was originally developed for college students, I worried that these high school students might not be able to grasp the full meaning of the exercise.
Talking about genuine relationships with the students.
I had clearly underestimated them. They actively took part in the exercise and the energy in the room only increased as they seemed to recognize the lessons each step of the exercise. One student shared that, “It was nice to be heard. I could also learn how to listen to my friends; to listen to their words but also their emotions.”
High School Association for the Research of Principles (HARP) is CARP’s sister organization, working to educate high school students. Through this experience with the high school students, I saw how the two organizations could cooperate to have a powerful impact on the youth.
Feeling Hopeful with CARP in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is made up of three main ethnic groups – the Malays, Chinese, and Indians. This mini melting pot is what makes this place a very interesting country. As soon as I arrived, I was taken to a famous Chinese meat buns restaurant for breakfast and later to an Indian restaurant for lunch. The CARP members share that, “One of the good things about Malaysia is that one can enjoy the best cuisine from all three ethnicities!”
Giving a short talk at the 7-day Divine Principle workshop for university students.
At the CARP center, a 7-day Divine Principle workshop was being held for 30 university students. These students were excited and engaged. I gave a brief talk about how the Divine Principle impacted my life. They were my most attentive audience yet; their eyes unwavering in focus and they responded in cheers and loud claps throughout my talk. I went to Malaysia to give my heart to these people, but on the contrary, I received more joy and hope from them.
Posing with the Junior STF participants.
I also had a chance to meet participants of a youth group called Junior STF where I facilitated a session in which they wrote a “vision statement” for themselves. One participant shared that he would take an active role in leading young people to contribute towards creating a better nation. I really felt that Malaysia is in good hands. They are highly motivated to bring positive change to Malaysia by investing in education and training.
CARP Thailand Extends Invitation to fellow CARP members in America
CARP members had to drive through three hours of Bangkok traffic to come pick me up at the airport! I was in Thailand four years ago but this intense Bangkok traffic was not as I remembered.
CARP members were practicing Tong Il Moo Do when I visited the center.
During my stay, I visited three different CARP centers together with the Thailand CARP leader. I met all kinds of students who chose to invest their energy into various youth activities and fundraising campaigns as they were pursuing their degrees. They all expressed the desire to meet fellow American CARP members with this invitation, “They are always welcome at our center! We will cook them delicious Thai food.”
Opportunities for Collaboration
Living in America, it is easy to get comfortable with day to day living. It is my dream to send American students to these countries to experience a different culture and way of living; to gain a new perspective on life. All four CARP chapters in these four different countries are excited to work together in creating exchange programs that can inspire young people on both sides of the planet to cooperate and learn from each other.
Some people worry that all my travels leave me exhausted, but in reality I am often energized by the interesting and inspiring people I meet. It has been an amazing journey meeting the CARP family all over Asia. We might be worlds apart, but we all strive towards the same vision of creating a better world.
APPLY HERE for an exchange program with one of these countries this winter break!