On May 12, 2016, CARP Nigeria kicked off a weekly program, ‘CARP Thursday’at the CARP centre in Abuja where 10 CARP members attended the launching.
What is ‘CARP Thursday’? It is a series of character education sessions offered every Thursday. It was initiated as a meeting day for all CARP members to come together, get to know each other better and learn about character development. The curriculum will cover topics such as pure love, honesty, family values, religious and cultural tolerance and leadership. There will be interactive activities and sharing sessions. One such activity is journal keeping where participants track their progress in character development since having taken these classes.
For this very first ‘CARP Thursday’, we felt it would be good to begin by creating friendly bonds among our members through some fun activity.
The meeting began with each member introducing themselves and then the Education Director, Mr. Bok Jin Lee, gave a brief update on our plans for future activities.
Then the fun part began with a food game called “The Best Sandwich” where the participants were divided into 3 groups and each group was provided with ingredients to make tuna sandwiches. They were given just 15 minutes to prepare sandwiches for all the members in their group!
While the groups were busy making sandwiches, a surprise birthday cake was brought in to celebrate the birthdays of 3 of our members; Samuel, Veronica and Grace. We all sang the birthday song for them in English, Korean, Yoruba (a native Nigerian language) and French! The room was filled with a lot of excitement and happiness.
After the food preparation, we all tasted each other’s sandwiches and shared cake and fruit juice. The meeting ended with everybody taking lots of pictures and a final group photo. I felt that this program really helped to create bonds between the members. It was educative in that participants got to know more about how CARP aims to build a culture of heart and its vision of extending that culture to the entire nation. The members were thrilled and felt a lot of love from CARP. Everyone is looking forward to the next ‘CARP Thursday’ meeting.
Here are a few thoughts and reflections from the participants:
“This evening was a great, tremendous program. I call this (CARP) a big family of togetherness, family of great leaders. We look forward to other activities.” (Trinity, Final year student, Banking and Finance major)
“Lovely today… Thanks to every lovely person that was present. It was a cool day for me.” (Funmi, Freshman, Economics major)
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who made this event a successful one. Without you all, we wouldn’t have such wonderful memories and stories to tell… it feels good to be part of the big and united family and I pray such love and unity continues to abide amongst us.” (Daniel, 2nd year student, Banking and Finance major)
One of the local CARP chapters in Korça city, located in the south-eastern region of Albania, organized a service project called “You Have Great Value”. As is the case with many places all over the world, this city is home to many poor families who cannot afford food to feed themselves and who live in poor housing conditions.
As members of CARP Korça, they wanted to do something to help. They broke up into 3 groups and an engaged discussion ensued on what could be done to help these people. Finally, they came to the conclusion that a service project would be a great way to contribute to these poorer communities. They had done similar service projects in the past and through them, they’ve been able to support 6 families in total.
The main purpose of the service project was 1) To create awareness in young people about the sad reality in which many people have to live and to educate them to live for the sake of others. 2) To help and support poor people.
Before going out, there was a brief meeting with a presentation about people in history who invested in others and changed the world through their acts of service. Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison and Rev. Sun Myung Moon were a few of the people mentioned who did great work and invested in people. This was followed by a video presentation of the speech given by Charlie Chaplin, “The Great Dictator.” Some memorable quotes from his speech are, “I should like to help everyone. You are not machines. You have the love of humanity in you. You, the people have the power. The power to create happiness.” Through showing the participants this inspirational video, they were encouraged to do great things in life that will benefit the people of the world.
Each team then decided to collect money, clothes and food to support the poor families.
For many of the participants, it was their first time going out to fundraise. “We were a bit worried because we know that it is not easy, but our worry was all for nothing. The participants were very much inspired and there was a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction on the faces of everyone. We once again experienced the wonder and power of investing in others,” explained one of the organizers.
Visiting Poor Families
“Each team visited one poor family and conveyed to them all the things we had gathered for them. Many of the families invited us into their humble homes and we sat together, listening to their situation and story. We were very touched by their stories. Many of their situations were situations that we could not have imagined. These experiences made us appreciate life on a deeper level and left us with many thoughts.”
Here are a few testimonies of participants on their experience doing the service projects:
“I know there are many poor people in the world. But it was very different knowing about it and actually seeing it with my own eyes. I was very shocked. It made me look back at my own life and reflect a lot. In one part of the world, people have an abundance of food, so much so that much of it is even thrown away and wasted. However,on the other side of the world, people are suffering because of starvation. Why is it so difficult for people who are wealthy to share with people who are not? I am very grateful that W-CARP gave me this great experience.”
“Through this activity, I understood that there are still many people who need help.”
After doing this project together, we became closer and deepened our relationship with each other. We understood that if we put into practice the words of our founder and True Father, “Live for the sake of others”, we can do a lot of good for others, but at the same time, we can also get great energy and happiness.
Check out these two videos about the service project:
Jermaine Bishop joined the army when he was 20 years old. Afterwards he worked in the culinary industry but decided to go back to school to study something else, ending up in Los Angeles.
On his first day on the campus of Pasadena Community College, he met Naoko Hiraki, who asked him a series of deep questions like, “Why are we here on the earth?” and, “What’s the purpose of all things?”
Jermaine took the time to answer these questions and was invited to learn more by studying the Divine Principle and the autobiography of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Jermaine came to appreciate this content and the sense of purpose that he felt from being around Naoko and her family.
“Before this, I had bounced around from city to city because I was looking for something and I found it in this group studying Divine Principle. Every single day we would sit together in the cafeteria and hang out together.”
A year later, Jermaine joined the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) and eventually became the Vice President. Next week, Jermaine will be joining the CARP Los Angeles chapter on a cultural exchange trip to Japan, and we took some time to get to know Jermaine and what this trip means to him.
How has your experience in CARP been so far?
I became way more involved than I ever thought I would be. I grew more and deepened my understanding of the purpose behind Rev. Moon’s message, and what truly made him ‘True Father.’ I came to understand what makes him special and stand out from other leaders. I took more ownership and responsibility. I felt a strong urge to share this with people, almost like an addiction. I saw so many people who are suffering and do not even know why they’re suffering. It wasn’t something I would do for me, but something for others. That’s how I began to appreciate my role in CARP.
CARP members at a service project.
What are you studying?
I am a biology student. I really love science and it’s cool to understand the world. I can understand the harmony of the world and relate it back to God. Most people think that science disproves God. I like the way the Divine Principle looks at science and how it goes hand-in-hand with religion.
What inspired you to join this trip to Japan?
Actually, I wasn’t supposed to go on this trip. I wanted to use my money to go home to visit my family because I had promised them that I would visit during the summer. I also had a summer class that I wanted to take. Naoko had asked me many times to go on the trip to Japan, but I said, “No, school is my priority.” However, I ended up not being able to take the class. I was really sad but I knew Naoko would say, “This is from God. God wants you to go.” So I ended up buying my ticket to Japan.
CARP Los Angeles members out on a hike in nature (Jermaine is pictured on the right).
I then told my mother that I would not be able to visit and she was really sad. But then I told her it was because I had decided to go to Japan with the CARP group and she was really happy for me. My family never really had the chance to travel and go to different places. She is really proud of me and the fact that I am being exposed to so many things. I told her I would just come home for Christmas instead. It all worked out.
Why do you think this exchange program is valuable to young people like yourself?
I think it is important because it expands your worldview. It is an opportunity to see that there are so many people in the world. There are so many ways in which we can approach things. The way we feel and the way we love can all be unique and different. However, it is also important to find the similarities and appreciate that as well.
What are you most excited about regarding this trip?
I’m excitedto meet the Japanese CARP members and see how and why they joined. I also want to see how they do things differently. I want to see what Naoko went through when she was a part of CARP in Japan during her youth. Many of the CARP alumni talk about being members of CARP Japan during their youth and how intense and hardcore it was. I’m excited to see that in action. Other than that, I am excited to go to a tea shop. I really like Japanese tea. I also like the geography and the architecture.
Upon returning to the United States after an incredible experience, the visionary behind this intercultural exchange, Naoko Hiraki, shares her gratitude for the trip and the impact it had on the students. This was such a transformational experience for the students and it has prompted much more collaboration between Japan, America, and Korea. There is more to come! Thank you, especially, to the donors and contributors who made this possible.
Yumi Go from CARP Korea gave a heart-felt testimony on why she chose to become active in CARP, “I realized that I am not alone. That there are brothers and sisters like you all around the world walking next to me towards the same goal. If we work alone, it can get lonely and the path can be difficult. But let us remember that we are not alone. If we join hands and walk together, we can achieve many great things!”
The students visited Manhattan Center Japan where Hyo Jin Moon (CARP’s past World CARP President) dedicated much time to developing his talents to serve the world. They even had a chance to share joy and fun in attending Disneyland while the leaders met for a strategic meeting on how to share resources between CARP in Korea, Japan, and America.
“I thought, ‘Wow America is really working hard! We have to do our best too!’ The testimonies were very good. I was amazed that students went out on campus and directly introduced content from the Divine Principle. This can only be possible because of the Christian foundation in America. Japan and America are different in some ways, but we are both moved by the Divine Principle. I realized once again that there is no doubt that the True Parents are truly the parents of all humankind.” – Sayaka…read more!
Today the group had a chance to hear a presentation from the “Tomadachi Initiative” which is a similar program to CARP. It aims to foster appreciation between the cultures of America and Japan and develop globally-minded citizens. The students also were well taken care of by the Chairman of the Blessed Families Federation in Japan, Rev. Song, and his team who welcomed them with a buffet lunch and gifts. Mr. Otsuka also gave a presentation on his experience with CARP and his nickname of…read more!
“I was talking to the people and there was so much that I wanted to say but due to language barrier I was not able to fully get my feelings across. That reminded me of some of the Japanese mothers back in America. Even though they could not understand or speak the language so well, they still poured their heart out…Read more
Everyone woke up in high spirits today despite the pouring rain outside. Some of the guys went running in the rain while others did exercises indoors. We gathered in the morning to read some words from the autobiography of CARP’s Founder and our True Father. One of the passages that stood out was…Read more!
“I felt that the members of CARP and J-CARP were like my family. Wherever I went, I always felt at home. No matter what struggles you face, don’t give up because someday you will meet someone like me who really needs to hear what you have to say about God. Never give up!”
After a long flight and a bus ride to their destination for the night, the team gathered to offer their gratitude and prayers. It’s been a long day for them with traveling but there is lots of anticipation as their experience in Japan begins. What a cool experience to travel together with 30+ other people who you know! Read more here.
Naoko Hiraki, the main organizer for this trip and Advisor for the CARP LA chapter, shared a few words on the importance of this trip:
“Thank you so much for coming. When you go to Japan, you will feel the difference. There are many difficulties there, but I want you to encourage CARP Japan. That is the greatest goal and motivation for this trip. Japan has a lot of history, so we also want to inherit the spiritual treasures in Japan.” Read more here.
Get ready for daily updates as we experience the beauty, history, and heart of Japan as our students travel there for the next 2 weeks!
“You could feel a sense of excitement in the air, knowing that in a few days, we will be flying over the Pacific Ocean for a 13-hour flight before arriving in Japan, half way across the world.”
Get a taste of the participants’ joy as they prepare for their much anticipated trip to Japan. Read more here!
Video Interview with ChungBom Katayama, CARP Las Vegas Member
ChungBom Katayama from CARP Las Vegas shares his reasons for joining CARP Los Angeles on their upcoming trip to Japan. At the top of his list is the opportunity to exchange best practices with CARP Japan as the groups discover the similarities and differences between each other’s cultures, work styles, and motivations. Watch the video here!
The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles chapter in Los Angeles (CARP LA) was established a year ago, and Hitoe Hiraki, a 22-year-old junior at Pasadena City College, has been its president for the past year. This is her last semester there before transferring to California State University, and she’s ending her term as CARP LA president by organizing an epic cultural exchange trip to Japan from May 25 – June 6. We took some time to speak with Hitoe and ask her some questions about her hopes for this trip, and how she plans for this exchange to leave a legacy at CARP in LA…read more here!
4/30 UPDATE: First Update!
Thirty CARP members will be visiting Japan from May 25 to June 6 to develop global bonds and inherit the foundation of CARP in Japan. These members include CARP students from all over the United States. Korean CARP members also heard about this initiative and plan to go to support, too! They need our prayers, support, and donations.
35 young people from every part of Italy joined the CARP workshop held in Colle Mattia (Rome) from the 22nd to the 25th of April. It was a great chance for us to share about what we’ve accomplished so far as a youth association. This was a good place to make a new start and determine to make a positive impact in society.
The motto of the workshop “Life of Values and Pure Relationships for a Better Society” was the underlying theme of each activity: lectures, discussions, service projects and leisure activities. These activities created a warm spirit and good space for developing stronger bonds between the participants.
The lectures, given mainly by young life coaches, covered different topics such as the importance of character education and family values, the fundamental essence of human life and leadership guidance. After each lecture, we had engaging discussions on how we can apply the content to our personal lives.
Participants took part in two service projects. One group cleaned up the area around the Colle Mattia train station by picking up all the garbage lying around.
The other group helped staff an event organised by the local community of Sant’Egidio to spread love and joy to children through games, cooking, dancing and other fun activities.
Through these service projects, participants got a chance to live for the sake of others and invest their love and energy for the greater good of the society. They were small projects but they had a significant impact on the local communities.
Afterwards, we visited a special art museum called “Living Together” which was created by disabled artists who kept investing in their passion and talents despite their disabilities. We were inspired to see the beautiful artwork created by these artists.
The next day’s theme was “Pure Relationships” so we had lectures on purity and relationships followed by discussions about various interesting topics; “How to prepare yourself before committing to a relationship”, “the differences in the expression of love between man and woman”, “how to grow together as a couple”, “what to consider when starting a family” and “how to pass on our values and traditions to our kids”. We also took part in leisure activities such as sports, dance, board games and karaoke. The day ended with an evening program dedicated to reflection and meditation.
On the last day, it was time to try to come up with an answer to the question, “How we can build a better society and where do we start?” To give us some inspiration, we had lectures by Elena Chirulli and Fiorella Capone on topics such as “Discovering Ourselves”, “Our Identity” and “Strengths and Abilities.” Emphasis was placed on the importance of having clear goals in life that are not just focused on the individual self but on the wider society.
At the end of the session each participant had time to reflect and write a personal “life mission statement.”
Participants found this exercise to be very useful and many were proud to share it with others. Some discovered that they do have a “personal mission” deep down inside and having the chance to write it down made it more concrete and clear. Now they can start to create an action plan with steps in order to achieve it.
They then brainstormed ideas about future CARP events and activities in each community as well as on a national level. Some of the outcomes of these sessions were the establishment of three committees: the media committee (you tube channel coming soon!), the writers’ committee and CARP Italy Facebook Page Administrators’ committee.
The participants showed a strong desire to cooperate, take initiative and take responsibility.
Here are some reflections from the participants:
“At the end of this workshop I feel more inspired and I want to do the best that I can back in my community and with the other young people. I expect that all of us are going to be more active and initiate new activities/events.”
“What I gained from this workshop is a strong determination. I have a strong desire to be more active.”
“I feel more inspired because I understand now who we are and what we have to offer. I believe that in the future we will have a strong impact in society and we will attract many more people.”
We all felt that this workshop was a great success in motivating and energizing the Italian youth movement and we now look forward to working together with clarity, passion and determination!