Karen and Jermaine, members of CARP Los Angeles (LA), served as emcees for the trip orientation prior to take-off. They welcomed the 36 excited participants from all over the nation who will be joining this cultural exchange to Japan from May 25 – June 6.
Purpose of the Trip
The group met in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 24th and reviewed the resources in the booklets that had been prepared with much love and care the day before. These booklets included the purpose of the trip which is to:
Visit Japan where the founder of CARP (Rev. Sun Myung Moon, affectionately termed our True Father) spent much time, devotion, and prayer, and
Experience a cultural exchange by learning about the traditions of Japanese CARP students, and
Share CARP America’s support, friendship, and best practices.
During the last two days of the trip, students from CARP Korea will also join to take part in an international conference. The purpose of this two-day conference is to provide an opportunity for students from Korea, Japan, and America to connect, network, and learn from each other to create a common vision for the future together.
Welcomed with Love and Care
Founder of this Intercultural Exchange, Naoko Hiraki, beams with joy during the Orientation.
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.”
CARP members who had flown in from different regions all over America to attend this trip were warmly welcomed and participated in ice breakers by teams, giving participants the chance to meet each other, introduce themselves, and assign roles for the trip.
Tour Through Japan
The emcees explained that our American CARP students will be able to meet Japanese students in different cities, chapters, and regions in Japan. The group will arrive in Tokyo, spend some time sightseeing with the students and then do similar activities with CARP students in Kyoto and Osaka. The group will then return to Tokyo where students from CARP Korea will also join them for the 2-day international conference. Part of this experience will be visiting Waseda University where True Father studied as a student.
The orientation ended with a touching prayer, moving the participants with gratitude for being able to go to Japan and spread joy and hope to the CARP students there.
Day One – Our Journey Begins!
LAX Airport – Take-Off Testimony by Nina Urbonya, Trip Coordinator
“Today is finally the day that we go to Japan. Some students are teasing and laughing at each other’s passport photos. “You show me yours, and then I’ll show you mine!” Others are talking about their favorite Japanese food. Everyone is impressed with the amazing customer care displayed by Japan Airlines. The agent even came out to personally escort us to the check-in desk. We are already feeling the warmth of Japan, where the “customer is king.”
While waiting in the security line, I got a chance to talk to Ilya Hack from CARP Las Vegas. When I asked him what inspired him to come on this trip, he replied with two main reasons:
“To meet CARP students in Japan and learn about the foundation of CARP established by our founders in Japan. Also, my mother is Japanese, so this will be a good opportunity to understand the culture and better understand my mother.”
There is only one hour left before we take off. Those who missed the orientation from last night are being briefed on the schedule now.
One by one, the students take out their snacks and pass them around; we had chips, chocolate and, combo rolls. CARP is all about sharing and these students are really embodying that!
Everyone is tired from all the preparations and traveling but you can see the excitement in their faces pushing past the fatigue.
Our journey begins with a 13-hour flight on Japan Airlines. Guessing from the customer care at the check-in desk, we will be well taken care of on the flight. It will be a time for fun but also reflection as we prepare to meet our friends in Japan.
Please send your prayers and support. We’ll continue to keep you updated along the way! 🙂
It’s 6 pm on Monday, May 23rd. The lovely California sun is still shining brightly. There is soft Ghibli music playing in the background competing with the sounds of a printer that is hard at work. Five diligent CARP students have been working hard since morning. All day, they’ve been printing and binding booklets that will be used during the upcoming Japan trip that include reading material for morning devotion, the schedule, and song lyrics in Japanese, Korean, and English.
So many preparations to make and so little time left!
The printer rumbled several times as if to protest that it’s working too hard. We had to give it a break every 20 minutes. We were only halfway done and the printer was already tired! But patience and good team work got the job done.
An American flag and beautiful sakura flowers grace the covers of the booklets. These two symbols, representing America and Japan, demonstrate two nationalities, two cultures coming together.
Despite the long printing process, there was constant laughter. 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.
We ended the day with a well-deserved break with boba tea and a great feeling of accomplishment 🙂
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24th, there will be an orientation for those from America going on this Intercultural Exchange trip.
Every Thursday we’re presenting a blast from the past, a ‘throwback Thursday’ edition to celebrate, honor, and remember CARP’s rich 50-year history. Check out our Facebook page ‘CARP Life’ for more updates!
Here is a page from “An Introduction to one of America’s most Significant Collegiate Organizations,” that summarizes CARP’s programs and purpose. Renowned CARP lecturer, Beverly Berndt, is pictured on the bottom left sharing about the Parallels of History and the significance of the time we’re living in.
In the May/June 1982 edition of CARP Monthly, we found this page where the caption reads, “above: Blue Tune Band in their Deutschland-Tour. (This photo was used for greeting cards). below: Lead singer, Joe Taylor (middle) with Blue Tune in a professional setting.”
Akiko Ikeno takes the mic at the Pure Love Alliance Benefit March in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 1997. Thousands of young people attended the event which promoted purity and family values.
Upon reviewing archives, we found a copy of the CARP “World Student Times” from April 1976. The editorial at the top, “The New Tradition for Youth” is transcribed here.
Here’s a flyer from the first CARP chapter in the United States, Columbia CARP! We found this gem in our archives and we think it’s from the late 1970’s. It’s refreshing to see we’re still teaching about how Unification Principles develops us as people who care for others.
Our Elder Brother Hyo Jin Nim delivering his passionate speech at the Berlin Wall Oktober 1986 telling the CARP members and all the people gathered that there is room for everybody in God’s Heart.
CARP speaks out publicly against communism at the White House 1983.
National Director of CARP, Joon Ho Seuk delivers his message during the “Unificationism and the Martial Arts” tour in 1983.
After a successful event, Henri Schauffler, Mike Smith, Dan Fefferman, Tiger Park, and Joon Hyun Park lead a victory cheer.
David Eaton featured in “The people who join CARP” in the World Student Times
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.