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
University of Montreal campus in the fall foliage.
After all these planning meetings, it was time to take action!
For months now, the CARP Montreal chapter has been preparing to launch and promote itself on campus. Each team member worked hard towards a successful launching. They made sure no minute detail was left out — flyers, business cards, social media outreach, reservations, etc.
“We didn’t know how it would turn out, who would show up, or what the response from the students would be. But we just went forward with faith.” – Nathan Bellow, CARP Montreal member
Every time things got challenging, the CARP Montreal team reminded themselves of their mission to empower students and raise them into future leaders through the Unification Principles in order to make the world a better place.
Nathan explained, “It gave us strength and kept us motivated.”
Finally, on Friday September 30th, the team set up a stand on campus and promoted their CARP chapter for a good two hours.
Enthusiastic CARP Montreal members on campus promoting their CARP chapter.
“Fridays are usually pretty quiet because not so many students have classes. But it was a good opportunity for us to see how it is and how we can create an attractive stand.” – Nathan
The few students that came up to the stand seemed very interested, but shy as well. One gentleman looked toward the CARP representatives and gently asked, “Hello. Can I take a look at the flyer?” Then a few seconds later, he popped out another question, “Can I take it with me, please?” At least the flyer sparked an interest.
Soon after, a girl came up and asked what CARP was all about. Nathan gave her a brief introduction to CARP’s goals and activities and she seemed very impressed. “Oh! That’s really interesting. I’ve been attending this university for the past two years, but I’ve never heard of such a club before!” She enthusiastically signed up to become a member of the club.
This was like a practice round. Monday October 3rd was the big show day. It was the perfect day to promote CARP because the campus was buzzing with activity and there were many students. Candy lined the CARP stand, inviting fellow students to take a look.
CARP MONTREAL “BECOME THE NEXT BEACON OF HOPE”
Some people came up to the stand just to grab one of the flyers. They seemed very busy. Others had more time and it allowed for more interesting conversations with the CARP members.
One particular student saw the banner full of famous figures with the invitation to Become the next beacon of hope! and came up smiling to ask, “So how can we become the next symbol of hope?”
Some students took pictures of the banner, feeling inspired and happy. Even some teachers came up to the stand with curiosity and wide smiles across their faces. Everyone that came to check out the stand seemed pleased and inspired by CARP’s activities.
The CARP Montreal members enjoyed having all these interesting interactions with students on campus.
At the end of the day, Nathan was happy, “We can tell that our banner is really attracting people. It is big and everyone can see it. It’s as if it’s directly attracting the people who have good values and a strong desire to change the world.”
CARP Montreal is just getting started. Let’s cheer them on!