“Dare to Experience God’s Love—Discovering God’s Hope in Me”: Camp Lone Star 2009
On June 10 at Blanco, Texas, the chosen staff members of the Camp Lone Star Summer workshop gathered at Tejas Trail, our beautiful official camp site built by our elder member Mr. Ken Morgan. Without his investment in the site we wouldn’t be able to have such a workshop.
Surrounded by vast, beautiful nature and bright sunlight, the Camp Lone Star staff workshop began. The length of the staff workshop was four days (6/10 – 6/13), and the participant/family workshop was eight days long (6/13 – 6/21), which makes the whole workshop twelve days long. It was going to be the longest Camp Lone Star workshop that we’ve had so far. The motivation for making the workshop this long was to provide inspiration and meaningful experiences for the youth so that they could gain as much as possible from it. It was a challenge for our new core staff to organize a workshop that was this long.
After bonding with sports activities and participating in the opening ceremony, staff members were asked to set their goals and present them to everyone. Having done a 21-day condition prior to coming to Camp Lone Star, all the staff members shared their motivation and goals for the upcoming workshop.
On the first night, the staff members were woken up in the middle of the night by the core staff for Camp Lone Star’s traditional “Challenge Night,” when we were challenged mentally and physically, to crawl through the mud and run to the top of the hill. Then we prayed for two hours on the hilltop as we waited for sunrise. As we ended the prayer, we sang together and returned around 6:00 am.
Both First and Second Generation gave the lectures. Reverend Sakai, the Texas state leader, gave the series of lectures on Father’s life. A few youth core staff members were lecturing for the first time, so we critiqued their lectures so that they could improve their presentations for the participant workshop.
One night we wanted to look at the stars, so we all brought our sleeping bags to the middle of the field. However, there were no stars visible in the sky that night, but a storm was approaching from far away. We could see the lightening flashing in the far distance. Music was played, and someone read a poem representing God’s heart. It turned out to be an experience when everyone sincerely felt God.
On June 13 the staff members were anxious to welcome the participants, who came from Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alabama, and Utah. Soon the main hall was packed with 55 participants and 29 staff members waiting for the opening ceremony of the workshop to start.
After team introductions and ice-breaker games, individuals set their goals for the workshop, followed by a lecture on how to build one’s relationship with God. The theme of the first three days of the participant workshop was “God’s Love.” Lecture topics followed this theme, and many spoke from their experiences of welcoming and trusting God. On the last day of this phase, we went on an outing to a water park in the area, which everyone enjoyed.
The next three days were the “Identity” phase, when lectures and activities were based on discovering our identity and the responsibility that follows from it. Sungmin Tamayo, from the Blessed Teen Academy, was the lecturer, who explained how our identity is connected to True Father and the course the True Children have walked to find their identity.
In the last phase of “Filial Piety”, it was again time for a challenge night. It went from 10:00pm to about midnight. All went through various stations prepared and were challenged through different activities. Many were challenged, but station keepers carried out the message that the path True Father went through was much more harsh, and challenging. Many had deep experiences during the challenge night and shared them at testimony time.
The second day of “Filial Piety” concentrated on Blessing education. Our District Leader, Reverend Hernandez, led the lectures and also a panel discussion, when all the youth who had received the Blessing were welcomed up on the stage and answered many questions from participants.
The last two days of the workshop was Family Camp. Many parents and brothers and sisters gathered, and the atmosphere became warm and joyful. On the last night, we had testimonies and a talent show. Many youth and teams performed, and also beautiful testimonies were spoken from few representatives.
On the last morning, Sunday, everyone gathered at the main hall for Sunday service. Reverend Hernandez spoke on “The Price for Being a True Child,” followed by greetings from Rev. Shin Chun Lee, our District Youth Leader, and Reverend Sakai, the state leader of Texas. The workshop concluded with three cheers of Ok Mansei.
The subtheme of this Camp Lone Star Summer workshop was to “Discover God’s Hope in Me.” The theme was emphasized throughout the workshop, enabling each one of us to see ourselves as children filled with God’s hope to return joy to God through our lives.
I would like to thank Heavenly Father for His protection and guidance for the safe conduct of this workshop, all the support from our leaders and parents in creating this workshop, and all staff members and participants, for without them, this workshop would not have been successful.
We hope that all the participants can incorporate what they have learned in this workshop, practicing and pursuing this way of life at their homes and daily lives.