Hawaii Outreach Team Feels “Refreshed and Revived”
Over 100 people from around the nation gathered in Honolulu, answering True Mother’s invitation and challenge to renew themselves through testifying to God and True Parents and gain momentum for their communities back home. Based on and modeled after the success of the recent Las Vegas outreach, the three-week initiative had its kickoff on Sunday, January 18. What better place to inspire and touch people’s hearts than the beautiful island of Oahu?
True Parents have invested a great deal in Hawaii, and the new outreach team has been reaping the fruits. Much of the investment until now has been in Kona. True Father first began coming to Kona, Hawaii in 1989 to fish for Pacific blue marlin, the prized trophy fish of the Pacific. True Father’s boat, “Kona Concept,” still resides in the city and is used as a charter fishing boat.
In 2001, True Father made Kona a primary spot for outreach, requesting Japanese Unification missionaries to come and support outreach efforts there. Fourteen years later, missionary groups continue to come to Kona for three months at a time.
The Pacific Rim Education Foundation, a non-profit corporation that seeks to promote peace and healing, was formed two years later in 2003, and continues to promote and develop programs in Kona on a monthly basis. Kona is also home to the Hawaiian Queen Coffee Farm that boasts over 150 acres of coffee trees and produces award winning coffee sold mostly in Hawaii and Japan.
In 2007, True Father declared, “God has blessed this land [Hawaii] to be a central point of the Pacific Rim era. This is the center of the ocean culture, which centers on True Mother, the era of women. That’s why love and healing can emanate from this place. Through the ocean culture, all can be healed and cured.”
Now, with True Mother’s leadership, outreach has expanded to Honolulu, the state’s capitol. With the success of the efforts in Kona, Honolulu is an area that holds much promise, as already demonstrated by some of the early results of the three-week outreach initiative that was held there. A young team member from New York said, “For once in my life, I feel inspired to learn about the Divine Principle, not as an obligation but voluntarily. I want to be able to set a strong foundation, especially through our efforts here.”
Many of the participants seem to agree with True Parents that Hawaii is a unique place with a clear foundation. One young woman commented, “What I like about being here at the campus of the University of Hawaii is that there are so many international students and so many people who actually like to talk about religion.”
Another participant observed, “I’m in this beautiful land of Hawaii with very warm, perfect weather, and the people here are also very warm-hearted, spiritually open and always willing to talk and listen.” A young man from Chicago agreed. “Even though I’m not such a social person, there’s a different feel in Hawaii, where people seem to be more open and willing to share,” he said.
The three weeks have been filled with both challenges and joy. One participant shared her initial struggle and how she overcame. “During the first week of this outreach campaign, it was very difficult and painful for me,” she said. “Many of my contacts promised to come to a lecture, but they didn’t keep their promise. I realized that I also made many promises to our Heavenly Parent and True Parents, but I also betrayed them many times. It is a great blessing that True Mother gave me this opportunity to heal my heart.”
Many team members experienced their first time giving Divine Principle presentations. For many of the participants, sharing their faith with others has allowed them to gain a deeper understanding and connection to their own faith. “I’ve been here since the beginning, since the first week,” said one young woman from New Jersey. “And the most valuable experience for me has been lecturing. I was asked to share about the Introduction of the Divine Principle and the Principle of Creation, and to me it brought me a lot of happiness to share about God’s nature and the dual characteristics of God, and it also sparked an interest in me to study more of the Divine Principle.”
The team has been dedicated and inspired, with daily Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture reading), and long days spent on the University Campus and at Waikiki Beach giving lectures, making contacts and approaching people. Along with the daily prayers, Hoon Dok Hwe and internal guidance, some of the team members took it upon themselves to wake up early to pray. “I and [another] sister go to Waikiki Beach to pray every morning,” said one of the participants. “We get up at four o’clock and I really feel God’s heart and True Parents’ heart in a way that I have never experienced before.”
During the first week of February, the last week of the three week initiative, the team continued to reach out to the students and community. The team has built relationships with many of the local Unificationists and have enjoyed the many fellowship opportunities during Sunday Service at the Honolulu Family Church and special outings. On Sunday, the team went on a hike at Diamondhead State Monument. The extinct volcano offered beautiful views of the city and the ocean, and a time for the team to relax and gear up for their third and final week on the island.
The team was committed to put their best effort in for the last week and made determinations each day. The last week of the campaign began with a powerful group effort. “Because we are together and are able to trust each other, we can succeed!” exclaimed one of the participants. By the middle of the week, they were already off to a running start, building on the foundation of the previous weeks. The team continued to welcome new guests and give more advanced lectures to returning ones. Each day was packed with lectures, outreach and internal guidance. Dinner was often a break from activities and a time for reflection. On Wednesday, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, the Continental Chair of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) North America, joined the group and shared about True Parents’ Providence in Hawaii, encouraging them to finish the week strong.
The grueling schedule was often challenging on participants; still, they were able to encourage each other and continue to persevere. A young missionary from Japan who joined the group shared, “Today, I was witnessing and began to feel more and more tired. My partner suggested that we think more seriously about God’s viewpoint of the students. I had an inspiration to approach one student sitting on a bench, and she was very open to listening to what we had to say. She made an appointment to meet with us!”
The last Friday on campus began as usual, with Hoon Dok Hwe, this time from one of True Mother’s speeches to the Japanese youth at the Global Youth Rally in 2014. After a successful day on campus during which the team gave several presentations, the team attended the Forgive, Love and Unite Banquet at the Pagoda Hotel, hosted by the local Honolulu Family Church. Over 50 participants enjoyed musical performances, a moving video presentation of True Father’s life, and a presentation by a University of Hawaii Graduate student of Physics on the scientific explanation for the existence of God. Several local Unificationists shared personal testimonies, including one couple who talked about their Holy Marriage Blessing in 2009. The group was grateful to be invited to dinner by Dr. Kim after the event, an expression of True Mother’s appreciation for the investment of the outreach team. The team was excited to share stories of their experience and to receive more guidance from Dr. Kim.
Sunday marked the last day of the three-week initiative. The morning was spent sharing experiences of their time in Hawaii. Later, they attended Sunday Service at the Honolulu Family Church where Dr. Kim gave a powerful and inspiring message. He encouraged everyone to stand up and take action to help God’s providence.
The team proudly shared testimonies of their experience with the community and stayed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1800 Couples Holy Marriage Blessing before heading off to the Oahu north shore to take in the beautiful scenery one last time.
As participants get ready to head back to their home towns, there is a sense of renewed faith and hope. Participants young and old have found value in their experience. A senior member of the team said, “By interacting with the young people on campus, I’ve actually become a new man. I feel refreshed and revived and ready to go.” Though the three-week initiative has come to an end, it’s clear that the impact will last long after. It will be difficult to say goodbye to such a beautiful place and the relationships that have been built, but the whole team is excited to share their experiences and enthusiasm back home.
Did you miss this experience in Hawaii? There are more outreach revivals coming up this year. The next one will take place in Dallas, Texas. Find out more and look forward to an outreach project in your local area!