Hawaii Outreach Team Continues to Empower
With the second week of the Honolulu outreach just beginning, excitement is in the air. The team has just said goodbye to some of the participants from the first week, while welcoming seven new people who have joined the team from around the country.
Students at the University of Hawaii campus have been receptive and open to the outreach team. The Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), which is established on campus, has made meeting rooms available for Divine Principle presentations. The team also has had success at Waikiki Beach, which has been a wonderful spot to talk with people in the late afternoon before catching a glimpse of the breathtaking sunsets.
Each member of the team is encouraged to learn how to deliver their own one-on-one Divine Principle presentations. A few already are giving introductory presentations on a regular basis, while the rest of the team continues to train and practice. Many of the participants feel invigorated as they share their faith. Much of the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and inspiring.
“I came to realize that Hawaii is a place that our Heavenly Parent has prepared and set a foundation for,” said an 18-year-old Unificationist from Oregon. “I met so many amazing people, and to me it felt more like making friends. I feel very lucky to be here.”
One girl from New York City participated with her mother and said that it was a unique growth experience. “I’m glad that I had my mom by my side so I could hear how she got through to people. Learning and listening to her was pretty hard in the beginning, because I wasn’t really into meeting people all day for eight hours. By the time l actually started opening my mind and participating, it got a lot better. I loved listening to other people’s thoughts. I feel like they inspired me, when I thought I was supposed to be the one inspiring them!”
This enthusiasm has allowed the team to capture the attention of some wonderful guests. Another mother and daughter team gave this testimony about meeting a guest at Waikiki Beach, “After praying on the beach, I saw a shining bright light and it was coming from this gentleman!” This guest has continued to meet with them every day since then, hearing a quick summary from the introduction to the Second Advent, all the way to the meaning of the Holy Marriage Blessing. He said, “What I have heard here is more complete and thorough than any other Christian explanations I have received from the different churches I’ve attended in the past.”
On Saturday, January 24, the Honolulu Family Church prepared a special dinner to thank those who had come for the first week of the outreach efforts. Everyone enjoyed short introductions by all in attendance and entertainment by both local Unificationists and members of the outreach team. The aforementioned guest, who also attended the program, commented, “Everyone here is very wonderful!”
It has been a truly transforming experience for guests and participants alike. “It has become clear to me that everyone I approach is looking for something,” said a 21-year-old participant from New Jersey. “Everybody is searching for something more. We are all on this earth together, and now my life is intertwining with people I would have never known otherwise. I am learning about the power of conviction, the power of the Word, and the power of the spirit world. I know that I still have so much ahead of me and so much more to learn and discover.”
To build a family atmosphere on the team, shared responsibilities are encouraged, daily Hoon Dok Hwe (study of scripture) is done together, and outreach partners are rotated so that everyone has an opportunity to bond.
It is exciting to see the transformation of the team members as they invest themselves sincerely. Their confidence and sense of identity have grown. The most profound development, however, is their increasing desire to bring others to God and True Parents. With only two weeks remaining in the outreach efforts, the team looks to make a lasting impact in Hawaii.
Day two in Honolulu brought new experiences and challenges for outreach participants. The team spent the morning learning how to present a simple introduction to the Divine Principle before heading out to the University of Hawaii campus.
Students were very receptive and the team managed to make a total of 28 contacts. They gave introductory presentations to six students and set up appointments with others. The younger members of the team worked in pairs as they sought to connect in a meaningful way with their peers.
During the day, the participants took time to share their challenges and experience so far. Many felt challenged to find a way to explain their faith clearly. Others are striving to engage in discussions that are more meaningful in order to form authentic relationships. All are committed to investing themselves in everyone they meet as the way for God to work through them.
In the late afternoon, participants continued witnessing at the park at Waikiki beach before enjoying some down time. Accompanied by a beautiful sunset, participants took a swim in the Pacific and reflected on another great day, grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to the days ahead.
Sunday, January 18 marked the official kickoff of the three-week Honolulu Outreach Program initiated by True Mother. The program began at Sunday service in a park near the ocean. More than 100 local Unificationists, the visiting outreach team and several guests gathered to hear short messages from Rev. Ernie Ho and Mr. Hiroshi Inose and enjoy a delicious barbecue.
The 14-person team consists of a mix of ages and genders: five young adults (all women) and nine adults (five women and four men) from several states. The outreach activities for the three weeks will be centered at the University of Hawaii and the Waikiki Beach area.
The first outreach activity began in the park on Sunday afternoon. Using a flip chart, Rev. Ho presented a Divine Principle lecture to which the team members invited passersby. Later the team spent time near Waikiki Beach in order to become familiar with the area in which they would be working and to watch a beautiful sunset.
Monday was the first full day of activities and was very inspiring. The day began with morning devotions followed by a tour of the Honolulu Holy Ground and the famous Diamond Head peak. The views of Honolulu were spectacular, and the team members prayed for God’s blessing on the Hawaiian people and on the outreach work. Five young adults from the local community acted as tour guides.
After lunch the team divided into pairs for doing outreach work and headed back to the beautiful park at Waikiki Beach. Six local members also joined, and the participants established a base camp among several picnic tables as a presentation area for Rev. Ho to give lectures.
During the first hour the team met two wonderful guests who listened to introductory presentations. One stayed for several hours and the other for the entire afternoon. Both are young adults seeking future direction in their lives. The team met about twenty other people and set up future appointments with six.
After sunset, three guests continued to listen to Rev. Ho’s lecture, and the team used flashlights to illuminate the flip chart. “We were reminded of the early days of True Parents’ ministry when guests would stay late into the night to receive God’s word,” one of the participants said.
The team ended the day with dinner at a famous Honolulu fast-food restaurant called Zippy’s. Everyone was energized and felt a sense of victory and confidence from the day’s efforts. Most of the young adults had never done any outreach work in a public setting, and they were grateful for their first experience.
Within the first two days the team gained great momentum and camaraderie. They will soon begin to do outreach work at the University of Hawaii campus and are looking forward to the next few weeks on their journey.