What Does Faith Have to Do with Fishing?
The National Ocean Challenge Program (NOCP) just concluded its 11th year in Kodiak, Alaska! From July 7 to 27, twenty-four participants ages 16 to 27 came from all over the United States, Korea, and Scotland for an epic 21-days of fishing supported by a stellar team of staff, captains, captains-in-training, and team leaders.
NOCP empowers future leaders to become authentic stewards of all creation by providing a unique and challenging introductory experience through fishing and boating in remote Alaska.
NOCP was founded in 2007 as a modern-day adaptation of the historic Ocean Challenge founded by True Father in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1981.
With the ocean as the primary training ground, participants had the opportunity to develop character and confidence through seamanship, experience the heart of stewardship, and cultivate faith through experiencing God’s love through nature.
Many participants came with the intention of connecting more to True Parents and their heart for ocean providence. The group was blessed to stay in North Garden, where True Parents used to stay, and others had used to pray, study, and reflect.
Participants first received a CPR and First Aid certification and were trained in basic boat safety by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Over the course of the three weeks, the group fished for salmon, halibut, rockfish, lingcod, and the occasional octopus, catching a record 4,000 pounds and bringing some home to their families.
Stewardship in Action
The group read True Mother’s speech from the Los Angeles rally where she shared her concern about pollution, the plastic in the oceans, and how Blessed families have to take ownership to become proper stewards.
A young Unificationist in Kodiak, Hana Bulow, who works for Island Trails Network, came to speak about the state of the ocean and how to reduce plastic and waste. NOCP brainstormed on how they can reduce waste during the program, then spent the next day cleaning a remote beach in the rain. In just two hours they filled the entire bed of a pickup truck.
They learned about the salmon cycle and the way they sacrifice their lives for their young, for their bravery and fighting spirit, then visited a salmon hatchery to see an example of stewardship in action. These hatcheries provide 80% of the fish that commercial fisherman catch in the North Pacific ̶ a perfect example of True Parent’s vision to feed the world through Ocean Providence.
Heart of Inheritance
Many of the veteran Ocean Challenge uncles and aunts shared their stories with the participants. Captain Minoru Kageyama and Captain Chris Fiala, two of True Father’s captains in Kodiak and founders of NOCP, shared about the Alaskan spirit that True Father loved so much. Mike Faris shared about Ocean Peace and encouraged the participants to consider a future with the ocean. Susan Bouachri from Family Federation Headquarters joined for two weeks, bringing an auntie spirit to balance out all the uncles, and shared her testimonies of pioneering in Alaska for many years. Misako Whitmore, who holds the record for a 324 lb halibut, shared her journey as one of the 40 Japanese sisters True Father sent to work in Kodiak.
Following in True Father’s tradition, the program concluded with a two-day tournament. The group woke up for prayer service at 4:30 a.m. and were ready to fish by 5:00 a.m. Two full days were spent out on the ocean competing to catch the biggest and the most fish.
I had many take-aways, I definitely learned a lot. One was patience. Another was trusting; trusting in God and believing that everything happens for a reason. I personally cannot control everything. Through NOCP I also gained a closer and more personal relationship with creation, which, overall, has brought me a bit closer to God and True Parents.
NOCP has changed my life of faith and what I truly want to do in the future.
NOCP taught me lots about myself, where I am with my faith, relationships, and goals, and gave me a taste of what I need to continue growing in and how I can continue choosing God and His Will.
Impressionable and the best possible way to nourish your spiritual growth and connection to God.
An environment that is incomparable to other programs. And the closest place that you can connect with True Parents.
A life changing, internal experience that allows you to become closer to God and True Parents. NOCP pushes you to see God and learn more about yourself.
An adventurous month filled with internal and external growth spurts. Training to become a more skilled heavenly steward of creation.