Memorial for the Third Anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa

I arrived around 7:45am at the Cheong Shim World Peace Center, the stadium where Holy Marriage Blessing ceremonies have taken place, and where we will all gather today for the third anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension). There were already crowds of Unificationists lining up and entering the stadium. To my surprise, the Top Gun participants were assigned seats in some of the front rows of the stadium with a clear view of the stage and True Mother’s seating area. It was thrilling to see such a beautiful stage set up live and everyone gathering into the stadium.

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To begin the Seonghwa program, the Top Gun participants sang “Our Father’s Dwelling Place” in Korean and “You Raised Me Up”. I learned later on this program was broadcast via satellite and I hope families at home were able to enjoy the songs we performed. During the program, it was heartwarming to listen to the International President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), Sun Jin Moon, speaking very eloquently and in English. Following her message, I was very touched when True Mother took the initiative to lead us all in singing, “Sarang Hae”. Her message and determination empowered me to go back to America with a new heart and attitude. I felt I am seeing this movement with a new perspective and feel very indebted to True Parents. Following the Seonghwa Ceremony, we had the opportunity to watched a musical performance of True Father’s journey and missionary work in Japan. It was very professional in terms of lighting and the use of audio and visuals. The performance was very theatrical and the actors and actresses brought immense energy to the stage.

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Immediately after the performance, I ran quickly to my bus to Incheon Airport. Unfortunately, I did not have time, like many of the Top Gun participants, to say my final farewells. I still have a couple days in Korea so I will be visiting some of my Korean relatives. There are some Top Gun participants staying in Cheong Pyeong an extra night and making their way back home tomorrow. So here I conclude this Top Gun journey and the blog.

As you probably can all imagine, each of us return to our lives back at home – our families, career, or college. For me, I will be continuing my studies this fall at the University of Connecticut. It’s really exciting to go back home and approach this year with support from Heavenly Parent and True Parents. I really wish I had time to say a proper goodbye to Cheong Pyeong but I realized you can’t really say farewell. I know I’ll come back again to this home that trained me and taught me to appreciate all the simple things in my daily life.

So am I going to all of a sudden change the world? No. Many of us have our daily routines. However, that doesn’t mean our life of faith pauses here. This is now the beginning of something new. We are blessed to embark on our Top Gun alumni journey after commemorating the third anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa. I hope we can continue to keep this international network and begin laying down plans for the future of our movement. Most of all, I hope we can keep a sincere connection with our Heavenly Parent and True Parents. We leave knowing the secret of having momentum lies in the words of, and prayerful conversations with, our Heavenly Parent. It’s also important to continue supporting each other in our future endeavors.

Thank you to everyone who followed this Top Gun journey. It has been an honor and privilege to write this blog. I appreciate the FFWPU USA media team for opening this opportunity and providing professional support for this blog including video, photos and editing. I’m also eternally grateful for my Top Gun brothers and sisters for sharing a life-changing experience together in this workshop. My heart has completely melted and my spirit has a renewed determination.

It was definitely difficult to balance blogging throughout our intense schedule; however, I did this for our Heavenly Parent. I made no excuses and tried my best to convey our Heavenly Parent’s heart and hope for all of us, as I experienced in Korea these past few weeks. I hope through this blog you could feel God’s love and True Parents’ spirit to move forward into a bright future together.

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Final Days in Korea

So many events took place during the course of this day. In the morning, Top Gun participants had an opportunity again to visit True Father’s resting place and the Cheong Jung Gung Museum. Yeon Ah Moon, President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) International, visited to share some words to everyone in Cheong Pyeong. She took a moment to share about Hyo Jin Moon and also acknowledged True Mother’s strength. She mentioned True Mother gave birth to 14 children, had 5 miscarriages and survived surgery after a helicopter accident. She encouraged us to also be amazing in front of Heaven and to see the good in other people.

Following her talk, we had a session called, “Inheritance of Tradition”, where we met with the early Unificationists from the 36-couple Holy Marriage Blessing. These were Rev. Gil Ja Sa, who is Rev. Eu’s wife, Rev. Bo Hi Pak, and Rev. Young Hwi Kim. It was inspiring to hear from the very early members of our movement and to have an opportunity to inherit their spirit. Each talk was very brief due to True Mother’s arrival to Cheong Pyeong later that day. Rev. Gil Ja Sa shared the need for us to become Divine Principle lecturers. Rev. Bo Hi Pak shared his role as an interpreter for True Father and how he understood the need to interpret True Father’s heart. Rev. Young Hwi Kim was the first Korean leader of Korean church and shared a letter he had written to all of us. Due to the lack of time, he shared his main points. The theme was to make a world with no falsehood, or simply put: let’s stop lying to each other, and become people who can trust and love each other.

On this note, True Mother entered the main lecture hall. The hall was jam packed with people sitting in rows on the floor and standing around the entrances. I had to step outside to watch True Mother’s speech from a TV screen hung outside one of the buildings. Many others did the same and sat in the shade to listen to True Mother. I was surprised True Mother was able to see us the day before the Seonghwa anniversary. I realized she is truly working hard and making a conscious effort to think about everyone. She had just awarded the first Sunhak Peace Prize the day before. She has to keep moving forward and attend one event after another. When I see this, I think even at my age I would be extremely exhausted.

The Top Gun participants made final preparations to perform at the Seonghwa (ascension) Ceremony tomorrow. We are reaching the final few days of being here in Korea. Also, we are reflecting on True Father’s life and how we can be a part of continuing his legacy.

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HERE WE ARE!

Returning to Cheong Pyeong, the Top Gun participants dispersed among of a sea of Unificationists and guests attending the Cheong Pyeong Works event and Global Youth Assembly. Due to the dramatic increase of people here, we all were a bit intimidated by the crowd. I realized we were really fortunate to have our own sleeping area and phone-charging stations. We now have to strategically approach finding a place to sleep and using the restrooms. The long lines have become a new norm.

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We received a new schedule in alignment with the Global Youth Assembly and material for activities in the Cheong Pyeong Works event, which is happening in conjunction with the youth assembly. Along with a new t-shirt and pen we were given two postcards – one to write to ourselves in a year and another to write to True Parents. The theme for the Global Youth Assembly is devotion and the slogan is, “Here we are!” It’s well crafted in that it relays the heart of all the youth gathered in supporting True Mother.

Outside there are many event banners, tents and tables set up. Inside there are lines of banners highlighting Unificationist activities and organizations all around the world. One cool activity is the Holy Ground Pilgrimage Stamp Event. At ten different landmarks in Cheong Pyeong, participants stamp their stamp card. Once collecting all the stamps you are given a prize.

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For the opening ceremony of the World Youth and University Assembly we recognized all the continents attending this event, including North America, South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Sun Jin Moon, International President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) and her husband, In Sup Park, International Vice President of FFWPU, joined us for this event. Naokimi Ushiroda, President of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) USA, offered a representative prayer. We then heard inspiring words from President of World CARP, Kwon In Sung and his hope for us to be future leaders. Also, he asked for us to work together and realize a world of peace with True Mother.

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With a warm round of applause we welcomed to the podium Sun Jin Moon for the commemorative speech. She formed a shape of a heart with her hands to show her love to all the participants in the main hall. She shared, “As we gather here tonight, let us not forget who we are. We are blessed central families because of True Parents’ absolute and complete attendance and their absolute true love for all humanity.” It was late at night and while bringing her grace, she also brought energy. Right in the middle of her speech she took a pause and looked to the room; she acknowledged it was getting late, however she asked if we were tired and if we could listen just a bit longer. We gave her the biggest cheer in support and she responded, “Now that’s the power I needed.”

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She invited us to all hold hands, close our eyes and focus on our breath. This simple moment made us feel this instant international connection. In this hall we were brothers and sisters from various countries. The simple action of holding hands made me feel like we are willing to be vulnerable and be builders of peace. We are in this together no matter what. We can contribute to building a peaceful world together with our Heavenly Parent and True Parents. As Sun Jin Moon left the stage we chanted altogether, “HERE WE ARE!”

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With this conclusion we then entered into the musical festival. The highly talented Little Angels came to Cheong Pyeong to perform dances and songs. Their elegance and precision astonished the audience and led to many cheers and applauses. We received performances by groups from nations including Japan, Korea, Thailand and America.

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Four of our Global Top Gun participants representing America sang, “Marching On” by OneRepublic. They were able to get the audience standing on their feet and jumping to the rhythmic music. It was a long musical festival; I believe the event went way beyond midnight. Yet everyone was very satisfied, and the stage itself had professional lighting and stage effects to create a concert-like atmosphere.

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So here we are! We are here True Parents!

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Peace Road 2015 Seoul

We left Cheong Pyeong at 7:30am to attend the Peace Road event in Seoul. We received Peace Road t-shirts the night before and got into our athletic wear for the event. Once we arrived in Seoul we gathered outside near the famous golden statue of King Sejong, who developed the Korean alphabet. This Peace Road Seoul event culminated the Peace Road activities started this summer. There were banners lining up showing pictures of Peace Road activities taken place in 120 countries.

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The American and European Top Gun participants walked down a few blocks away from the event to prepare to ride on bikes. We received flags from various countries to clip onto our bikes to show the global significance of the Peace Road. Once we welcomed the Peace Riders coming from Busan, we then rode all together to the main event. Our Korean and Japanese Top Gun participants offered a musical performance by singing “Tongil” (or “Unity” in Korean). Many of our Unificationist national leaders attended the event and testified to the success of the Peace Road events in each of their regions.

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After the event we all gathered at the Korean congress and attended a concluding Peace Road event called, “International Symposium for Advancing World Peace and Korea’s Unification”. During the welcoming ceremony many VIP and foreign dignitaries came in support. Flags of different nations were lined up on stage, and along with other musical performances, Top Gun participants sang “Tongil” again. There was a music video presentation highlighting all the countries who participated in Peace Road singing “Tongil”. We all welcomed the Peace riders from various countries onto the stage and celebrated together.

After the welcoming ceremony we received reports on each of the Peace Road events from each region, including North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Greater China, Oceania, Japan and Korea. These presentations informed us of the locations where Peace Road rides took place, how many participants were involved and how many kilometers were traveled. One exciting aspect of this program was seeing our Top Gun participant, Yoshiko Pammer, sharing the report on behalf of Europe.

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The global impact of this event inspired many of us to think on a global level. It’s surprising to see our international community standing up together for a cause. And to see that this is who we are now and there is more to come. As we left Seoul, we ended the day eating together at a restaurant near Cheong Pyeong for the last time.

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Closing Ceremony

Today our Global Top Gun workshop came to a close. We took this opportunity to reflect among ourselves on the purpose and objectives of this workshop. We shared in pairs and answered the following questions: How do I feel? What did I learn? What will I do?

Then we gathered together in our clans and participated in a recognition activity. Each clan split into two groups. One group sat on the floor with their eyes closed and the other group stood around them in a circle. When the staff shared a recognition statement the group standing up had to tap the individual who embodied that statement during the workshop. Some of the statements went along the lines of, “you inspire me” or “God loves you more than you know”. Many of the Top Gun participants cried receiving so much love from their family members. We did this activity again as a whole tribe, meaning with all the Top Gun participants; many were touched and moved from this activity.

I personally shed many tears. It was nice to receive hugs and also be able to give hugs to many of the older sisters who made my workshop experience truly unforgettable. Following the activity we had one representative from each clan share a brief testimony of the workshop. One brother from Afghanistan shared, “I see God in your tears. I see God in your smiles.” And another brother from America shared, “One thing that God has taught me is that investment is never wasted.” We left with heartfelt and sincere words from each testimony.

To officially conclude the workshop, we held a Closing Ceremony, where we watched a video highlighting the entire Top Gun workshop experience; we laughed, cheered and clapped at many exciting moments on our Top Gun journey. We received congratulatory remarks from Ki Seong Lee, President of the Cheong Pyeong Training Center. We heard words of encouragement from Jun Seok An, Vice President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) International, and a graduation address from In Soung Kwon, President of World Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP).

Yoshiko Pammer, a Top Gun participant from Europe relayed a testimony on behalf of all of us. We each were given a Top Gun completion certificate and a fancy Top Gun badge. After the entire ceremony, we were bursting into cheers and chants in the lecture hall. Even though we were tired, we were so happy to successfully complete and survive the workshop together. We accomplished and learned so much these past few weeks. Even though we had fun we adhered to a strict schedule and Cheong Pyeong lifestyle.

Going forward we are now the first class of the Global Top Gun alumni. These next few days we will be participating in numerous events as Global Top Gun alumni, such as the Peace Road event in Seoul, the Global Youth Assembly, a Cheong Pyeong Works event, and the third anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension) ceremony. We are expecting a heavy flow of Unificationists arriving here from Japan and Korea, and we’re bracing ourselves for the magnitude of these events.

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Spreading A Heart of Love

We started our day by walking to the Cheong Shim Training Center and attending a Tong Il Moo Do (Martial Arts) event. Along with Top Gun participants, our brothers and sisters from the Universal Peace Academy (UPA) sat in attendance. Each of the martial artists beautifully expressed the motions of mind and body unity through their training, using the circular motions distinctive of this martial art form. The program included a special dance and drumming performance dedicated to Hyo Jin Moon, with the opening acts’ musical ensemble incorporating True Father’s and True Mother’s voice, as well as popular anthems like “We Will Rock You” and “Eye of the Tiger”. Those with more training did backflip kicks into wooden pallets and with blindfolds. We saw piles of bricks and cement punched through by the martial art masters. What was very special about this event is that we could see True Mother again!

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Back at Cheong Pyeong we heard from Sam Nagasaka, Director of Mission Support at the international headquarters of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), who presented on a topic called, “Vision 2020 is Mainstreaming”. His presentation brought a more structured and strategic approach to fulfilling Vision 2020. We learned the importance of having balance, growing social engagement in our communities, growing our churches and maintaining sustainable growth.

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Briefly put, the key focus points addressed how to approach our internal, social and national environment. He listed them as following:

1. Internal Environment

-Tribal Messiahship (Personal Ministries) and Youth

-Membership Satisfaction and Service

-Leadership, Family and Organization

-Vision, Commitment and Unity

2. Social Environment

-Social Contribution and Infrastructure

-Social Credibility and Communication

3. National Environment

-2020 and Beyond: Redirection

-Building a National Agenda & Alliance

He mentioned these ideals should be implemented. From the list he expanded the importance for our movement to engage with society and developing transparency and build relations and communication, and expand in the public, private and social sectors.

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After Mr. Nagasaka’s talk, we invited two non-profit organization guest speakers, Katsuhiro Motoyama from the Paralympic Support Center for the The Nippon Foundation, and Soo Jung Han from the Beautiful Coffee Foundation, a fair trade organization. We were really inspired to learn about successful nonprofit organizations and the mindset these speakers have towards contributing to improving society.

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We concluded the day with a brothers’ and sisters’ night. The brothers wrestled together while sisters had facials and hand massages. Later in the night, the sisters gathered in a circle with Yeon Ah Moon and were honored to have a close moment with her. Since we were talking about the Holy Marriage Blessing before she came, she expanded on the significance of the parent-child relationship and becoming a couple blessed in marriage. She shared her own realizations and also emphasized connecting to our True Parents and Heavenly Parent. It was a long night; we stayed up until midnight or so. However we were really happy to have an older sister with so much love and enthusiasm. She openly answered our questions and brought peaches and Krispy Kreme donuts from True Mother.

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I feel my heart is opening up again and embracing being vulnerable. Even though our movement deals with external challenges and internal obstacles, being here has reignited my conviction and allowed me to seriously reevaluate my place within the movement and my life. We are transitioning as a movement and approaching the third anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension). If I’m going to stay a part of this movement, I need to be resilient when faced with obstacles, and not allow them to overpower my ability to take initiative over my faith.

I want my faith to be limitless and pursue building it with True Parent’s and Heavenly Parent’s guidance. I see that our movement and our life of faith can be dynamic and exciting. Do I have the answer and solution to everything? No. However, I will take this one step of courage to step up and reconnect. I invite everyone to reflect on their own journey, and want to open myself up to the elder Unificationists and love them and learn from them. From there, these problems do not need to be tackled alone; we can work together and acknowledge our mistakes and our victories.

I also hope to apply our teachings by helping others in need. I believe growing our movement is about spreading Heavenly Parent’s and True Parents’ words along with their unconditional love. Yes, we have many aspirations; however, they are not impossible. I hope for the Seonghwa Ceremony to give everyone the determination to carry True Father’s spirit of overcoming and digesting any obstacle with true love.

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Cultural Spheres

In our first session of the day, we began by addressing the eight cultural spheres, or areas of which a society’s culture is composed, that were introduced by the Divine Principle lecturers last week. These areas are: Education, Sports/Entertainment, Science/Technology, Arts, Business, Media, Religion and Governance. Demian Dunkley, Director of Evangelism at the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) USA, explained that these cultural spheres all contribute to building Cheon Il Guk (God’s heavenly kingdom). We each chose a cultural sphere to focus on and gathered in groups to discuss the significance of each cultural sphere and their impact on society.

We continued delving deeper into the subject by having a Cheon Il Guk Cafe exercise, similar to a World Cafe forum. We tried to do this by first listing True Parents’ top priorities:

Tribal Messiahship

Unificationist Youth and Young Adult Education

Marriage and Family Support

Networking and Communication

Environmental Issues

North and South Korea Relations

Interfaith Relations

Culture and the Arts

Professionalism

In the limited time we had, we chose to expand specifially on the topics of Tribal Messiahship, Unificationist Youth and Young Adult Education, Family Support, and North & South Korea Relations. The Top Gun participants took these topics seriously and engaged in great discussions. A representative from each group shared their ideas with everyone.

We welcomed two special lecturers today — Rev. Ryu Kyeong Seuk, President of FFWPU Korea, and Rev.Gil Ja Sa, wife of Rev. Hyo Won Eu. Rev. Ryu Kyeong Seuk shared reports about initiatives created toward realizing Vision 2020. Rev. Gil Ja Sa explained the design of the Divine Principle and how it allows a lecturer to teach concisely. She shared a video along with Rev. Eu’s personal letters and excerpts from his diary.

Our evening program tonight was an open mic night that lasted for almost three hours. Many of us enthusiastically signed up to perform. We had African dancing, extreme juggling, singing, instrumental accompaniment and storytelling. We got to see the premiere of a Global Top Gun promo video filmed and created by Masataka Asaoka, which received a very supportive and lively cheering, as did each performance.

Despite some of us getting sick, we continue to feel energetic when we spend time together. We only have three more days left of the Global Top Gun workshop. I believe many of us feel this opportunity has been very unique. The connections we made here are precious. We are going beyond our cultural identities and learning about each other through our talents and skills. It’s wonderful to see brothers and sisters instantly feeling comfortable to play music together and engage in sports. I hope this experience is not the end but only the beginning of what is to come in the future of our movement.

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The Truth is My Sword

Our Top Cannon Gerry Servito stayed a couple extra days to share content with us from Unification Thought. His presentation was called, “A Condensed Glimpse into Unification Thought”. Top Gun participants were moved by his passionate and engaging explanation of God’s heart and how we can align ourselves to become better individuals in our families. Following Gerry’s lecture, we engaged in a truly momentous and moving series of special lectures.

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Our first special lecturer was Dr. Bo Hi Pak. Along with taking on many key leadership roles within our Unification movement, he was first and foremost True Father’s translator and interpreter. He brought with him a very personal gift to the Top Gun participants. We each received a neatly packaged USB card with a video file called, “The Truth is My Sword”. He projected this video recording and shared with us his strong defense in court against an accusation made on him and the Unification movement. It moved us not only to see this video but also to watch Dr. Pak reviewing a serious moment in his life. It was such an impactful and overwhelmingly uplifting video.

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Our second special lecturer was Yeon Ah Moon, Hyo Jin Moon’s wife. She is currently the President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP). She read True Father’s words and asked us what we would like to hear from her. She touched on the topics of women in leadership, how we can support True Parents, and how to move forward toward Vision 2020, True Parents’ international plan for networking in world peace projects. Her grace and poise made everyone feel comfortable and at ease. Following Yeon Ah Moon’s talk, Rev. Ki Hoon Kim, Continental Director of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) North America, spoke to us, having just traveled from America to Korea. He emphasized studying the Divine Principle and True Parents’ words, describing True Father’s mission as the Second Coming of the messiah. His timely message prepared us in reflection for the upcoming third anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension). Dr. Kim also shared why True Parents came to America, and at the end of his talk our American brothers and sisters cheered, “USA! USA! USA!”, acknowledging and showing conviction in America’s role in God’s providence. At the end of these special lectures, we shared a snack of coffee and donuts.

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Now taking this time to reflect on the day, I simply feel blessed. Personally, it was inspiring to finally have a female special lecturer and also a member of True Parents’ family. My perception about our movement changed when listening to Rev. Bo Hi Pak’s testimony of True Father and his dedication to fight for the truth. I realized the next generation leaders isn’t limited to just today’s Unificationists…it extends through us to our future descendants, as we establish a lasting culture of ownership, standing on the shoulders of True Parents and great pioneers and leaders like Dr. Bo Hi Pak.

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We all felt very encouraged to step up and lead, and not just within the movement. We clearly understood our role is to introduce the truth and True Parents to the world. We need to understand True Parents’ heart so we can share that heart with the world. It’s not something forced upon us; it’s something we feel deeply within ourselves. Also, we can’t give up not matter what happens. We inscribe this in our hearts.

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Starting From Within

This afternoon, I took the opportunity to climb the mountain up to the Tree of Blessing, one of the four trees where Cheong Pyeong participants pray. Usually in our daily schedule we have time designated to climb up the mountain right after breakfast. It’s nicer in the morning because it’s cooler. Even though it was really hot in my afternoon hike today, the view was wonderful. On my way up the mountain, I noticed through the clear view that you can see the Cheon Jung Gung. Once seeing this, my heart instantly bursted with happiness, since it reminded me of our visit to see True Mother the other day. I became determined to climb up the mountain every afternoon and use the view remind myself of my purpose for being at Top Gun.

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Today, Justin Okamoto and Naokimi Ushiroda offered their coaching sessions for this leadership training week. Justin coached the Top Gun participants by expanding on topics such as understanding integrity and judgment. Naokimi introduced his method of goal setting and provided Top Gun participants with material he developed to use in the goal setting exercise. The exercises included listing 10 accomplishments we made in our own lives, building affirmation statements and listing our strengths. These sessions guided participants to take the opportunity to look within themselves and draw out their true passions.

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We then welcomed the Principal of the Universal Peace Academy (UPA), Rev. Dong Ho Kim. His passion for the young people and the Divine Principle shone through his UPA orientation. He shared a video presentation report on UPA’s activities here in Korea and around the world. He expanded on the purpose and hope for UPA. He emphasized that True Mother established UPA as a place for young leaders to train, grow and apply their skills.

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Rev. Kim shared the following goals of UPA:

1. Leadership education centering on the Divine Principle

2. Substantial leadership training

3. To be the light

4. Developing strong discipline

5. Becoming leaders who can witness to the world’s 7 billion people about True Parents

The UPA orientation concluded with welcoming the current UPA cadets on stage, where they sang “Sarang Hae” and “Country Roads”. Top Gun participants were very inspired to see such polished and poised cadets, and took the opportunity to network with them.

With so much coaching and the high standard expected from Top Gun participants, I began to ask myself, how can I become an excellent standard? We are told to be Cheon Il Guk citizens, citizens of God’s heavenly kingdom who are individuals and families realizing world peace. We were reminded of True Father’s mindset that everything he did was for God, our Heavenly Parent.

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I realized how my actions do not always necessarily align with or intentionally connect with our Heavenly Parent. For example, I don’t wake up every morning thinking, “I am waking up this morning for God and going to do work for God”. Usually I struggle waking up early and think I go out to work because I need to pay for my expenses. I realized that changing my mindset in this way can allow me to recognize my life has purpose. Each step I take or each action I make can contribute to our divine Heavenly Parent and His children.

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Launching Leadership Development

This week we switched gears and entered into our leadership development program, the next part of the Global Top Gun workshop. The goal of the leadership development is finding our purpose in building Cheon Il Guk (God’s kingdom), fulfilling True Parents’ vision of world peace and unification, and also having the empowerment to lead. We welcomed five consultants and coaches who will lead the leadership sessions, which they call “conversations”. These young professionals are David Young, Justin Okamoto, Teresa Rischl, Neil Rischl and Naokimi Ushiroda. Instead of lecturing, the coaches emphasizes each Top Gun participant would take responsibility and initiative over their training.

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The leadership development program began with our first coach, David Young. David reminded each participant that they responded to True Mother’s calling by attending this workshop. David explained that in his sessions, each participant would take initiative and embrace self-discovery. The goal of his sessions was for us to find the greatness waiting to burst inside of us and engage in life with excitement.

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David set four rules for this next week:

1. Share with each other

2. Listen actively

3. Show up on time

4. Respect each individual’s privacy by keeping shared content confidential

Through pair sharing, activities and words of wisdom from our coaches, the Top Gun participants opened themselves to this new style of learning. Many already have shed tears and shared their determinations to do better in their own life and improve their relationships.

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It was inspiring to see those who really took the exercises to heart trying to use the sessions to overcome their own obstacles. Along with acknowledging problems surfacing in their lives, the coaches made sure the participants coming on stage shared action steps toward resolving these issues. The hope for these next couple of days is for participants to take a step out of their Top Gun family groups, look at themselves as individuals, and then see where improvements can be made so our families can become stronger.

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Following the coaching sessions, we were honored with the opportunity to hear from the President of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Korea, Dr. Byung Ho Son. He explained the importance of the reunification of North and South Korea and how we can participate in achieving it. Prior to hearing his talk, I knew our movement had concerns for North and South Korea. However, after having an in depth explanation, historical details, and understanding it’s relevance, I became inspired to contribute in helping the reunification efforts. North and South Korean reunification was True Father’s dream. I felt sad it couldn’t be accomplished during his lifetime. However, I hope it can be accomplished during True Mother’s lifetime. This Global Top Gun workshop is giving me the confidence to step up and become involved in world-level issues such as the reunification of Korea. I hope it can be a dream that will be accomplished.

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