Food is Love

We completed our Divine Principle workshop with our final lecturer—or as we like to call them: Top Cannon—Rev. Andrew Compton. We appreciated the time each of our presenters spent to really share their hearts and also expand on the relevance of the Divine Principle in our daily lives. Many Top Gun participants enjoyed the lectures and the chance to build new connections with our international brothers and sisters.

20150814-IMG_9650

Having received so much love, Top Gun participants were assigned to now start giving back by cleaning. Yes, even though we are expected to be great leaders, we still have to maintain a standard of cleanliness! Today, my group, or family, was in charge with helping to wash the trays after lunch.

This task required slipping into large pink aprons and blue rain boots. It’s definitely an experience worth trying. In the back of the cafeteria, I was assigned to wash the eating trays—there were over 200 of them! We weren’t cleaning the trays for only the Top Gun participants; we washed trays of all the participants at Cheong Pyeong, including those residing there and participating in concurrent workshops. My initial thought and realization was how grateful I am to be taken care of and fed at Cheong Pyeong.

20150814-IMG_9650

I placed a deeper appreciation for the simple things we have here. I didn’t realize how much love the kitchen and cleanup staff have. All their work so far let us enjoy our time at Cheong Pyeong and focus on our internal growth. Not only does the inside of the training center always look clean, but the outside is constantly being taken care of, too.

Even though we are Top Gun participants, we are held to a standard here. This standard allows us to focus and overcome our body’s desire for comfort. Along with keeping things clean, we need to always store our sleeping bags and make sure we’re not late for any of the sessions in our schedule. Honestly, it’s not easy. But we each make the effort to adapt to the new environment and maintain this standard. This standard sets the tone for our Top Gun participants to achieve excellence in their daily activities.

20150814-IMG_9650

Toward the evening we welcomed a special lecturer to our evening program. The Continental Director of Japan, Rev. Yeon Chong Saong, shared a report on Japan’s progress towards cultivating leadership and focusing on the future generations of our movement. In addition, he brought along with him chicken and pigs’ feet for dinner! For many, it was their first time trying pigs’ feet.

I noticed that many of our special lecturers come with food. I wondered, why is this so? One sister, Yuri, shared with me, that’s because food is love.

View Gallery

Continue Reading No Comments

Visiting True Mother

We left at 9:30am today from Cheong Pyeong to go to the Cheon Jung Gung where we would have lunch with True Mother. Once stepping off the bus, we entered through the beautiful gates to the Cheon Jung Gung, which many Top Gun participants have already seen; however, this was my first time. Inside the walls, I immediately felt a sense of glorious serenity. There exists an element of grandeur, and the place feels colossal with the Roman-like architecture. The view from the Cheon Jung Gung is priceless, too; you can see distant mountaintops and nature at its best.

20150814-IMG_9650

We visited True Father’s resting place and offered a bow and prayer. The site is a large grassy mound on top of a well-carved base. When walking there, we have to go up a very steep path. It’s an experience within itself. Then, actually seeing True Father’s resting place brought me to a reality that True Father really isn’t physically here anymore. And it felt heavy.

20150814-IMG_9650

We gathered inside the Cheon Jung Gung, where we were welcomed with a beautiful arrangement. There were round dining tables and fine tableware set up for us. I literally felt like a princess. We were nervous, but at the same time excited and overwhelmed with how much was provided for us.

When True Mother entered the hall, we gave the loudest cheer and applause we could. Our intention was to send her energy and comfort. To begin the program, three Top Gun participants offered moving testimonies of their Top Gun experience so far. These included a couple from America, a brother from Korea, and a sister from Japan. They all spoke in Korean.

20150814-IMG_9650

When True Mother thought about us, she prepared pizza and hamburgers for lunch! We were all very pleasantly surprised by the gesture, but most of all happy to see True Mother eating together with us. After lunch, True Mother took time to speak with us. It felt like she was very comfortable speaking to us as she stood up from her chair and walked around the room, trying to speak in every direction of the hall. She shared the solution to solving the internal and external problems of this world by connecting to True Parents. Her hope for us is to learn about Heavenly Parent and True Parents through this Global Top Gun workshop. She also acknowledged us as the first graduating class of the Global Top Gun workshop. She emphasized to testify about True Parents, and go together as one. It felt like this was just the beginning of our journey together as Top Gun participants.

20150814-IMG_9650

As True Mother returned to her seat, the Top Gun participants prepared for entertainment. Each clan sang with three separate solo acts. The acts included:

1. Blue Clan – Amazing Grace / Waka Waka by Shakira

2. Green Clan – Hyo Jin Nim’s song

3. Solo Act – Dance solo to “Rather Be” by Rather Be (I offered a freestyle dance)

4. Black Clan – Korean song and dance

5. Orange Clan – Stand By Me

6. Solo Act – Song offered by James Jenkins (He wrote the song)

7. Red Clan – We Are the World

8. Solo Act – Piano performance by Oswald

We concluded with a powerful arrangement of “You Raised Me Up”. True Mother immediately joined in the fun by singing “Sarang Hae”. Simply put, the hall was full of bright spirit and hope.

20150814-IMG_9650

I am personally still reflecting on this unique experience. One memory that stuck out most is when True Mother asked if she should expect great things from us. And we all replied with a confident “Yes!”. Even though we have had a successful workshop so far, I feel she is now anticipating how we will move forward as Global Top Gun alumni. We welcome that, and we want to offer our lives for True Mother and become top cadets wherever we go.

20150814-IMG_9650

View the Gallery

Continue Reading No Comments

Building a Heavenly Culture

We have reached the halfway point of our Top Gun workshop. I am learning that our movement is more intricate and carefully built by our True Parents than I ever imagined. In our Divine Principle lecture today, Rev. Kevin Thompson expanded on the 7 areas of culture that True Father hoped to influence in the world. They include:

1. Education

2. Sports/Entertainment

3. Science/Technology

4. Arts

5. Business

6. Media

7. Religion

We also added in politics as a cultural realm where True Father’s vision had a great impact. This list made me realize that we are not just a religious movement. We are a movement moving toward creating a culture derived from God. Our hope is to inherit the heart and faith of the earlier generation of Unificationists who followed True Parents with dedication, expand through these cultural spheres, and most of all flourish within a strong family, as the family is our anchor when life throws challenges or changes.

Right now at Top Gun we have the opportunities to explore the arts and entertainment. We are preparing our hearts to see True Mother tomorrow, and we’ve been conducting singing practice and adding final touches to our songs that we chose during the pilgrimage to perform for her. Our songs have dramatically improved over the course of this week. When we were first assigned this task, for me it seemed impossible. I had thoughts about how difficult it would be to have everyone sing in the same language. Our first practice was rough, to be honest. However, I believe because we all took the initiative to play a part in the song and throw ideas around, after multiple run-throughs, we stood as one voice.

This taught me a profound lesson: even though something may seem awkward or difficult at first, if you keep practicing it can come more naturally. This can be applied to faith, too. I can see when I try to connect to my global family, the more I practice connecting to God and True Parents and loving others, the easier it will become.

I feel that the unison exuding from our song reflects the genuine connections we are making here at Top Gun. Participants are gradually opening their hearts and becoming vulnerable with each other. I was able to share about my father passing away when I was younger. The Korean members in my family immediately tried to find a Korean name for me, since my mother back at home and I couldn’t remember the Korean name my father had given me. They chose Ka-yeon (가 연), which roughly translates into “sophisticated beauty”. This small change instantly made me feel closer with the Korean participants; whenever they call me they smile and say, “Ka-yeon-i!”

As I prepare my heart to be with True Mother tomorrow, I hope to go with an open mind and heart. As mentioned earlier, my father ascended to the spirit world when I was younger. This experience forced to me to grow up quickly. As True Parents’ family lost True Father, I hope to comfort True Mother’s heart. It’s only been almost three years since True Father passed away, and it must still be very hard right now. It’s not just me, but I feel everyone at Top Gun just wants to give True Mother their whole heart and effort. So as we go visit True Mother, please join us. We are not visiting True Mother just for ourselves; we represent our global family and move forward together.

Continue Reading No Comments

My Heart, Reborn

I would like to share a story one of my friends told me before I left to Top Gun. The story goes:

In a mother’s womb were two babies.

One asked the other, “Do you believe in life after delivery?”

The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And also, eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

20150814-IMG_9650

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied, “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her this world would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

20150814-IMG_9650

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

I hope this story is self-explanatory. For me, it metaphorically represents this earthly life and what is to come after—the spirit world. This story helps remind me that we are fundamentally spiritual beings in a physical body. While on earth I should make an effort to acknowledge my spiritual self and let it grow beautifully.

One aspect of growing as spiritual beings, which I am learning here again, is developing a heart of total love, compassion and care for our Heavenly Parent and True Parents. At the workshop, we hear stories of Unificationists who stuck to True Father no matter what obstacle and supported him. I’m definitely not perfect at this, but was very inspired to hear about these early Unificationists and the shoulders we stand upon.

20150814-IMG_9650

As part of the next generation of Unificationists, I have been asking myself, how can I be there for True Mother while she is still here on earth? I’m almost finishing up college, so my mind definitely has been only focused on my studies and career path these past three years. I haven’t been in a place where I can fully answer this question. Being here in Cheong Pyeong and realizing how much love we receive from our Heavenly Parent, I feel extremely indebted to this movement and want to pay it all forward to my younger brothers and sisters. With this start, I hope to find my true calling as well as a way I can support True Mother and True Parents’ vision.

20150814-IMG_9650

View the Gallery

Continue Reading No Comments

Raising the Future Generation

I am sitting in the small lecture hall tonight with my brothers and sisters. We are watching via projector the SEIWA MUSIC FESTIVAL 2015 that took place a couple hours ago in Tokyo, Japan at the Olympus Hall. The concert was in honor of the Anniversary of One Victorious Day, when True Father was released from Danbury prison. Hyo Jin Moon’s children were performing to his songs in honor for his memorial.

20150814-IMG_9650

Seeing True Parents’ grandchildren in the video got me reflecting throughout the day on the question of the future generations. Not just my own children, but even seven or eight generations down the line. This thought initially sparked today during morning Chanyang, our Holy Song session. We participated in a weekend workshop where there were many younger children and toddlers. The children were so adorable and made me realize that this is our future generation. As we move forward, how can we raise the future generation?

20150814-IMG_9650

Our Divine Principle lecturer, Kevin Thompson, shared a dream he had yesterday night. He had two parts to his dream. In the first part, True Father, Rev. Thompson, and another individual were on an unsinkable boat in the ocean. Water was splashing into the boat and it felt like it was sinking. True Father kept saying, “Don’t worry. Don’t jump off the boat; it’s unsinkable!” However, the third individual jumped off the boat and tried to swim away. It was only True Father and Rev. Thompson that remained. In the second part of his dream, Rev. Thompson was in Alaska with True Father, fishing together. True Father was laughing in his direction and Rev. Thompson asked, “What are you laughing at?” and he turned around and saw a herd of rabbits coming across a lake. Rev. Thompson explained that the first dream meant that our movement has a strong foundation and we must hold on despite the turbulence. In the second dream, since rabbits produce offspring in large numbers, the herd of rabbits represented the greater blessings to come in our movement.

20150814-IMG_9650

The Top Gun participants felt encouraged by this dream Rev. Thompson shared. Despite the chaos we find ourselves in, in this movement and in society, like this dream I truly believe we have the potential to overcome and welcome greater blessings. The future generation will be about learning to love through seeing the good in everyone. That is how True Father worked and how we can inherit his spirit. When True Father moved forward with God’s providence, he moved forward with a heart to see the good in others. I always wondered how he could meet many leaders around the world during his time and dissolve many persecutions against him in his heart. He poured out love and care for those who acted against him. He didn’t just teach the Divine Principle to these people; he applied these teachings and channeled God’s love to these leaders. That is what we are trying to do during this Divine Principle workshop week. As Top Gun participants we are not only learning it, but also applying it in our lives and toward others.

View the Gallery

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Uniting into a Global Family

Substantially the Divine Principle workshop began with emphasizing the importance of becoming a family. When we gathered for our second session of the Divine Principle we sat in clans, groups identified by color. Each different clan color sat in columns, and then each family, which are teams within each group color, had their own table. Every day we had a new family leader to facilitate discussions. With this structure it felt easier to intentionally connect with our new families.

20150814-IMG_9650

Our lecturer, Gerry Servito, explained to us that True Mother wants Top Gun participants to become more genuinely connected as brothers and sisters. This was an important point, because although I wanted to thoroughly explore the Divine Principle, I saw the need to understand my international brothers and sisters. This workshop allowed us the opportunity to connect to our international brothers and sisters and build a basic foundation of faith together through highlighting key concepts of the Divine Principle together. Today my family leader challenged our team to discuss Divine Principle in pairs with someone who does not speak our language. The language barrier got even more challenging, as the Divine Principle isn’t the easiest content to translate…

On the pilgrimage, it was easier to share simple information through small talk and hand gestures even though we couldn’t necessarily speak the same language. However, now we are challenged to express matters of faith, which can be complex, in a language where our partner or our family needs to understand. For instance, during Divine Principle discussion I spoke with two Japanese participants. While they would speak in Japanese, I challenged myself to also speak as much Japanese as possible. It was very difficult because I lacked the vocabulary for this discussion. I didn’t know how to say words such as “life”, “lecturer”, and “offering” in Japanese.

20150814-IMG_9650

We are learning that in order to becoming a genuine family, we first have to overcome the language barrier together. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted this global network or family we have. Prior to coming to this workshop, I had false preconceptions of Japanese and Korean Unificiationists, and their culture in general. Coming here to this workshop, I learned that regardless of their nationality, these people are just like me. They are as human as me. They feel pain and suffering just as much as they feel happiness the way I do. Because of this, all I want to do is give them love and support moving forward.

How can we become a global family and bring about God’s kingdom? It’s a question we’ve been pondering here and discovering the answer to through this global network. One aspect of becoming true owners of our experience is to be the best “servant leader”, a leader who completely and unconditionally serves others. Here at Top Gun, this recently has come in the form of massaging each other, giving each other candy and taking initiative to help out with the workshop. We hope to build our young leadership first and foremost with a heart of love. Where there is love, there is our Heavenly Parent and True Parents.

Despite feeling tired and many of us reaching exhaustion, the Top Gun participants are trying to go beyond it and be here for True Mother. While we are enjoying our time, we are also working very hard and focusing every part of ourselves to connect and learn. I am realizing that not only do we have so much that needs to be accomplished within our movement, but we also have many dedicated individuals striving and overcoming in order to move forward as a whole family.

View the Gallery

Continue Reading No Comments

Divine Principle Workshop Kick Off

The demographic and geographical range of participants in this workshop is actually very diverse. I was under the impression prior to coming to this workshop that many attending would be single young adults in our movement. However, we have parents who have small children, married individuals, and married couples who came together to Cheong Pyeong. Even though all participants came from Korea, Japan, America and Europe, there are many participants with other nationalities. These include those with backgrounds from Brazil, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia and Africa. So we do emphasize the word global in “Global Top Gun Workshop”. Along with a diverse range of nationalities, we also have many in various leadership roles such as pastors, youth ministry staff, and Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) leaders.

20150814-IMG_9650

This afternoon, started our workshop within a workshop: seven days of studying the Divine Principle. We were introduced to our Divine Principle “Top Cannon”, our three lecturers Gerry Servito, Kevin Thompson and Andrew Compton. They also lectured at the 7-day Divine Principle workshop in Las Vegas earlier this year, a workshop from which our current Divine Principle workshop format was derived. This new format encourages us to take ownership over our Divine Principle education and grow to understand it by eventually teaching it ourselves. After Gerry Servito offered a soothing song he wrote called “Barrytown”, we covered the introduction and the beginning of the Principle of Creation by reading the Divine Principle in small groups, receiving a short lecture, discussing in groups and submitting questions to the senior lecturers. Many adapted well to the new format and took initiative to engage themselves during discussions.

20150814-1D3A9107

Following the Divine Principle lecture, we were honored to welcome the CEO of Segye Times, Jun Young Cha, to present a special lecture. His presentation expanded on the need to understand what is happening within our society today and to live a life where we do not compromise the future generation.

Two things stuck out to me today. My first highlight was that all the teams in the workshop had an opportunity to show appreciation to one another by sitting in groups and sharing what we liked about each person. The workshop staff emphasized that we would be switching teams for this new week in order to meet new people. Many of us were sad to have to leave our team with which we’ve spent the last week, but looked forward to getting to know new Top Gunners a little better. We were told to change our concept about each other from team member to family member, and even change our vocabulary to use the words family, clan, or tribe. As a surprise, the workshop staff led us to walk to our new family with our eyes closed. When we opened our eyes, I actually remained in my same team! My team had a new addition: an awesome new English-Korean translator who we jokingly call our “language messiah” because of how much we’ve endured so far with the language barrier. Everyone was so happy and understood that from now on we would treat each other as a family. Shortly after the exercise, we sat together for lunch and took the opportunity to share family photos from our families back home. This was special to me because we got to know each other in terms of learning about the people who are closest to us.

20150814-1D3A9293

My second highlight occurred after having been slightly drowsy throughout the day and I wanted to go out and buy a coffee. One sister insisted she should buy my coffee, because she wanted to pay the favor forward of another sister who bought her a drink. I gratefully accepted her offer and happily enjoyed my coffee. I had been reflecting through the workshop on how I can love my brothers and sisters more, and because this sister offered to buy me coffee, I am taking advantage of paying it forward and buying coffee for another sister!

We have been receiving immense fortune and blessing so far. I realized that with great blessing comes great responsibility. Many are offering gifts and taking care of us so that we may take ownership. We’ve been gradually seeing the significance of this workshop and it’s great. However, I have been feeling restless and need to find a way to clear my mind from unnecessary thoughts. So, I immediately asked my musical husband at home in America if he could record himself singing “The Crown of Glory”. I will be listening to this song every day to clear my mind and focus.

View the Gallery

Continue Reading No Comments

Walking in True Father’s Shoes

We reached the end of our pilgrimage all around Korea today. I realized and was worried I may not have any keepsake to remind me of this pilgrimage. But I looked down and saw my shoes. They instantly became the most important object I had to represent the steps I took on this journey. I will cherish them and bring them back home to America. They will remind me when times get tough to remember True Father and the steps he took in his life.

We encountered many mountainous lands on our journey to the final Holy Ground site, Mun Kyeong Sae Jae. Mun Kyeong Sae Jae was where True Father, after his release from Heungnam Prison in 1951, carried Mr. Pak on his back across the 38th parallel. Our workshop staff emphasized that this path is very strenuous, high and steep. Due to time constraint, we could only walk to the first gate along the Holy Ground path.

The workshop staff incorporated a special activity into this specific Holy Ground. We got into groups of two, partnering with someone of similar height and weight. Then we were challenged to spend 7 minutes to carry our partner on the route where True Father had carried Mr. Pak on his back. All of the Top Gun participants accepted the challenge.

20150813-1D3A8537

Like many of the other Top Gun participants, I never carried a person on my back for 7 minutes or ever attempted to. Between my partner and I, we decided I would carry my partner first. We had a group stretching session before starting our challenge.

20150813-1D3A8498

I wasn’t physically fit enough and struggled tremendously with the challenge. While many made it to 2 minutes or even 5 minutes straight holding their partner, I was far behind and had to take breaks at 30 second intervals. I thought deeply, how did True Father do this all by himself? Also, riding on my partner’s back was another challenge. I tried to make it as easy as possible for her to carry me; however, it took a significant amount of leg and arm muscles to cling on to her. I appreciated the brothers and sisters who already reached the gate as they cheered for those who were approaching. It was very encouraging. By the end of the activity, I couldn’t really lift my arms; they were so tired from the exercise.

20150813-1D3A8575

We actually had a European sister who walked all the way to the gate without stopping to switch with her partner. She explained to all the participants, “It helped that I could see my goal: the gate when I was carrying my partner, but I don’t know how True Father did this without seeing exactly where he would stop when carrying Mr. Pak.”

With this in mind we concluded our pilgrimage with a unison prayer and Mansei (cheers) for successfully completing the pilgrimage. Many of the staff members who helped make this pilgrimage possible were acknowledged through loud cheers and applause.

20150813-1D3A8623

On the way back to Cheong Pyeong my red bus team, along with other buses, had to prepare and practice a song to sing; we chose, “We are the World” by Michael Jackson. We added our own flair to it by adding hums and embedded messages. We were so excited to perform for everyone.

At Cheong Pyeong we were greeted by Rev. An. He welcomed the Top Gun participants and shared a clear message, pointing out that we need to have a clear destination and the right direction. He surprised everyone with numerous boxes of pizza and chicken offered by FFWPU International President, Sun Jin Moon. Participants were overjoyed and felt much love from receiving this food. To end the night, each group performed the song they prepared. The entertainment for the night was a competition among each group. We had judges to evaluate each performance. After assessing the acts, my team was excited to learn we won the singing competition! And to close the night Benjy Uyama announced that everyone would receive a newly designed Top Gun polo.

20150813-1D3A8897

We are happy to be back at Cheong Pyeong and plan to rest very well tonight, because this next week we are going to have our 7-Day Divine Principle Workshop. A new chapter has opened in our Top Gun schedule and we’re ready to take it head on.

View the Gallery

Continue Reading 3 Comments

Hitting Rock Bottom

I started off my morning by walking out to the balcony connected to the sisters’ room at the Yeosu Spa. I was welcomed by a wonderful view of the city of Yeosu and the shore. Personally, my perception of Korea has changed since traveling on this pilgrimage. There is a clear difference between the city and the rural countryside; also, the culture was different from what I thought it would be.

Members of my pilgrimage team, the “red team”, has been getting more comfortable with one another and participating more and more. On the bus, we sing together, pray, read a short Hoon Dok Hwe, and acknowledge True Parents before eating breakfast. Everyone plays a part in making the journey meaningful. We always switch up the Hoon Dok Hwe reader of the day, and after the reading we pair share and reflect on the passage we received. My Hoon Dok Hwe sharing partner, Miambi, made an interesting point about our Heavenly Parent. She told me that God speaks to us in puzzles and that we each have our own way of receiving His message. She elaborated that True Father knew he couldn’t reach humankind just through one outlet or avenue; he needed to expand into different industries, such as business and entertainment. Individuals who enter places where our movement made a big impact, even without knowing, are indirectly relating to True Parents. In short, we don’t realize how Heavenly Parent and True Parents are trying to reach out and communicate, but they always are.

With this in mind, I spent time reflecting on the bus. One way I did this was by listening to music. I repeatedly listened to “Oceans,” a song by Hillsong, since it related to the ocean providence and True Father’s passion for fishing. The song’s message is about having the strength to have an open faith with God and seeking to find something deeper in life. After having all these experiences, I needed this time to reflect and understand where I wanted my mind to be.

After three hours riding on the bus we arrived to Busan. We entered a facility that preserved the rock True Father used as a foundation to build his mud hut, a humble dwelling where he began his ministry in war-torn Korea. In addition, there were other antiques from his earlier days, such as objects used for the opening ceremony of Pomnekol Memorial, a stone used to build his hut, and ink and brush for calligraphy writing.

20150812-1D3A8168

Rev. Kim Yuk Shik enthusiastically shared True Father’s early life and more details on how True Father struggled. His anecdotes were very informative. We covered True Father’s release from Heungnam Prison all the way to arriving in Busan. This Busan pilgrimage site and the story went way beyond my expectations.

We visited the Rock of Tears where True Father often prayed, and a few other holy sites within hiking distance. At the Rock of Tears, we had a very powerful and emotional experience. After hearing how lonely True Father was and how much he endured in his life, we all huddled together around the Rock of Tears. Those who could not directly touch the rock touched the individual who was touching the rock directly in front of them. It was raining outside, and as we entered into a unison prayer, we all prayed loudly and felt the rain pouring harder and harder. It was surreal.

20150812-1D3A8201

In my prayer, I was asking God and True Father to lay down their struggles; and the rain rushing down felt like their tears. It felt like they were comforted by the Top Gun participants. I can say it was a spiritual phenomenon.

We walked on along the trail, and right when we reached the top of the hill, the rain stopped. We were told if we were ever having difficulties to always remember the mud hut True Father built and the struggles he endured, including going without food for days, receiving harsh persecution and wandering like a beggar without a home. He started out with nothing and literally hit rock bottom. This really encouraged me to overcome any obstacles that may come my way in the future.

20150812-1D3A8107

At the end of the day, we were tasked to write a letter of determination to True Parents. I wanted to use this opportunity to share my letter and the hearts of many of the Top Gun participants with all of you. I am taking this moment to be vulnerable and share what’s on my heart:

Dear True Parents,

Words cannot express the transformation I have gone through in this pilgrimage with my faith. It is truly an honor to be called Heavenly Parent’s child. My purpose and determination for this life on earth has become clear as water. True Parents, thank you for loving someone as unworthy as I. I appreciate that, as I grew up, you continued to smile even though you were going through immense pain and suffering. You have made the impossible possible and the hopeless hopeful. I ask, what can I do for you? How can I make it easier for you?

All I can say is I will work together with you and my brothers and sisters to build you a home, and bring your global family back. Please do not worry about me, but take care of those who really need you.

You have shown that, just like the ocean, life can throw many waves. However, no wave is too big to overcome. All I ask is, teach me so I can learn to be a true daughter. A daughter who cannot only just inspire but also love completely like you do. My determination is to not be ashamed of who I am and where I came from. I want to share my faith and talents that Heavenly Parent bestowed upon me so the world and cosmos may remain in everlasting peace.

If our movement has grown like this over 50 years … I cannot wait to see how it will be in the next 50 years. I want my children and future generations to inherit and cherish your love the way I have received it today. My promise is to try my best and unify with True Mother. I promise to try and share the great news. I will work with my husband and fellow Unificationists to make your dream of peace and true families a reality. I step forward knowing whatever hardship I may face is a blessing that will unfold in the future.

Please know this is absolute. I have nowhere else to look but forward. Please give me this chance to set things on course. To change judgement into love; and to change separation into unity. I believe we can work together despite our differences. I believe we can live a life where we can feel overflowing with joy everyday. Heavenly Father and Mother, please don’t worry. I promise to be there for True Mother and do my best to not let her down.

Sincerely, Mirandy

20150812-1D3A8286

View the Gallery

Continue Reading 1 Comment

Breaking the Ice

I noticed our Top Gun participants have been becoming naturally accustomed to Korean culture. Many of us say “Thank you” in Korean and bow to our elders. There definitely exists an eagerness to learn Korean and to adapt in thinking of others first.

So the Holy Ground we visited today is in Yeosu—the Ocean Resort and Cheong Jae Garden. We only were able to travel to one location because of the long drive. On the bus ride, many of us took advantage of talking to each other and singing songs in English, Japanese and Korean. In the morning, I was chosen to read the scripture on the bus. From the reading we learned about True Father’s intention when he proclaimed the Ocean Providence and his investment in the fish market.

20150811-1D3A7571

At both sites we visited today, the Korean hosts gave us a closer look. At the Ocean Resort we were allowed access to a room on the 15th floor where True Parents would visit, and we saw a broad view of the ocean. At Cheong Jae Garden, we got to preview another living room area where True Parents would sometimes stay. The experiences made us feel very special and loved by our Korean elders. Because of their belief in Top Gun and their hope for the future, they really wanted us to inherit True Parents’ heart by seeing where they spent much of their time and planned for the providence to move forward. One lesson we took with us today was that we should be people who don’t give in. Even though waves may rise above us, we must continue to overcome and move forward.

20150811-1D3A7564

The exciting part of today was visiting the ocean. Many of the guys jumped into the ocean, and even had fun dragging or lifting their friends into the ocean. It eventually turned into a game, and none of them escaped being thrown into the water. I enjoyed sitting back and watching their silly escapades. It definitely was a fun break during our pilgrimage, and by the end of the stop everyone was soaking wet from head to toe.

20150811-1D3A7807

20150811-1D3A7745

I felt that since we had a less demanding day, we had more free time that allowed us to do something crazy… like jumping into the ocean. Also, on the bus, we felt more free to sing different songs other than traditional holy songs. These included “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and a clean version we made up of “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. Everyone on the bus enjoyed the entertainment.

20150811-1D3A7724

We all ate dinner at a nice inner city Korean restaurant. Along with delicious food, I was able to sit down with a sister who was translating between English and Korean. I learned that before coming to Top Gun she was very shy and hardly spoke English out loud. Ever since Top Gun started, she feels more comfortable to speak English and this experience has made her feel very happy. I was surprised to hear that, because her translation was excellent.

20150811-1D3A7906

I felt that, today, we started treating each other like family. Even though we are all from different cultures, because of these new memories we are creating we feel like brothers and sisters. Even when a brother or sister cannot speak English well, I still feel comfortable and happy to socialize and joke around.

20150811-1D3A7669

View the Gallery

Continue Reading 2 Comments