Day 5: Attendance

Written by Miyoung Eaton

Gerry Servito gave his last lecture today, to our dismay as we’ve enjoyed learning the heart behind the ideas that make up Unification Thought. He will be much missed. 

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We most appreciated the idea from the lectures that the invisible God had intended to make Him- and Herself visible to all of humankind through the three-generational family, that God had always meant to love us—and most loves us—through a parent’s love for his and her child, and a child’s love for his and her parents and siblings, and the grandparents’ love for the whole of the family.

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In the afternoon and evening, we separated into our clans to begin practicing songs to perform for True Mother. Since last year’s Top Gunners were spontaneously invited to perform and didn’t have much time to prepare in advance, we’ve decided to get a head-start to prepare the best offering that we can this year.

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The theme underlying everything that happened today, in my mind, was that of attendance. Gerry explained that “attendance”, in its Chinese characters, means to keep a person in heart, to love and be faithful to a person no matter what, and that that is the foundation a true leader needs to build.

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We continued our media/public relations training today, practicing recording just the facts of an event. Tomorrow we will follow up and learn how to take facts and turn them into a story. The training sessions are a bit awkward as there’s 90 of us all trying to learn practical skills from one instructor. But we’ll manage.

Good day Top Gunners! … Good Day 🙂

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Day 4: Forging a Culture

At the rate we’ve been going, every day promises to be an exciting and special day here at Top Gun. The day before yesterday, we saw Yeon Ah Moon at Cheong Pyeong. Yesterday we were invited to Seoul to share lunch, dinner, and a movie with In Sup Park.

Today, we discovered our clan colors.

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Early in the day, cardboard boxes filled with bright blue, red, green, and black T-shirts were smuggled into our meeting hall and deposited in the control room. In the evening, the control room became the staging ground for a clan-wide fashion show—a competition, really, to determine which clan had the most pride and enthusiasm for their clan. (The Green Clan, apparently.)

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With this new sense of identity, the energy of the Top Gunners seemed to shift. It’s easier to visualize that we belong to something greater than just ourselves; that we are connected—if only by the designation of a T-shirt color—to a community, to other people with whom we will share our experiences, goals, challenges, and dreams for the next two weeks.

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Demian Dunkley, Director of Evangelism at FFWPU USA, also stressed very personally and potently to us today that it is up to us as leaders to cultivate the culture that we would like to live in. We needn’t wait, he insisted, for someone else higher up in the chain of command to take initiative and actualize much needed change and reform in our communities of faith, family, and career. After first being assigned to workshop families, and now solidifying our clan identities, I feel like we’re beginning to craft the network of support needed to build such a culture here at Top Gun—and if we can do it here, the possibilities for cultural growth, renewal, and inspiration afterward seem endless.

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Throughout the week, it feels like God is slowly but surely making Him- and Herself known to us here at Top Gun. Under the guidance of Gerry Servito, participants are beginning to become attuned to the fact that though intellectual comprehension may be the starting point for meeting and understanding God, it’s ultimately not enough by itself. Professor Servito has stressed day after day, presentation after presentation, that we need to feel and experience God in our hearts to truly know Him and Her as our Heavenly Parent, as he has strived to do himself.

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This is an incredibly inspiring thought for many of us here but also a very tall order. I think it’s so helpful to be working out the challenges of this vision here at the Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center, where prayer and devotion seem almost to saturate the air we breathe and the sunlight that intermittently shines through the windows into our lecture hall. And to be doing so together in color-coded clan solidarity makes it all the more joyful and fun.

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Faces of Top Gun

Participants of the 2016 Global Top Gun workshop are nearing the end of their first week here in Korea. If you’ve been following the blog, you know what’s been going on, but you’re probably curious to know how the Top Gunners are doing. Let’s hear it from them:

 

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Coming to Cheongpyeong from Nigeria, and meeting with my brothers and sisters I never knew I had, was a dream I never thought I could realize. I promise to make the most of this opportunity and go back to my country with much to share.

–Godson Joonhwa Dgurie, Nigeria, 22

 

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I’ve been here in Cheongpyeong for about a month now before this GTG Workshop started. It’s my first time coming here and I’ve had a pleasant experience so far. All the staff are loving and inspiring, and the scenery is beautiful. Just being able to stare out the windows on the 5th floor of the Chinwha A Building during Chanyang Yeoksa and see the mountains makes me feel at peace. I’ve actually been lost, and I’m still lost, but I believe I’m on a better path now than I was on before. I joined GTG because I didn’t attend True Father while he was alive, but True Mother is still here with us and I want to support her 110 percent.

–Rebecca Copeland, United States, 25

 

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I cannot express with words how grateful I feel to be here. I’ve been choosing the easy path, centered on myself, just tired of dealing with people, but already the first day of the workshop gave the greatest energy for me to have an amazing workshop and learn how to become someone like True Parents. I believe it’s possible. That’s how I found hope in myself, because God also didn’t give up on me yet, which makes me hopeful.

–Erika Miyamura Huerta, Spain

 

Janina Dubisz

I arrived at the workshop and we only just introduced ourselves, but I could feel at peace immediately. In our small groups I noticed that someone else had come for the same reason as I did, so I am hopeful and happy looking forward to the workshop that can initiate the change of spirituality of the community back home, connecting as a family.

–Janina Dubise, Malta

 

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When the first Global Top Gun workshop ended five months ago, I was asked how I felt. Honestly, I didn’t know—it felt like a new beginning. After spending four years of my life in a secular college environment, the first GTG workshop was a fresh start for me. Now that the second GTG workshop is beginning, I am once again filled with excitement that I will really be able to create a good foundation for my future career with the US Air Force. I’m thankful for this opportunity to start anew.

Love, Michael La Hogue, United States, 25

 

Takanari Wakayama

It is amazing to meet so many people from around the world. We are all so different, but we have one thing in common, which is that we all love True Parents and want to respond to their call. One fun fact: We were divided into clans and families, and since we are the only male participants in our family we named our family “True Mama’s Boys.”

–Takanari Wakayama, Germany

 

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This time of history might be a crucial moment, so I don’t want to fail to fulfill my portion of responsibility. That’s why I dearly wanted to attend this workshop.

–Akio Friesacher, Austria, 21

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Day 3: Out On the Town

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This morning, Demian announced that we were going to Seoul to spend the day with In Sup Park, husband of International FFWPU President, Sun Jin Moon. He treated us to lunch, a movie and dinner, and spent some time with us before the movie started. It was lots of fun!

“Seeing each and every one of you, I just feel like this is True Parents’ gift to us,” he said to us over lunch. “They give us the Word, the truth, but also, they give us each other, and this wonderful global family. It’s a real privilege and honor for me to be with all of you guys, and a real joy. I know so many of you came from so many different countries, from all the four corners of the world, and it’s a wonderful miracle. I know there will be many challenges and obstacles and difficulties in the future, but I know together we all feel connected and feel one, and that we can overcome anything and create a lot of good things for True Parents. I know with that True Mother will gain a lot of strength and energy and she’ll be able to do more with all your great support and care.”

“Dinner was awesome. Sitting there with everybody really felt like a family,” said participant Cliff Gaines. “I was blown away by the movie. Seeing the struggle, I felt God’s heart of sorrow and suffering and a father’s heart of suffering. It was just really powerful.”

Nicole Thurner commented, “Everyone is excited to be in Seoul and experience many new things today, and especially to spend time together. It’s a nice atmosphere.”

“I was really amazed that In Sup Park wanted to invite us,” said Nora Waldmann. “He spent so much time with us so that we can have a really amazing time together. I’ve never really experienced this before.”

“Our elder brother In Sup thought being together as a family is the best kind of learning,” explained Demian Dunkley. “He could have just come and given a 40-minute speech at Cheong Pyeong, but instead he took hours out of his schedule to bring us all down here and treat us to this awesome off-campus treat.”

Here are some photos of our time together:

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Day 2: In Our Clans

Written by Miyoung Eaton

Demian shares the day’s highlights and lets you in on a little secret:

GTG Day 2

Posted by Global Top Gun on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

 


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Today we began to transition from training to education. The main themes of the day were practicing a proactive family culture and exploring our understanding of God.

Tasnah Moyer began the day with two presentations about the culture of Top Gun: “Creating the Space” and “Setting the Intention.” During the first presentation, she discussed four components of a proactive culture that we as leaders are called to be responsible for and to implement in our lives and relationships—openness to discovery, sharing, active listening, and punctuality. 

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Tasnah’s talk defined proactivity as a type of freedom. “We keep what we discover and resist what is forced upon us,” she said. Much of the content was rooted in the theme of giving: putting someone else’s needs before one’s own or putting God’s vision first, for instance.

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The second presentation provided again an opportunity for participants to clarify, by sharing as a family, their intentions for participating in Top Gun and what they can take back in service to their local communities. As an example, Tasnah quoted True Father’s autobiography: “Setting a goal in life is similar to planting a tree. If you plant a jujube tree in the front yard of your home, you will have jujubes in your home. If you plant apple trees on the hill behind your home, then they will produce apples. Think carefully about your choice of goals and where you intend to plant them. Depending on the goal you choose and where you plant it, you can become a jujube tree in Seoul or an apple tree in Africa. Or you can become a palm tree in the South Pacific. The goal you plant will bear fruit in the future. Think carefully where the best place is to plant your goal so that it will bear the best fruit.”

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For the final training activity, Demian invited one of the workshop families, nicknamed the “Hope” family, to model with clan leaders and core staff members the organic conversations and reporting that will happen at the end of each workshop day. This is the practical application of the “free-centering” culture that Demian introduced yesterday. Families first sit down to reflect on the day together. They then send a representative to share with the clan leaders. Finally, clan leaders will meet and communicate the situation of the participants with the core staff of the workshop. It’s an inspiring model because it encourages participants to be honest with one another and actively create their experiences here in a very natural and cooperative way.

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Shifting to the educational focus of the workshop, Gerry Servito gave two presentations on Unification Thought, inspired by the first week’s theme of deepening our awareness of our Heavenly Parent. The first was called, “The Nature of God,” during which Gerry shared about the revolutionary content of the Principle of Creation. His core point was that, in the Divine Principle, True Father offered a deeper understanding and clarification about the nature of God for both the Abrahamic and the Far Eastern faiths. Following this presentation, participants were instructed by Demian to try digesting the content in a more intentional and constructive way: not just receiving as a passive audience member, but internalizing the content to share it with someone else in the next five minutes.

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The second presentation was about the three Hearts of God. Gerry shared very passionately about the experience of God: His and Her heart of joy at the beginning of Creation, sorrow at the Fall, and pain as He and She has strived to reconnect with us. It was a very powerful presentation because it conveyed a deeply personal understanding of God’s heart.

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In the evening, we received word that Yeon Ah Moon, President of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), might come to speak with the Top Gunners. In the end our schedules didn’t collide, but we did surprise her on the stairs on her way out of the Chinhwa Building (where we’re all staying and workshopping) with a roaring send-off. She looked really surprised and happy to see us.

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Global Top Gun 2016 Begins

Written by Miyoung Eaton, Official Reporter of Top Gun 2016 (Pictured above interviewing participant Alan Becker for the daily Top Gun podcast)


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Young Unificationist leaders have gathered together at the Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center to begin the second Global Top Gun Workshop. Today, February 2, was the first full day of events, during which the Global Top Gunners became acquainted with the workshop vision, the standards of the Cheong Training Center, and of course with one another.

“Coming to Cheongpyeong from Nigeria and meeting with my brothers and sister I never knew I had, was a dream I never thought I could realize at this present time,” said participant Godson Ogurie. “I promise to make the most of this opportunity and go back to my country with much to tell.”

Godson Ogurie

The day began with introductory remarks by Demian Dunkley, Director of Evangelism at FFWPU USA, and chief organizer of the workshop. After introducing himself, Demian discussed the vision of the workshop: that we develop a deeper awareness of God, True Parents, themselves and others.

Demian explained, “God wants us to live the right things, not just to do the right things.” He challenged us to consider the degree to which we actually live as a global family, and to take responsibility for our lives, faith, culture, and community.

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Following Demian’s introduction, two administrators in Cheong Pyeong, Ryuichi Kishimoto and In Pyo Moon, shared about the history and activities of the Cheong Pyeong Heaven and Earth Training Center, the workshop’s gracious host on behalf of True Mother for these next 21 days.

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“I am especially grateful that the workshop is at Cheong Pyeong,” said Cliff Gaines from Georgia, USA. “This is my first time attending a workshop here. This is truly a very beautiful and spiritual palace. My goal for this workshop is to take what I have learned back home to the USA and to use it to help with our outreach efforts as we become and create Tribal Messiahs who can bring more people back home to this Heavenly place.”

Clifford Gaines

After lunch, Demian offered a second presentation, tackling the objectives and the vision of the workshop with even more depth. There are three workshop objectives—intellectual, emotional, and willful—which Demian described as a 360-degree leadership model. He went on to discuss how these objectives would be the unifying standards by which we can measure all options and face all challenges.

Demian also discussed his revolutionary approach to the structure of the workshop: an organic, dynamic, and natural structure as opposed to a static and flat institutional structure, which was first put in place during the 2015 Global Top Gun workshop. The revolutionary component of the Global Top Gun workshop team structure is its roots in the natural concepts of families, clans, and tribes. Top Gun is one tribe of 103 members, four clans, and four or five families per clan. Demian empowered us to make the most of this new model by seeking to meet challenges and reach objectives from the grassroots up: starting from the family and working our way up through the clan and tribe.

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“This way, we are not forcing a curriculum but applying a process,” said Demian. “We’re enabling participants to create their experience and to actualize God’s work through themselves and with each other.”

After dividing into families and clans, we had reflection activities in which we wrote letters to True Mother about what was currently on our minds and hearts. We also discussed with each other our reasons for attending Top Gun and how we foresee applying the workshop experience to our work and ministry back home.

“It’s really exciting coming together as such a diverse group,” said Benedikt Jensen from Germany. “As one family we want to invest ourselves and contribute to making the world a place full of love and peace. Whatever challenges will come, we will make it.”

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To follow the Top Gun experience live, keep visiting this blog or follow us on our Facebook page!

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Are You Ready?

In the summer of 1986 the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun swept the American imagination with its tale of heroism, love, doubt, bravery and redemption. Inspired by the movie, True Father created an elite group of American leaders he called the “Top Guns” and challenged them to be the “best of the best.” They went out to share the good news of True Parents with America working in every field—religion, politics, diplomacy, business, media, education, the arts, and more.

Today, True Mother is calling on a new generation of Top Guns—young men and women between their twenties to late forties—and challenging them to take up the new work of True Parents and meet the ambitious goals of Vision 2020.

Are you ready to answer the call?

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The Biggest Birthday Party

This year’s Global Top Gun workshop falls at a very special time for the Unification movement. During the three weeks of their stay, Global Top Gunners will have the chance to celebrate True Heavenly Parent’s Day, True Parents’ Birthday, Foundation Day, and the Foundation Day Holy Marriage Blessing, beginning the Heavenly New Year with True Mother.

True Parents’ Birthday, in particular, will be a rare and invaluable experience this year, akin to celebrating the birthdays of Jesus or Buddha with these great religious founders themselves! If you’ve ever aspired to make history, this is your chance.

Where will you be during the biggest birthday party in the world? We hope you’ll be with us in Korea at the next installment of Global Top Gun.

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We’re Going Back

Due to the success of the first Global Top Gun workshop in Korea last summer, True Mother has called for a second international workshop to educate and inspire the next generation of leaders in the Unification movement. Young Unificationist leaders from around the globe are invited to gather in Korea from February 1-22, 2016 to spend time with True Mother, learn about the historical roots of our movement, and participate in the upcoming season of winter Holy Days.

The second Global Top Gun workshop will provide incredible opportunities to interact with True Mother and with other enthusiastic Unificationists from around the world. Register for this incredible opportunity now!

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