Day 10: First day of Pilgrimage

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So much action packed in one day.

Today, we visited three sites closely connected to True Parents’ life course. First, we visited Paju WonJeon. This is where all of the deceased True Family members are buried. We first had an explanation of this place, and then we went to many of the burial mounds and paid our respects to each deceased True Family member. This included people like Heung Jin Nim, Hyo Jin Nim, True Father’s parents, and True Mother’s parents. At each mound, we did a full bow and prayed. From this visit, we were able to feel a closer connection to each of these family members, even if we didn’t know much about them.

Next, we went to Imjingak, which is practically on the border between North and South Korea. We were able to see the DMZ, and beyond that, North Korea, and we spent this time praying for the reunification between North and South Korea. We were reminded of True Father’s prayer when he crossed the border to go South: no matter what, he was going to visit North Korea and see Korea unified again, and if he himself couldn’t do it, then his descendants would.

As I overlooked the DMZ and North Korea, I went into deep prayer. I realized how important the reunification of North and South Korea is, and I realized I’ve been longing for it for so long, even if I’m not Korean at all. I really believe that once Korea is reunited, the world will change, and a world of peace will be much easier to create. There are many people now, especially Koreans, who don’t really care about reunification anymore. It may come to a point where we’re the only ones that care; either way, we must keep True Parents’ dream of reunification alive and push forward until it happens.” –Takayoshi, USA

Lastly, we visited Cheongpa-Dong, which is the former Headquarters Church. This was a place where so many providential events took place: True Parents’ Holy Wedding, the 36 Couples Blessing, and the 72 Couples Blessing are just a few of these. Not only this, True Father invested so much devotion and shed so much blood, sweat, and tears that we could feel it through the walls and floors. After getting an explanation of this place, we were able to look around the building; we could see what True Father’s and True Mother’s room looked like, as well as all of True Children’s’ rooms at the time. We could really imagine amidst the cramped spaces what kind of lives True Parents and the True Children lived.

It’s my first time in Korea, but I’m so privileged that I get to see not only the beautiful Cheongpyeong center, but also the most meaningful places in True Parents’ life course.
Cheongpa-Dong Church has a humble architecture but its walls are sweating the highest spirituality. There’s a big blackboard with which True Father must have given inspiring lessons. I hope I can come back someday with my future family.” –Joshua, Italy

After coming back to Cheongpyeong, in the evening, we shared our experiences with our families. It seemed like everybody had deep and reflective experiences today.
Through visiting these places, we could really feel a closer connection to True Parents. Still, we have many more sites left to see. But that’s for tomorrow.

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Day 9: Dream of Hyojeong

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Dreams will be dreams unless you tell people. Then they become proclamations.

Today, we spent the entire day writing about our dreams and visions. More importantly though, we thought about how we could connect our own dreams with Heavenly Parent’s and True Parents’ dreams.

Before thinking about our own dreams, we thought about why we were born into this world, what Heavenly Parents wants to accomplish through us, and what part of True Parents’ life course touched our hearts the most. We took this time to go into deep reflection and look through True Parents’ course again.

After this, we thought about our visions for our careers. We considered what kind of career we wanted, what part of True Parents’ vision we want to contribute to, and how to connect our careers to Heavenly Parents and True Parents. Surprisingly (or maybe not), many of us were already thinking about how to connect our careers with True Parents’ vision.

Then, we talked about our standard of judgment that we should have when going about in life. We thought about what makes us happy, one inspiring moment in True Parents’ life, and what principles that are important to us. Lastly, we thought about words that drive our life, and what words we want to live by.

After all of this, we made our ideas more organized, shared them with other people, and created a compass for our life. It was incredible to hear how everyone’s dreams were so connected to True Parents’ visions. We all gave positive feedback and encouraged each other to fulfill our dreams.

In the afternoon, we had a talk about the 4th industrial revolution, which was the rise of automation in everything. We learned that with the rise in technology, all things that require repetition and memorization will likely be taken over within 10 years. This is why it’s so crucial to develop skills like character, speech capability, and diplomatic skills, because those are the things that help you grow and can’t necessarily be replaced by a robot.

Lastly, we all made bucket lists that we want to achieve within the next 5 years. We split this list into 8 categories: occupation, studying/personal development, the Blessing/family relationships, human relationships, leisure life, participation in social activities, financial management, and other. In the evening, we got into groups and shared these things with each other, too. It was nice to see people praising and encouraging each other to fulfill our goals.

I truly feel hope between the 1st gen and the 2nd gen; I really feel like the new, recent 1st gen can bridge the gap between the old 1st gen and 2nd gen; I saw unity today.” –Alejandro, Venezuela

Today’s lecture really impressed me and made me feel strong as a Top Gun participant and leader of the future. It also reminds me to keep my position and my responsibilities as a man in order to help Heavenly Parent and True Parents. I also wasn’t aware that I could meet so many different people and hear their views. I thank Heavenly Parent and True Parents for helping us come together and truly hope that Heavenly Parent and True Parents can bless them.” – Clevious, Zambia

Another day, another reason to live life. Tomorrow, we start the pilgrimage. Things are only getting started.



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Day 8: Finish Learn Repeat

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What a meaningful day!

Today we finished up learning about the Divine Principle, and with that, all the public speaking practices. 

Once again, in the morning, we started off with public speaking training with Nina Urbonya. After learning how to do impromptu speaking and develop a story in the previous 2 days, today, we learned how to structure it all together into a professional talk. The main points we learned was to pick a topic, find a purpose, make sure you know how you want your audience to feel, know, and do, and make sure to have a key point and a story.

These tips were actually extremely helpful, and, as we’ll see later, it made people into great speakers.

Once again, Justin Okamoto gave a talk. This time, he talked about restoration. He said that God can’t claim us because we don’t look or act like Him and talked a great deal about games. To him, a game is something that has an end goal, rules, and a time period. He told us to create our own games to better ourselves because if we don’t, then we’ll just be playing Satan’s games. From this, we were able to set goals for ourselves in order for us to become more like God.

In the afternoon, Justin Okamoto gave another talk, and we did a fun exercise—we wrote our own visions for the future. We then proclaimed and prayed loudly about our visions, and once again, many people had tears in their eyes. In the end, we had a dance party. Justin explained that we did this in order to demonstrate that God wants to celebrate with us, too. It was a mix of emotions, but ultimately ended happily.

To wrap up the Divine Principle lectures, Andy Compton gave a lecture on the Second Advent (True Parents). His basic points were that Jesus came to be the True Parent (but couldn’t), and now True Parents came and were successful, and now our responsibility is to proclaim True Parents.

In the evening, we had the rare opportunity to have 6 people from our workshop give 5-minute talks based on the public speaking principles that we learned. It was incredible to see how good and personal they were, and how they greatly varied in topics and languages. It’s as if these tips we learned in the past 3 days worked beautifully.

Finally, to wrap up the night, we had an orientation on the pilgrimage that we’re about to have in 2 days. This was done to show and introduce the sites we are going to visit and prepare our hearts.

All in all, families are getting closer together, people are becoming so much more passionate, and vibes are transforming into happy ones. What a beauty to see.

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Day 7: Continuing with the Divine Principle

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We have reached the one-third mark of our workshop. By now, we’re really getting into the groove of things.

In the morning, Nina led us in another session of public speaking exercises where we learned how to effectively tell a story. We broke it up into four parts (beginning concept, challenge point, turning point, and new concept). We shared in pairs one concept in the Divine Principle that has changed over the years for us. By doing it this way, this gave structure to our story.

Then, Justin Okamoto gave another deep talk, this time on emotion, intellect and will. He basically told us that we can change our intellect by making proclamations, our emotion by asking questions, and our will by shifting your body. We then practiced all of these things through physical exercises such as breathing, dancing, and proclaiming that we are God’s children, Messiahs, and heroes that will change the world. This was a great way to let go of our shortcomings and really be inspired and move forward.

In the afternoon, we had lectures on The Fall and Restoration given by our own UPA staff. Afterward, we found key points from the lectures that we connected with the most (like yesterday), and created stories out of them, trying our best to connect them with the Divine Principle.

In the evening, like yesterday, we shared these stories in groups while other members gave feedback. In the end, some people had an opportunity to share their stories with our entire workshop. It was amazing how confident and passionate these people were in sharing, especially since some of them even did it on stage.

The thing that stuck out to me the most were the lecture/public speaking practices. Seeing how so many people (1st and 2nd gen) have so much passion and be moved by the Principle inspired me so much.” –Michael, USA

The atmosphere is really starting to change now that we’re at the one-third mark. In the beginning, it was laid-back and even confusing for some on what’s going on, but now, things are becoming a lot more serious, but also a lot more close-knit. People are really starting to feel like family to each other, and they are setting higher standards for themselves, too.

These last 7 days were the formation stage. We enter the growth stage tomorrow.

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Day 6: Heart Transcends All Barriers

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Some of us have heard the Divine Principle many times before. Some of us might have only heard it once.

But in this workshop, though we were learning the Principle, we didn’t attend the typical lectures. We learned the Principle in a completely different way.

Before learning anything from the Principle, though, we learned about public speaking skills. Why? Because the best way to learn about the Principle is to teach it to others. Not only that, we need to be confident in sharing the Principle with others, too. So Nina Urbonya led us in a session of Public Speaking Training. We practiced impromptu speaking by being given questions and sharing our answers to our group. To many, this was a difficult, but an extremely valuable exercise, so we were thankful.

After the public speaking session, we heard a deep testimony from Justin Okamoto. He shared his life and how he went from being distant from God all the way to a point where he can share and radiate God’s love. He assured us that God really does love us and our responsibility is to share our love with other people. He asked all the people who felt distant from God to stand up, and all the other people to pray for them. It was a deep experience and one where a lot of people even cried.

It was surprisingly intense how Justin came from the very bottom. He talked about how he couldn’t feel safe or was not going to be accepted by his friends in Cheongpyeong if they really knew his situation. But when he shared his situation, people accepted him and he found out that other people were going through the same situation too. His testimony made me reflect on my own problems and taught me that we should all come together to become God’s body.” –Takanari, USA

In the afternoon, we heard a Divine Principle talk from Jeong Hye Yeom, UPA Special Envoy to Europe and Takayoshi Kageyama UPA Special Envoy to Central America on Principle of Creation. We were then given 20 minutes to fill out a worksheet with various questions. We each picked a key point that we could connect to and found a story from our daily life related to that. We then took the time to share our story in pairs.

For the evening session, we made groups of five and took turns giving our five minute talks each and got feedback from the other groups members. Once again, this really helped us practice our public speaking skills, so even though it might have been intimidating for some, we were thankful for it.

And that’s the day. We’ve actually reached a point in the workshop where our families (teams) start to really do feel like families. For many families, only 2 or 3 people can speak English, and it’s very possible for every person to have a different first language. From this, though, we have come to realize that language is actually the wall we have built up ourselves. For us to express ourselves, we can just use our heart, which transcends way beyond language. By doing this, we found that we have a much better time, even though we can’t understand 100% of what everybody is saying.

Heart transcends all barriers.

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Day 5: Finishing up True Parents’ Life Course

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Although today was similar to yesterday in structure, we received so much more new content, most of which we never heard before. Today, instead of discussing about True Parents’ public course, we learned about their initiatives.

The first lecture was on religious harmony. We learned that True Parents, more than anyone, wanted to unite Christianity and then all the religions together, as that is the way to world peace. This is why they worked so hard doing superdenominational and superreligious (above and over denominations and religions) activities and creating religious associations. The most inspiring thing to people was how True Parents did this not for the sake of the church, but for the sake of a peaceful world.

I was shocked by True Father’s vision and mission, especially in uniting religions. It is one of the reasons why I joined this movement. At first, way back then, my perception was that my religion is the best, and others must believe and follow. But after I learned the Divine Principle, I realized that I was wrong. It was a selfish idea. I’ve realized that I’m an ignorant person. I really admired how hard True Father worked hard in order to unite people regardless of their religion, culture, race, or background. As for me, I want to continue this mission and vision for the rest of my life.” –Mark, Philippines

The second lecture was about international politics. It focused on North-South Korea unification, Victory over Communism movements, and UN renewal.

The third lecture was about economic activities and the Ocean Providence. From this, we could see how much True Parents invested in so many companies and ocean-related activities. It’s incredible how they did this, because normally, it’s hard to achieve how much True Parents have achieved in their lifetime.

One common theme about both of these lectures was that True Parents did not do this for the sake of themselves or to gain wealth or power. They just wanted to realize a world of peace, and they did everything they could to do so.

The fourth lecture was on culture, arts, and sports. Namely, this was about True Parents’ establishment of the Little Angels, Universal Ballet, soccer clubs, peace cups, and sports festivals.

And lastly, the fifth lecture was on media, education, and training future leaders. This was mainly about the establishment of newspaper and media outlets like Sekai Nippo, Washington Times, and Segye Ilbo.

A common theme for both of these lectures was, besides creating a world of peace, introducing God-centered culture and bringing everybody back to God. One more thing that was talked about was that since 2012, True Mother has educated over 16,000 future leaders. From this, we can really see that she trusts us to be the light of the world. How inspiring this is!

And as if this spiritual food wasn’t enough, we also got pretty special physical food today—True Mother treated us all to Heaven G Burgers! Feelings of excitement and gratitude spread throughout the workshop.

To close the day, we heard two more testimonies of peace missionaries: one of them went to Cote D’Ivoire, and the other went to Argentina. From these two, we learned that although it was really difficult from the beginning, through faith in God and True Parents, they were able to succeed and even gain some spiritual children.

And just like that, we have finished learning about True Parents’ Life Course for this workshop. Still, fruitful days are ahead of us, as tomorrow, we start learning and sharing about the Divine Principle. 

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Day 4: Continuing with True Parents’ Life Course

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Even as the workshop settles down, there are always opportunities to learn.

Today, in particular, we learned about True Parents’ public life course. In the morning session, we learned about our movement’s early years. We learned that, after many failures  and hardships, True Father could finally start to expand out of Korea. We also learned the significance of the Holy Wedding and how the True Family could finally be realized through this.

The most inspiring thing is how True Father started from basically nothing and proclaimed that he’d save the world. Because of his heart and desire to save God and humanity, no matter how difficult the situation was, he could keep going.

It’s incredible how True Father had the heart to make God happy and cheer God up no matter what the situation. He just wanted to be a friend to serve God.-Maho, Japan

The afternoon session was a big overview on True Parents’ expansion into the entire world. Though it covered a long period of time, the most inspiring thing was how True Father was able to save America and gather so many people in Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium, and Washington Monument rallies. The meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev and Kim Il-Sung were also inspiring in that Father carried these meetings out at the risk of his life, but his heart really wanted to restore these people.

For the evening session, we heard two testimonies from two different regions of the world. The first person was from Zambia, and he shared about his public mission. He gave us words of advice: if you want things to work, have a positive attitude; in every situation, think What would True Parents do? ; and, our responsibility is to claim True Parents. Because he learned these things directly from his public mission, we were able to really take these words of advice into heart.

The second person was from Israel. She shared her deep experiences from the military, where she went through many struggles and even almost lost sight in God. But she realized that this wasn’t just her pain; this was God’s pain too; she realized that God had been feeling this kind of pain for much longer. To many, this part was inspiring and really touched our hearts.

She also left us with three points of advice: don’t be indifferent, but rather love people and take care of them; no matter what happens, God will never leave you; and give something better than you have received. Both of these testimonies were inspiring and valuable words to receive.

Though this seemed like a “normal” day, the education we received is far from that. Hopefully these are valuable pieces of education that we can keep with us forever.


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Day 3: Meeting True Mother

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Who knew you could receive so much grace and blessings in one day?

Today, as a very special occasion: we, as an entire group of 1300 people, visited the Cheon Jung Gung (Palace) to meet True Mother. Before that, though, we had an even rarer opportunity to visit True Father’s grave, which is located in the back of the Cheon Jeong Gung. Many of us felt that this was a deep and unexpected moment, and some of us could even feel True Father’s presence there.

We then all gathered in the Cheon Jung Gung, waiting to welcome True Mother. Of course, we were all excited and enthusiastic when True Mother finally arrived. Each tribe performed their chants that we all practiced yesterday, and True Mother was delighted to see the unity among us.

And finally, True Mother had some words for us. In the beginning of her speech, she expressed directly and seriously that we need to be filial sons and daughters of True Parents, become one with True Parents’ heart, and become a person of True Parents’ love.

She then emphasized that responsibility is key and explained how many central figures in history have failed to fulfill their responsibility, and how this hurts God’s heart and prolongs His providence. Basically, we need to recognize that we have a responsibility and fulfill it with our 100% effort.

Lastly, she ended with some tips and guidance for us. She told us that we need to practice true love by living for the sake of others, and not to keep happiness to ourselves, but spread it to everybody. She has so much confidence in us; she said that through us, the world must become clean and bright, and because of us, our future has hope. Those were some impactful words to end on, and many people were moved and maybe even surprised to hear these words.

Quite a few people were anxious to meet True Mother and felt that their internal preparations weren’t enough. For some of us, it was our first time seeing True Mother in person. This raised mixed feelings: of course, we were happy and excited to meet True Mother, but we could also feel so undeserving. All in all, this meeting created and sustained a positive atmosphere throughout the day, and hopefully it will throughout the workshop, too.

On the heels of meeting True Mother in person, we got to learn about True Parents’ life course in the afternoon. We first learned about why True Parents are so important in history. We basically learned that God and humanity longs for the True Parents of humanity that will start God’s lineage. True Parents’ mission is to declare the truth (Divine Principle), save humankind (Blessing Marriage), and create a world peace movement. They create the framework of goodness that all of us can follow.

Next, we learned about True Father’s early life. The basis of his early years was that he had such a big heart for many of his friends and classmates that they called him ‘Father’. True Father would go through intense training to achieve mind-body unity, and this meant living a simple lifestyle, fasting, never wearing new clothes, praying for many hours a day, and helping people who needed it. We found that through these things, among others, True Father could really master himself and attain perfection.

We also learned things about True Mother’s early life, too. We learned that many people gave her big revelations at a very young age. Like True Father, True Mother went through severe spiritual training, living life like a nun and letting God guide her through her life.

Through these lectures, we could really feel what kind of heart that True Parents had for humanity and the world, and even just a glimpse of how hard they worked and how much they had to suffer to become the True Parents. Though it was hard listening to hours of lectures, it was still insightful and good spiritual food to receive.

Finally, for the evening session, we learned about the Cheongpyeong Providence and why this place is so special. We learned how True Father invested a lot of conditions to find this place, and even from the 1970s, declared that this was a place that people from all over the world would gather. It’s only fitting that this is all happening now.

In the end, we learned that now, True Mother desires to create Cheon Il Guk on earth, and she is really trying to establish that here by raising up this place and creating new facilities. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

It’s not so often that you can experience and receive this much spiritual food and grace in a day. Let’s hope tomorrow will be an even better day.

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Day 2: Sports Festival

What an exhausting and exciting day.

We spent the entire day having fun, playing games, and enjoying each other’s company. The program was divided into two sessions: morning and afternoon.

In the morning session, we played games that were focused on our clans, which are groups of three families (~24 people). Though it was hard to come up with activities involving this many people, we still travelled together in clans and went from station to station. The activities included team jump rope, catching water balloons, and balancing on one leg for a minute.

One common theme among a lot of these activities was the importance of teamwork and unity. Through these activities, we were able to break even more barriers, whether they were linguistic or cultural, unite together as one clan (and one family), and really learn about one another by spending our time together. It’s also hard to deny that these games were really well-planned.

In the afternoon, we played games that were focused on our entire tribes, which are groups of clans (~300 people). There are four tribes in total, and they are appropriately named Freedom, Peace, Unity, and Happiness. With this many people in a tribe, there were only a handful of possible activities we can do. Thus, within our tribe, we created a giant balloon tower that reached the ceiling, passed a hoola-hoop through everybody while linking hands, and carried an entire person through a crowd of people in our tribes, among other things.

Once again, these activities reinforced unity, but this time on a larger, tribal scale. Since we were able to meet altogether as a workshop (~1200 people), it created an even larger sense of unity. Everyone seemed to be enthusiastic and grateful about the unity-building activities that were given.

And as if that wasn’t enough unity, to cap off our evening session, we practiced our chants in our tribes. The main reason why this is so important is because we will be presenting these in front of True Mother tomorrow at Cheon Jung Gung. It doesn’t get any better than this.

So as amazing as today was, we have a huge day to look forward to tomorrow.

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Day 1: Opening Day for 2nd Global Top Gun Youth

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After much anticipation, the 2nd Global Top Gun Youth (GTGY) finally began on August 1, 2017 with a victorious start.

After a full morning of registration, the 2nd GTGY kicked off with the opening ceremony in the afternoon. It was different from last year’s in that True Mother didn’t come to visit us this time. As the program went on, however, we heard the news of True Mother planning to visit us in two days. We could only be grateful from hearing this news. Even through this, we could feel True Mother’s love toward us and how she really sees us as the light of the world.

We started off with icebreakers, with everyone getting to know each other. From this, the global community that we raised up for so many years was finally shown in one place, in a place no other than Cheongpyeong. Just to paint an image: 1200 people in total gathered and 76 different countries were represented. It would be difficult to gather a more diverse crowd.

After our icebreakers, we had an orientation on what this workshop would be about. We went over what True Mother said to us in last year’s GTGY and its relevance this year: we have to know True Parent’s heart, realize their wish, be the heroes that God and True Parents want us to become, overcome difficulties, support each other, and become the best in our field.

The motto for this year remains the same as last year’s: “Become the light of the world through ‘Hyojeong’ [a Filial Heart] toward heaven.” We also had the following vision to go along with this motto: We need to cultivate Global Hyojeong Youth Leadership in order to feel a heart of filial piety for Heavenly Parents and True Parents connected with our global family.

Yet the end goal of this workshop is threefold: to know a personal Heavenly Parent, to know the significance of True Parents, and to know and understand the Divine Principle. By meeting this goal, we can develop our life of faith and contribute to God’s Will, which is what our Heavenly Parents and True Parents so desperately want. Participants were all so moved to hear this.

For the evening session, we learned a little about Chanyang (Holy Song Session) and the Cheongpyeong Providence. The lecture was given by Mr. Inpyo Moon, a longtime leader and lecturer in Cheongpyeong. The talk was given in a serious tone, and through this, we could start to feel the significance of Cheongpyeong.

There were two key points that we could learn from this lecture: Cheongpyeong exists so we can save humankind, and the main point of Chanyang is to be reborn and resurrected as filial sons and daughters of our Heavenly Parent and True Parents. As always, these words were refreshing to hear.

To close the day, we met in our families (teams of 8 people) for the first time. Despite our language barriers and different cultures, we still did our best and try to understand each other on why we all came. The reasons for coming to this GTGY varied: some people were interested in what Cheongpyeong and GTGY were all about, some others were sent by their Abel figure, as well as other reasons. Whatever the reason, we were all truly grateful to be here.

Who knows what’s in store for tomorrow.


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