The first ever Global Top Gun Youth Workshop has finally come to an end—and what an amazing end!
On Friday, August 19, we spent the whole day participating in the different festivals and activities being held in honor of the fourth anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa.
In the morning, a lot of us had the chance to accompany the musical performers depicting True Parents’ life course, before welcoming True Mother on stage and hearing her remarks for the day.
After going to the Bibimbap Festival and seeing the international cultural performances in the afternoon, we were so excited to attend the Hyo Jeong Peace Festival/Hyo Jin Moon Musical Festival. It was basically a rock concert, organized around our entire workshop theme to inherit True Parents’ filial heart and tradition and unite with one another.
Hyo Jin Moon’s band, playing with several of his children, closed out the day with an incredible set, capturing the heart of filial piety beautifully in the music and the spirit they shared with everyone.
The following Sunday, we met with True Mother at the Cheon Jeong Gung Peace Museum for our graduation ceremony. True Mother entered the room to the sound of rousing applause and cheers of welcome. Some people made heart shapes with their hands, and True Mother appeared happy to see us.
She sat down at the front of the room to see us perform the song we sang at the Seonghwa anniversary again, the song we’ve practiced every day since our arrival. True Mother already looked so happy when she turned to face us. The middle school, high school, and CARP students really poured their hearts into practicing this song in Korean to get it right these last few weeks.
True Mother’s final message to us was that as true sons and daughters of True Parents, we should strive to inherit True Parents’ heart and vision to bring about the world God and True Parents have been working toward.
“You are the heroes who can understand the heart of True Parents and accomplish the desire that Heavenly Parent, True Parents, and humankind are longing for. A true hero overcomes pain and difficultly. A hero cannot be a hero under comfortable circumstances. The same goes for True Parents. True Parents began alone, but all of you have one another. Unite in heart as one with True Parents, Become the best in your respective fields. That way we can restore all the 7.3 billion people of the world and bring them into the embrace of True Parents. You are the heroes during this era that will never be repeated again.
“You will bring victory regardless of what kind of situation you are in, won’t you? I want to hear the happy reports of your victories, so I will make an effort to live longer for you. We must resolve and determine on this fourth anniversary of True Father’s ascension.”
We all then sang the song “Sarang Hae Dang Shin Eul” together with True Mother to conclude the graduation. As a parting gift, True Mother gave each of us a Korean copy of the Chambumo Gyeong and a copy of Apple Heaven’s first album, and we spent our last afternoon together playing the traditional Korean game yute.
True Mother’s message today, and her investment in us throughout the workshop, touched each of our hearts and raised our confidence to be heroes for Heavenly Parent and True Parents when we go back home. There may be a long road ahead of us to bring the culture of heart to the world, but we are committed to being the revolutionary heroes of the culture of heart who can fulfill Heavenly Parent and True Parents’ dream by creating a peaceful world.
On August 18, Global Top Gun Youth spent the entire day rehearsing for their performance at the fourth memorial for True Father’s Seonghwa. They are preparing to sing a medley of songs for the Seonghwa anniversary event tomorrow at 9:30am in Korea. After a morning Hoon Dok Hwe message from FFWPU USA President, Dr. Michael Balcomb, the workshop participants relocated to the Peace World Center to rehearse.
Though it was a grueling day, True Mother visited the group, listened to their practice, and encouraged them with both a brief message as well as a Heaven G Burger lunch for everyone.
“I heard everyone is practicing so hard to prepare for the ceremony,” True Mother said. “Please do well in your final rehearsal, and after rehearsal, please enjoy Heaven G Burger and regain your energy.”
“We just heard from True Mother, and I feel inspired,” said GTGY participant, Livingston Dennis. “I feel great, and I feel excited about tomorrow.”
Tune into the live broadcast starting at 8:30pm EST on Thursday, August 18. For more details about how to access the broadcast, click here.
It’s been a very active week here in Cheongpyeong so far. In everything we do, we’re growing closer together as one global family. We started off our last week with a GTGY-wide sports day: the Korean, Japanese, and international groups all came together to spend time with each other and have fun outside!
We started out doing the Bounce dance around the Tree of Love in the main courtyard. Some people turned the dance into a competition and wanted to see who could last the longest and set a “Guinness World Record” for dancing to Bounce. A couple of the Cheongpyeong Angels even came out to dance with us and offer moral support to the competitors.
The rest of us went on to play many different sports like basketball, volleyball, and soccer, as well as pull-up competitions, jump rope, and relays. As the day drew on and the temperature got hotter, a lot of us just jumped into the spray of the Cheongpyeong floor fountains or the bouncy-castle pool that the staff had rented just for the day. There was a lot of music and laughter–and also a lot of water guns to keep things exciting!
“Today, we’re celebrating sports day with all the Japanese, Korean, and international groups. It really brings all of us together as one family. I’m probably going to do jump rope.” — Kanoka Orikasa, Norman, OK, USA
“Right now we’re having this wonderful GTGY sports day. We’re all having fun here, the over 1200 people here, and there’s so many simple sports here, but they’re also so complicated. Many people are just enjoying it, but some people are also being very competitive to set the Guinness World Record for GTGY. I think it’s an amazing day that God gave for all of us. We’re going to enjoy our time here and have a great time with our brothers and sisters from all around the world.” — Yasuharu To, New Jersey, USA
A couple of days later, we participated in a Peace Road event by the DMZ. Just like the participants at the Global Top Gun workshop in February, we had a chance to ride bikes representing God and True Parents’ dream for a peaceful world and demonstrating our desire to see North and South Korea peacefully united.
During the opening ceremony of the Peace Road event, some of us had the opportunity to perform the “Waka Waka Dance” in the spirit of creating a united world. After hearing several inspiring speeches about the importance of North-South reunification, about 60 of us released doves of peace into the air as a symbol of hope.
Finally, about 200 of us took to the road! Many of us felt that this was a really special opportunity to be together and serve God and True Parents, representing nations from all around the world.
“What Peace Road means to me is all of the countries coming together to ride for peace. It’s really symbolic and it’s very beautiful. I’m kind of nervous, but I’m also feeling excited. Everyone here is from different countries and we’re coming together to ride for peace. I’ve never been to the border, either, so I’m kind of nervous about that, but also excited. I’ve never seen North Korea before.” – Anick Muleki, Dallas, TX, USA
“We’re here doing the Waka Waka dance, representing the USA and the world. The song is about how during hard times you have to keep going and keep working hard. It’s a really good song. It’s very fitting today because we come from all different types of nations and it’s also a song about unity, so it really brings us together.” — Eli Izumi, Pennsylvania, USA
At the end of a week of Divine Principle study, our middle and high school participants of the GTGYers gathered in the main lecture hall to greet Prof. Yeon Ah Moon on Saturday, August 13, 2016. The university students waited eagerly just outside the hall for their opportunity to interact with Yeon Ah Moon, too.
Yeon Ah Moon has a way of being very authentic and sincere in her sharing and is very honest about the reality of our movement today. It’s refreshing for the youth to hear her speak, and they are able to feel understood and cared for by a member of True Parents’ family.
At the beginning of our meetings together with her that day, Yeon Ah Moon asked what we would like to hear her speak about first. She set up a very relaxed and casual atmosphere, inviting us to get comfy, to stand if we wanted, and to keep in mind the donuts she had brought to share with us afterward.
Someone in the hall yelled out, asking her to please start by sharing some of the memories she has with True Parents. Yeon Ah Moon read a passage from True Father’s words and began sharing from there. Yeon Ah Moon reminded us that she, too, grew up as a second-generation Unificationist and offered us advice about developing a relationship with True Parents as people born into this movement.
“Just thinking about True Parents in your head will not help you understand them. You need to speak about them, share about them.”
She continued, “If you begin with the little things and develop this good habit of starting your day with True Parents, at first you have to try to do it and then it becomes something you just do—something automatic. Start your day like this everyday, with God and True Parents.
“The reason I encourage you to do Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture reading) like this is so you can experience God in your daily life.”
One of the participants commented that among the second generation of our movement, it can be hard to see positive things and that many of our peers are becoming distant. She asked how to best let those who are growing distant know about the heart of True Parents and the vision of our movement.
In response, Yeon Ah Moon spoke honestly about the opportunities to build greater love and unity across our movement, and commented, “I was grateful to receive the questions about your concerns for other seonghwa (middle and high school) students; that you care about them and how they are. Thank you. Just love them and be their friends and give to them. Support one another in the small things.”
She wanted to keep sharing with the seonghwa students and extended her time with them, but not long after that, the university students piled in to the lecture hall at 8:30 p.m., even though the seonghwa students had not yet left and Yeon Ah Moon had not yet finished speaking with them. Yeon Ah Moon had so much to share. Her heart is really that of an older sister who wants her siblings to connect to God and True Parents more deeply.
Once the university students had entered the room, Yeon Ah Moon began discussing the Blessing, the stages of the heart, and development of love.
“Please try to completely experience each stage of love so that when you become parents you can really love.
“I looked at love from a very secular perspective before. What about you? What do you think love is at first? Movies make love at first site look amazing; but reality is not like that. Can you imagine what it would have been like if Romeo and Juliet had not died?
“You need to have a vertical and a horizontal standard. You have to have give and take horizontally or it will all fall to the wayside.
“Empty yourself and forget any concept of ‘me’. It’s really hard, even for me, so I focus on something else, and then I can empty myself and let go of myself. Not completely because that’s very hard. But still, ‘How can invest myself entirely for the sake of others?’ is what I think about.”
Yeon Ah Moon concluded, “True Parents existed in the blueprint of creation. The word True Parents existed before creation. They began as the standard of creation. Then what is the wish of Heavenly Parent? It is True Parents: God-centered parents who can give and receive love unconditionally.
“True Parents really know our heart to attend them, so even when we make mistakes they understand our heart.”
At 11:00 p.m. and Yeon Ah Moon was still talking! The Japanese GTGYers heard she was here and joined us. There’s an excellent spirit, and everyone is still fully alert.
Before leaving, Yeon Ah Moon took photos with groups of 80 people at a time, always making it a point to say hello to everyone and to acknowledge each person. Her openness and love are incredible. Though it was so late, the night ended on a very high-energy note with participants running around the lecture hall in large circles, chanting the GTGY motto.
Here are some of the participant reflections after hearing Yeon Ah Moon speak:
“My favorite part of Yeon Ah-nim’s speech is when she talked about how, if we take interest in something we won’t forget it; so if we take interest more in God and True Parents, we won’t forget them. That really hit me because sometimes it’s easy, when you get busy in your daily life to put them aside; I really want to take more interest in them in the future.” — Yasunari Sakuma, Chicago, IL, USA
“My favorite highlight from Yeon Ah-nim’s talk was really hearing the heart of True Parents—hearing her perspective of where True Parents’ standpoint is. I’m really grateful that I could be here tonight to see Yeon Ah-nim talk. Thank you!” — Ilya Hack, Las Vegas, NV, USA
“I think the most important thing I was able to take away from Yeon Ah-nim’s speech was a new perspective about Moses’ life. I always thought of him as someone who was the most miserable man, but after hearing Yeon Ah-nim’s story about how a parent will feel about their children finally reaching their destination, and seeing them mature, grow, and truly surpass what they have overcome. I was so happy to hear this from her perspective.” — Mansoo Takeda, Boston, MA
“My favorite part of the speech was when Yeon Ah-nim told us about the favorite type of coffee that True Parents like to drink in the morning. True Father drinks coffee with milk and sugar and True Mother drinks black coffee. That’s the way that my husband and I drink our coffee as well!” — Rosia Schmidt, Sheboygan, WI, USA
“What I liked the most today in what Yeon Ah-nim said was that we should include Heavenly Parent in every thought in our lives and that when we wake up we should think about True Parents and Heavenly Parent first. That’s what inspired me and touched my heart.” — Anna, Netherlands
“I was really inspired about what Yeon Ah-nim said and now I really want to testify to True Parents, Heavenly Parent to the world and to my friends.” — Melanie, Switzerland
“The best part of Yeon Ah-nim-unni’s speech was when she said we should always have True Parents’ heart. Because True Parents have done so much for us as second generation—and True Mother now, at this age, is so tired—I think we really have to let her rest and go to the front line to help True Mother in the work of the providence. I feel it is our obligation as second generation to fulfill our responsibility and to give True Mother joy and to work hard. She’s aging, so it’s time for us to do our best and to give much effort to support True Mother in carrying out the work of the providence.
“Right now I have a lot of mixed emotions. I feel happy, I feel overwhelmed. I feel like I have so much to say, but I feel so happy that Yeon Ah-nim could be here, for being in this Top Gun workshop, for experiencing True Mother’s heart, and for being with my brothers and sisters. It’s really amazing and it gives me great joy to be here with my family members.” — Yuron Golio, Kenya
Be sure to follow what happens next as we enter our final week of the workshop!
“The second week of GTGY is a very important week, because this is where the education and content will happen,” said Naokimi Ushiroda, President of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) USA, who spent the week sharing lectures with the Global Top Gun Youth participants. “I was reflecting on the purpose of this workshop, and what I see as the main purpose is for everyone in this age group, the future leaders, to align their goals centered on God, True Parents, and the Divine Principle. True Mother wants to make sure the next generation of leadership is centered on the right thing.”
The five-day lecture series concluded on August 11, and according to one participant from Washington State, USA, Esther Pisano, “the lectures were amazing. It was definitely a new and creative expression of the Divine Principle.”
A typical day this past week opened with morning lectures, and then participants spent the afternoon engaged in various activities, appropriate for each age group and stage of life. Middle school participants took part in activities designed to promote bonding between them, and to instill a sense of self-value and self-love within each participant. The middle school youth emerged feeling more confident and more connected.
For university-aged participants, activities included several ice-breakers, introspective assignments, and team-building exercises. Though many of the participants do not speak English, translators, singing and fun activities helped everyone to bond and create international friendships. In one activity, participants wrote down a list of walls that they tend to put up, which block their original selves and contribute to their personal vulnerabilities. They then wore a sign with their number one personal wall, and walked around the room talking to each other about it.
Justin Okamoto of CARP USA also led a vision statement exercise, encouraging everyone to envision the future that they want to see, and the future that True Mother wants to see in this world. “It was a very powerful session,” said Jinil Fleishman from Las Vegas, USA.
In the evenings, participants had exciting clan-wide open mics and testimony sharing.
“In each group, we shared our testimonies,” explained Jinil Fleishman, “then we joined all together as one clan to share all these experiences that we’ve had. I think each participant is taking away a clear vision and a hope for the future that we can create.”
“Participants have been exploring the Divine Principle, taking part in leadership training and creating a global family,” said Kenji Sugawara and Tamami Sugawara from Worcester, Massachusetts, co-directors of the Global Top Gun Youth middle and high school group. “The energy has been growing every single day; the participants have been getting louder in their singing, louder in activities and cheering, and feeling very free. They feel empowered in the commitment they are making for True Parents and for the live they want to live.”
August 7 was our first day of lectures at the Global Top Gun Youth workshop. After a long pilgrimage journey throughout Korea, participants are ready to engage in thought-provoking discussions and internal growth activities. The interactive reflection periods here are anything but quiet introspection; they are high in energy and loud with love, giving youth a sense of identity as young Unificationists and allowing them a chance to connect in heart with more of their brothers and sisters around the world. They’re getting a daily dose of self value, confidence, fun and laughter.
“I just love my brothers and sisters so much!” Said Kengo, a GPA participant at GTGY. The love generated here across borders with other young Unificationists around the world is priceless.
To open the Divine Principle lecture series, Naokimi Ushiroda, President of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) USA, gave a presentation on the Original Mind to middle and high school participants. Justin Okamoto of CARP USA also spoke to participants, including the university students, who also began introductory lectures this week. Middle high school participants are encouraged every evening through intentional games and activities to realize themselves as children of God, being pushed ever inward to connect with their original selves.
Educators are striving to instill True Mother’s words from the first day at GTGY into the hearts of the young adults here: “You are the first in history. True Parents are happy because of you. I am proud of all of you. Please do not forget that; there will always be the blessing and love of True Parents in all of your hard work in order for all of you to reach your dreams.”
August 10 was Justin Okamoto’s last day lecturing with the university students. He was met with enthusiasm and encouragement. His lecture series was received by attentive ears and hearts eager to take away habits and practices to propel participants forward in their dreams. The day was spent leading participants toward creating their own vision statements to move their lives towards creating and fulfilling their dreams. The lecture series ended with everyone singing and praying in unison. In the evening, participants shared short testimonies within their clans and then later as a tribe.
My favorite experience so far has been listening to lectures from Naokimi and Justin. I thought commitment is what brings my mind and body to unite. Naokimi said, “If you love someone, you will do anything.” I immediately realized how right he was. Love is what unites our minds and bodies. I saw this truth in coming to this GTGY workshop. When I heard that True Mother was holding this workshop, I knew right away that I had to be here. I felt my heart pulling me here to help True Mother to accomplish her goal. So my mind directed my body and here I am.
-Sarah Takhar, USA
I’ve gained so much spiritually in these past couple of days that I have in this year. The lectures have given me a sense of clarity within myself and who I am as a person.
-JaYeon Mayele, USA
In the past I had not been interested in reading the Divine Principle from cover to cover. However, the lectures in this workshop made me want to study the Divine Principle more and read it in its entirety.
-Riki Egoshi, USA
Within the last two days of the GTG Youth workshop, I felt that I was really enlightened through the Divine Principle lectures. I was inspired and learned so many new things that I didn’t know about before.
-Wonja Kim, USA
During this workshop I’ve realized that I really didn’t understand the Divine Principle in such a practical way. I couldn’t imagine that the Divine Principle in itself, excluding True Parents’ words, could touch my heart so deeply. So many questions I prayed to receive the answer are now appearing in front of me just by looking things in a different way. It’s so amazing to think that the Divine Principle applies to all our situations and life.
-Jens Fernandez Muhlke, Dominican Republic
Naokimi said one thing that really hit me like a realization. It was one of those things that are so obvious and logical but we don’t see it until someone tells us. That the secret to mind-body unity is LOVE! I always would think that mind and body unity is such a hard thing, and that you need to make so many conditions to achieve it. However if you love, then you no longer need to force yourself to do it. That really resonated with me and I almost cried.
-Yann Taupier-Letage, France
With regards to lectures, I just find them some of the best lectures I’ve ever had and that’s truly sincere. I’ve heard Divine Principle lectures a lot, but I feel I learned how practical and logical the Principle can be. And maybe also a way that I can explain the Principle to others.
-Yvonne Marsh, UK
I am amazed by the way the Divine Principle has been broken down and brought to everyday experiences. The methodology of teaching is very convenient as we come to understand how Divine Principle can help us and thus we can find easy experiences to share with the people that don’t know Divine Principle. I understand that I cannot convince anybody to understand or to study Divine Principle if I myself cannot understand it or see real examples of how it has helped me.
-Virgilio Leitao Muando, Mozambique
I really appreciated the lectures, especially the ones in the morning. It will really help me when I will be witnessing to someone, as it really teaches us how to outreach.
-Nadal Noel, France
As our pilgrimage is organized into two groups of 600 participants, each group ended their pilgrimage where the other group began. Twenty-six buses carried participants, Universal Peace Academy (UPA) cadets, and FFWPU International staff to the Cheongbok Gung, Chungpa Dong, and Paju Wonjeon (Group 1), as well as Beomneggol, Mungyeong Sae Chae, and Ocean Resort (Group 2). UPA and FFWPUI staff did a fantastic job with logistics, handling the timely movement of over 1200 GTGY participants, and planning the route, meals, and even first aid kits for each group.
On the third day of the pilgrimage, we were greeted with very high temperatures. At several stops, including Yamok Church and Beomneggol, local Unificationists passed out water. “They are so serving-minded,” noted staff member, Shinyoung Chang. Each location also had a local Unificationist dedicated to giving group tours and explanations. These Unificationists are dedicated to educating youth, families and guests about the foundation True Parents laid in Korea to do their mission.
“It feels spiritually powerful and a lot of history happened here,” said Grace Roberts from the USA, upon visiting the Yamok church. “It’s pretty amazing to be here. I think GTG Youth is an amazing opportunity for young people to come together and just be able to share in their faith. I think it’s really powerful when a whole bunch of second generation Unificationists come together to create something amazing. For this, in particular, I want to be able to establish a lot of friendships with my brothers and sisters here.”
Bus rides provided a great opportunity for international bonding. Participants played games together and sang, and after the pilgrimage, participants gathered in the main hall at Cheongpyeong in their bus teams and played more team-building activities.
For many, the Paju Wonjeon was an unforgettable experience. Ten members of True Parents’ family who have ascended to the spirit world are resting there, including True Parents’ children, parents, and grandchildren. The many levels of ground allowed everyone to travel to these resting places in groups, paying their respects at each location and then making their way to the next resting plot.
“We saw the resting places of True Parents’ relatives,” said Kakikita Michimasa, a participant from Malaysia. “This is my first time here. I feel amazing and excited to be here and able to bond with my Global Top Gun Youth peers in front of True Parents’ ascended loved ones. It was the most exciting moment I think I ever had.”
“I feel like this is a really good opportunity to connect with True Parents’ family and to understand the roots of our church and our movement,” said Joshua Pecarsky from Canada. “These are really important people and they’ve supported us so much, so I really feel a sense of gratefulness to them right now.”
“I feel enriched,” said Victor Bidard from England. “Everyone’s connecting, being able to bow, being able to pray, and just being able to smile and feel the love and warmth from True Parents and how they’ve been able to really take care of their children. This is empowering to me and I’m sure it’s empowering to all of us. There are hundreds and hundreds of people here at this moment in time. It’s an amazing feeling. The grounds are beautiful, with so much greenery and so much nature. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t heard about the Global Top Gun Youth workshop to find out more about it, stay connected, and become a part of it the next chance they get.”
“This whole trip really helped me really understand True Father’s heart,” said Mia Windman from Los Angeles. “It’s the second time that I’ve gone on this pilgrimage, and I feel like every time it just gets better. I really feel True Father’s hard work that he put into this whole Unification movement, and that he did so much for us.”
The great news for everyone reading is that GTG Youth will happen every year! Come and experience this life-changing pilgrimage for yourself!
We continued into a second day of pilgrimage on August 4, stopping at Holy Ground sites in Busan and Mungyeong, respectively.
The group that visited Busan had the opportunity to visit the Beomnaegol Memorial Hall, which was built around the outcropping where True Father and one of his earliest disciples, Won Pil Kim, built a hut out of mud and cardboard in which True Father would complete the original manuscript for the Divine Principle.
A few minutes walk from the memorial hall, we came to the Rock of Tears, where True Father as a young man and later True Parents together, have offered intense and tearful prayers of devotion to realize God’s will for humankind. Connecting to that same, deep spirit of prayer, many of the GTGY participants were similarly moved to tears as they placed their hands on the rock in prayer.
Continuing up the mountain, christened “Mt. Cheonbu” by True Mother in 2001, we finally reached the summit, where you can look out over the whole of the Port of Busan and two, large pagodas stand, each representing True Father and True Mother. True Father was said to walk up to the summit, after a day’s work down in the port, to meditate and reflect on his mission and God’s heart.
Today we got up bright and early for our pilgrimage throughout Korea. Since there are so many of us, we split into two groups and charted separate courses.
Group 1 started with Cheongae or “Blue Sea” Garden in Yeosu. The site on which Blue Sea Garden is built was selected by True Parents to be the central location for the Ocean Providence in Korea in January 2003, after an extensive search for an appropriate site around the length of the Korean peninsula. During their stay there, the GTGY participants visited the local church and True Father’s Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture reading) room. Afterward, the group went to the Ocean Resort, where they enjoyed the sauna and swimming at the beach.
Group 2 went to Paju Wonjeon, then to Cheonbok Gung, and then Cheongpa Dong. Our guide knew so much of the history, and shared about when True Parents spent their days here.
Paju Wonjeon is a Unificationist burial ground located in the city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province. The approximately 500,000 pyeong (roughly 408 acres) of land at Paju Wonjeon was donated by Shin Shil Lee, a Presbyterian who joined the Unification movement in the 1960s.
For staff member, Shinyoung Chang, it was her first time going to Paju Wonjeon. “I had no idea it was so large,” she said, “and that there are already 10 members of True Parents’ family resting there. Having hundreds of us there at once made the experience more profound than it could have been otherwise. There are many paths and levels, very beautifully landscaped. The entire experience really felt like a true pilgrimage of faithful people paying their respects.
“Being an older second generation Unificationist, I cannot but cry when it comes to Hyo Jin Moon. This is was my first time greeting him at his resting place; Young Jin Moon as well. I said a little prayer at both graves, asking them to please watch over their younger brothers and sisters at this time and show them each how to connect to True Mother’s heart. What touched me most was individuals who took the initiative to go stop and pray alone.”
At the Cheonbok Gung, the Unification Peace Temple in Yongsan, Seoul, participants again had an opportunity to pray on their own. True Parents officiated the dedication ceremony for the Cheonbok Gung in February 2010. The Cheonbok Gung currently serves as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) Korea Headquarters, replacing the original church building in Cheongpa Dong, Seoul in that capacity.
The “Cheongpa Dong Headquarters Church,” as the site was formerly known, saw many historic moments in the Unification movement, from some of the first educational workshops about the Divine Principle to the engagement and Holy Wedding ceremonies of True Parents, as well as the birth of several of their children.
The day grew hotter, and the holy sites we visited instilled a sense of seriousness and reflection. As we continue this pilgrimage, we sincerely hope to gain a deeper understanding of True Parents’ life and the history of the Unification movement, in order to better connect with True Parents and be able to share about their life with others.
On August 2nd, Sun Jin Moon, International President of Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) came with her husband In Sup Alexander Park, International Vice President of FFWPU, and sister-in-law Professor Yeon Ah Moon, International President of Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP), to spend time with the workshop participants.
The Universal Peace Academy (UPA) band played a few songs to lift up our hearts and minds as we started our day together. Then the three guests walked up on stage, where they sat cross-legged on the stage floor wearing GTGY shirts! This set up made the participants particularly excited and open to hearing their remarks because it felt very familial and engaging.
Sun Jin Moon guided the participants in a reading of True Father’s autobiography, A Peace Loving Global Citizen, then talked about her life and how the love of God and True Parents have helped her to address the obstacles she has faced.
At the conclusion of her main remarks, there was an opportunity for question-and-answer, and a lot of the Japanese and international participants asked questions about True Mother and how to better understand her heart. They also asked how to serve True Parents well when they’re still so young. Sun Jin Moon answered the participants honestly and openly, sharing that True Parents, like our own parents, love us and want us to be happy and to excel in what we create.
After the question-and-answer session ended, Sun Jin Moon then led a combined dance and exercise session featuring the famous “Bounce” song and also freestyle dancing. The international participants were particularly excited by the opportunity to dance together with Sun Jin Moon and the other GTGY participants.
In the afternoon, all of the participants gathered together again to play icebreakers and get to know one another better. Because there are so many GTGYers here, it turned out to be a huge competition with games and prizes, and the winners were ultimately chosen by voting with rousing cheers.
The participants then ended their day together as they will every day: practicing a song for one hour in the evening to be performed at the upcoming commemoration of True Father’s fourth Seonghwa anniversary.
Many are even preparing to continue practicing the songs once we go on pilgrimage tomorrow, August 3. Be sure to stay tuned for more updates about our adventures as we head out on the road!