The Words of the DeGeode Family
Back from Montana 1 week Adventure Workshop!
Jine 15, 2006
First of all I'd like to thank Heavenly Father, True Parents and Hyun Jin Nim for the incredible blessing of participating in this Adventure Workshop at Hyun Jin Nim's ranch in Montana, internally and externally guided by our esteemed elder brother and personal connection to Hyun Jin Nim, Mr. MacMurdie. I feel so grateful to Akira-san our commander who could be just our elder brother for a week, and the whole team of brothers and sisters who really grew to be my family. They are who made this experience so meaningful and lasting.
In preparing for this testimony, I asked myself "What did I gain from this adventure workshop? How has it influenced my life? What victory does God want me to share with everyone that didn't get to go?" I reflected, but I struggled to find a specific point. As I brainstormed so many different possible ideas kept popping up: Sure, I could reiterate the incredible testimonies that Mr. MacMurdie shared with us about Hyun Jin Nim, and the mental toughness I could inherit. I could share about how my understanding of Core Values and Leadership became deeper through both self-reflection and the experience of taking responsibility for the group. How I could recognize and work on my weak points as a leader, using the strengths I already have. Or the incredible teamwork that we experienced on that mountain, how we could really bond together as brothers and sisters, as family, through the challenges and shared victories. Even the awesome power of nature and it's simple hone sty as we endured incredible hail and lightning storms 100 feet below the summit of a mountain and as we developed a relationship of trust with Hyun Jin Nim's horses at the ranch. But each one of those topics is a testimony in itself, there's just so many paths I can take! What I'd like to share about in this testimony isn't one of the particular experiences, but a realization and understanding I had about myself and my own life of faith. On our expedition we reached the top of the world twice: the first summit was wild with storm clouds swirling around over nearby peaks; the second ascent was accompanied by wispy white clouds and blue sky stretching across the horizon. The view was incredible! When you're on top of a mountain, it's impossible not to Dream Big. As I prayed and reflected, looking out and down to the rest of humanity, I thanked God for the blessings He'd given me. On impulse to comfort God, I pledged again that we as second generation would rise up and take responsibility for this world. That we can build Cheon Il Guk!
At first as I digested what I'd said, I repented for making a promise I wasn't confident I could keep: How can I help save the world when I struggle so much to even save myself? I falter constantly in my mission - I can't break through in fundraising - I'm still loaded with baggage and fallen nature!
And then God revealed to me a simple truth: Climbing this mountain with all the challenges, both failures and victories is just like my life of faith. Looking back at the course we had walked I could see each step in the process of tackling the mountain. Where we stopped to purify water, the hillside where we had lunch, the really difficult and challenging part near the cliffs with rocks falling out underneath our feet. Each step got us closer and closer to the end goal - the summit. Sometimes it was more difficult, other times we went the wrong way and had to turn back. But with every mistake, we just learned from it and kept on going; because not reaching the goal was out of the question. There wasn't a doubt in my mind about that, I had absolute confidence that we would make it.
My life of faith is exactly the same except for one thing. I have this crazy difficult goal to attain, self-perfection, mind/body unity, cultivate a character of true love, resemble God! But I have to have that absolute conviction that I can achieve it and then make the appropriate steps to get there. I can't physically jump or fly to the top of the mountain. I can't be spiritually perfect right away and meet God without having laid that foundation first. Growth is a process, not an experience.
So I need to prepare well, and really clearly reflect on my life of faith. My weak points that need improvement and the strengths I have that can help. Plot the course I'll take, those action steps, onto the map of my life of faith. My goal: the summit. How? With absolute confidence I'll reach it. Just like we did it in Montana - with my team, my True Family of brothers and sisters climbing those last few steps together, as one - to inspire God and True Parents, waiting to welcome us home.