Unification News for May 2004

My Garner Experience

Chie Kim

For Spring Break we went to Garner State Park, the traditional Texas Mecca for Sun Hwa Academy. It's crystal clear river fed by underground springs, and its tall ancient cypress against a desert backdrop make it a place out of time, really from the Wild West. It truly was a memorable experience. I really enjoyed the trip to Garner, and so did everyone else. Being in the wilderness gave people energy and made everyone want to do something, whether tubing, swimming, or kayaking down the river, using the many rope swings along its cypress lined banks -- or doing sports, jogging, hiking, or just exploring the environment around us. Almost everyday we would go down about 3 miles of the Frio River, swimming, tubing, or kayaking. By night time we were worn out, but not too tired to enjoy the awe inspiring view of the stars. The Milky Way shone like a million diamonds stretched out the full breadth of the sky. Every night, we sat around the campfire, talking or just gazing into the flames or up at the stars silently. The stars were beautiful every night.

At the start of the day we would have morning service. We read Hoon Dok Hae and Aunt DJ would break it down into practical points that really made me think. It made me want to take initiative and get up off my butt and help the world. During those nine days at garner, I connected so deeply to the people with me. The wild west Texas skies, the giant cypress trees along the river, the starry nights and full days --it made me stop and chill, and really think about my life. Going down the river was so much fun. I never got tired of it. I have a few cuts and bruises from the rapids, but it was worth it. We also went down a ruptured dam that was scary at first, but after we got over the scariness and our initial fears had subsided, it was great. Although, I did flip over more than once.

Every night at Garner they had a real country western dance. We attended a couple of them. When we went, we really cut loose. We didn't care that we didn't know the dances. We just did anything that could pass off as dancing and really enjoyed ourselves. Nobody cared -- everyone was having fun. Some of us did like retro 60s dance moves, or pranced around like monkeys, others did the tango, waltzed, and some even performed the Macarena to country western music. All in all it was grand. I hope we can have a school trip down to Garner again soon. I could really feel Godís presence there.

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