Unification News for June 2004

Revitalize and Empower NY

by Tokufumi Joshua Noda

Centered on the theme "Revitalize & Empower," Harumi Kawamura and K. Miyake put together a powerful and successful retreat recently. Held at the Tri-State Christian Camps in Port Jervis, NY, the coordinators set out to complete their objective: to spiritually revitalize and empower the second generation of college age to inherit True Parents heart, and with the support of experienced staff members and outstanding speakers, they accomplished just that.The retreat lasted for four days, from Thursday, May 20 through Sunday, May 23. This time period was organized into three stages: resurrection, re-creation, and empowerment. Furthermore, each theme began in the evening and ran through the next day until the next theme would be uncovered again at night. The first period started Thursday evening and featured the electrifying energy of the MC, Lillie Kirkley. Activities and icebreakers culminated to the trust walk, a symbolic event in which blindfolded participants held fast to a rope that led them through an unseen maze of circles, only to find that their destination was the warmth of a bonfire. There, brothers and sisters shared deep testimonies, tears, and prayers as they determined to let go of burdens and resentments that would hold them back during this period of resurrection. The clock struck midnight, but the night was not over as groups competed against each other in challenges that ranged from finding your shoes in a field in complete darkness to digging holes in the ground with your bare hands. There was no prize, but the losing team graced us with a wonderful love song to the campsiteís one and only emu. The next day featured a journaling session led by Harumi Kawamura, followed by an extensive and serious prayer-walk run by the Christian camp-site. The prayer walk was a deep experience for many as everybody took the time to pray and reflect on certain aspects of their lives throughout the twelve stations situated on the trail. This day also featured the first appearance of the powerful worship team that even attracted participants from other retreats in different parts of the camp. The all-star line-up featured George Kazakos as the engine of the band, Laurel Sayre on vocals, Koichi Nakai on guitar, Joey Farrant on bass, and Jasun Feddema on drums. In the evening Dr. Ward shared a powerful testimony about his early days in the Church, and shortly after brothers and sisters enjoyed a time of fellowship during the Coffeehouse Night that featured live music, waiters, waitresses, and of course, cookies, cake, and coffee.

The second stage of the retreat entitled "re-creation" set the tone as that evening came to a close and the next morning began. In the morning, Joe Hyung gave a practical presentation on mind and body unity, filled with useful strategies on how to take care of your body centered on your spiritual well-being. Then in the afternoon, Higashino-san, Akiko Ikeno, and Gelo Fleisher all contributed to our understanding of Jacobís course, and how it applies to our turbulent lives of faith. That evening featured testimonies by Jin Man and Joni Choi, a second generation blessed couple who shared their experiences so that we could inherit their heart. That evening ended the period of re-creation and began the final stage: empowerment.

The next morning was filled with powerful testimonies and presentations by elder second generation beginning with Insoo Kimís deep and insightful presentation on how to lead a life of faith. The rest of the morning featured testimonies by Lillie Kirkley, Naokimi Ushiroda, and Hanako Ikeno, all who poured out their love so that we could inherit their words and grow from them. Right after lunch Jinman Kwak, an elder second generation brother, captivated and inspired us with the testimony of his life growing up in the church.

By the end of the retreat, brothers and sisters inherited the limitless value of each individual through their testimonies of faith, love, and heart. Tears were shed as we all realized the incredible spiritual power that electrified the air as many participants found their questions answered and their lives in the process of a breakthrough experience.

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