Unification News for July 2004

Texas Regionís Summer Camp

by Shinchun Lee

As members of this church, as 2nd generation (blessed and Jacobís children), the most challenging first step in our lives of faith has been to just understand our identity and our purpose. The fact that many of us never knew or understood ourselves has been a major reason that we wander away from the right path. We did not know the suffering of our True Parents nor the 1st generation who paved the way before us and for us. Many times, the task of finding out who we are has been so great that we forget the even greater mission in our lives that God is preparing for us.

With that in mind, the directors of this summer camp -- June 7 - 13, 2004, Dallas, Texas -- chose the theme "Iím a Builder of the Peace Kingdom." We gathered from all over the region and came together in North Texas at the Hidden Cove Park from June 7 to the 13t. Our main lecturer Rev. Kille spoke on important points concerning original value, freedom and the Fall, the parallels of history. He clearly addressed the many challenges in a life of faith and gave his own testimonies of fighting against feelings of lack of love, temptation, and of course his experiences in Cain and Abel relationships. He approached each lecture with the heart to testify to the greatness of God and True Parents while finding ways to connect and relate it to the young participants of the camp.

After each lecture, the teams were given a discussion time to share their feelings and inspirations they received. Many times members had questions about the lecture and this was a good opportunity to clarify any puzzling thoughts. Also, it was a chance for participants to get know their team members better and come closer together. The teams were led by the 2nd generation, but had a parent-assistant that was present to help care for the team and initiate discussions. The directors wanted to help create a bond between the 1st generation and the members, but also knew that these parents had great experiential knowledge and an understanding of the lectures.

During the camp, we received lectures and testimonies about Unification tradition and also the history of our church from the early years in Korea to the beginnings of the American movement and the Mobile Fundraising Teams. It was imperative that we learn the way of the early members and True Parents not because they wanted to be honored or glorified, but so that the 2nd generation could understand how precious our lives are and how much was sacrificed and prepared for us.

Through out the camp, we had many opportunities to practice team work and living for each other. For a few days, there was strong thundering and rain that prevented us from having activities on the lake. Instead, there was a junk-art competition between each team and everyone worked together to bring out their best skills. After, some participants were encouraged by the rain and challenged themselves to continue sports outside with either a boxing competition or Ďmatsunage.í

Team spirit was strengthened by a pedal-boat relay race across the lake. Each team was separated into two groups and place on opposite sides of the lake and cheered their members on and encouraged them to not give up. Though the rain had stopped, the wind and waves were strong and made pedaling quite a challenge. Some boats filled with water and began to sink, but team members were able to work together and found a way to finish the race. Those who have paddled know that itís very tiring and one must be able to push their minds to push their bodies to continue paddling the boat even though there seems to be no strength left. Members had to think of their teams before themselves and did not give up. After the race was over, we ended the activity time with an exciting ride on the jet skis.

Each night there was a special video presentation that concentrated on True Parentsí and True Familyís lives. Some of the most moving parts of the video came from a scene when True Father returned to His home in North Korea. Father Himself spoke in the video and shared His heart of longing to see His family. Participants couldnít helped be reminded of how much True Parents have been working for the sake of all people at the sacrifice of Their own family and were moved to tears.

Our camp was also blessed to receive 2nd generation director InSoo Kim and the Washington D.C. youth minister David Stein. Director Kim spoke on the topic of ĎOwning Core Valuesí and David Stein shared the main points of junior STF, both of which many of us knew nothing about. Before giving their presentations, however, they involved the participants in a song and also gave a testimony.

The focal point of the summer camp was probably the Fatherís Course activity that was held from about 10 P.M. to 3 in the morning on June 11. The directors of the camp, including the leaders from the 2nd generation department, organized an activity for team members to come closer in heart to True Parents by going through a physically challenging experience. Though one can never completely understand the anguish and trials of True Father and Mother, it was an opportunity to at least try and connect heartistically with them.

There were four posts spread across the park and members were blind folded and led by their team leaders to each station; upon arriving, the members were allowed to remove their blind folds. They then were asked to do 40 Kyungbaes in unison, as a team. They had to carry each other on their backs along the bank of the lake (as Father did coming from North Korea) and then washed each otherís feet. They had to push their physical limitations. Though it was very difficult, the participants found it to be the best experience of camp. The feeling of overcoming the challenges for something higher than themselves and working as a team was brighter in their hearts than the trial itself.

This summer camp was very significant because it was our first that brought the whole region from all over Texas as well as Arkansas and Oklahoma in 8 years. Also, it was the first time that the 1st and 2nd generation united and worked together in the organization of a project. The 2nd generation were able to take more of a leadership role with the strong support of the 1st generationís experience and wisdom. Though we feel it was a success, there is always room for improvement and we are eager see how we can make next camp greater.

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