Articles From the February 1994 Unification News
My Experience with CARP West Coast
by Natalia Santiago 20 years old
I joined CARP six months ago. The reason why I joined was that I wanted to experience something different. I wanted to see another side of the Unification movement. At that time, I was going through some emotional stress and confusion about my life. Nancy Makowski had told me about CARP on the West Coast. She told me to try it out for six months and offer this time to Heavenly Father.
When I arrived at Maacama Hill, I didn't know what to expect. So far the place seemed like paradise. The mountains and valleys were just beautiful, as if taken out of a nature magazine. The weather was perfect, bright sunshiny day.
The first thing I was asked to do during breakfast time was to offer a song in Spanish. It felt good to be able to share with brothers and sisters in this way. Little did I know that this was the Maacama Hill tradition.
As the days passed by, I observed brothers' and sisters' actions and expressions. I asked myself: Where do they find the energy? How can it be possible that there could be such people, ready to sacrifice for others in spite of their own problems. I told myself: "I want to be like them!"
As I went through workshops, I became closer and closer to the people of Maacama. I enjoyed the activities and entertainment that are held every day. My favorite day is Friday, which they call Day of Heart. Every Friday is a Day of Heart. It gives guests the chance to practice unconditional love. By giving gifts as simple as poems, cards or candies. It is so wonderful to see over 30 different nations represented by different guests. Ranging from the ages of 19 to 27. Sharing together as brothers and sisters. As evening comes, we make skits, played by each group. Each skit has a lesson to be learned about True Love.
I never thought that so many cultures could get along as brothers and sisters. I have heard Father say it, but to live it, it is truly amazing!
Time had come for me to move on to 40-days workshop. I really struggled on this one. On the day of my graduation from 21-days workshop, I had received a letter from the college I applied to, saying that I had to register in two days. Thank God for mother figures because that day I was a total wreck. I had to decide between God and school. At the moment, it seemed such a big thing for me. Through my mother figure I could realize that God wanted me to go forward and go on to 40-days.
During 40-day I found out what fallen nature was all about. The best thing that has happened to me was to learn how to relate to brothers and sisters - love. I've been raised as an only child and now Heavenly Father was giving me the opportunity to have brothers and sisters. I'll never forget 40-days actionizing! There I had a taste of a little bit of everything: fundraising, witnessing, fishing, sports - and who can forget Project Volunteer!
Continued on to A.F.T.
Actionizing Fundraising Team. This was my first real fundraising experience. Living in a van for 21 days, traveling around, meeting different people, was another amazing experience. Yet to struggle was inevitable. My fight against Satan was so strong on the individual level that I got sick. But I managed to make some effort and continued on forward.
I returned to Maacama Hill after 21 days of fundraising condition. A new mission was given tome. A precious one: to take care of second- generation kids. I was determined to do my best. Not only taking responsibility for the kids, but also for the whole, my surroundings, brothers and sisters. Being the youngest around brothers and sisters was not an easy fact for me. And so, I wanted to be like them and create a deep relationship with Heavenly Father. I made conditions and built a longing heart for True Parents. Every day, going to morning service, sacrificing myself, serving others, practicing unconditional love with brothers and sisters, learning from them, having repentful prayers and confessions - all this created a new me. Little by little. Every day I made a new goal. I was determined to get closer and closer to Heavenly Father. I clung to Heung Jin Nim by reading "Victory of Love." I started to have dreams and visions about True Parents and every day I learned more.
Taking care of the kids developed a motherly heart in me. I stopped thinking about myself when I was with them and poured out my love to them. I began to think of the kids as if they were my own. I could say that every time I saw them, I saw God.
During the month of December, I had the opportunity of attending Kook Jin Nim's and Jin Sung Nim's speech of "True Parents and the Completed Testament Age."
At West Garden, waiting for Kook Jin Nim, we prepared our hearts by rejoicing in songs. When he arrived, we welcomed him with a bow and applause. He spoke about True Love so deeply, and as he expressed himself with a deep heart, I felt closer than ever to the True Family.
On Jin Sung Nim's visit to West Garden, I learned even more. He spoke about the heart of True Children and their experiences growing up. But what struck me the most was when he spoke about Heung Jin Nim and True Parents' heart. My heart was so moved that I can never forget that precious moment.
So many things were happening during this month that I had asked my mother to visit. It gave me a chance to express gratitude and love towards her by seeing her as a representative of God. She had a wonderful time. She was so grateful to everybody for helping me change. She said I was a new Natalie.
On God's Day CARP held a four-day workshop under the leadership of Mr. Oaki. 120 CARP members joined in celebration. For evening program, different groups, including second generation, showed their talents by acting, singing and dancing.
As we celebrated God's Day and Day of Victory of Love, we received lectures from some of the best lecturers: Neville LaBrooy, Alan Feldsott, Matta Kingi, Christine Frohlic and more. Also, during these four days we held a Yute tournament sponsored by Kevin Thompson. The witnessing team came in first place.
This workshop was truly a reviving experience!
In conclusion, I am grateful to God and True Parents for being part of my life. Grateful to Mr. Oaki and Neville LaBrooy for their fatherly hearts and for the support of brothers and sisters of CARP. For I have learned so much from them, I could be a different person. For knowing the truth is responsibility. And I never forget Father's words: "You must go one way. True Love way!"
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