Unification News for July 1996
Vitalizing Vision and Challenging Courses
What do "widow maker," "visions of Jesus," "cowboy breakfasts," "dreams of True Parents," and "Green Mountain" have in common? They're all exciting parts of the second class of the World CARP Academy (WCA) held in Boulder, Colorado this summer.
On June 3rd, 77 students from more than a dozen countries began studies that launched the second class of the WCA. It wasn't just ho- hum mental exertion at a desk in a four-sided room. Far from it. The first four weeks of "classes" included white water rafting, mountain hikes, rock climbing, horseback riding, camping, cookouts, mountain biking, visits to the recreation center, and of course the "usual" sports activities such as soccer, volleyball and ping-pong.
The extra-curricular program was so unusual that even though I'm the so-called Academic Dean, I kept questioning myself, thinking, "This isn't like the 120-day workshop I went through in the mid `70's. Maybe there are too many activities outside the classroom." But team leaders, themselves in the mid-twenties, were quick to assure me that there were enough regular classes.
And when I thought about it, I remembered that this is the very reason why Jin Hun Nim insisted that the Academy be set up in Boulder. "Young people like adventure," he said. "As a supplement to the stimulating lectures, fill the curriculum with lots of exciting activities." So we did.
After three days studying True Father's life, followed by five days of Divine Principle from an interfaith perspective, students were treated to a host of presenters. Each had more than two decades of experience in the Unification movement and shared insights of the Principle in their specific area of study.
More importantly, since many of the students had never seen True Parents, presenters told stories of personal experiences with True Parents. One student from Eastern Europe said, "it was a great honor for me to meet people, who have been working with the movement for such a long time and have achieved much; its been precious to listen to the testimonies [of being] with True Parents."
Guest presenters included Dr. Anthony Guerra, who talked about the Role of Religion in the Formation of the Western Family. Fidelity, filial piety and an exegesis of the Family Pledge were offered by Dr. Andrew Wilson. Then Dr. James Baughman gave three excellent days of Principle Life Guidance. The student body was divided in half as Ms. Sandra Lowen and Ms. Betsy Jones gave presentations on Love and Marriage, and Marriage and Parenting Skills, respectively. After Mr. Richard Panzer's course dealing with various aspects of the sexual revolution, students were brought down to earth, or more correctly" down to water, as Mr. David Rogers, General Manager of International Seafoods of Alaska, explained about Father's vision for the ocean. Several students wanted to immediately sign up for an internship in Alaska following his presentations! Finally, the heart and mind of Unification Thought was beautifully conveyed in computer-projected images and original song, by Mr. Jerry Servito.
In addition to the excellent education in the traditional format, there was plenty of education going on outside the dust-filled classrooms.
"Widow maker" doesn't refer to the grueling academic schedule"as some may wish. It's the name of one of the seven rapids on the Arkansas River (in Colorado) where we went white-water rafting. With snow melt at its peak, the water was wet, wild and very cold. More than drowning, hypothermia could take one's life in minutes. After we had successfully passed through the most dangerous rapid, our raft guide told us its name, the "widow maker." Then in an article in the Denver Post, which I read after we returned, it said that on average 10 people a year lose their lives rafting on rivers in Colorado. Thank God, no one in the Academy became a statistic, although we did have two overboard.
The more timid had an option to go horseback riding. The most exciting part of this adventure was the breath-taking Rocky Mountain scenery and a real, old-fashion cowboy breakfast. After more than an hour on the trail, riders dismounted and gathered around the chuck wagon. The challenging part here was to catch flapjacks flipped high in the air before they became squirrel food.
On another occasion, around the middle of the first 4-week session, it became obvious that we had to have a break. I canceled class for the afternoon. We took our cue from Father, who said one of the best ways to renew our spirits was to be in nature. For the first time we went to Holy Ground which is just behind the CARP center, at the foothills of the Boulder Flatirons. Students were invited to hike the trail to the summit of the northern face of these majestic red granite mountains. About twenty in the class made it to the top. The exhilaration of accomplishment, matched by the spectacular view of the Front Range Mountains was spiritually therapeutic.
On another occasion 70 people consisting of students, staff and faculty, got up at 3:00 a.m. and drove to the trailhead of Green Mountain. On a moonless night with only 12 throw-away flashlights, we stumbled on rocky switchbacks more than an hour to the summit. We had planned to have a sunrise service, but upon reaching the peak found ourselves encased in clouds. Visibility was about 200 yards. Expectations changed to silent meditation.
A half hour later Larry Krishnek lead us in "Um Maya." Than, as if a reenactment of the Yankee Stadium "You Are My Sunshine" episode, the morning sun suddenly appeared. A pastel orange-red sun peeked in and out of the clouds. The sunlight brightened and faded like a dimmer switch on stage lights. In concert with the crescendo of light and color, student's hummed and hawed. Everyone was smiling. Within ten minutes, pitch black rain clouds and strong winds ended the sound and light show. Yet, it remains an unforgettable epiphany for the seventy.
Over the next few days, Allen McCann the leader of the Boulder center, took a few students rock climbing, hiking in the Rockies, and overnight camping. Also put to good use during June classes, were mountain bikes, a lusciously green soccer and baseball field neighboring the Academy building, and a well-worn volleyball court on campus.
Unknown until students wrote reflections on the last day were the fundamental changes taking place in these young lives. Students had visions of Jesus and dreams of True Parents. One Chinese student contacted only a few months ago from the University of Illinois at Chicago had dreams about the blessing. Each was touched in a special way with God's presence. Hearts were opened. New beginnings made.
Wrote one Filipino brother, "I learned about myself, that I'm still a sinner and very far from the standard of True Parents. And I learned and understood more of God's Heart. I know this WCA had the capacity to change everybody's life, if we do our portion of responsibility."
One guest from Los Angeles, who had been robbed at gun point on several occasions by inner-city gangs, made some very dramatic changes in his ability to trust others and himself. In excerpts from his reflections he mentioned that:
This Academy made me realize that I can get along with people and it has given me confidence" I realized that no matter if I have enemies in this life, I should love them regardless of their flaws or my flaws" Divine Principle is a useful tool to comprehend and try to become a benevolent person, not to remain cold and angry at people. I learned that all my life I've been isolated from everyone else, [but] I have to get along with people. I learned that God loves us how we are, however, God expects us to change for the better and I am trying to accomplish it. There are not words that I can use to express myself, only that the Principle and these lectures are giving me the strength to continue.
"I learned that D.P. has influenced my life so much, even more than I knew," explained one daughter of an elder Japanese blessed couple. She continued by saying, "When I learned about the interfaith perspective on the D.P., I was so happy because I knew that we were multi- religious not just Christian based."
New students in one form or another mentioned that they began to see the importance of living for others. Older students were reminded of the essence of this lifestyle. It is basically connected to the purpose of life and the foundation for a successful married life. When the organizers heard these testimonies, they realized all the financial investment, mental worries, emotional uncertainties and other problems encountered in setting up and administering this program were worth it. One student, who weeks before fell into the icy Arkansas river, said upon reflection; "I have learned about myself, not to care only about myself, but about others as well. I discovered within my heart that love exists and that it can be delivered to anyone."
The WCA education was meant to be more practical, not too heavily theoretical. It was. According to one sister from Spanish-Native American ancestry, "Morning services [given by John Williams] were like the gateways to personal growth and a sense of direction [in life]."
Where do we go from here? Students began three weeks of team fund- raising on July 1st and will return to Boulder in the third week of July to start the second 4-weeks of classes. Guest presenters will include Dr. Tyler Hendricks speaking on True Family Values, Rev. Ken Sudo will give special explanation on the Completed Testament Age Providence, and Dr. Kathy Winings' classes will cover three areas: homiletics, teaching Divine Principle, and Campus Ministry. There will be healing sessions by Beatriz Steeghs and Patricia Detlefsen. Leadership training skills will be a major focus for this second set of classes, which include: project planning presented by John Redmond, spiritual self-care by Christine Froelich, and spiritual parenting by Sheri Rueter. Concluding the classes Mike Balcomb and Mata Kingi will discuss skills and policies in leading a CARP center.
Finally, we are expecting Jin Hun Nim, whose vision and will power created this Academy, to give the commencement address at the graduation on August 17th.
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