Unification News for September 1996
A Summer at "One Heart Camp"
by Victoria Wilding-Vancouver, Canada
As the van drove across the dusty, pebbly road I could see people talking, hear children running, laughing, feel a carefree atmosphere. The van came to a stop. The bold, white sign read "One Heart Camp-Han Ma-um." This was new territory. We had driven three days from Vancouver, Canada and had finally arrived in Aetna Springs for the week-long summer camp, Aug. 18"24..
There were seven of us. Two friends, my father (driving), my younger brother, two younger sisters and myself. Everybody was stuck to the van like a magnet. However, I immediately recognized familiar faces and started to interact. That evening, we had our first evening service. During singing, voices sang to the ringing of guitar strings inside the large log cabin called the Social Hall. It felt like camp.
After our evening meeting, we were dismissed to a chaotic game of Capture the Flag. I felt helpless. Then somehow we regathered and were introduced to our groups. I was leader of G-3, with Hyo Sook Allen my assistant. Our members were Joleigh Davis, Jinae Linek, Josie Wells, Deanne Gowey, Youn-Soo Pine, Caroline Chen and S. H., all just out of 6th grade. It was my first group meeting. I was somewhat overwhelmed. But I managed to get my excited girls through self- introductions and closing prayer. At staff meeting I was one of only a few second generation, but never did I once have any feelings of backing off. I knew my responsibility and was determined to fulfill it.
The next morning, many people were late for morning exercise. Little or no punishment was given. Exercises were O.K. but after having attended the 70-day workshop in New York last summer, the standard seemed more than low. Morning service, given by Auntie Poppy Richie, was a beautiful story told from God's point of view about Aetna Springs. However, there was a general lack of spirit which was reflected in the singing. This carried on throughout the day and was to be seen in the doodling and talking during lectures, the lack of interest during discussion, and the "Yes! I'm free!" attitude during afternoon activities. Despite all the clamor around me, I carefully and with a desperate heart prepared for my evening testimony, which I was asked to give. My message was True Father's words "If you are determined, then God will work." I felt prepared and confident while giving my testimony and after it was over, could feel that giving my testimony was only a steeping tone for greater things in the near future. Perhaps with the respect I had gained by giving my testimony, I was able to conduct a productive group meeting, during which we came up with a skit topic. Our skit was a realistic situation in which a young Second Generation is confronted with dating. The young girl who is confronted, honestly explains about True Love and the Blessing. She is first teased but in the end gains the respect of her friend who has had a bad experience with dating. The title of our skit was "Let's be proud of and love our True Parents." The day ended well and the next one started better than the previous.
That morning, I was shocked by the amount of feedback I got about the lectures from my seemingly spaced out and unfocused group. But by the end of the day, during group meeting, it was really a struggle to keep the group on track to finish writing our skit script. We couldn't focus, we kept getting stuck on certain lines, people were wanting to do their own things. I felt extremely frustrated as I walked to staff meeting. After opening prayer, suddenly the silence was broken by the voice of Sangkyu Lee. He thought so far the workshop was horrible, parents were overprotective and the children were given too much freedom. The room was tense. I felt worried, because a line had been crossed. I felt confused-was this a good thing or a bad thing? I soon discovered it was good. The staff intensely poured out all of their feelings. We clarified our own standards and realized the children needed more discipline for their own good. We closed with representative, then unison, prayer. Everyone had tears in their eyes as one staff member cried out so desperately to Heavenly Father for forgiveness. That meeting marked a turning point in our workshop. I could not possibly go to sleep. I went outside and offered by deepest prayer ever. I shook with tears begging for forgiveness for not understanding Heavenly Father's Heart. I still felt so lacking but was determined to do my best as a representative of God and True Parents and take full responsibility to raise up my group members the most I could in the time I had left. The next day, the new positive spirit was first reflected in the success of "unity jumping-jacks."
The singing was stronger, more united. My father participated in our group lecture discussion, enriching it and making it more relevant. In arts and crafts, very principled discussions were held. But everyone dispersed for afternoon activities, and energy seemed shooting in all directions. An attempt to start an evening game of "Fruit Basket" failed. Everyone was dismissed. It was like a herd of wild cows had just burst through closed gates. My group was on the verge of being out of control. I took initiative. I was in charge. I took responsibility. "Hana, dul, set, net, shimjung tongil" (one, two, three, four, heart unity). A force pushed these words out of my stomach as our whole group ran around the campsite in two lines. "I can't run," "Everyone's staring at us," "We look so stupid"-these complaints came from my group, but I kept on leading, warning them to be quiet or we would keep on running. When we were finished I told them the importance of uniting with the central figure and we proceeded to have prayer meeting, then speech-giving preparation. As I watched them prepare their speeches seriously and in silence, I felt I had done the right thing by disciplining them. With this new attitude we managed to rearrange all the tables and seats for lectures the next day in ten minutes. However, the concept of uniting with the central figure still had not sunk in. A few of my members had taken off while we were still rearranging. So we all did "unity squats" and pushups together as punishment. This brought more unity and respect and the day ended with a successful skit practice. We shared our successes and experiences that day during staff meeting. Afterwards I stayed behind and talked to Hyun Jin Onni, a Second Generation from Germany. It was like Heavenly Father spoke to me through her. She told me about True Father and how his whole life is a true sacrifice to save this world. She told me the importance of the Heavenly tradition and standard. She told me how we are now living in a time when God's side and Satan's side are fighting an intense spiritual battle. We must win the victory for Heavenly Father's side. We both had tears on our cheeks. And that night I prayed again to Heavenly Father that although I myself was so lacking, he could forgive me and work through me. The next morning all the people in our room went to morning exercise ten minutes early and ran as punishment for going to sleep late. We were setting an example and I felt grateful to Heavenly Father.
That day I was asked to be the new leader of morning exercise. I knew the vital role morning exercise played in setting the spirit for the entire day and was more grateful to Heavenly Father. That evening we had speech practice. Everyone was to present their speeches in front of their groups. The results varied but on the whole they were very good. Everyone had been given the advice not to read their speech. I had eaten a quick dinner to prepare my speech at the Holy Ground. I had 30 minutes. I prayed and I feel it was thanks to Heavenly Father's help that I was able to write a whole speech on the Four Great Realms of Heart. When it was my turn to present, I knew I must leave what I wrote and speak from my heart. I did, and my speech was powerful and effective. I thanked Heavenly Father for speaking through me.
That night I let Hyo Sook Allen, my group assistant, go to staff meeting, and I took responsibility to put everyone to bed. By 10pm everyone was to have their areas clean and be ready for bed. Despite many reminders of the task at hand, all that was done was talking. At 10pm there was still talking. So everyone was sent by me out on the porch. We all did "unity squats"-forty, plus 21 more for the additional talking after 10pm. Suddenly we were all in a solemn mood. Everyone remained silent as I inspected each person's area. Lights went out when all was clean. Not forgetting to keep the standards I had set, I cleaned my area, then proceeded to Holy Ground. There I prayed, keeping in mind the importance of setting a heavenly, united atmosphere at morning exercises the next morning.
Morning came, I woke up early and prepared my heart to lead as a representative of God and True Parents. Morning exercise started. First I straightened the lines, then we warmed up for running. When we ran, we ran in unison shouting "Hana, dul, set, net, shimjung tongil!" We then started our 21 "unity jumping-jacks." After our first try, we did "unity squats." After our second try we did pushups. After our third try we ran. This was the limit. We had pushed all the way. But we had maintained our unity. I praised everyone for a great job. I could've praised them much more, but thanks to Heavenly Father, that was accomplished during morning service. I felt a happy atmosphere that morning. All the compliments I received I gave immediately to Heavenly Father. All the positive criticism I received I took seriously and used it to improve the next exercise.
That day we had a lecture on success. Then we had a test. Someone later commented how beautiful it was to see everyone humble themselves to the truth and take the test with such sincere hearts wanting to get the highest mark they could. In the afternoon, our group took two hours to practice our skit. We practiced it over and over, striving for perfection. Near the end of our dress rehearsals everyone was hot, tired and fed up, but somehow we pulled through. The evening program began. Most skits were good. They were educational, original and interesting. However, some didn't meet the criteria of having a sound moral. After three hours of entertainment, we all gathered around the Holy Ground to pray. We held hands and tears flowed as I thought how each of us gathered there was such an important tool for Heavenly Father to build His Kingdom on Earth. After praying, our group gathered for a short meeting. I praised my members for doing their best on the skit and told them from the bottom of my heart that I loved them so much. We had a group hug, then closed with prayer. At staff meeting the skits were immediately brought up. There seemed to be a conflict between the First Generation and Second Generation. Criticism was swallowed though, and tongues were held. We were able to unite and thus open a new door to a bright future of working together. It was our last staff meeting, but a good one. After meeting, I went to Holy Ground to pray. Coyotes were howling, it was dark and I was uncomfortable. But my personal comfort was something I knew I must sacrifice for the sake of the workshop. My feeling of lack was constant during my prayer, as was my begging for forgiveness. However, I prayed for the sake of the workshop that tomorrow's morning exercise could be in God's hands.
Sleeping only a couple of hours, I awoke with plenty of energy to lead exercises. I knew I must let the last exercises end on the highest note. I took caution in what I did and said. We first greeted Heavenly Father, True Parents and each other with a loud "Good morning!" In straight lines we then did warm-up exercises. We ran a short run, but re-ran it in total unity and organization. We then did ten "unity jumping-jacks." Heavenly Father crowned us with success on our third try. "Yay!" Everyone was happy, and I was ever so deeply grateful to Heavenly Father. Excitement was in the air. It was the last day of Camp One Heart. Excitement possessed many of us that morning, blowing away our focus. Testimonies given during the closing ceremonies heartistically pulled us back together, though. We all even felt the sting of sadness as we sang our last song, "I'll Never Leave You Anymore." But three cheers of "mansei" proclaimed nothing but determination and hope for the future.
Heavenly Father taught me so much during this workshop. He taught me through hard training always to want to go the path of suffering, always to unite with the central figure, to obey God's Heavenly Law and in this way only receive His blessing, and most of all to live for the sake of others always.
This time, people flocked to our van as we were about to leave. After showering people with hugs and good-byes, I jumped into the van and we started to pull out. The striking scene of Camp One Heart as we were leaving, appeared in front of my eyes for a few seconds. Then it disappeared; the memory did not. And certainly my gratitude for my experience there will last forever.
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