The Words of the Bessell Family
1st 21-Day Special Training Course for the Second Generation - "Weíll become worthy of possessing the Glory of Victors"
Chung Hee Bessell
I was leading a witnessing team, in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, as part of my second year in STF-Europe training when I was asked to support the Second Generation in the Dominican Republic during their summer activities. Even before knowing exactly what this project would look like the idea already sounded very interesting to me and I was decided to help if I could.
Soon after concluding Witnessing in Slovakia and having attended several CARP activities in Korea, I traveled to Germany in order to meet with Matthias Wiesner, National Messiah to the Dominican Republic, who is to credit for the conception of this project. We met for several Days in which we finalized the program for this 21-Day Program.
The project Motto "Weíll become worthy of possessing the Glory of Victors" was taken from the former pledge of the Unification Movement, "My Pledge". Becoming a victor means for someone to, aside from knowing the way, actually do what is right and be an example to others. In other words this should be a support for all the BCís to find their way toward becoming aware of their role as second Generation and succeed in taking ownership for themselves and their nation.
Throughout the first six days, "Understanding the Second Generation" was the main focus of all the activities. The identity of us as second Generation is rooted in God, True Parents and the first Generation. Therefore truly being a Blessed child requires inheriting the foundation of True Parents and our own parents of the first Generation. All participants took an active part in the program, discussing in groups about this basic issue and thereby coming to the realization that a basic reason for the many struggles between first and second Generation has been a lack of understanding. "ÖItís just that we as children often donít really know exactly what our Parents have done in their lives and why. I never understood that all this was also in order to benefit me", said one participant. While on the other side, "I really want to understand my parents, but I just donít know really what to think about God and True Parents". Clearly, a in depth understanding and feeling of connection to God and True Parents as well as an affinity for prayer and other spiritual things doesnít just naturally come to the Second Generation either, something that many parents didnít ever consider seriously enough.
Having an older second Generation raise some of these issues was clearly very helpful to many of the participants, whom before had only regarded them as "parents talk"
Testimonies were essential to create a deeper mutual understanding. Therefore, nearly every evening, another parent or elder member shared about his\her experience in meeting God or raising up their families according to True Parents guidance. This was both insightful and also interesting to the participants who listened very attentively. Several sessions were attended by both first and Second Generation. Amongst others were talks on"Resolving familial Resentment" and, "The seven year course for the second Generation". On another occasion a Question and Answer session was held, dealing with many questions about the Blessing, the Fall, redemption and forgiveness. There was also a presentation of the STF program on a global level, encouraging everyone to take part in frontline mission to inherit the foundation of the True Parents and the first Generation in a substantial way, walking at least symbolically a part of their course. Starting every day at 5 AM with HDH and going through the daily program of presentations, group discussions, sports and testimonies, closing the day at 10PM, truly made this a real training course pushing everyone to reach their limitations.
The second part of the program was all about practice, practicing all the learned lessons about ourselves, in daily life. For this purpose all the participants and staff first traveled to Palmar de Ocoa, a fishing village located on the coast east of Santo Domingo, the capital city. `Traveling in a minivan (locally dubbed "gua gua") and in the back of a pick-up truck, we could fully enjoy the richness of the Dominican Republicsí diversity in landscapes. From rich mango plantations in all different shades of green we went through a sheer desert with cactuses, finally arriving at the beautiful beach of Palmar de Ocoa with Palm trees and a just as incredible heat. Through combining both, fun and education we came to know about the national efforts in Ocean Providence first hand. Swimming in the Ocean and going on a boat ride whilst fishing proved a nice change from the many presentations of the first week. Hearing more about the already ongoing ocean mission here at hand also encouraged the BCís to think about participating in this sort of activity later on in their lives.
In preparation of future Witnessing activities for the Second Generation we then traveled to Santiago, in the north of the capital city, to start lecture practice on the Divine Principle. Santiago had already been a key city in witnessing for the Dominicanos. Many of the core members call Santiago or itís surrounding cities their home and we wanted to capture this spirit. Santiago also otherwise proved a good location, as we were allowed to use the installations of a language school being operated by local members, amongst them the first couple in the Dominican Republic , Mr. and Mrs. De Jesus Barraza, who also shared their testimonies. At first lectures were given without the aid of a blackboard, like lecturing on the street in groups to each other. Later on we used also blackboards to improve the presentations. Usually an example lecture was given, followed by individual or group study of the principle. Lectures were split in smaller fractions to allow more people to give their lecture to the group later on and be evaluated on: content, presentation, spiritual power, etc. Despite the fact that near to none of the participants had ever given a lecture, there were many very talented lecturers amongst them and it was also very inspiring to see that so many really enjoyed sharing their knowledge of the Principle. Even after leaving Santiago we continued in lecture practice for a few days in Santo Domingo. There was even a lecture contest at which also members of the first generation, experienced in lecturing, evaluated the contestants. Lecture practice proved a great success as could be noticed in the participantsí comments: "Well, I never believed that I could learn to lecture the Divine Principle because I never came to understand it well until I started to explain it. When I gave my first lecture I didnít understand what I was talking about. But afterwards I got better. I even won first price as best lecturer."
In True Parents guidance for character education and connecting to God, fundraising has always been emphasized as one of the most important practices. therefore we also wanted to include it in this program. Prior to starting this project, the participants had already been fundraising for about two weeks to make this an independent training course. However, the key issue was to make fundraising an internal experience, being able to experience God and spirit World first hand. So, after hearing some in depth guidance on fundraising, explaining about the meaning and heart of offering as well as connecting people to the providence and growing through serving others, everyone went fundraising in pairs around different areas of Santo Domingo. Afterwards we spent some time sharing about our experiences in fundraising, which were of course mixed, and occasionally not easy, but overall very enlightening. "I learned to treat others and myself much better. I learned to face obstacles in my life, something I never wanted to do out of fear to face problems. I learned that anything is possible if you have the will to do it, because believing in yourself can open the door to do even the most unlikely things." ,said one BC thereafter.
The third part of this training course was about challenge and, in the last phase, also reflection. All throughout our time together, this was the one thing everyone seemed to have been most excited about. As challenge we started out from Santo Domingo towards the "Pico Duarte". The Pico Duarte is the highest peak in the Dominican Republic at a height of 3175m. It had in fact already once been climbed by some members of the second and first Generation together, however, on that occasion not everyone had made it to the top. Therefore our ultimate team challenge this time was to bring everyone up there together. And a challenge it was. Not just that it can be really difficult to keep a team united under physical strain, but also considering that this excursion would take a 3-Day round-trip to complete it, let everyone reach his\her zero point in some sense at some point throughout this endeavor. We started climbing from a height of a bit over 1000m. Along the way we stopped at designated resting places and also spent two nights on the mountain. Along the way we werenít spared from first quite rigorous heat and later on even quite some drenching rain. The higher we got, the less fruit trees could be seen and the colder it got, but everyone persevered and finally, group by group everyone made it up to the peak. Itís hard to describe the feeling at reaching the top, but anyone who has ever climbed a mountain knows that thatís the moment when you know that it was all worth it. The youngest one to reach the top was barely 12 years old and it was truly a magnificent sight to see everyoneís satisfied, shiny faces at having completed what we set out to do.
After returning once more to Santo Domingo, it was now time to reflect upon our time together and realize all the things learned throughout this time. Of course there should also be a proper conclusion to this project and therefore every team set out to prepare some way of saying thank you to each other and to all the people who had made this possible. On the next day a concluding banquet, graduation ceremony and entertainment evening was held, with words of appreciation to the second Generation by the National Leader Rev. Caesar Regalado, National Messiah Rev. Matthias Wiesner and myself as Project Coordinator. Many of the participants also shared their experiences throughout the summer:
"My best experience was that this seminar opened my eyes to see that there were many things that I was doing wrong. Even though I had known before that I was doing wrong, I never had anything that made me reflect upon it. I always liked to think about myself and do things on my own. Iím usually quite closed and donít like to express myself towards others. The best thing was that I could come to know the value that one Ėself has. - Hanika de Jesus Barraza
"I had my best experience during our trip to Pico Duarte. During the Training Course I had many struggles and fights with one particular BC. This caused me to think many bad things about him. The, however, he got lost in the mountain on the second day. I didnít know what to think. All I could do was pray and cry, worrying about him. This way I discovered how much I actually care about this person, and itís a lesson to all of us who think that we can do everything on our own." - Franciska Gomez Yamaguchi
"Iíve learned to not only think about myself, but about the others first, and I also learned to lecture." - Soon Hwa Wiesner
"What I realized is that I have to be a better person, because I noticed that I was acting very wrong towards the other. I feel different now, I feel like Iím a new person. I think that coming to this project was really worth the time." - Rosaluz de Jesus Barraza
"During this time Iíve learned to be more patient and helpful to others. Iíve learned to look for the positive side in things that I usually donít like and accept them the way they are. Iíve also learned to not just criticize others, but put my own things in order first." - Esperanza Gomez Yamaguchi
In conclusion I believe that this Training Course has been a success and also a breakthrough experience for the Second Generation in the Caribbean and also Central America. We would like to thank God and True Parents for making it possible for everyone to have been here and to make all this happen. I would also like to thank all the Parents who supported this project so ardently with all their efforts and heart, especially Rev Pasquale Lai, who was with us all along the way. Special thanks also go to all of the Participants and especially the 5 HARP leaders, who held greater responsibility in the project as team leaders, MC and in organizing our fundraising activities.
This will surely not have been the last project of its kind and weíre looking forward to see it grow also beyond national boundaries, raising it up t truly make a change in the years to come.
"We all will be worthy of possessing the Glory of Victors"
Chung Hee U. Bessell
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