The Words of the Lee Family

Middle School Winter Workshop 2005

Takako Lee
January 22, 2006

At one oíclock in the afternoon on the glorious day of December 27, 2005, the Maryland CARP center was quickly filling up with middle schoolers and their parents. The families continued to flow through the doors, keeping the STF members at the registration table very busy. Kids from all over the DC metro area were excited as they were entering their very first Middle School Winter Workshop. Thirty-three kids signed up and they were split into six different groups. (3 sister groups and 3 brother groups)

There is an amazing Youth Ministry established here in the Maryland and Virginia area. Lots of activities and gatherings are always going on. Usually these activities are geared towards high schoolers because they are so abundant. They were always hoping and desiring to hold a Middle School Workshop so STF was asked to help organize a Middle School Workshop for the kids and the wheels started turning.

Initial idea of the workshop began in late November and things really started moving in the middle of December. The second year STFers were in the middle of a ten-day fundraising condition before Christmas. Under the supervision of Nobuki Ishibashi and Nadya Diatchkovskaia this period of ten days was a condition of internal and external investment to prepare spiritual foundation for the upcoming workshop. One out of the three fundraising teams fundraised for half the day and spent the other half strictly planning all the logistics and goals for what we wanted the kids to learn and gain through this workshop. Which came down to our theme: "We are all Godís Family." And the other two teams made effort to dedicate at least one hour of each day to prepare as well.

With this theme we wanted to convey the importance of family and that God is our parent and we are His children and that there is so much to learn about relationships within the family. "The family is the school of love." The goal was to help them understand how much God loves each and every one of them, and how they can return love back to God. The lectures consisted of: Godís Dream given by Morrow Willis (understanding Godís desire for us to be a family), first realm of heart: Childrenís Love given by Julia Pickard (parent-child relationship), second realm of heart: Brother/Sister Love by Coree Johnston (relationship between siblings), Prayer by Nathaniel Mull (relationship with God), Service Project given by Catherine Dufour (relationship with the community and environment). After each lecture was group discussion and an activity was prepared to solidify the content just given.

Aside from the lectures we also did a variety of activities. The first day the kids enjoyed getting to know each other by playing a couple icebreaker games. And we ended the first evening with the movie, "Cheaper by the Dozen" while eating lots and lots of popcorn. After learning about Godís Ideal World, each of the six teams was given a puzzle piece and was given the mission to create a country they would see fit in the ideal world. At the end of the activity we put all the pieces together and created a beautiful masterpiece of Godís Ideal World. After learning about childrenís love, all the participants wrote a letter to their parents expressing their gratitude and love or just a simple hello and update from the workshop. Two STF members, Dan and Soki, performed a hilarious skit about Brotherly Love taken from a Korean folktale. Nateís lecture on prayer was followed by an activity called, "Hear Godís Voice" where each member of the team was blindfolded and had to hear their designated "Godís" voice in order to overcome obstacles such as piles of cushions and passing soccer balls. The second day was concluded with an amazing and exciting Yute Tournament where the kids poured their whole hearts into. The spirit was so amazing. Many lost their voices, but continued to scream, clap and jump around for the victory of their team.

The third day we had planned to do a service project at the Compassion Center. However, due to weather conditions it was cancelled. So instead we did lots of team building activities!

The conclusion of the workshop was very beautiful. Through the short period of three days, many friendships were made, both between group leaders and participants and the participants with each other! Each child was given a pen with a personal message written by the group leader and a group picture of the entire workshop. After the passing out of the farewell presents we ended the workshop with three cheers of mansei and enjoyed the well-prepared delicious Korean dinner!! The kids left the workshop anxious for the next one. Many of them wrote in their reflections how they were able to understand Godís love, as a parent is unconditional and to develop a relationship with God through prayer is not that difficult. And many made determination to improve their relationships in their homes towards their parents and siblings and also with God in their everyday lives.

Although three days is such a short period of time to get to know everyone and also convey lots of guidance, everyone bonded so easily and quickly and absorbed the guidance and had lively group discussions. When you invest all your heart and pour out all your love in people and the things that you do everyday, God can work and miracles can happen.

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