Unification News for February 2002

World CARP Convention 2002

by Michael Balcomb

Everyone who watched the World CARP Convention at the Olympic Weightlifting Stadium in Seoul, Korea on Friday, Feb. 15 -- and there were more than 4,000 who did -- came away deeply impressed. From start to finish, this was a first class event on a par with any in the Seoul Olympics for which the arena was built.

As spotlights and strobes split the air, the program began with a rousing parade of national flags 32 nations representing the more than 110 chapters of World CARP. MCs Yeunwoo Cho and Hyung Dok Kim, a senior at Yonsei University, welcomed the huge crowd and promised the most exciting convention ever.

The crowd watched first in silence then with growing cheers to several great new videos introducing World CARP and the Service for Peace ideal, videos worthy of MTV but about a hundred times as wholesome.

Service for Peace International Director Robert Kittel told the story of the meteoric rise of the service initiative in the past eight months, pointing out that both the United Nations and US President George Bush had recently emphasized service as the true path to peace. World CARP Executive Vice President Ken Bates regaled the assembled CARP members with a riveting account of all the great victories of 2001.

Then Hyun Jin Nim took the stage. He gave a really great speech calling on everyone to "dream the biggest dream possible, the dream of the true family of God." He explained that Breakthrough 2003 was a promise and a pledge to break through the confusion of the secular world and start a new culture of peace centered upon God.

"If I told you a year ago that we would be having rallies with 100,000 people and more," he said "you would probably have thought I was crazy! But now, donít you think it can be done?

"All young people love to dream," he said, " And the youngest person I know is True Father. This is the time to liberate God and True Parents and bring in the eternal Sabbath. Will you dream that dream together with me?"

During the short intermission, an excited buzz reverberated around the arena as hundreds of students spilled out on the dance floor, still speaking in five or six languages about Service for Peace. Tomorrow, more than 500 will leave for a three-day service program throughout Korea, healing and helping the disabled young, the lonely old and healing historical resentments in Paju and Nogunri.

Entertainment began with a Martial Arts of the World CARP classic "Eye of the Tiger" led by Takamitsu Hoshiko in a display first performed at the third World CARP Convention in New York more than sixteen years ago -- amazingly he was in that first performance too. Then came a joyful pansori, the traditional Korean folk dance.

Then Hyun Jin Nim came back to the stage to sing with Axe 6 from Japan. He chose many of his (and the crowds) great favorites, including Blue Suede Shoes, Johnny B. Goode and Nim Kwa Hamkke, a great favorite with the largely Korean crowd.

Korea is lucky in having no apparent restrictions on indoor pyrotechnics, and so we were treated to exploding fireworks, aerial Catherine wheels and a dozen impressive fire pipes sending synchronized rings of flame and smoke into the air in time with the beat. The crowd responded by waving light sticks of green, red and purple and stamping and screaming. By the end, no one was in their seats.

Adding to energy of the concert was "The School of Hard Knocks," a group of twelve energetic back dancers from schools in Korea and Japan. Amazingly, these youngsters had only been practicing together for a week. "It was a great experience!" said Ji Kyung Seo, a junior from Seoul National University studying Physical Education and Russian Literature. Well, thatís World CARP. Even the back dancers have a double major at the top school in Korea!

With talent like that, and Hyun Jin Nim leading the way, thereís truly nothing we cannot do this year. Breakthrough 2002 and 2003, here we come!

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