21 Days with CARP Los Angeles

Carina Mendez from CARP Uruguay spent 21 days with CARP Los Angeles as an international student sponsored by FFWPU USA. Read our first interview with her before her stay and now the following interview after completing her work with CARP LA.

What are three takeaways from your 21-day stay with CARP LA?

The most important takeaway from this experience was realizing the importance of witnessing. I learned that witnessing is not just an activity to push people to become a member. In our daily lives, we are always trying to share God’s heart with others. Through actually doing outreach, we learn and experience deeply God’s heart. So we’re feeling in practice something that we knew by theory. By doing that, we can find real happiness.

The second takeaway was learning that the kind of heart with which I do outreach is the most important. It’s not the amount of time or how I do the outreach that matters but the attitude with which I go out to reach out to people. Some days, I would go out for just one hour but if during that one hour, I could make the right condition with the proper heart, then God could work through me.

The last takeaway was that I needed to work on myself and overcome some challenges. For example, for the first two weeks that I went out to do outreach, I could not create any substantial results. I would invite people and they would agree to come but eventually they never showed up. But during my last three days, I was able to talk to one student who came to study Divine Principle with us and became very interested.

God always prepares some challenges for me that turn into opportunities to learn and become stronger. In the end, he gave me an amazing experience like this. Thank you, God!  

How was the experience of doing outreach on campus? Was it different from outreach back on your country’s campuses?

The experience of doing outreach on campus was so good. People here are so kind and friendly. I also learned a lot of things from working together with the Japanese mothers on the Pasadena Community College campus. They have a lot of experience!

Witnessing in Uruguay is done in a similar way; with a survey and one-on-one Divine Principle study.

What are some ideas you are excited to take back and implement in CARP Uruguay?

I would like to start doing outreach with CARP in Uruguay just like I did in Los Angeles. It would be nice if we can inspire our older members to go out with us as well.

During my stay in Los Angeles, we also had a big Karaoke party with all the guests and CARP members. I really liked it! I would love to organize a party like that back in my country, too.

What was your greatest challenge during these 21 days in LA? How did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was getting adjusted during my first week and overcoming a culture shock. America is very big so there are always people coming and going. So it’s natural that if you are new, you have to introduce yourself and try to find your place. But because of this, at first I thought, “Nobody cares that I’m here.”

However, things became a lot better when I stopped thinking about myself and started to take care for people. I started to feel less like a guest and more like an owner.  

I learned that I have to give love first, and that I shouldn’t wait for love. Through this, I have come to value this experience a lot more.

Have you had any change in perspective after completing these 21 days?

Yes, first of all, I came to see that God can work through everyone, everywhere. So it doesn’t matter if God sends me to another place in the future. Wherever I go, I can work for God.

Witnessing isn’t just for full-time members. Witnessing is for everyone; myself included.

I also changed my perspective about the USA. Here, I saw an active community and many young first generation members. That makes me very hopeful because the US is like an older sibling for us. So being able to see and be a part of such an active community made me feel so happy and inspired.

Do you feel like you were able to contribute to CARP LA in some way? How? (it could be a small thing)

I think so. I brought three people to study the Divine Principle and hopefully they will continue to do it. And I tried my best to create the best environment possible in every activity. But I think I was able to learn a lot more things from CARP LA and the members there.

Would you recommend international CARP students to spend some time with CARP America? If yes, why?

Yes! Of course! It’s a very good place to learn how to do outreach. There are many members who know how to take good care of everyone. They have a lot of experience and LA people are so kind, too!