Starting a CARP Chapter at El Camino College

Takanari Sonoda shares a testimony about last year’s Japan trip which led to the start of a new CARP chapter.

“One of the biggest inspirations for wanting to establish CARP at El Camino College was because of the CARP Japan trip that I went to last summer. During the trip, I was able to experience how beautiful and alive a principled lifestyle could be. Also the testimony from the new CARP members about how the principle and CARP changed them and even saved them really touched me.

These experiences really made me want to spread principle at my college campus. I also saw how great it would be for students to have a place to keep learning, practicing, and spreading the principle in their college years. I was really lucky to have a big group of supportive friends, parents, and other community members, which helped create a spiritual foundation to establish CARP in El Camino.

We started out simply by reading the Divine Principle together once a week and discussing what we needed to do to establish a CARP club. There were many obstacles we had to face like getting paperwork done, searching for an adviser, and fulfilling certain qualifications to be officers in the club. I found myself many times facing personal problems and limitations. Despite all of the obstacles, one thing I learned throughout the process of  trying to establish CARP is the importance of connecting vertically.

There were many times where I I tried to do things on my own without informing my central figures about the situation and almost always, things did not go to plan. I really felt that with my central figures’ awareness of the situation and praying for us, Heavenly Parent could set the condition to really mobilize spirit world to help us with what we needed to accomplish.

Another thing I learned was the importance of a trinity by working with my two friends, Song Yong and Kodai. If one of us couldn’t do something or show up somewhere, we were able to support each other to accomplish what needed to be done. I felt that Heavenly Parent really worked through that.

After CARP became official on campus, we organized a ‘CARP Introduction’ event. I was really nervous up to the very end, especially in the few days leading up to it. I struggled with logistical things like reserving a room for our meeting. I was in a lot of stress trying to figure it out when I thought to ask the Robotics Club if we could use their room for the event. Since I was a part of the robotics club, they agreed to let me use the room.

On the day of the ‘CARP Introduction’ event, there was still no response to the emails we sent to the people who were interested in CARP at Club Rush (where campus clubs can set up a table for recruits). I decided to text them and still there were no replies. I did not want to give up and I started to invite anyone via text and also inviting students while walking across campus.

Surprisingly, I met a lot of classmates I usually don’t bump into who said they would come! I also got a confirmation text from someone who only met us once at the beginning of the semester. I couldn’t remember what they looked like but I was excited they were coming!

In that instant, I felt extremely grateful and happy towards Heavenly Parent. Upon reflection, I see that my happiness was also Heavenly Parent’s happiness. I could see that when I was working hard, Heavenly Parent was working even harder.

As it got closer to the ‘CARP Introduction’ event, I headed towards the room to prepare and to my surprise,  there were Robotics Club members there. I had thought no one was using the room since I got the permission to use it. In the end, it worked out for the better because they were willing to participate in our event, too.

During the event, CARP LA members from other campuses came to support us and our adviser was also able to come. So, it was a one big miracle! What I could take away from this whole experience is that Heavenly Parent is working hard every moment of the day and has many things prepared. However, it is up to us and our efforts to accomplish the things that Heavenly Parent has prepared for us. Every opportunity is precious.”