Contributed by Jennifer Pierce
On December 16th, CARP Los Angeles (LA), in collaboration with the American Clergy Leadership Conference (ACLC), hosted a Revival Starts with Me Rally for the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea.
This rally was inspired by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon’s successful rallies in Thailand, Japan, United States, and Korea this year.
Why Reunification Matters
The issue of North and South Korean peace is a hot topic in the world today, but to CARP’s founders, Father and Mother Moon, this issue is a personal one. As refugees from North Korea, they saw first-hand the effects of how a divided country hurts its people and how a communist ideology ruins lives. They also realized that peace on the Korean peninsula could lead to world peace.
CARP LA was inspired by Father and Mother Moon’s vision during their international exchange trip to South Korea earlier this year in July. During that trip, three American student representatives had the opportunity to speak about the peaceful reunification at the South Korean Congress building. Following that, CARP LA decided to host one rally at the end of this year and two more next year.
“[This rally] was something that we could do to support Mother Moon’s efforts for global peace as well as a way for each of us to take responsibility over the situation that the world is facing today. Considering all of the recent tragedies that have taken place all across the globe, we really felt connected to this vision of bringing people together as a common humanity and one global family under God.
We wanted to inspire others to look past our differences and to come together based on the premise that we all desire to establish peace in the world, starting with this particular division we see on the Korean peninsula.” – Harumi Muranaka, CARP Cypress
The organizing group for the rally connected to Christian churches with the understanding that true love and peace comes from God, our Creator. Knowing that God is our Heavenly Parent gives us a basis to treat other humans like brothers and sisters. Based on this understanding, the organizing group connected to many pastors and congregations and invited them to the rally and participate in the joint choir.
The City of Refuge, the host of the event, was inspired to let us use their venue because of our youthful spirit. Bishop Noel Jones, the Senior Pastor at the City of Refuge, went to South Korea just last month to attend Mother Moon’s 80,000 person rally for Korean peace and was even more inspired to support this initiative.
Every week since October, CARP members made preparations inviting others to come from churches and college campuses.
“Inviting people to the rally was a good experience, but reaching out to my family and friends really tested my confidence in my faith and investment in CARP. Some results may not have been what I have expected, but this has made me want to work harder to inspire my friends and family to support CARP in the future.” – Yuka Oiwa, CARP PCC Vice President
One of the biggest components of this rally was the music. Jason McGee, the Music Director at the City of Refuge, led the 100-person choir comprised of representatives from twenty church and CARP. They prepared four songs for the event: ‘Every Praise’, ‘Spirit Break Out’, ‘Jesus Promised’, and ‘I Won’t Go Back.’
“I was a part of the choir directed by Jason McGee, and he told us at one of the choir rehearsals that this is heaven: where all races come together as one family. I really felt that way as well. I really felt the presence of God and True Parents at the rally and I think He was very happy to see His children gathered at a very spiritual, very prepared place as one family, praying for peace and unity between North and South Korea as well as the whole world.” – Hitoe Hiraki, CARP CSULA President
Joshua Holmes, the Master of Ceremonies for the event and CARP Cypress President, guided everyone through the program with spirit and vigor. He was full of energy and shared it freely with the participants.
“Preparing for the rally was where God could work and work deeply in the lives of the people we reached out to and came to the event. As the MC, when I walked onto the stage for the first time, I was completely calm. My heart didn’t beat faster at all because I knew that all of this was in God’s hands and I believed in the foundation that was laid already by Mother Moon, our parental figures, students, and missionaries.” – Joshua Holmes, CARP Cypress President
Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) International Vice President, Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, offered a greeting and shared about the personal impact that the divided Korea has had on his life and family. Because of the division, he has been separated from and unable to meet his grandparents who were isolated in North Korea. His testimony touched everyone in the room and helped connect the issue to a very personal and family level.
The Power of Students
CARP LA President, Jermaine Bishop Jr., gave a speech during the event about the reunification of North and South Korea, representing the student perspective. Here’s a part of his speech:
“I was curious to see what world-class leaders all over the world might be thinking about how we could resolve the divide on the Korean peninsula. One man said it absolutely has to be done by politics, so I looked at what political figures were doing. I saw qualified men and women trying the same work, the same means in different ways, to no avail since 1945. I realized the problem was that we recognize means as ends. Politics is a tool; we’re trying to create change with the same devices that created the divide in the first place. There is no law in the constitution that governs hearts…
Rev Sun Myung Moon [and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon] saw the [problem] right here in America. They saw people living in abundance and prosperity who stored it all up for themselves instead trying to figure out what can we could do to be a blessing to one another. There is nothing politics can do to help us overcome that misunderstanding. We live in a country where the things we do influences artists, engineers, politicians, and entrepreneurs that influence every corner the world.
We don’t have to figure out how to change the world; we just need to transform the people right here in this room to be beacons of light, to love like Jesus loves, to be a walking revival. Then, this nation and world can do the same. The best thing we could do to that effect is offer sincere prayer.”
At the end of his speech, Jermaine led the entire rally in a prayer for the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea.
Pastors Speak Up for Peace
The keynote address was given by City of Refuge’s Bishop Noel Jones. He shared that God’s intention was for all of us to share love with each other. God created us with equal value, and therefore we should love each other equally.
“What inspired me the most was Bishop Noel Jones’ speech. It was very enthusiastic and when he called out the youth, I had this determination to answer God’s call. His voice was so powerful that his opening prayer made me cry. Through this event, I learned the importance of the position I’m in.” – Naomi Kotani, HARP AHS President
He also shared how he was inspired by Mother Moon in Korea at her rally in November. He said he was inspired by her because she was a ‘giver’; he said givers never decrease because God always gives to those who give to others.
Breaking Down Walls
It is with that kind of heart, a heart of giving and loving, that will end the suffering in North Korea and bring peace to the peninsula.
“The inspiring part of the rally was that men can solve unreasonable problems with an unreasonable solution: God and Love.” – Darius Clash, CARP PCC
The program ended with about 50 members of CARP, including members from Bay Area CARP, Las Vegas CARP, and Dallas CARP, performing Mujogeon, the dance created for Mother Moon’s Madison Square Garden Rally in New York in July of this year.
The song, which translates to ‘unconditional’ in Korean, represents the spirit of a young person who unconditionally follows wherever God leads. Full of energy and excitement, many who attended the rally said seeing the bright young people dance with this purpose was the highlight and perfect culmination of the event.
Coming Together for Peace
Around 1,200 people showed up to the rally. After months of preparation, the students could finally see the fruits of all of their investment.
“The rally inspired me by being able to see everything come together after preparing for a long time. To think that I was a part of this event gave me a weird feeling of excitement and hope for what’s to come. I’m sure my vision and desire for the unification of North and South Korea isn’t as strong as True Parents’ or God’s desire, but I felt like through these events and daily effort helped me connect to this huge vision step-by-step.” – Takahito Kikuchi, CARP ELAC President
The real impact of this rally wasn’t so much what was said but what was done. People from all walks of life – from college campuses, 20 different churches, and local community members – were gathered to talk about this global issue and how to bring peace and understanding. Participation in this effort together helped us see how we need to take care of each other, whether the person across the street or across an ocean.
We learned that it’s not science or politics that brings people together; it’s love.
CARP LA plans to host two more rallies in 2018. Stay tuned for more details about how you can support and be a part of the change. Follow us on Facebook! #RevivalStartsWithMe