As the final event of the semester, CARP Las Vegas held their 7-Day Retreat from December 17th to the 23rd. The workshop was packed with a total of 28 students: 7 new guests, 4 new members, and 17 CARP/community members.
The retreat was made with love with many lectures and activities. The retreat was designed to help participants practice a consistent life of faith, even after the retreat finished.
The participants were blessed to have Rev. Andrew Compton as the lecturer. With over forty years of experience studying the Divine Principle, Rev. Compton passionately conveyed the essence of the Principle to the participants. Each lecture was filled with rich personal stories of discovering the power the Principle. The testimonies gave life to the Divine Principle for many of the young people and kept them eagerly engaged.
A special treat was that some of the stories came from Rev. Compton’s personal experience working with Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Just hearing the stories gave a taste the profound and powerful beginning the American Unification movement.
After each lecture, the participants engaged in a group discussion to help them draw out what they gained. This time allowed the participants to reflect and see how the principles applied to their own life. Many participants were blown away from the lectures, especially those on Jesus, Resurrection, and the Parallels of History.
“Many people say that history is progressively turning towards goodness but they could never explain why. That’s why hearing about Parallels of History is so mind-blowing for me.” – Marcus Fuller Jr.
The participants were also were given the time to reflect each day so that they could connect to the unique message God wanted to give them through the lectures.
“I really felt True Parents are my messiah through the lectures. They taught me God’s heart as our parent and true love, my true value and purpose in life.” – Rammi Mochizuki
Each night there was an interactive activity that helped participants connect to and digest the theme of the day. These activities included skits, brother and sister bonding, movie night, praise and worship, and a talent and testimony night.
Two evening activities in particular were especially meaningful for the participants. The first was a movie night with “The Shack,” a movie about a man who had a lot of resentments throughout his life, but after meeting God, he was liberated from his past. Many tears rolled down the young people’s face in resonance with the main character. We’ve all had moments where we neglected God in our lives. They felt repentful but humbled by God’s love and forgiveness.
The second special night was a celebration of praise and worship. This allowed participants a space to let go of any unresolved emotions from the past and receive the grace of God. Through the beautiful music, presented by the CARP band, many participants were captivated by the spirit and were moved to tears. Some of the participants didn’t realize how many emotions they had that they didn’t have a chance to express before. It was a cleansing evening and a new beginning for many of the participants.
“I’m grateful for the worship evening program where I was able to experience deeper prayer and sense of liberation in my heart. I had an amazing moment where I simply let go and let God fill my heart.” – Kobe Neuhaus, new member
“The seven day retreat felt like a rebirth for my life of faith. I received a lot of emotional and spiritual healing that came from the love I received from God and the members. For the first time I experienced the joy of offering my heart to God through music during the praise session.” – Marcus Fuller Jr.
On the last full day, they were also given the opportunity to visit the International Peace Education Center (IPEC) to witness the substantial effort that Father and Mother Moon made for peace by creating this conference center for this purpose. By seeing the physical results of Father and Mother Moon’s legacy of peace, the participants had a chance to connect to their longing heart for a world of peace. After the visit to IPEC, everyone came back to the workshop house where they heard testimonies from elder members, Mrs. Sera Hirano and Mr. Nate Windman. Hearing their stories were so refreshing, as many participants could relate, going through similar experiences.
“I was hearing all the lectures, but actually the lecture was inside of me. The Principle comes from the inside out.” – Nate Windman
During the final evening, the participants shared their talents and testimonies to close off the retreat. Many shared sincerely the challenges they’ve faced in their life growing up. Coming to the retreat allowed them a chance to see God in their own life.
“After experiencing such a loving environment, a place where I felt that I was able to let out real emotions, and actually enjoy my time with people that I’ve known for only a few months and already feel like a family; it was well worth it.” – Joseph Salvador, new student of Divine Principle
The retreat was an transformational one, thanks to all the support from everyone that made it happen. Supporters from across the nation, such as Mrs. Sharon Pace from North Carolina and Mrs. Robin Schwyter from California came out to help with meal preparation. Throughout the 7 days, the young people were often stretched out of their comfort zone, confronted by their own limitations, and yet undoubtedly opened a new chapter in their journey of faith. What a way to end the Fall 2017 semester and launch into 2018!