Contributed by Yoshika Iwamoto
On December 21-23, the CARP chapters from the Midwest, Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Indianapolis, collaborated to host a winter CARP retreat at Camp KOHOE in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This retreat was a follow up from the Spring Retreat. The theme of the winter event was “Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life” with the focus being on the Three Life Goals.
The purpose was to introduce the Unification Principles while bringing the three communities together to help the participants feel part of a larger organization. Overall, we had about 28 participants (15 from Grand Rapids, six from Chicago, four from Indiana, and two from Minnesota). Ten of those participants were newly introduced to Divine Principle teachings at this workshop.
The weekend retreat had a total of three lectures by speaker and CARP HQ staff member, Jinil Fleischman. The first lecture focused on introducing CARP, followed by the two lectures explaining the three life goals as the three purposes in our life. Many were inspired by the talks and in high spirits throughout the entire retreat.
In addition, the brothers and sisters bonded within their small groups through discussions and activities. This was a great opportunity for the participants to openly share about their experiences and work together through various situations.
In the mornings, we did activities to bring our intention to focus and reflect on our understanding of ourselves. Some of these activities included writing a letter to God, yoga, meditation, and a small arts & crafts session after a short inspirational reading.
The afternoons consisted of other activities including several icebreakers and a small minute-to-win-it competition between groups. We also did an internal activity that helped each individual become more aware of their current values.
All in all, it was a great workshop and many were inspired by the spirit of the retreat. On the last day, we had time set aside for testimonies. Here are several of the ones that were shared:
“In CARP I found peace and love. You know how when you go to school, you really want to go home? CARP is like that, it’s like home. You find love and peace.” - Montserrat Guzman
“On the first night, I was asking what am I going to learn from this place. I came, and the first thing we did was exercise. When we started out with meditation, I followed the instructions, and I learned something. I started to see my problems as I was meditating. I thought, ‘If this is how I’m living, how can I change it?’ I started thinking. I appreciate that the organization has been beneficial to me. I want to practice the principles. If I become good at it, I want to teach others so they can as well.” - Jackson Omwanga
“The theme was: 'find your purpose, change your life.' I like that. I feel that I should be here, because I didn’t know my purpose. When people explained that it could be love, career, and other things, it allowed me to look inside and find my purpose.” - Cypreiana Carter
“CARP is where you can have deeper thinking and look for more important and valuable things in life. It is good. There are wonderful relationships. Everybody is here together, and nobody feels lonely. We feel we are together because we are aiming for something together as a part of CARP.” - Sumika Yee