Contributed by CARP Las Vegas
As CSN finished up midterms and students from UNLV wrapped up spring break, CARP Las Vegas held their final two day Divine Principle retreat of the semester. Students took time out of their busy lives to rejuvenate their spirits and get back on their feet to finish the semester strong. In attendance were five guests (two new, three returning), ten community members, and eleven CARP members - a total of 26 people. Out of the 26, three participants drove a total of 18 hours from Oregon to attend the workshop.
To kick off the retreat, participants had a fun night of sports, dinner, and icebreakers. During dinner, each person shared what animal they feel they resemble, their favorite activity to do in their free time, and the most important character trait they look for in their future spouse. Participants shouted “link” when they had the same answer to any of them, so that the attendees could connect with one another. Afterwards, the ice breakers featured improv games that pushed everyone out of their shells by acting out crazy scenarios. The night was filled with lots of laughter.
The emcees of the workshop, Ilya Hack and Misato Koiso, formally welcomed everyone to the retreat by making an elaborate entrance with a song and a silly rap they created. They gave a general run-down of the workshop and how the participants can have the best experience. The emcees continued on to introduce everyone to the team, called “families,” they would be bonding with throughout the weekend. Everyone, then, split into their families to get to know one another a little deeper and set intentions for the workshop.
The following day started with a quick energizer to wake up the participants. They started with a guided meditation through an app called Headspace. The meditation was carried out to allow the participants to be present in their mind so they can be present in their life. Afterwards, they took time to reflect on three points in their life - gratitude, challenges, and hopes moving forward. With their hearts filled with peace and their stomachs filled with a great breakfast, the participants were ready to receive the Divine Principle lectures.
The lecturer for the workshop was Mr. Jonathan Jesper, an young adult from the community. He began his lectures by first introducing himself as someone who was born into the movement. Growing up with the Principle, he shared the struggles he faced trying to live by it. He shared how, despite the challenges he experienced, he is grateful for how the Principle grounded him in his life and how applicable it is, even in bringing success to his own business.
To set the tone and spirit for the Divine Principle lectures, the CARP Las Vegas band played music full of heart and soul. They performed hit-song “Bulletproof” by Citizen Way and even an original song called “Trying (Fighting for You)” written by Band Leader, Marcus Orlando Fuller Jr.
Mr. Jesper presented the Divine Principle in a way that spoke to college students. He shared about duality as “pair systems” in our society and how the Three Great Blessings is simply the key to a successful and happy life. With his background in business, he expressed a unique way of seeing how the Principle harvests prosperity in one’s life. After each lecture, the participants took time to discuss in their families what they gained from the lectures. The final lecture empowered students to take action in their lives to become people of unconditional love. Everyone was inspired by the incredible wisdom that was provided and thus were eager to grow and move forward from the lectures.
To conclude the retreat, we lit up a bonfire for Talent & Testimony Night that gave the participants to express their talent through performances. Our participants are amazingly talented; we saw everything from a dance to slam poetry to a group performance. Some performances testified to the growth the participants experienced through CARP. Participants also shared testimonies that expressed their deep gratitude for CARP and the growth they have been able to experience through the environment. Many of them shared vulnerably and honestly, testifying to the depth of love they have received through the members of CARP. Each one of them expressed their desire to continue coming back and investing into CARP, some of them even sharing how they felt it was their turn to give back.
This weekend was truly inspiring for all those in attendance. Many admitted to their initial lack of excitement for the retreat that soon turned into an eagerness and desire to grow through the environment that the retreat offered. Everyone left with renewed determinations to grow and love. It was clear that the words of Jonathan Jesper impacted everyone who was there, words that will hopefully continue to motivate them throughout their daily lives.