Young People Learn Sustainability and Cultural Exchange in Paraguay

FFWPU USA: Thirty-six young volunteers representing 11 nations came together in Paraguay from July 6 to 21 for the first Universal Peace Federation (UPF) “Pathways to a Sustainable Future” project. The ambitious project was designed in the hope of building greater cooperation between North and South America—a goal that True Father extensively invested in for several decades. Following the inspiration of ‘thinking globally while acting locally,’ the project highlighted sustainable development as a major, contemporary global challenge. Then participants were able to locally address this challenge and live at the Leda Settlement, which True Parents designated as the Original Holy Ground in Paraguay. In particular, with Leda as their home-base, they could offer three days of work service in the indigenous village of Esperanza.

“I went to Leda in Paraguay for the first time about 10 years ago,” said participant Stephen Bien. “Like many others, I was attracted by the adventure and experience of being in another country, but I fell in love with the joy of service. When I had the opportunity to attend another service project in Leda, I knew that I had to go back.”

The project was co-sponsored by the Association for Sustainable Development in North and South America, which helped introduce the pioneering efforts that Japanese Unification Church elders have made since 1999 in making Leda what it is today. At that time, True Father challenged them to transform the underdeveloped Chaco Region— an area that to many seemed hellish—into a heaven on earth.

“Despite the overwhelming difficulty, [early volunteers] have transformed the land which was believed to be uninhabitable into a paradise and have created solutions to their problems instead of caving in to negativity,” said Stephen Bien. “As I continue my life of faith beyond the project, I do not want to just be simply inspired by their work but create my own solutions for the obstacles in my way.” Read More