USA: Nationwide Leadership Conference
By FFWPU USA: The National Leaders’ Conference in Las Vegas continued over September 22 and 23, 2015. On Tuesday, the group spent the day honing FFWPU USA’s mission and vision for 2020. Every participant gave 100 percent toward understanding what Vision 2020 entails and how to interpret that into intentional action steps. The purpose of this day’s work was to unite around a common ide in order to move forward effectively.
“It was an extremely important and rewarding process,” noted participant Yoshie Manaka, member of the Evangelism Team at FFWPU USA headquarters.
The group of over 65 leaders from around the country started the day reading True Parents’ words from the Cham Bumo Gyeong, the third of the Holy Scriptures collection. Every discussion throughout the day tied back to True Parents’ mission, by continuously asking themselves, “How does America fit into True Parents’ legacy and goal to bring all of God’s children back to God?”
Everyone brought their life experience and wisdom to the table, an offering respected regardless of age and experience. Longtime leaders and up-and coming leaders alike contributed to the discussion. Like a family, they created a safe environment to share opinions, disagree, challenge each other, laugh with each other, and discuss how to be productive as a team.
“It required all of our energy and all of our focus, but today was a good day,” said Shinyoung Chang, Editorial Director at FFWPU USA.
Later in the day, the group broke out in smaller groups based on passions and interests to focus on the cultural spheres in which they could strive to substantiate Vision 2020. They voted on which projects had the highest priority, including topics such as re-engaging youth, the importance of young leadership, outreach, and the Holy Marriage Blessing.
They closed the evening on Tuesday with a friendly game of bowling in their families. Prizes were awarded to the teams with the highest averages.
On Wednesday, the final day of the conference, the group focused on setting goals based on their areas of responsibility. They reflected individually on three inspiring goals that they would be excited to accomplish by 2020. Then, based on those goals, they made corresponding mini-goals for the next 12 months, then the next three months. They practiced setting strategies and identifying foreseeable challenges, corresponding solutions, possible mentors and next action steps.
In an afternoon session, leaders were familiarized with the resources available to them. Crescentia DeGoede, Director of the Blessing and Family Ministry (BFM), gave a powerful talk on the Holy Marriage Blessing and the educational resources created by BFM.
“I would like to take a moment to recognize the Blessed couples in this room,” she began. “Our Blessed families are actually the saints and sages of this age.” She honored the leaders for making sacrifices, and assured them that the fruits of their investment are rapidly taking shape.
Naoko Hiraki gave a best practices talk about tribal messiahship and establishing chapters of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) on campuses in the Los Angeles area. She said that she worked together with several families to create a tribe to inspire others to do the same. Today, over 1,000 families have heard about True Parents through this tribe.
Then Mimi Morse, Director of Marketing at the Bellagio and Aria in Las Vegas, and founder of Family Education and Empowerment Foundation, spoke to the group about her desire since the third year anniversary of True Father’s Seonghwa (ascension) to get active in carrying on the legacy. “I was hoping that everyone else would do my job,” she joked. “But nothing will happen without effort.” She expressed many regrets about things she didn’t do while True Father was on this earth, and said she doesn’t want to have the same regrets when True Mother ascends to the spirit world.
Teresa Ferette, Vice President of CARP USA, led an activity designed to equip leaders to put on a successful event back home.
The conference ended with testimonies from participants about their experience. Across the board, the participants expressed the positive change in spirit and focus, and their revitalized determination to transform and support their local communities.
“I’m really grateful for the guided opportunity to set personal goals, and to streamline our vision,” said Reverend Takami.
Dr. Michael Balcomb, President of FFWPU USA, and Dr. Kim then each gave closing remarks.
“What I realized in this time together is that our attitude changes reality,” said Dr. Balcomb. “If we want a new reality for our family, it starts with us, and starts with the power of being grateful.”
He described True Father’s life, full of adversity, and how True Father always chose to be grateful. He said that Satan was left powerless, and that in the face of gratitude True Father even forgot the names of his enemies every day, so he had no enemies.
Dr. and Mrs. Kim then took the podium. Mrs. Kim described her excitement and inspiration during her time at the conference, and Dr. Kim delivered a message with his reflections and a final call to action.
He said, “We discussed so many things here and each received something from here we can bring to our local churches. In our discussions, we discovered what was very useful, and what didn’t really fit with our local churches. With these kinds of discussions and these kinds of meetings, I really want to let us feel and appreciate how much we are thinking of True Parents and our Unification family members. Let us become brothers and sisters—not just call ourselves brothers and sisters; let us become brothers and sisters centering on True Parents.”
“I don’t want us to forget what we discussed here and come back next year only to start again with the same topics. This time, I really want to let us realize how precious we are to one another. Let us respect each one of us as our precious family, our brothers and sisters, and let us bring great victory for the sake of True Parents. This means, let us take ownership.”
After cheers and singing of “Generation of Righteousness,” the unofficial theme song of the conference, the leaders parted ways with renewed determination as well as concrete goals and action steps to work toward Vision 2020. Pastors plan to connect with their local communities and help them prepare their own goals toward Vision 2020 for the upcoming months.