USA: One-Year Anniversary of CARP Las Vegas
By FFWPU USA: On Thursday, September 24th, CARP Las Vegas celebrated its 1st Anniversary at its own Learning Center near UNLV campus. The main meeting room was packed with over 80 guests, including CARP friends and supporters, and Rev. and Mrs. Ken Doo and some local church members.
Among the guests were Dr. and Mrs. Ki Hoon Kim, Dr. Michael Balcomb, and Mr. Naokimi Ushiroda, who had just finished the National Leadership Conference here in Las Vegas.
During the social hour, our guests enjoyed the Mocktail Bar! They all seemed to feel comfortable making new friends over delicious appetizers donated by local restaurants and also prepared by Las Vegas Family Church members.
The main program started with a toast and a video presentation, an overview of CARP activities from the past year. Musical offering by our close contact, Megan Silva, and the CARP band was uplifting yet soothing to the hearts of the audience.
Next CARP President Jinil Flieschman shared about the Rev. and Mrs. Moon as the founders of CARP, and took time to explain CARP Las Vegas vision and mission statement, and 6 Core Values on the Divine Principle. Especially some educators and community leaders in the audience seemed to be resonating deeply with our Core Values. When Jinil shared about the 4th Core Value of purity before marriage and his commitment, many applauded loudly and showed their support.
Three unique testimonies were selected for this evening. The first one was a teacher from SouthWest Behavior School, a continuation high school for the students who dropped out of high schools. In the beginning, most students did not trust our mentors. Over time, however, many students felt our mentors’ genuine care and support, and learned to trust them, looking forward each week for CARP mentors to come. Second testimony was by a couple who sincerely shared how their lives changed since meeting with CARP, and the quality of their relationship significantly improved. Last testimony was by one of the three CARP Las Vegas founding members, Angelica Moraes. She shared how grateful she was to God, the founders of CARP, and all of her CARP friends for all the growing experiences she had this past year.
CARP USA President Naokimi Ushiroda was invited to give a congratulatory message. He explained the vision of Rev. and Mrs. Moon for a CARP chapter here in Las Vegas – recreating Sin City to Shine City. He shared how he was impressed by all the work the Las Vegas chapter had done in this one year.
Director Akira Watanabe took this opportunity to give special recognitions to Professor Jared Keene (our campus advisor), Mrs. Jacqueline Silerio (our new CARP member Jeffrey Silerio’s mother), Ms. Kaori Kinoshita (one of the Japanese Missionaries), and Kobe Neuhaus (one of the newest CARP members). We felt strongly about sincerely recognizing the parental support and love behind the contribution Jeffrey and Kobe made this past year. Jeffrey’s parents and Kobe’s father were deeply moved to tears as their sons handed the certificates to them. They are yet to study the Principle, but they surely had a heart-opening experience on this occasion.
Kailey Teo, who recently moved here, shared our plan for this semester including the upcoming monthly Divine Principle retreat schedule and invited all to take some actions. The concluding remark was given by Mr. Watanabe, who thanked all for their contribution and shared his determination to keep God’s viewpoint and love others with God’s parental heart.
The benediction was offered by the director of a local meditation center and interfaith clergy, Rev. Bryan Neely. He could not help but share how joyful and excited he was to get to know such a wonderful organization like CARP, and how hopeful he felt to know that there were such conscientious young people. And to top it off, we introduced a Korean tradition of Og-Mansei to all the guests, and Dr. Ki Hoon Kim led the final Og-Mansei to lift up the already-high spirited guests.
The evening was like a big family get-together – everyone enjoyed each other’s company. After the event finished, our young people stayed for another hour, talking and singing. Many thanked us as they were leaving, and several guests expressed excitement in attending upcoming DP retreats.
We all felt hope and conviction that we could do more to change lives of more young people in this coming school year.