Puerto Rico: Cross-Cultural Festivals Open the Door to Peace
Puerto Rico was officially recognized as part of the Family Federation for World Peace (FFWPU) USA in 2015, when it joined the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina as part of District 5. Since the beginning of 2016, all of District 5 has been actively engaged in outreach initiatives in response to True Mother’s call to action.
By FFWPU USA: Early in March, the District Pastor of District 5, Rev. Gary Chidester, traveled to Puerto Rico to check in on the Unification community there and to support their ongoing outreach initiatives.
Rev. Chidester reports that the Puerto Rican Unificationist community is thriving. During his stay, he plugged into several of their ongoing initiatives, including a university outreach program. Rev. Pedro Morales, the local Unification pastor in Puerto Rico, lives with his family near one of the University of Puerto Rico campuses and they are actively engaged in creating programs to share their life-giving faith in True Parents with the students who study there.
Many of these university students are inspired to study the Divine Principle thoroughly. Rev. Chidester commented, “It was easy to talk to the students and many came over to study the Divine Principle regularly. I think many people don’t realize that Puerto Rico is part of America. There was no language barrier so we could communicate freely and connect easily.”
Another Puerto Rican initiative is the annual Japanese Festival, in which they share elements of Japanese culture such as martial arts, sushi, calligraphy, and origami with their neighbors. This year, the festival was held at the Eduardo Munoz General School in San Lorenzo and was attended by many school children and faculty. In previous years, Puerto Rican Unificationists have even collaborated with local martial arts organizations and the Japanese consulate to put on this cross-cultural event, which draws many people from the local community to attend as well.
Festivals are one of the primary ways that the Puerto Rican Unificationists reach out to and serve their neighbors. They connect in heart through the arts and culture and create a spirit of rewarding, mutual exchange, communicating the love and truth of True Parents’ vision for a peaceful global family in their very relationships and activities with their neighbors.