Poland: Second Generation International Workshop
By Bogdan and Anna Brzyscy, FFWPU Poland
This workshop (27.12.2017 – 01.01.2018) was the continuation of the tradition of seminars prepared by Polish family for the second generation during the holiday break between Christmas and New Year.
We invited participants aged 14-18. Finally, 45 representatives of the second generation have joined the seminar, both as participants and staff. In addition to Polish teenagers, there were representatives of Lithuania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia, England, Belarus, Hungary, Italy and even Australia. It is especially worth noting that the lecturer of the seminar, Matthew Huish, was not only the blessed representative of the second generation, but also the UK national leader, who could share with the participants not only his theoretical knowledge of the Principle, but also his personal path of practicing the Principle, facing and overcoming various challenges, experience of being matched, blessed and living the life of a leader and blessed husband in the family with 6 children.
The workshop motto, “Change yourself, unlock your happiness. Restoration – path to freedom”, emphasized the personal aspects of restoration, helping the participants to see that the process of changing oneself, the path of restoration through indemnity may be a very liberating and joyful experience.
The workshop started on the evening of Dec.27th with dinner and general orientation meeting, where all the participants were greeted by the Polish national leader couple, Christoph and Martha Krall. Later participants were divided into 5 teams that were led by older 2 generation. The basic schedule for next days consisted of educational session in the morning and different activities in the afternoon. We started every day with morning exercises followed by morning service/HDH prepared by one of either first or second-generation staff members.
Educational sessions were usually hold in the morning and consisted of 2 lectures followed by group activities. Lectures presented by Matthew were dedicated to the application of the Principle in everyday life; special attention was given to the understanding of how the biblical stories relate to our life, what lessons we can learn from them. Lectures were interesting and participants were very receptive to them. The fact that the lecturer was from the second generation really helped the participants to relate to the discussed topics, and the young people expressed their appreciation of the lectures in their reflections.
During group activities after lectures participants met in their teams for group discussions; they also made some art works, prepared performances or played games which helped to create team unity and get to know each other better. We also had one afternoon dedicated to service projects, which included gathering and preparing the wood for the fire on New Year night, baking cookies, decorating the hall for the New Year party, etc. There was also some time for sport sessions, both in Glanow and in the sport hall in the local school.
It is especially worth noting that practically the entire workshop was run by 2 Generation brothers and sisters, who were not only leading the teams, but also acted as MC, music and sports coordinators, gave moving testimonies and morning services, led separate brothers/sisters meetings for the participants who were often only several years younger than themselves; prepared all the activities, challenge day and some of the talks at the seminar. Especially we’d like to mention the talk on public speaking presented by Ola Brzyska, which was followed by practicing the new skills in the teams. It proved to be challenging for many participants, but at the same time very needed.
Many important questions were raised by the participants during brothers/sisters meeting, which was led by Matthew Huish and 2 Gen sisters. We have learned from the reflections that our teenagers have really benefited from these talks.
Testimonies of Matthew and 4 younger brothers and sisters from the second generation as well as prayer vigil with candles have been additional source of reflection and spiritual enrichment during the workshop. The testimonies were very deep, honest and sincere; all of them showed the real and difficult problems our young people face in their life, but they have also provided some experience-based guidance and hope to overcome those challenges.
One of the days had a different schedule. There was no educational session at the morning and postponed lunch has created an opportunity to conduct one of the favorite activities during our workshop – challenge day. Each workshop team had to find 6 stations located in different places of the training center, both inside and outside. Some of those tasks were physical challenges; others required cooperation, patience or development of trust in each other. Many participants (and staff) were really challenged, but all the teams managed to complete the Challenge day and it proved to be an important, joyful and memorable experience.
The last full day of the workshop was also the last day of the year 2017. Graduation ceremony was followed by family evening, during which the participants could express their creativity. Workshop teams prepared some sketches that were presented in the lecture hall together with some personal performances of participants and staff members. The last hour of the year 2017 was dedicated to personal reflection over the passing year and the one to come.
We have started the new 2018 year with a midnight prayer on the Holy Ground followed by fireworks and campfire where we could burn our reflections/prayers and send them directly to our Heavenly Parent. Joyful celebrations continued till 3 am.
This seminar was an intense but good experience both for participants and staff. Many participants expressed their gratitude for this workshop; some have declared that it was a spiritual breakthrough for them. The success of this workshop truly resulted from a major team effort, from the spirit of unity between the first and second generations. And for us – parents – it was a specially gratifying experience to see our older 2 Gens taking more and more responsibility, investing their hearts into their younger brothers/sisters, becoming mature young adults who develop their own relationship with God, care for others and understand the Principle. As a result, all of us, participants and staff alike, could feel as part of one family brought together by God and our True Parents and are very much looking forward to the next opportunities to meet, learn and share together.
- “I think, the lectures were really very good. Many examples from history could be easily transferred to everyday life… I’m also very grateful to Matthew for probably the most incredible testimony I listened to.”
- “It was my first time at this type of seminar, and I’m very happy, I was here. I needed to think over many things, to see how I can change myself. Matthew’s lectures have really helped me in that…”
- “For me the best experience was the boys/girls talks. We could discuss some important questions and also share our own experiences.”
- “I really enjoyed the lectures. They were done in such a way that instead of telling me the answers, they put me in the position where I could find out the answers on my own…”
- “I enjoyed the testimonies the most and I think they play a quite significant role, because they are relatable and help people realize they are not alone. Also the public speaking training was very useful and new for me…”
- “I felt like we’re all one big family and that’s the most powerful about the workshop, I think.”
- ”For me lectures were amazing, it was really nice to hear lectures from a 2nd Gen with that experience, because it was easier to relate to it. I got a lot of inspiration and also a new perception of the Bible…”
- “The workshop was awesome. I had the best team ever! Also my best friend told me about her spiritual experience that happened and I’m super happy for her, because she is now very inspired to connect with God.”
- “I could learn things that are important for my spiritual growth, I could challenge myself, I could help others and reunite with my friends plus make new ones. Here I could finish my year in a meaningful way, surrounded by loving people and a lot of wisdom.”
- “The lectures were great. They made me really think about my life. After this workshop I will really change, it’s like “New Year, new me”. “
- “One day I went to the Holy Ground, I prayed and after few moments I felt my spiritual heart become really warm, and then I knew that it was God. This wouldn’t happen if there was no workshop, and it was very special for me.”
- “It was a good growth experience to be a team leader and try to light a passionate fire in the hearts of my team members. I’m grateful to all the staff members that we together could create something beautiful for the participants.”