USA: Project Phoenix in Minnesota

Prepared by FFWPU USA

From July 26 to 27, a whopping 65 first and second-generation Unificationists gathered at the beautiful new church facility in Columbia Heights, MN, to share the unique atmosphere of Project Phoenix resulting in a number of deep connections and relationship breakthroughs. The purpose of Project Phoenix is to support each community to come and facilitate greater in-depth communication and transparency.

The program began on Friday evening with exercises in listening and responding, which everyone was able to practice in their family group. These activities helped everyone prepare for the real work of listening to each other with sincerity and love that was essential to the weekend experience.

On Saturday morning, the family groups read an excerpt from a speech by True Father that emphasized that church members should love each other in order to build a real community of heart. Following this, the two generations participated in an exercise called “Honoring the Generations.” This exercise allowed each generation to reveal their concepts and feelings about the other generation. When this was shared with everyone, it was revealing and emotional.

In the family groups, everyone had the chance to express their heart and see that others in the group had a lot to share as well. A delicious lunch was followed by the heart of the Project Phoenix program called “Through Our Lens.” Individuals were selected and asked to share authentic and vulnerable testimonies about their lives in the Unification movement. The four testimonies set the stage for each person sharing their own testimony in their family group. Tears, laughter and hugs accompanied each person using this opportunity to reveal a personal story that captured their experience and how they see the world.

The “Through Our Lens” activity was followed by an opportunity to relax and unwind by playing games together. Participants, both young and old, enjoyed the time of fun and relaxation.

Another exercise that was valuable was the “Community Weaving” exercise. It involved coming up with a need and then sharing that need with someone else who may or may not be able to help you with your need. There were a number of interactions that resulted in participants learning about others in the community and making new connections.

The last major session of the weekend was called “Going Deeper.” This time, two separate parent-child partners took the stage to answer questions designed to bring out feelings that often are neglected. Both couples were mother and son pairs and each couple was able to express themselves honestly and openly to each other. This served as an example for all the attendees who wished to improve their relationships with their family members or even friends by using the techniques and questions from the exercise.

The day wrapped up with participants learning how to express appreciation for each other and practicing appreciations in their group.

If you would like more information about Project Phoenix or would like to support them with a donation, check out their website at projectphoenixusa.com. If you would like to host Project Phoenix in your community, send them a message at projectphoenixusa@gmail.com.

Reflections

“I’m grateful to participate in this event because it gave me hope for our second and first-generations to have a better understanding of each other and helped me understand much more about what the second-generation experience in their life. Thanks David for your sharing your experience. You opened the door for us to share with each other; today I got the courage to talk to my daughter. We experienced our deep love toward one another and had a breakthrough where she expressed wanting more communication. I am grateful to God and True Parents and to Project Phoenix and all the brothers and sisters. This is healing.”

“I was reluctant to come to Project Phoenix but decided to give it a shot with an open mind and I’m so glad I did. It has probably been a few years since I felt the way I did during this weekend and I feel rejuvenated, hopeful and decided to take actions to have a more ‘real’ relationship with my family and friends. There are a few people at my table I had never spoken to although it has been three years since I moved here. It’s a shame it took that long to even say ‘Hello’ to them, but I now feel like a special bond was created. We all got a glimpse into each other’s hearts and it was beautiful. Real, honest, fun and true relationships is what I’m yearning for and I’m so grateful for the staff to give that opportunity to all the communities they visit. It was a beautiful weekend with beautiful people. Thank you!”

“I was able to connect with people in such a short amount of time. The sense of bonding, community, hope and intuitive understanding really brought me heart-to-heart with people I had never met before. Everyone brought a unique and special quality to the family.”

“A couple of months before Project Phoenix came to our state, our community was in a challenging situation. We needed help from above and we needed a mediator. Project Phoenix came at the right time. Thank you, a lot of healing has begun and we can make new beginnings.”

“I am fortunate that my whole family attended Project Phoenix this time. I do intend to show up and put effort in these relationships and it is nice to see some effort being done right away by a few of my family members. We had dinner together and authentically laughed together. I haven’t felt that way in a long time and I am quite hopeful for these relationships. I didn’t realize that I had an ache inside of me regarding my family. I really appreciate this program and the staff and for my family showing up and making effort right away. I am inspired. Thank You.”

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