Ownership Mentality: LTF Reflections

Ownership Mentality: LTF Reflections

Leadership Task Force (LTF) displayed ownership in living for the sake of others in a series of service projects conducted in Nepal this December. Projects included renovating a local school, providing character education for children, and participating as mentors in a sports festival for the local community. Isul Jimenuz Dure from Colombia shared her moving testimony following her Nepal experience.

LTF 3rd class member from Columbia, Isul Dure, volunteers in women’s education project in Nepal

“What I realized during the volunteering service time was that if I really put all my heart in everything that I do, being a real owner of every single thing, that mindset will turn into my actions, and my actions is something that the people will see and I will be able to transform people’s hearts. In Dhading, I was able to see that, although I wasn’t able to talk so much with the volunteers during the program, as the days went by, I was able to see how they were getting inspired by the fact that people from different countries came to support their country. On the last day, I was so surprised, because one guy told me that he really wanted to make a contribution for other people; that he really wanted to share all that he was able to learn during this time here and that he really wanted to make a change. Those words were so precious to me because, even through small actions, we can start to make a change for the sake of God. Having an ownership mentality is not easy, but I was able to see how much impact it had on the people.” -ISUL JIMENEZ DURE, COLOMBIA

View full Nepal Gallery here.

Photography by: Takae Goto

Gratitude and Adventure

Gratitude and Adventure

By Keith MacMurdie

The attitude of gratitude or the state of being grateful in all circumstances is an important component in our life of faith. Without gratitude it is difficult to develop an honest relationship with God. Gratitude is not something we are automatically born with. It must be cultivated as part of our character by watching mentors, studying sacred words, and making effort.

Why is gratitude important? Well, what does a person look like who is not grateful? That person may feel that the world owes them something. He might think that he is the center and others are not so important. Essentially, ungrateful people do not value others and live and die in their own false construct of the world. This type of person is cut off from relationships of true love whether with people or God. They are also cut off from truth as their world is extremely limited.

Gratitude opens us up to the necessity of people and God in our lives. We realize that we are all interdependent beings with a common Parent. Through gratitude, we also realize that there are powerful forces in the universe that are beyond our control. The correct and honest worldview is that we are objects to God as the subject.

When things are going smoothly in our lives we are easily grateful. When we are receiving lots of love and support we easily praise God and feel good about our life, family and friends. How about when things are not going well? Remember the Biblical story of Job? He had everything taken from him and he deeply struggled and wrestled with his faith.

At first glance, the two concepts of gratitude and adventure may not seem to go together. However, when we ask the question, “How can gratitude be cultivated?”, we will see they are very closely connected.

We can strengthen our gratitude by putting ourselves in controlled challenging circumstances. This is one way that adventure activities can help us grow. Adventure activities can be fun and exciting. They also place us in very uncomfortable circumstances mentally, emotionally, and physically. These challenging situations are the opportunities to “exercise” our gratitude. Gratitude, much like physical muscles, needs exercise and stress to stretch and grow. By willingly entering into challenging situations we are testing and pushing our limits of gratitude.

Conducting adventure activities in a wilderness setting helps us to understand our proper position in the order of creation. First, in the wilderness there are factors that cannot be controlled such as the weather or encounters with predators.  Risk can be lowered with preparation but not eliminated. We learn trust and gratitude as we navigate wilderness challenges successfully. Secondly, with so much awesome beauty and harmony around us we cannot but be grateful to God for providing such a rich and diverse environment for us to grow. Feeling true love from our Creator stimulates our heartfelt response of gratitude.

So when you are scared, cold, wet, hungry and tired push through those complaining thoughts and allow your mind to go to a place of gratitude. Thanking those around you and God above for the opportunity to become a better person – a person more able to give and receive true love. Because, ultimately, this is why we are here – to become people who share deeply God’s love and joy with Him and our universal family.

Thanksgiving Message from the Family Peace Association USA Director of Blessed Children Education

Thanksgiving Message from the Family Peace Association USA Director of Blessed Children Education

Greetings Blessed Families,

I feel very privileged to be in the role of national director of blessed children education. I am overseeing several education programs such as Core Values Academy (Pre-K to High School), Core Values for Life (college age and young professionals), and Jr. LTF (Leadership Task Force for Middle & High School). I am also involved in supporting the newlywed blessed couples, as they strive to live up to Heaven’s expectations. I believe the best kind of investment is raising the next generation. The brightness of the future depends on how much the youth are able to resemble God as they mature their character, grow their hearts, and develop their skills and abilities to live for the sake of the world. 

Although I’ve been involved in blessed children education for the majority of my adulthood, I have been most inspired by the work and words of Hyun Jin Nim. His words of wisdom are not only profound and riveting, but are also applicable and relevant to daily life. The children of our community are not growing up with blind faith. They are continuously striving to deepen their personal relationship with God, as they challenge their limitations in their daily life. Some of them have to get ready for school at 5:30 in the morning. So they wake up at 4:30am to do Hoon dok hae, the tradition of studying for spiritual growth. Many have found their motivation in God to do better in academics, sports, music, community service, and express more love to their parents and siblings. They have also become mentors to those friends that look to them for wisdom and strength. One student in the New York community recently received a prestigious national award for her science research. These kids are truly a witness to the “Blessed” in “Blessed Children.” 

My family has also greatly benefited from our involvement in blessed children education. My wife, Karilee, teaches grades 2 & 3 of the Core Values Academy. As we work as a couple for the same cause of raising the youth, we find that it has brought us closer together as we go through the same challenges, excitements, and discoveries. The educational contents of CVA and other programs are also very helpful to us as young parents of our own four children. It’s always a struggle to raise children well. Of course, striving to be good examples for our kids is an on-going effort. 

We are grateful to God for all His blessings bestowed upon our community. Naturally, we want to spread these blessings to many others. It is my hope that our blessed families can benefit many more families in our surrounding neighborhoods. After all, it is our mission to spread God’s blessings to our surroundings.

May God Bless you and have a Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Sincerely,

Kenshu Aoki

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

by Nahmdoug Kim (Westpoint Military Academy Student)

Nahmdoug Kim

I’ve never enjoyed being in the spotlight. Often times, I found myself just standing aside and being content to simply let things unravel or wait for others to do something. It takes a good deal of courage to make a decision or some kind of impact in a group, team, or community. For me, I have to dig way down to find that courage, and there have been plenty of times when I hadn’t found it and wish I had. But if you can become comfortable with uncertainties, chaos, and the looming possibility of failure, then you will find it much easier to take that action, or stick with that decision, or do whatever it is you are trying to do. So, pushing yourself to overcome that feeling of being uncomfortable will prepare you for much dire circumstances when the decision you make really matters. This goes along with Hyun Jin Nim’s words on attitude: you have 100% control over your attitude regardless of the situation and knowing that is what makes the difference. This thought helps me through difficult times, and I think you will find it valuable too.