Spiritual Growth through Fundraising: LTF Reflections

Spiritual Growth through Fundraising: LTF Reflections

The moment that I started to change was the moment that I really trusted myself, that I really committed and sincerely said to myself,  ‘I can do it.’ All of this had to be rooted in God, and then for LTF, Nepal, and for a greater purpose. -Terumoto Fukuda (LTF 3rd Class)

Leadership Task Force (LTF) utilizes a training period for the young leaders to practice the core values of teamwork, ownership, dreaming big, and living for the greater good through fundraising. From November 14 to December 3, LTF 3rd class prepared to serve in Nepal by first training their heart and minds to offer their best positive spirit through the challenge of fundraising. The following are excerpts of their testimonies.

LTF member, Terumoto Fukuda, serves children in Nepal through character education programs

“My goal was to have absolute conviction in my identity as God’s son and bring the Core Values into my life; to strongly have the conviction to offer my life to God and His dream, to root deeply in my heart that I am God’s son, and in that way, be a part of God. This was my focus in fundraising and it will be the same throughout this entire phase. While fundraising, I was taking some time to overcome challenges. In general I was thinking too much, making weak actions and therefore bringing low results. The moment that I started to change was the moment that I really trusted myself, that I really committed and sincerely said to myself,  ‘I can do it.’ All of this had to be rooted in God, and then for LTF, Nepal, and for a greater purpose. In this moment I could bring an inner energy, a strong power inside myself, in order to offer a sincere day to Heavenly Father. I am really grateful to Heavenly Father. The last day I was able to have this kind of heart, going beyond myself, my pride and physical limitations.” -TERUMOTO FUKUDA, COLOMBIA

Takae Goto, pictured middle, with Nepalese children

“I saw a lot of limitations within myself that I had to breakthrough. One main limitation I was reminded of lies in the core value of teamwork. I always had a hard time working together as a team, especially for me to be the one to lead the team. In fundraising, all the people I was meeting were my team members and it was a huge challenge to be the one to initiate the culture of heart because I lacked trust. I’m very skeptical of people so it’s easy to let them be and work by myself. This limitation was contradicting my goal and I had to breakthrough. In Incheon, I had to trust God in order for Him to trust me. I needed to let go of my ego for Him to be with me. I realized that one afternoon and from then on, I saw people as children God trusted. I gained the conviction that these are His children that resemble God in some way or another. Then I started to see the good in people, and once I focused on the positivity, everyone around me became positive as well. I just needed to break some barriers we were artificially creating by opening my heart more.” -TAKAE GOTO, USA

View the gallery: LTF Serves in Nepal

 

 

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.

Jr. Leadership Task Force Challenge Hike: Testimony

Jr. Leadership Task Force Challenge Hike: Testimony

by Myung Thongdee (High School Senior, Jr. LTF 2nd Stage Member)

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Jr. LTF challengers assemble heavy cement bags to carry together while hiking

My internal goal for this challenge hike was to always have a good perspective and not think about myself during the hike. I made this goal because the morning of the hike I saw what we had to carry up and down the mountain and I already doubted myself saying that I could not do it because it was too heavy. Later, I thought to myself that I cannot have that kind of attitude, especially right before we leave to go do the activity.

Because I was a team leader, I really needed to check my attitude and motivation to do the hike in order for the rest of my team members to have a good attitude and perspective to also participate in the hike. This is why I made the internal goal of having a good perspective and thinking that I am not doing this for myself but I am doing this in order to build a stronger relationship with God. Whenever I reach an obstacle during this hike or any time in my life I cannot think about myself but instead think about what God would do or how God would feel. My external goal of the hike was to make it all the way up to the waterfall with my whole team and both of the cement bags.

From the moment we left the community center, I was reflecting on the hike and I felt this frustration that I cannot describe with words. By doing this hike I realized that if the team members are not able to do something, the team leader has to pick up the slack or make up for it. Although the team members do not want to do a certain task, the team leader has to do it and make a good example for the team.

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Jr. LTF teams carry heavy cement packs up the mountain

I was praying and reflecting during the hike and once I got to the waterfalls, I realized that this is what God must feel like looking at all of humankind. God has a path and task laid out for human beings but it is up to us whether we will follow the path or not. In this way I was able to feel a glimpse of how frustrated God must feel towards human beings.

Something I also learned is that no matter what the situation is, even if you want to yell at someone to put them in line, the best way to deal with it is to continue to give that person love even if it is really difficult. I also related this to our relationship with God. No matter what we do, even if we disappoint God, God will always unconditionally love us. I am so glad and thankful I was able to join this challenge and be able to feel a glimpse of what Heavenly Father feels. This challenge allowed me to make a bigger determination to God to do better and create a stronger relationship with Him and be a better example for my siblings and people around me.

I am really thankful for my team because I was able to learn a lot and grow from these experiences. I am grateful for my teammates because although it was very difficult, they tried their hardest!

Thank you!

 

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.

Reflection from the Summer 2015 Jr. Leadership Task Force Workshop

Reflection from the Summer 2015 Jr. Leadership Task Force Workshop

Myung Thongdee, Age 17

Jr. LTF member, Myung Thongdee shares her testimony

“During the hike I was able to see that what the leader does affects the whole team. For example, in the beginning of the hike when I had the mindset [to think of] just myself and my pain and not thinking about the team or God, I realized that my team was not energized and my teammates (especially my siblings) were angry for no reason. But as soon as I changed my attitude and was feeling energized and reminding everyone the purpose of the hike and telling everyone to think of their goals, I realized that everyone felt more energized and had more energy to go up the mountain.

So I was able to realize that the role of a leader is very important because you are the role model for that team and you are the one who sets the culture in the team whether it’s right or wrong so being a leader comes with responsibility. No matter how difficult the situation is as a team leader you have to be a good role model for your team and especially for God.”
-Myung Thongdee (17)