I Came Here for a Purpose Greater Than Myself.

I Came Here for a Purpose Greater Than Myself.

Namsik Yoo was excited to join a yearlong leadership program after graduating high school in the United States. Throughout the year he would travel around the world to places like Korea, Philippines, Columbia and Nepal. It was in Nepal that he would learn a valuable lesson in serving others not just as a “nice thing” to do, but an essential quality of becoming a life-long leader.

Leadership Task Force (LTF) provides opportunities for young adults to practice and develop skills that will help them become leaders in their families and communities when they return home after the one-year program. Service projects are a major component of helping LTF participants reflect on their own spiritual growth and put their goals into action.

Raising funds for the project in Nepal.

Namsik and his LTF family didn’t just show up one day at the doors of Nepalese children and families in need. It required a lot of preparation and organization, all of which him and his team were responsible for. This included fundraising for building materials and coming up with activities for community bonding before even taking the flight to Nepal.

“Whenever I was going through a hardship during fundraising, I would always tell myself to think about the children who are waiting for us in Nepal,” said Namsik. “Whenever planning out the activities with my team members, I would keep asking myself, ‘What do the Nepali people need?’”

Namsik didn’t just want to lift and move objects in a one-time service project; he wanted to come up with specific solutions to the hardships facing Nepalese families in remote areas affected by natural disasters. More importantly, Namsik wanted to help foster a sense of community, a family-bond, to transform others and himself in the process. He learned the importance of becoming an owner of change. The process of serving others starts long before getting your hands dirty. It starts inside yourself.

Namsik being welcomed by elementary school students in Parapakar.

“If I had just gone to Nepal with everything already prepared and I had not done anything before coming, then there would be nothing I could offer besides some small service work and making friends. Most importantly, without internally preparing myself, I would not be able to contribute in allowing the people we meet to feel any sort of transformation. The fundraising that we did was not just simply raising money to support the activities we will be doing in Nepal, and the project planning was not just simply organizing the activities, but this was a process of putting sincere effort into something greater than ourselves.”

 

Jr. Leadership Task Force Indonesia Adventures

Jr. Leadership Task Force Indonesia Adventures

Jr. Leadership Task Force members traveled from the United States and Korea to participate in service projects, leadership development workshops, cultural expeditions and an interfaith assembly in Indonesia.

One thing I realized is that we need to have the perspective of wanting the religions’ harmonization not by letting it be different and just co-existing, but by seeing beyond the identities the religions give to people and recognizing that they are all children of God. True world peace can happen only if God is in the center to really prove the most fundamental bond between us and the people in the world as brothers and sisters who have one same parent.

Ohnshim (18)

Jr. LTF USA member

I realized many points when we went to the village for the service project. One is that seeing each other as members of one global family is possible. We were immediately able to connect even though we met for the first time in our lives. I also realized that service really helps melt all the different cultural differences as long as we look at each other from God’s perspective.

Pilsung (14)

Jr. LTF USA member

Leadership Task Force: 2017 Philippines Gallery

Leadership Task Force: 2017 Philippines Gallery

Photography by Takae Goto

“Despite the cultural shock and differences at the opening ceremony, I started to love the children as my younger brothers and sisters. It was the same love I had towards my school mates and community members that I was sharing in the village. Although we don’t speak the same language or have the same lifestyle, I felt that we are still one family with the same heart that everybody has.”

Takae Goto

LTF 3rd Class

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.

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

Getting through Difficult Times: The Attitude of a Leader

by Nahmdoug Kim (Westpoint Military Academy Graduate)

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.

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.