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Character Education

Oceania Leadership Conference Takes Up Topic of “Providing Vision and Leadership for Nation-Building and Peace”

Port Vila, Vanuatu—Dreams, visitations from Jesus, spiritual experiences, repentance, resurrection and scriptural inspiration based on the Principles of Peace of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) were abundant during the two-day Oceania Leadership Conference in Port Vila, Vanuatu, held on May 9–10, 2018.

Above all, there were calls for more education and teacher training that brought spontaneous applause from the audience. Among the 50 participants were 30 tribal chiefs, 10 pastors and elders, and another 10 leaders representing women and youth.

Hon. Andrew Solomon Napuat, minister of internal affairs, was the chief guest at the opening session. He reminded the audience that Vanuatu is a nation founded on Christian principles. In the preamble of the constitution of Vanuatu, it reads, “The Republic of Vanuatu [is] founded on traditional Melanesian values, faith in God, and Christian principles.” These values, Hon. Napuat noted, were being eroded and needed to be protected.

One point was crystal clear—education in values is never lost. Many of the participants had had extensive education in the Divine Principle of the Unification movement more than 10 years ago, under the leadership of Dr. Yong Chung-sik. They could recall details of those programs that were still fresh in their minds and hearts. The success of this conference was built on that decade-old foundation.

The founding president of Vanuatu, H.E. Ati George Sokamanu, who is currently the chairman of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society, attended both days of the OLC. He said he learned that people could be protected from witchcraft by fulfilling their responsibilities, “by doing what you should be doing, by loving.” He added that even during this short time together, which included an Interfaith Peace Blessing, participants could see signs of happiness, love and God. It was, he said, an initiative that would impact families, communities and the nation itself.

Pastor John Dick Tapi Lepo, chairman of Men of the Hour Ministry, emphasized that the conference had had a “great impact on our lives.” He talked about a near-death experience his wife had many years ago and shared that the Divine Principle provided the clearest explanation of this spiritual phenomena. Continuing, he talked about his dream of the very first prime minister of Vanuatu. This statesman was crying, asking, “Where are the leaders who were with me?” as he lamented and was waiting for new leadership to come forth. Pastor John finished by asking UPF for more leadership training as he highlighted how understanding the dual characteristics of masculinity and femininity helped him realize that the husband–wife relationship was very holy and righteous before God.

“We need one month of education,” exclaimed Paramount Chief John Tari Lama, to which a round of applause erupted. Clearly the desire for more education struck a chord with the audience. The chairman of the Port Vila Indigenous Council of Chiefs pleaded, “Teach us; train us. Help us to stand on our feet and teach our people.” He continued, saying that he could read the Bible over and over, but never understood it. The late Dr. Moon, he said, gave us a new revelation that is vital to clearly understand the Holy Scriptures.

Chief Henthan Kalsakan, Chief of Ifira Island, recalled how he helped the very first missionaries whom Reverend Moon sent to Vanuatu. In reflecting about his experience during the two-day seminar, he shared his heart.  “I learned a lot. I am very, very happy. I know what Dr. Moon is teaching and no doubt they are Christian principles… [they are] highly from God.”

“What a happy, happy, happy day. Today is the first day of Vanuatu. Vanuatu has been regenerated, resurrection and… injected with a new fire.” Thus began the reflections of the traditional chief of Pentecost Island, Chief Wreath Bulu. He shared a vision he had of Jesus Christ at a table with his disciples. The Vanuatu chief was with two of his friends and turned to them, asking, “Can you see our Savior and Master?” Even though they were just a few feet away, they couldn’t see Jesus. He concluded that when Jesus comes again there will be some who will be unable to see the new expression of truth he brings, even though they are so very close.

Regional director of the Asia-Pacific group, Dr. Yong Chung-sik, gave two power-packed presentations, one on each day. The main lecturers of UPF’s Peace Principles were Dr. Robert Kittel, President of Youth and Students for Peace, and Greg Stone, the secretary-general of UPF-Oceania.

Rev. Park Shang-seon, the chairman of UPF-Oceania, welcomed the participants on the first day. After the Peace Blessing ceremony at the end of the second day, he congratulated the participants and asked them to continue nurturing the life of faith as if it were a tree that needs to be cared for to grow properly.

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