Meet the Miller’s. I know, the apostrophe ‘S’ is not exactly right, but that’s my Global Top Gun family! We’re such misfits. The first two days of the workshop, I took a look at my family and thought, could this be more odd? Huge age gaps and a range of personalities. It took us four days to attempt eating one meal together! Sound like a family you might know?
Hi, I’m Shinyoung. I’m a picky person. Trying to get me excited about anything is not a very easy task. I tend not to show what I’m feeling or going through on my face. You’d have to be extremely perceptive to know what is going on in my heart. So when I say I’m excited about this year’s Global Top Gun workshop, understand my picky heart has been moved.
Two weeks before I decided to come on as Media Staff on behalf of FFWPU USA’s National Ministry Team, a sense of something great would happen bubbled up inside me. I don’t know what caused it; I know only that it was this feeling that confirmed in me the decision to be part of Global Top Gun. Again. That’s right, I was here last August. It’s not easy deciding to come to Global Top Gun again once you’ve done it. It’s literally a training ground. An in-your-face, every moment of every day struggle with yourself to get up off the hard floor that is your sleeping ground and make it through a 17-hour day of lectures, praying, spiritual conditioning and mostly, learning how to relate to a room full of diverse personalities and levels of maturity. I’m thirty-eight years old, so having to deal with a nineteen year-old who happened to end up in my family grouping is just not something I volunteer to do, ever! So, like I said, a daily moment-to-moment training ground.
I’m happy to be here, though other participants will say, “I can’t tell if Shinyoung is a Grumpy Monkey today, or just exhausted.” I won’t always participate in the daily sing-a-song-before-lectures gaieties and you’ll hear me say often, “I miss my bed.” But I’m not sorry I came.
My happiness stems from the sheer fact that there are people from about 24 countries spending all day with each other for 21 days.
That’s amazing. Think about it.
Did you think about it? Really?
I’m not talking about 24 ethnicities like you’d see in large cities such as Boston and New York, mingling about all speaking English and getting along with a sense of common etiquettes and cultural mannerisms. I’m talking, English is a second language for fifteen percent of us, forty percent of us are from African countries who were born into this faith, twenty percent are from European countries, a handful of us are Korean- or Japanese-born and the rest of us are North American. How often does this happen anywhere, let alone within the Unification faith, that talks a great deal about us being one family under God?
I’ve never been to Africa, though my parents have. I thought my eldest sister so brave when she didn’t hesitate to go to D.R. Congo for three months, even though my parents had told us how dangerous it could be. She was only 21 at the time. I thought surely she would come home sick. Instead she came home changed in her heart about the world, about how she saw people of this world and her heart had broke over the stark contrast between the poor who were literally starving and the rich who spent so much at fancy restaurants and expensive cars. The reality of the situation in Congo has never left her. I recall her feeling helpless to do anything.
I’ve always been afraid to visit that part of the world. So I’m very grateful to meet so many brothers and sister from Africa here in the safety of Korea. I don’t think my heart is brave enough to go to Africa to meet them all yet, so, again, I’m very grateful.
If you joined us today and went from person to person and asked, “What aspect of this workshop stands out as the best for you?”, I’m certain ten-out-of-ten would make some comment about the cultural melting pot this Global Top Gun workshop has become and their answers would invariably be filled with expressions of surprise over it and joy.
We’re still in the thick of it, learning how to relate to each other, figuring out how to mesh as as family, a real family, and desperately attempting to create emotional ties so strong, we can go back to our homes and take each person here with us. We still have half a workshop to go. I hope you get to hear more stories from us before it’s over.
Contributed by Shinyoung Chang
Editorial Coordinator, FFWPU USA