This morning we held the long-awaited 5K Marathon at 6:00 AM at the UCI campus. Even though the students had to wake up very early to be on time, they were eager to start and loaded the buses right on time. Once at the UCI campus, one could feel the anticipation in the air as the students warmed up and stretched. Some of the students have never run a race before and were looking forward to the experience. During the race, each student had to challenge their own limitations and overcome them by running their best and finishing the marathon.
Although all of the students ran well, there was one that ran the best. The winner of the 5K Marathon from the male group was Daniel Moreno, 17, from Rosemead High School in Pasadena. During his interview he admitted he was in shock that he had won. His strategy was simply to keep a rhythm and do his best. He also talked about how overall during the camp, he liked that he was able to learn to open up his heart to new people and learning from them.
The first place winner from the girl’s group was Berenice Camargo, 26, from LA. During her interview, she said that this year’s 5K was much different than last year’s. This year she felt that she ran with a different mindset, which made the difference. She didn’t try to rely on her ability but relied on the grace of God. She felt very thankful to be able to run in the race and about gaining strength through the word of God during the World Camp.
On the third and final day of IYF Academies, the students were happy to enjoy one last class. Because it was their last day, they listened sincerely to their classes. Those students in the sushi class learned how to use different techniques to make the most beautiful and delicious sushi. Those in the Taekwondo and Capoeira classes showed off the skills they gained over the course of the week’s classes. Overall, the students experienced many new things that opened their minds and allowed them to broaden their hearts as well.
During the fashion academy, there was a special guest named Ron Pastucha, who worked on the project to make the 3D designs of the ship models. He enjoys teaching and sharing with students part time because he believes the imagination has to be sparked. He commented that the World Camp felt very high energy and could feel that the students were very receptive to his teaching.
Special Guuest Lecture
During the Special Guest Lecture time, we heard from University of California, Irvine Vice Chancellor, Dr. Dr. Rameen Talesh. He spoke to the students about the experiences from college that helped him to develop a leader’s mindset. He gave the example of the time in college when he was a Residential Assistant in the school dormitories. This experience made him develop a balance in college life and helped him develop a mentality of being a role model for the students he led. Instead of focusing on trying to live a comfortable live for himself, he lived a life for others. He knew that the peer-to-peer influence was much stronger than the teacher-student influence so because of this, he did not just live freely, but had to deny himself in order to have a good influence on others. His final message to the students was that they should focus on living a positive life because they can be a big influence on other people’s lives and that they should become involved in various types of activities.
Perform. & Bible Lecture
This afternoon, Pastor Ock Soo Park gave the message on Leviticus 1:3-9. You could clearly see the students opening their hearts and receiving God’s word. Pastor talked about two different types of people. There are those that live for themselves and those that give themselves to the Lord. Although when Pastor looks at himself he is old and is good for nothing, but as he offered himself to the Lord, God has been able to use him and work through him. As you give your live to the Lord, God will establish you and use you to do many great works for the gospel and make your life beautiful.
Good News Corps Info Session/ Culture
The Good News Corps information session took a fun twist today as the IYF San Jose youth prepared a talk show-style presentation to introduce the program to the World Camp participants. Their presentation was very engaging and the students really enjoyed hearing about former GNC Volunteer Abraham Benea’s testimony about his service in Rwanda.
After the GNC Information session, the students got a chance to ask questions to former GNC volunteers at the different booths. Each continent had a representative from a former GNC volunteer talking about their experience and why the students should choose their particular country. In the South America booths, for example, many people asked questions on how they can go to countries like Peru and Argentina to make a difference in the lives of the people there. We could see that many students that participated in the World Camp gained the heart of working for others and like the motto of Good News Corps, they have become people who are willing to exchange their youth for the hearts of those in need.
During the World Camp, we had planned to hold the Christmas Cantata once at 6:30 PM, but due to the positive response from the public, we opened up an extra showing for this afternoon. The afternoon session was only for World Camp participants but the second session at 6:30 PM was opened up to the public and for VIP guests. Both showings were packed and we had many VIP guests in attendance.
The Gracias Choir astounded the audience with their amazing voices and brought to life the spirit of Christmas in their hearts. The program included classic Christmas songs such as “Ding Dong Merrily on High”, “O Tannenbaum”, “Jingle Bells”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, and “Joy to the World”, during the Overture and First Act. For the second act, they presented a play on the village of Bethlehem from 2,000 years ago with the theme “For Unto You is Born a Savior”. In the third act, the audience enjoyed a play based on a modern family discovering that the true source of happiness only comes from God’s love. During the fourth and final act, they performed in traditional Korean attire and delighted the audience with classics such as, George Friedrich Handel’s Oratorio “Messiah” and “Halleluja”. The audience enjoyed the show so much that the Gracias Choir received requests for an encore not once but twice.
At the end of the Christmas Cantata, Pastor Ock Soo Park shared God’s word with the participants. He spoke about the characteristics of great people. He said that most people only accept what they understand but the great people are those who accept even that which they can’t understand. He talked about how our thoughts are so different from God’s thoughts. Even if we can’t understand, God acknowledged the ungodly as righteous and those who accept that by faith, not by knowledge but by faith, are among great people. God uses those who accept the word of God even though they don’t understand. We find that this is the common characteristic of prominent figures in the bible.