The year-end US Winter Retreat, concluding the year 2023, began on Monday, the 25th, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dallas, Texas, USA. Approximately 2,000 participants engaged in various programs, including Korean language camps, Mind Education, and general retreats, experiencing a rich exchange of words and learning.
One notable aspect of this year's retreat was the Korean Camp. While recruiting participants for the camp, there was also a consideration for promoting next year's Korea World Camp. In this regard, the "Taste of Korea" event was planned to generate interest in Korea. As a result, more than 6,000 people participated, showing a significantly higher level of interest and engagement than in previous years. Korean camp participants expressed warm interest in future participation in the Korea World Camp and international volunteer activities.
Approximately 6,000 people from the Dallas area attended the event and enjoyed various prepared activities.
The event featured 15 external companies that set up booths, providing all the necessary items and materials for the event. K-pop dance groups and communities in the Dallas area, known for their interest in Korean culture, participated, spreading news about the Korean language camp held during the Dallas Winter Camp through social media and online platforms.
Volunteer Meeting after the "Taste of Korea" event.
Pastor Eun Chong Park (Good News Dallas Church):
"Before preparing for the retreat, Pastor Yeong-Kook Park spoke to us during a pastors' meeting, saying, 'Just blow the trumpet. Keep proclaiming the promises God has given and the heart of the Lord.' My heart was determined to continually proclaim only the promises given by God, regardless of circumstances. I only proclaimed but through the Korean language camp, God connected 6,000 people and brought many educators from the Dallas area."
To invite people to another program at the Dallas camp, the Mind Workshop, weekly brunch meetings for community leaders and educators in the Dallas area were held, creating connections with educational professionals.
In the United States, mental health issues have gained significant attention in the education and political sectors nationwide. Through visits to universities, high schools, police stations, fire departments, counseling clinics, and more in the Dallas area, people were invited to the Mind Education Workshops. Denia Johnson, responsible for the Teen Court Fort Worth, attended the workshop, emphasizing that mind education could be a solution to the increasing youth crime problem.
Since the New York World Camp in 2011, where 43 Native Americans attended, we maintained relationships with the community and were able to invite them to the camp in Dallas as well.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Native Americans in the United States, facing increased isolation, have seen a rise in youth suicide rates influenced by internet social media. With 567 tribes in the U.S. and 614 in Canada, the Dallas camp provided an opportunity for Indigenous educators to connect with people at educational events and presentations. Efforts are underway to introduce Mind Education, especially among the Navajo, Cherokee, and Kiowa tribes.
Representative Angela Moore from the Georgia State Senate, came from Atlanta and extended a warm welcome, sharing her experience of finding new family through the retreat during Christmas.
The performance of the Gracias Choir was enough to open the hearts of all participants.
Educators, pastors, and participants in the Korean language camp came together for the year-end retreat in Dallas, creating an atmosphere of joy with Christmas performances and songs. The messages conveyed the joy of praising Jesus, who was born on this earth to save us from sin.
The main speaker at the Dallas Winter Camp, Pastor Ock Soo Park, delivered a message about Jesus Christ, born on this earth, through the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
"The woman caught in adultery, before meeting Jesus, said, 'I am dead. I have no hope. I should die.' She was in the most difficult position in her life. The crucial point is that despite her difficulties and problems, nothing became an issue when she came before Jesus. If Jesus were not there, this woman should have died, but when she came before Jesus, nothing became a problem. The important thing is that if we meet Jesus, whatever problems we have, there is nothing that cannot be resolved. Among us, there is no one who can overcome Satan. That's why Jesus came. Let's rejoice and be happy in Jesus. He knows me, forgave my sins, lives within me, leads me, and helps me in difficult times. Now, you are not alone. If you receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, you are a child of God, and Jesus is with you. Whatever you face, God will bestow grace, and He will turn any situation into joy. May God receive glory through all of you."
Many people around the world are spending Christmas in various ways. However, within the Dallas Winter Camp, the hearts of the participants, coming together, have become one with Jesus, who helps us. We have great hope before God that He will lead the remaining camp period.