By Deborah Cali
The STF Europe program begun on the 18th of September with a 7 days kick off workshop in Gaflenz, Austria .
This year we have members coming from many countries of the world, we have both 1st and 2nd generation members and many different ages involved. Something new about this year is that we have many second years so we made a Top Gun team formed by only second years with the purpose to inspire all the other teams by their example and dedication. They also will be staff at the workshops and be part of different special activities and projects throughout the year.
A few days before the workshop started, the director and the staff met to prepare everything needed so that the new participants could have a nice welcome into the program. On the first day, we organized activities for the STF members to get to know each other better and start creating relationships.
Then in the few days after we received lectures from the national leader of England Matthew Huish about Divine Principle and about how to create healthy brother-sister relationships. Everyone really appreciated the guidance that was given and gained more clarity about how to have a good start of this year of STF.
We also took a whole afternoon to share in 2 groups dividing brothers and sisters so that we could support each other more closely regarding specific issues that can be difficult to discuss about in a mixed group.
During the workshop, we received the visit of the continental director Dr. Michael Balcomb and his wife Fumiko, which uplifted the spirit of the whole group and could inspire the STF members to invest more to connect to Heavenly Parent and True Parents. One of the evenings was also dedicated to prayer and reflection, so that the STF members could determine themselves by choosing a goal to focus on for this year.
By the last part of the workshop we had a challenge day full of activities that tested the participant’s determination and inner strength so that they could prepare themselves for the upcoming fundraising period.
The last day of the workshop was dedicated to fund raising guidance. Since last year in STF we use the Korean word manmulbokki because it has a deeper meaning and it shows the true meaning of the fund-raising activity. Then to close the workshop we had a family evening, where the STF members could perform and show their talents to each other.
Yesterday the STF members left to go to Switzerland and Austria, experiencing manmulbokki for the first time. As staff, we are praying and doing conditions for them so that they can have deep and meaningful experiences during this time.”