NOCP - the National Ocean Challenge Program -
A Report by a 2021 participant
Guest Writer: Hanphil Olgado
This was the second year Hanphil participated in the Ocean Challenge. She is currently a college student pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She started to deepen her love and appreciation for the Ocean and Creation because of this workshop.
National Ocean Challenge Program(NOCP): WEBSITE
Ocean Challenge, a leadership training created by True Father
NOCP stands for National Ocean Challenge Program. The “Ocean Challenge” was started by True Father on July 1, 1981, in Gloucester, MA, under Ocean Church, which was officially launched in 1980.
NOCP's mission statement is to empower future leaders to become true owners of God’s creation through ocean-based educational and experiential activities rooted in the teachings of Father and Mother Moon. NOCP’s three main objectives are:
to develop character and confidence through seamanship
experience a heart of stewardship
cultivate faith through experiencing God’s love through nature.
The Alaska Spirit
This workshop is a 21-day workshop based in Kodiak, Alaska, and is an amazing opportunity to experience the “Alaska Spirit” and deep affectionate love True Parents have for the ocean.
The “Alaska Spirit” was originally established by True Father, and is the spirit of going beyond one’s physical limitations, and not going home until one’s responsibility is fulfilled. He also talked about the sacrificial love of Salmon giving up their own bodies to their offspring.
The “Alaska Spirit” is embodied in this quote from the book, Mother of Peace (pg.19): “No matter who you are, you will not experience only the sweetness and joy on the path to the kingdom of heaven….The fruit of perseverance will grow and ripen within you, and one day will become the source of your deepest pride.”
The Experience of Challenging Oneself
Some of the challenges that one can experience at NOCP are: Challenging oneself and understanding the value of perseverance. A challenge for a person to learn to grow their hearts and expand their understanding of True Parents. Developing a deeper understanding of True Parents’ love and teaching through the ocean.
We also had the opportunity to listen to personal testimonies of 1st gen members who worked directly with True Parents, serving True Parents, worked in Ocean Providence/Ocean Church, fishing, and other ocean-related businesses that were started by True Parents.
Gaining Valuable Internal Lessons
We were surrounded by nature, hiking and reflecting on the rocky beaches. We were able to cultivate an internal aspect of the heart of Ocean Challenge and build up our life of faith through daily Hoon Dok Hae readings of True Parents scriptures and teachings.
The lovely and hardworking NOCP staff prepared daily morning services targeting different topics for each day such as: “Setting Good Conditions,” “Teamwork and Unity,” and “Walking in Our Parent’s footsteps,” along with setting external and internal intentions/goals for each day. They also planned intentional reflection time, team-bonding activities, and open opportunities to build friendships and personal connections with our peers during the program.
As a participant, the one moment I felt God’s love and presence was during the Challenge Day. Challenge Day is an experience of waking up at 5 in the morning and going out on the boat with the intention to embody the spirit of True Father when He was fishing in Kodiak. That day, I made an external goal to catch a 50 lbs. halibut for my family and an internal goal to have a heart of gratitude throughout the day.
I caught several fish that day but none of them were halibut. Slowly my motivation and attitude started to diminish with seeing others thriving around me. Regardless of the struggles, I kept trying to persevere toward my goals until the end. Even in the last minute of fishing, I desperately pleaded with Heavenly Parents to help me catch this 50 lbs. halibut but felt defeated when nothing bit my line.
Afterward, on the drive back to the dock I reflected upon my intentions and what the day had taught me. While reflecting, I was looking out the back of the boat and happened to see a seagull following the boat. At first, I didn’t think much of it since some seagulls tend to follow for a bit and then leave. However, this seagull unusually kept following the boat for more than 10 minutes. It puzzled me seeing the persistence of this seagull until I felt this sense of sympathy and comfort towards the seagull, like a parent encouraging their child to keep going when faced with difficulties. Immediately a rush of warmth and love filled me. I started to cry because it felt like God was using nature to tell me, “It’s going to be okay, and I love you.” My heart melted with gratitude to True Parents and Heavenly Parents for allowing me this experience and giving this great blessing of feeling their love - a memorable jewel to treasure forever of an unforgettable moment.
I hope through this article, you were able to glimpse and sense the heart of Ocean Challenge and what one can gain there.
Thank you everyone and God Bless!