I recently had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia for GPF’s 2013 Global Peace Convention (GPC). I went without really knowing what to expect, but came home with a sense of renewal and understanding. Having just celebrated my 26th birthday, and taking time to reflect, I have to say that GPC 2013 was one of the most beautifully profound experiences that I have had.
For a week and a half my life was turned upside down. I didn’t sleep and ate only when I remembered. But amidst all the bustle of preparing and running the GPC, I found myself always at peace.
Every morning I was greeted by Malaysians, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Indonesians, Americans, Guatemalans, Paraguayans, Kenyans, Nigerians and so many others from around the world. Every day God granted me with the serenity to face the day’s mission. I knew that no matter what lied ahead, if we stuck together as One Family under God, everything and anything was possible.
While I have known about Global Peace Foundation, its mission and work for quite some time, it wasn’t until GPC that I experienced it firsthand. The motto of ‘One Family under God’ was just that, a really cool motto. I always believed it to be a grand idea, one that would be great to fulfill, but I had my reservations.
Growing up doing interfaith activities, I found myself slightly jaded and confused. Somehow something so beautiful had managed to become routine and mindless. This convention was different. I realized that the vision of “One Family Under God” had just been beyond my understanding and experience.
The world I entered during the Global Peace Convention was alien but so amazing. Everyone there wanted to be there, everyone believed in the vision of GPF. We invested in and supported one another and everyone loved God. There were Muslims, Buddhists, Catholics, Pentecostals, Evangelicals and so many others. But no matter how we communed with God, we all loved God and loved being one family in His name.
Any pretentions I may have walked in with melted right away. The embrace that I felt from those around me made me understand that peace has to begin within myself first. When I can let the walls of my heart crumble, I can experience the love of God through my extended human family, just as he intended. However, as long as I hold on to that which confines me, I am my own worst enemy.
The hours we put in were crazy and the tasks we performed can be understood only as accomplishments achieved through the grace of God and an unmatched determination and commitment to a common vision. We pulled off a pretty enormous and amazing convention.
And for me I gained something personally significant. I take away from my convention the relationship with the people, the vision and the leadership at the Global Peace Convention and a visceral experience of “One Family Under God”.
Written by Milei Ikeno, Milei was part of the Program Team during the Global Peace Convention.