Castries, Santa Lucia, June 23, 2017 (Newswire.com) - Saint Lucia—an Eastern Caribbean island nation famous for its pair of dramatically tapered mountains, volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, fishing villages, and an interior rainforest that leads to cliff-edge waterfalls—was the postcard-perfect scene for the convergence of several hundred of the world’s most dedicated Scientologists. They gathered for a week-long convocation aboard the legendary 440-foot Motor Vessel, Freewinds, a religious retreat for the Church of Scientology, in celebration of the 29th Anniversary of the ship’s Maiden Voyage.
Indeed, this was no ordinary cruise, in fact, those on board form a stellar group who have collectively spearheaded the Church’s expansion through the creation of new Churches of Scientology in their respective zones.
What’s more, the week-long gathering is helmed by the religion’s ecclesiastical leader, Mr. David Miscavige, so again, this is no ordinary cruise.
The week launched with Mr. Miscavige’s recap of just some of the highlights from the year’s progress:
“Since last we met, our solar system of Churches now includes: Budapest, Hungary; Harlem, New York; San Diego, California; and, the rim of our terrestrial world in Auckland, New Zealand,” he said, before moving on to detail the most recent Church grand openings in the San Fernando Valley, California; Miami, Florida; and Copenhagen, Denmark.
But the convocation is not just about looking back, Mr. Miscavige told the assembled. This is the week that sets the agenda for Scientologists around the world to continue the record-breaking expansion that has made the religion a thriving, upward-moving worldwide phenomenon.
For the rest of the year, the Freewinds is an extraordinary vessel of benevolent distribution, as she logs and charts adventures that bring humanitarian and educational programs to the Caribbean and Latin America; as well as providing spiritual services for the most advanced Scientologists all year long.
But for this week, the guests on the annual cruise will not only celebrate their own good works on behalf of the Church, but will target, plan and put into action future expansion while participating in extraordinary evening events, each with a unique and striking focus.
HONORING A HUMANITARIAN SHIP OF STATE
When Mr. Miscavige greeted the audience the first night, he also paid homage to the Freewinds, whose crew—including five master mariners and 133 survival craftsmen—has compiled a staggering 5,000 years of cumulative experience at sea. The ship, he said, has been virtually rebuilt since her Maiden Voyage, making her “the safest ship on seven seas.”
But her safety is not her only hallmark, and not her particular calling card. It is in fact her ongoing mission for humanity as she plies the azure Caribbean waters.
From human rights campaigns reaching island inhabitants across the windward isle of Saint Vincent; to drug education proliferation over Bonaire’s TV and radio airwaves to counteract endemic drug abuse; and morals education by way of The Way to Happiness, which earned exuberant praise from Aruba’s Ministry of Justice.
In fact, the value of the Freewinds’ mission was repeatedly acknowledged in testaments from grateful island officials who have personally witnessed the benefits.
The interaction of the Freewinds and her crew with society shows “not just merely extending a hand, or granting a favor, but a social responsibility,” said the Saint Lucia Minister over Infrastructure and Ports, in a video tribute. “That passion is one of love, one of sincerity, and one of true friendship and happiness.”
A scholar from Barbados added, “The Freewinds doesn’t just come in, spend some time and leave. They look for areas where the Freewinds can help. And it’s not about helping financially. It’s about helping find solutions to issues, to concerns, to problems.”
While finally, a Ministry of Tourism representative from St. Kitts and Nevis declared: “Even though we don’t say it often enough or loud enough, just remember, the Caribbean appreciates the Freewinds.”
AN EVENING IN RECOGNITION OF FOUNDER L. RON HUBBARD
The next night, guests were treated to a biographical presentation in honor of L. Ron Hubbard (LRH). It was an evening informing and astounding those in attendance with countless previously untold tales of Mr. Hubbard’s legacy. Tales presented by the LRH Biographer, Dan Sherman, that spoke to both Mr. Hubbard’s kindness and his vision.
At the heart of the evening were on-camera interviews featuring vivid personal accounts of those who had encountered L. Ron Hubbard and were forever changed.
There was the Spanish cabin steward who went on to become a “better person with my fellow man, and that’s all thanks to Ron.” Similarly, the Portuguese entrepreneur who spoke of “the power” from LRH “that made my life what I am today.” Followed by the Caribbean synagogue president who told of Mr. Hubbard “capturing the mood and atmosphere” of the New World’s oldest synagogue in their cherished photo journal. Concluding with the island radio personality and architect who recalled one Captain L. Ron Hubbard urging his Caribbean classmates to empower themselves through education and thus whom he called “a Captain not only for a ship, for me, he’s a Captain that helps us direct our lives.”
Mr. Sherman concluded his presentation with a message, “Whatever you do, emulate L. Ron Hubbard. His competence and proficiency sufficient to produce an emotional impact—emulate it. And thereby sow his compassion and kindness through the lives you, too, encounter.”
A NIGHT IN CELEBRATION OF HUMANITARIAN ACTION
Passengers aboard for the Maiden Voyage also attended a formal event honoring the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) and its stellar commitment to not only protect and support the religion, but accelerate the betterment of mankind, through the myriad international humanitarian campaigns. They include:
- The Citizens Commission on Human Rights who exposed and curbed psychiatric abuse in Tokyo hospitals, across South Africa’s largest tribal kingdom and on the streets of South Florida.
- United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights, who sparked a human rights movement in Toronto—the most ethnically diverse city on Earth, in Africa’s most populous land of Nigeria and in Sri Lanka, where Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Muslims worked together to spread the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Drug-Free World, who carried out their crusades with The Truth About Drugs across Athenian neighborhoods, through Baja’s notorious drug transit route and up and down the playing fields of the European Football Championships.
- And finally, through the social betterment work of IAS-supported programs where the Way to Happiness generated a moral resurgence through Cuban towns and villages, Study Technology ignited an education revolution in Mongolia and Narconon drug rehabilitation struck at the core of Nepal’s addiction culture.
As announcements of accomplishments came to a close, a monumental one was unveiled. And it rode directly upon the wake of the Freewinds in tandem with IAS support, because working with volunteers, law enforcement and Scientologists, literally millions of copies of The Way to Happiness, The Truth About Drugs and The Story of Human Rights were distributed in major cities and jungle villages throughout Colombia.
As a result, what was once the acknowledged drug capital of the world, and a country the United Nations classified as the “worst humanitarian crisis in the Western Hemisphere,” soon became the “Colombian Miracle” with military human rights violations dropping an incredible 96 percent.
Directly on the heels of that was the grand opening of Colombia’s IAS-sponsored National Church of Scientology where they continued to work tirelessly to provide the solutions for restoring humanity. Soon to follow was the astounding peace accord between Colombia’s national government and FARC troops, after which 8,500 police were personally trained by Freewinds staff in vital life skills for use in reintegrating FARC troops back into society.
But, even so, that’s not the end of the story. Because, less than a decade after the Freewinds first docked in Cartagena, Mr. Miscavige pronounced the next epic accomplishment: that on the 5th of May, 2017, the nation of Colombia awarded the Church of Scientology full religious recognition.
It was yet another example that the combination of the Freewinds, Scientologists, global changemakers and the inspiration of L. Ron Hubbard’s technology for living, continue to lead to the betterment of humanity.
So, as the passengers prepared to leave the ship, they and thousands more are bound and determined to resume their year-long work of uplifting society and improving humanitarian conditions worldwide, one nation, indeed one port at a time, for the next 51 weeks.
Setting the goal of opening another 50 Churches, there’s still plenty of sailing ahead, as the Church seeks to reach all people in all lands. With a course guided by charts from the Belt of Orion to the Milky Way, they’re ocean bound to discover what’s ahead. And thus, Mr. Miscavige bid all passengers this finale message:
“I thank you for attending…
“I thank you for all you have thus far achieved…
“And, all that I know you’ll achieve in this year to come…
“Good luck and Godspeed!”
Read the article on the Scientology Newsroom.