Attending the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service on April 18 were 875 overseas followers who had returned to Jiba from 19 countries and regions: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Taiwan, which will be celebrating its 80th anniversary in November this year, asked each church in the Taiwan Diocese to organize a pilgrimage, particularly for those who are new to the faith. As a result, a total of 430 people had returned to Jiba by the day before Oyasama’s birthday. The number of followers returning from Taiwan peaked on April 12, when a total of about 130 followers belonging to Taipei Shinyu Church and Shinmei Shoka Church arrived at Kansai International Airport.
Between December last year and January this year, Shinmei Shoka Church’s followers made a special effort to encourage one another to return to Jiba in a group. As a result, 69 followers participated in the pilgrimage. Among them, 30 followers attended the Besseki lectures, including 15 who heard them for the first time. Chen Li-zhu, an 82-year-old lay minister who brought six of her friends, said: “In spring this year, my grandchild, who had been hospitalized with cardiac disease, received a marvelous blessing of recovery through our head minister’s salvation work. During this seasonable time, I would like to do whatever I can in a step-by-step manner to impart the joy of faith to as many people as possible.”
Chichibu Daikyokai Thai Mission Center organizes an annual Besseki pilgrimage to Jiba. This year, 23 followers including students returned to Jiba and 13 attended the Besseki lectures. Seven students—ranging from those in middle school to those in college—spent a week at Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School, promoting friendship with the students there.