On November 14, Tenrikyo Mission Center in Colombia conducted its November monthly service, which was also performed as the dedication service for the installation of the seventh head of the center, Rev. Naotaro Shimizu. With Overseas Department Head Yoichiro Miyamori and Rev. Yoshio Uchida, former head of the center as well as chief of Latin America Section of the Overseas Department, attending as guests of honor, the service drew about 120 followers, some of whom even traveled about 400 kilometers (250 mi.) from the city of Medellin.
The service was followed by Rev. Miyamori’s sermon, in which he spoke about the importance of living each day with smiles. “Those who are thankful for what they are borrowing from God the Parent always have smiles on their faces. Those who have smiles can save others. Those who save others can be saved by God,” said Rev. Miyamori, adding: “From today on, I would like all of you, with the new head as the core, to keep smiles on your faces. And I want you to continue to strive to save others so that Oyasama’s teachings will spread throughout the country.”
After a farewell speech by Rev. Uchida, Rev. Shimizu delivered his inaugural address to the congregation. He first said in Japanese, “Tada-ima!” (I am back), because he had studied at a national university in Colombia while serving as a staff member of the mission center some 20 years ago. After explaining the meaning of the Japanese phrase, he went on to say, “When we truly feel God the Parent’s blessings, we will be able to cultivate the mind that can appreciate everything that we would otherwise take for granted. With that mind, we will come to realize the path we ought to take toward the Joyous Life.”
Following a commemorative photo session, the followers enjoyed a reception that included various performances such as Colombian traditional dance and music as well as songs sung by students of the Japanese language classes held in the mission center.