International Cultural Seminar Inspires Pioneers of the Path

Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Headquarters sponsored its International Cultural Seminar on April 26 at Moya 38. As “pioneers of the path,” the members of the Young Men’s Association embrace the task of inquiring into the teachings and spreading them to the world, and the overseas mission is, therefore, one of the association’s main goals. This seminar thus sought to heighten the members’ awareness of the overseas mission and encourage directly supervised chapters to conduct more activities related to the overseas mission. The event drew 251 people, including 226 association members.

Association Headquarters Overseas Section Head Kaoru Murata delivered the opening remarks. Maintaining that the overseas mission is the association’s hallmark activity, he reported an increase in the number of Human Resource Overseas Dispatch Program members who are extending their stay to engage in missionary work, some of them permanently. He asked the association’s leaders and members for further cooperation in the association’s overseas activities.

Tamashima Chapter Chairman Noriyuki Okazaki talked about his chapter’s efforts. He said that since Tamashima Grand Church has no overseas church yet, the chapter was putting emphasis on recruiting participants for the Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps, an effort that has been rewarded with more than 20 participants every year for the past 16 years. In fact, it was through the Hinokishin Corps that the chapter managed to recruit two participants who later took part as members of the Human Resource Overseas Dispatch Program: Mr. Yasuharu Fujiwara for the sixth group to Mexico and Mr. Toshihiro Mitsuda for the eighth group to Paraguay. In addition, for the association’s 80th anniversary commemorative projects of sending association members abroad to engage in missionary work, the chapter was blessed with having Mr. Kazuyuki Kawata selected to be dispatched to Los Angeles with his wife. Thereafter, Mr. and Mrs. Kawata opened their grand church’s overseas office in Los Angeles, where they continue to spiritedly engage in missionary work. He concluded his speech by saying that the chapter leaders will continue to encourage the members to be actively involved in the chapter’s overseas activities, one of which will be a mission caravan in California in 2011.

Tenrikyo Overseas Department Head Yoichiro Miyamori then gave a lecture entitled “The Present Situation of the Overseas Mission.” First, he said that the purpose of founding the Young Men’s Association was to give active expression to the members’ role as Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path. He went on to say: “One of your primary duties is the overseas mission. Being pioneers of the path, you should always be prepared to engage in the overseas mission and approach the task with high aspirations. . . . Engaging in missionary work overseas for a few years and returning to Japan is not what we regard as the overseas mission. Rather, the overseas mission involves laying down roots in the country concerned and raising a family there, so that you will consider the place to be your permanent residence while exerting efforts to spread the teachings.”

Rev. Miyamori went on to speak about the importance of making thorough preparations before undertaking the overseas mission. He said that genuine missionary work requires not only becoming fluent in foreign languages but also acquiring in-depth knowledge of local cultures, national history, and regional circumstances with regard to the Tenrikyo mission, as well as strong faith in God the Parent.

He concluded his lecture by saying: “I would like each and every association member to be a pioneer of the path who can take the overseas mission as his own concern, rely completely on God the Parent, and adore Oyasama as the Parent of the Divine Model.”

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