The 2004 Oyasato Seminar–which aims at nurturing high-school-age overseas followers–began on July 10 at the Home of the Parent with 65 students from 13 countries and territories: the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Canada, the U.K., Australia, Hong Kong, Nepal, Spain, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, and Taiwan.
The seminar comprises the English courses I and III and the Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese courses. The Chinese Course–which was canceled last year due to the international outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)–was able to be conducted this year.
This seminar was initially launched in 1984 to address the need to nurture successors to church head ministers and fellowship heads overseas–which is one of the key challenges in promoting the overseas mission. Although the seminar only had the English Course at the beginning, the Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese courses were later added one after another.
At the opening ceremony of the Oyasato Seminar, Overseas Department Head Yoshiaki Mihama delivered an address. He said: “You may come from different countries and speak different languages, but you all have something in common. That is the fact that someone in your family, like your parents or grandparents, has faith in Tenrikyo. Many of you have grown up in churches. . . . Through this seminar, I believe that all of you will experience the wonderful faith of Tenrikyo and develop tremendous enthusiasm to follow the path of faith.”
This year’s English Course I counselors are Daniel Kenji Akemoto and Satoko Sasaki, and English Course III counselors are Timothy Daisuke Ike and Terri Sachie Miyamoto. All four counselors were once participants in the Oyasato Seminar and are now in a position to share their own faith experiences with the students in order to provide them with useful insights into how to incorporate the teachings of Oyasama into their daily lives. The doctrine teacher this year for both English courses is Craig Nishio, an Oyasato Seminar alumnus himself.
After studying and discussing the teachings in a classroom setting as well as learning the dance and musical instruments for the service at the Home of the Parent, students will engage in missionary work in Nara, Aichi, Hyogo, Hiroshima, and Ishikawa.
The duration of each course varies. The Chinese Course ended on July 25, English Course I along with the Spanish and Portuguese courses will be concluded on July 27, and English Course III will continue until August 12.