A seminar for new residents of missionary houses was held at the Home of the Parent on March 29 and 30. This year, 93 prospective missionaries, ranging in age from 19 to 69, entered missionary houses in 15 locations, including America Missionary House, located in Los Angeles, where two have taken up residence.
The seminar began with a pair of lectures designed to help participants understand the stance of mind they ought to maintain as missionaries. Faith experience speeches were then delivered by two people who had just completed their one-year period of residence in missionary houses.
Following the evening service, Mission Department Head Kazuo Nagao addressed the participants. Reflecting on the Oyasama 120th Anniversary Service, conducted in January with an attendance of 170,000 people, he quoted one of the concluding remarks from the sermon delivered by the Shinbashira at the Service: “[T]his year will be a significant year that will provide a springboard for a new departure.” Rev. Nagao said, “I am sure that your decisive resolve to enter a ‘missionary house’ in such a significant year has brought tremendous joy to Oyasama.” He then encouraged the listeners by saying, “Please be skillful in making the most of this year so that you can strengthen the springboard within yourself for your future journey along the path.”
Following the morning service on the 30th, the Shinbashira gave a talk to the participants in Foundress’ Hall 3. “There may be various reasons why you decided to enter a missionary house,” he said. “Yet, whatever the reasons, I very much hope that you will lead a life of faith in such a manner that you will gain the sort of experience that will continue to serve your future spiritual growth. I want to ask you to spend this year in such a way that will allow you to take even a step or two forward in the quest for spiritual maturity.”
The Shinbashira continued: “Some of you may be able to attract someone to the teachings in a short period of time while others may take longer to do so. Such a difference arises because God the Parent’s blessings are provided in accord with the mind of each of you so that you can learn from your experience.”
Before closing, the Shinbashira told the listeners: “You are now provided with a period of one year regardless of whether you decided to enter a missionary house by yourself or because of someone else’s recommendation. If you waste the time, you will feel empty afterward. Whether or not you can make the designated period meaningful and internalize what you learn from your experience will depend solely upon your use of the mind. . . . I am sure you have all come here with a bracing sense of challenge and courage. I hope you will maintain it as you carry out your mission to the end,” he added.
The participants then went to the South Worship Hall to perform the service together before setting out in high spirits for their respective regions where they would engage in missionary work.