As a special event for the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, missionaries engaging in salvation work in various parts of the world are being invited to introduce the current state of their overseas mission by speaking in a video and lecture series entitled, “The Path of World Salvation.” On April 26, the third installment, featuring representatives from the United States and France, was held in Yoki Hall, located in the Oyasato-yakata’s South Right Wing 2. The hall was packed with followers from near and far.
The first presenter was Mrs. Kay Morishita, wife of the head minister of Brotherhood Church, located in Los Angeles, California. Working closely with community organizations and local residents, she and her husband are instrumental in projects such as the beautification of neighborhoods and crime prevention in the neighborhood.
Saying that such projects have resulted in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings in a natural way, she spoke of how the church sanctuary sometimes serves as a gathering place to discuss the issues facing the community. More importantly, she said, “Children from the neighborhood see our church as a haven from the rough and tumble surroundings.”
Using personal experiences as a reference point, she went on to speak on returning to Jiba. She said: “I truly wish everyone who returns to Jiba would feel the same love and benevolence of God the Parent and Oyasama that I had experienced. This inner desire motivates me to invite as many friends as possible to return to Jiba.”
The second presenter was Rev. Jean-Paul Sudre, who is the third head minister of Bordeaux Church. The church was established during the year of the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama as the first Tenrikyo church in Europe. Rev. Sudre began by saying: “What does it mean to be a Tenrikyo follower in Europe today? What are our roles within a church?”
Using his own experiences to explain the current situation of missionary work in France, he stated: “One has to understand that France is a country where the majority of the people are Catholics . . . and tend to be wary of other religious practices. This is why I often hear people say, ‘Tenrikyo seems very interesting, but it’s not for me because it is a Japanese religion.'” He continued: “Therefore, it is important for us to take to heart the reason for the teachings and its significance by frequently repeating the following sentence, ‘Upon the arrival of the promised time, God the Parent became revealed at the Jiba of Origin through Oyasama as the Shrine and began the ultimate teaching to save the entire world.'”
Furthermore, he emphasized: “In Europe today, there are ever so many people who are burdened with problems and have lost their sense of direction in life. . . . It is only our teaching that can bring relief to such people. This teaching can be understood by anyone regardless of their nationality and cultural background.” He concluded his speech by saying, “I hope that Bordeaux Church will contribute to the advancement of the path in France, working closely with the Europe Centre.”
The two speakers delivered their speeches in their respective languages, English and French, with simultaneous interpretation provided for those in attendance.