High-school-aged students from overseas returned to the Home of the Parent to attend the Oyasato Seminar, which began on July 10. This year, being the year of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary, a record 85 students from 10 countries enrolled in the seminar. They are spending 18 days (16 days for the non-English courses) seeking spiritual growth.
The Oyasato Seminar was created to respond to the challenge of transmitting the faith to the younger generation. Besides conveying the teachings to others, the missionaries overseas are concerned about imparting them to their children as well. The seminar is designed to help participants better understand and appreciate the power of their parents’ faith.
When the Oyasato Seminar was initially launched in the summer of 1984, it only consisted of the English Course; however, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese courses were later incorporated into the program.
This year, participating students came from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Taiwan. The majority of them are children of head ministers and mission station heads.
English Course Student Tiffany Mima, 17, grew up watching her father, who had been dispatched by their grand church to do missionary work in Hawaii, engage in missionary and salvation work. Through his efforts, he established Koshinokuni Hawaii Church five years ago. She mentioned: “While growing up, I’ve seen how my parents would save people through administering the Sazuke. During the seminar, I will be receiving the truth of the Sazuke, and I hope that I, like my parents, will be able to administer the Sazuke.”
The students, despite their differences in nationalities, languages, cultures, and backgrounds, returned to Jiba to be close to Oyasama while examining their personal faith and sharing the joys of faith with the other students. Many consider this to be the seminar’s biggest appeal.
At the seminar’s opening ceremony, held in the auditorium of Tenrikyo Language Institute, Overseas Department Head Yoshiaki Mihama delivered an address, in which he stated: “Regardless of your nationality and language, all of you have returned to the Home of the Parent as brothers and sisters. Through the Oyasato Seminar, I want you all to sense how wonderful it is to have faith in God the Parent.”
This year, there are 35 students in the English Course (15 in Course I and 20 in Course III). This year’s English Course I counselors are Burt Iwata and Hikari Nishida, and English Course III counselors are Paul Tomizawa and Trina Inouye. 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. The doctrine teacher this year for both English courses is Sharlene Miura.
The content of English courses includes studying and discussing the teachings in a classroom setting; learning the dance and musical instruments for the service; crossing the Jusan Pass on foot; listening to the Besseki lectures; standing on guard at the Main Sanctuary with members of the Precincts Section of Church Headquarters; receiving the Sazuke, the Divine Grant; and engaging in door-to-door missionary work with members of the Aichi and Ishikawa missionary houses.
The Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese courses concluded on July 25, and both English courses will end on July 27.