Ten Young Men’s Association members took part in the association’s Australia Study Tour from September 3 to 19. Over the two-week period, the participants sprinkled the fragrance of the teachings, engaged in hinokishin, visited a local high school to promote cultural exchange, and experienced staying with Australian families.
The study tour was initially launched in 1998 as one of the activities to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the association. It aims to recruit and nurture association members 25 years of age or younger who aspire to spread the teachings overseas.
The 10 participants gathered in Tenri on September 3 to undergo a preliminary training session. On the evening of September 4, the group conducted a prayer service in the Main Sanctuary before heading to the airport. The next day, they arrived at Tenrikyo Oceania Centre, located in Brisbane, Australia.
During the next two days, they engaged in hinokishin at Brisbane Forest Park, pulling weeds and putting woodchips around trees as mulch. One of the members was able to administer the Sazuke to an elderly person who was sitting on a bench in the park.
On the morning of the 8th, the members engaged in door-to-door missionary work around the Oceania Centre. Although the members’ English was far from fluent, the local people enthusiastically listened to what they were trying to say and asked them questions. From the evening of the 8th to the morning of the 10th, each member stayed with an Australian family in the city.
On the 11th, the group visited Kutomi Goshu Fellowship, headed by Mr. Michiharu Mori, and Taiten Brisbane Fellowship, headed by Mr. Michiyuki Yamanaka. Hearing the missionaries describe their first-hand experiences, the members were inspired by their enthusiasm for the overseas mission.
The following day, the 12th, they engaged in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings at Wynnum. The members spoke to local people, occasionally using body language. They then went to Wellington Point and walked around handing out Tenrikyo leaflets. All of the members were able to administer the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, on that day.
On the 14th, the members moved on to Melbourne, which takes two and a half hours by plane, and paid a visit to Melbourne Shinyu Church, headed by Rev. Ryoichi Fukuda. They visited Fairhills High School to promote cultural exchange and sprinkled the fragrance of the teachings in the city.
Motonori Mukai, a 19-year-old Tenri University student, said: “The talks given by people doing missionary work in Australia taught me the importance of making repeated efforts to sow seeds of sincerity before carrying out missionary work overseas. So I have decided to put more effort into sprinkling fragrance of the teachings and serving at my church while, at the same time, working hard to improve my English.”