High School Students Gather in Oyasato for the Students Training Course

The High School Division of the Students Training Course was held at the Home of the Parent from August 9 through 15 with a total of 1,751 students participating. This annual one-week course is designed to provide students who do not attend schools in the Home of the Parent with an opportunity to study the teachings together in Church Headquarters facilities, come into touch with the parental love of Oyasama, share their experiences in faith with fellow students, and cultivate friendships.

The program commenced with an opening ceremony where Mission Department Head Kazuo Nagao encouraged the participants in his address by saying, “I would like you to take advantage of your youth to feel the heart of Oyasama and seek the splendidness of the teachings.”

From the second day on, the students were divided into groups according to their grades and the number of times they had participated. In addition to attending the morning and evening services daily, the students listened to lectures, practiced the dance and musical instruments for the service, and dedicated themselves in efforts of hinokishin, or selfless and thankful action. After the evening service, such activities as missionary lectures, “Faith Discussion Groups,” and “Indoor Olympics” were held in the dormitories.

First-time sophomores took part in the Oyasato Walk Rally. After being given a tour of the Main Sanctuary and the Historical Sites, they were divided into small groups and walked to check-points around the Home of the Parent for quizzes and games. First-time juniors attended an event called “Look Oyasato.” They had a quiz rally after visiting the Foundress’ Birthplace and the Dining Service Center. First-time seniors participated in an event called “Talk in Doyusha.” They learned how to broadcast the news and had a chance to appear on a TV program in which they talked about whose advice they would take when they were in trouble.

Second-time participants crossed the Jusan Pass because the students were the same age as Kokan, the youngest daughter of Oyasama, when she crossed the Jusan Pass to do missionary work in Osaka. This particular activity was designed to provide the participants with an opportunity to experience what Kokan had gone through. In the severe heat, all participants left Takayasu Grand Church in Osaka at three o’clock in the afternoon and helped one another to reach the Kokan Memorial, which is located at the top of the mountain. They danced the Yorozuyo altogether in an open space near the Kokan Memorial. Female participants returned to Jiba by bus after walking about halfway through the journey while male participants continued the 30-kilometer trek on foot to the Main Sanctuary.

Third-time participants enjoyed an exchange program in which they took part in games that required knowledge, athletic skills, and teamwork. Also, after the evening service on the 13th, they danced the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements, in front of the South Gate to express their gratitude for the blessings that had enabled them to participate in the course three times. This year large TV screens were set up on both sides of the South Gate for the first time so that they could read the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service, while they performed the dance to the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs.

Through these various activities, students were able to share their joy of faith with people their own age. Many students who participated in the speech rally voiced their joy at making new friends and following the path. During the program, 492 students (201 first-timers) attended the Besseki lectures.

On the 15th, all students assembled for the closing ceremony, in which Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi delivered an address, asking the students to share with people around them the joy they had savored during the course.

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