Over 2,900 Gather in the Home of the Parent for Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba

The Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba, cosponsored by the Students Association and the Student Advisory Committee, was held on March 28 in the Home of the Parent under the theme “Let us nurture ourselves to become Yoboku who will lead the next generation.”

Some 2,900 high school, technical school, junior college, and university students gathered together in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters to attend this annual convention, honored by the presence of Mrs. Harue Nakayama, as well as Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama and his wife, Nobue.

Following a moment of prayer and the singing of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, Students Association Chairperson Ryunosuke Nakadai made opening remarks. Next, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata took the podium to read a message from the Shinbashira.

In his message, the Shinbashira first pointed out that we are now in the middle of the “three years, one thousand days” period for each and every one of us to pledge together to attain further spiritual growth and walk the path toward the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. He went on to say, “The significance of observing an anniversary of Oyasama is to redouble our efforts to make spiritual growth with much more enthusiasm than usual.” He stressed that the key to walking the path of the “three years, one thousand days” period leading up to the anniversary is to put the teachings into practice with our sights set on the Divine Model while making repeated efforts to ensure that we show Oyasama on the day of the anniversary that we have made progress, however small, as followers of the path.

Further, the Shinbashira stated: “The Divine Model that Oyasama demonstrated for us to follow is itself the only way and the best textbook that leads to the Joyous Life and, therefore, should be learned and internalized by all followers of the path. . . . We ought to be firmly aware that the Divine Model was demonstrated for the benefit of those of us who are following the path today, as well. It is important to remember God the Parent’s intention in creating human beings and the world and to make a point of pondering and asking ourselves what we can do to respond to Oyasama’s parental love.”

Next, the Shinbashira explained that, even when we find ourselves in difficult and challenging situations where we have a hard time maintaining the mind like clear skies, we can still feel grateful for the blessings of God the Parent and Oyasama and ponder over what we can do to implement the teachings. He said that, if we honestly and straightforwardly do whatever we can, whether it is performing the service at churches or engaging in hinokishin, Oyasama will surely accept our true sincerity embodied in these efforts and help and support us to make steady progress toward spiritual growth. “Our repeated and tireless efforts grounded in the teachings will surely build a basis for allowing us to move forward and nurture the strength to follow the path ahead,” he said.

In closing, the Shinbashira pointed out that the path of the Joyous Life is the path for endless generations of people who aspire to attain that goal and to pass the baton from generation to generation. He then expressed his hope that the students of the path would take powerful strides on the path of the “three years, one thousand days” period as befits those who have been drawn to Jiba and are guided by the teachings, while considering the significance of the current season. He concluded his message by asking them to firmly inherit and pass down this path without losing sight of the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama and wished them to live each day in good spirits.

This was followed by speeches given by two association members who talked about their joy of faith and the gratitude they felt for the blessings they received. Then So Hirooka, who had been appointed to serve as the association chairperson starting on April 1, made a pledge on behalf of all association members. The convention ended with the singing of the convention’s theme song, “Kibo no hana” (Flowers of Hope). The students then participated in various programs organized by their directly supervised churches. On the previous day, the students had held the “Spring Festival” on both sides of the area to the south of the Main Sanctuary. They enjoyed a variety of entertainment provided by some of their fellow participants.

Meanwhile, 265 students, including fifty-four first-timers, attended the Besseki lectures in the morning before the convention began.

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