With the months of the Tenrikyo Hawaii Convention 2011 approaching I am anxious to see you near my hometown in Hawaii and speak with all of you! However, if you are still unsure about whether you should attend the Convention, I would like to share with you reasons, that I believe, why you absolutely MUST attend the Convention.
1. Speak about the Tenrikyo teachings in English
What I have lead to believe about the teachings of Tenrikyo growing up in a church was that I must learn Japanese to fully understand the teachings. Yet, at the the Tenri Forum 2006, I was surely surprised to see all speakers of the event so clearly explain the teachings in English and how it was applied to their lives. From their words, I was able to learn so much. This opened my eyes very wide to the teachings and has inspired me to learn more about the teachings to spread the teachings to people who speak my native language as effectively as those speakers.
Long ago, there weren’t many Tenrikyo texts in English nor many followers that understood the teachings well enough to explain it in English. Now, the congregation of Tenrikyo followers overseas has grown and the number of Tenrikyo texts in English have grown. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to speak about the Tenrikyo teachings in your native language with your fellow followers and advance in our mission to spread the teachings.
2. Meet people that can share their thoughts and ideas about overseas missionary work
As followers overseas (or Tenrikyo followers not in Japan), we are always in difficulty determining the best way to spread the wonderful teachings of Tenrikyo. However, we need to take into account the culture in which we reside in and understand the local community around us and turn it into a message that they can understand. Indeed, this is quite a difficult task, but you are not alone. There will be Yoboku and church ministers from around the world with similar difficulties, but they have lived with this struggle for many years to share their ideas and thoughts on this. Without dialogue with other followers on overseas missionary work, it will be difficult to progress. So your insights and ideas, however small, will be needed to be put together as a whole to make a difference in the Path.
3. Make new connections
The Convention will not be over on May 30th. It will be the beginning of your relationships with your fellow brothers and sisters on the Joyous path. At the convention, you will be able to meet followers of different countries and backgrounds whom you will not forget. They will be there with you still 5 or even 10 years from now. And for the people you already know, you will make your bonds stronger. Make a strong connection with your brothers and sisters, add them on Facebook, exchange email addresses, and you may meet again at the Jiba or at another Tenrikyo gathering. With these connections, we can continue our discussions and ideas about our faith in Tenrikyo after the Convention and progress further in attaining a greater level of spiritual maturity and approach closer to the Joyous Life.
Thank you for reading! This article is also published on the convention website, here.