Happy New Year! : January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Thank you very much for attending today's 2012 New Year's Day Ceremony. Thank you also; very much, for all your prayers and supports you've given KC Chicago throughout this last year - as always. To ALL of you, may you have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

As I've mentioned on several recent occasions, I now realize that our propagation efforts in the North America has finally gotten to the same stage that Rev. Tateo Suenaga achieved when he went to Brazil on his second missionary effort more than 30 years ago. At that time Rev. Soichiro Otsubo, our mentor & founding minister of KC Airaku gave Rev. Suenaga the following message:

"Thou, tell the truth and purify people's hearts.
You don't need to be afraid.
Across the millions of miles of ocean, in the South America Continent,
You will spread the Konko faith and manifest the Airaku Ideal.
My heart is so full I am moved to tears."

Now it's North America's turn to be filled with this spirit across the length & breadth of our continent. I intend to keep this message of Rev. Otsubo in my mind at all times throughout this coming year. I will do my best to tell about this true way of life & faith manifest in the Konko Faith with my whole being. May I fulfill my duty to both Kami & humanity in the North America Continent!

To welcome the New Year of 2012 with this realization I have written the following poem:

    Unbreakable Heart
Of Peace and Joy sought last year;
    May I be the root
    Of Konko Illumination
    To a lost & lonely world!

As you know, I'm sure, I have diligently focused my faith on deepening my peaceful & joyful heart to the point it might become unbreakable since I started the missionary work in Chicago in 1997. I chose to do this faith practice to manifest the truth of the Divine Reminder when it says, "Divine blessings, that is, opening this way are within our peaceful and joyful heart."

Of course the culture, customs & way of thinking are different from one another in every nation. BUT, Heaven and Earth are the same everywhere. When we develop peace and joy that echos with Heaven and Earth any place in the world, I believe we can manifest this fundamentally important way of the Konko Faith everywhere — without exception. That is why I have sought the peace and joy in my heart unbreakable, not only in 2011, ever since we moved to Chicago in 1997.

It's easy to say... but oh so hard to achieve! I've often failed to live up to my intentions in these past 14 years. Many many times, I've been made to realize how fragile my heart really was. Through it all Kami has brought me tremendous divine blessings. Just by aiming to have peace and joy in my heart... Kami has given me abundant unrequested blessings in my heart. And so I see I could not stand in the same place with these overwhelming gifts of Divine Blessing. I have to move on, because the time will come soon for me to seek to become the great root foundation of nourishing Konko Propagation in the USA.

When I visited Japan last November I made a promise to Kami, Our Founder & Rev. Soichiro Otsubo my parent minister, "If I fail to accept any happening in my life with peace and joy from this day forward, for any reason: frustration, weakness or simple cowardice; I want Kami to take the gift of life he's given me for the past 60+ years.

"With this determination I will do my absolute best to perfect & deepen my heart with Peace, Love & Joy!"

When my family moved to the USA to serve Kami and people in 1994, Rev. Otsubo saw our departure at the Airaku church entrance in wheelchair. It was a great &, I felt, undeserved honor. In fact, the effort was so great he lost consciousness. I rushed to him. He recovered quickly & said, "I just received Kami's revelation of 'dried round radish.' It is dried, therefore it is never rotten."

These were the last words I ever heard him say, so they are VERY precious to me. But the revelation itself has great meaning. "Dried round" meant unbreakable peace and joy. "Radish" is written the characters for "great" & "root in Japanese."

With all these thoughts I've had running through my mind & heart this holiday seasion I have tried to combine them together into my poem for New Years' Day 2012. Please let me share it with you one more time:

    Unbreakable Heart
Of Peace and Joy sought last year;
    May I be the root
    Of Konko Illumination
    To a lost & lonely world!

As we begin our brand new year, we must remember the vast numbers of our humanity who faced huge natural disasters last year: the Great Earthquake & flood in Eastern Japan & another great flood in Thailand. And in the west we also faced another man made disaster in the economic crisis of the European Union (EU).

I believe that Kami through these disasters wants us to understand that we are on the threshold of great change. From this the first day of the brand new year of 2012... in true faith, we have the opportunity to understand that we have the power, with Kami's help, to achieve a bright future of living in harmony with Heaven and Earth instead of merely pursuing convenient, comfortable, DISPOSABLE lives. I would like to invite you to join me in seeking to become the great root structure of Konko Faith's brilliant light shining forth to a lost & lonely world. Let us deepen our peaceful and joyful hearts together to serve Kami and people in the heartland of America.

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