Good Morning Everyone! Thank you so very much for attending our monthly service for June, 2018. I hope you are all in excellent health & in bright, warm Summer-spirit.
As you know, we had our Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony on Sunday, May 27. Thanks to the prayers of those like all of you, it was filled with Kami's awesome workings. Even though the forecast said a few days before that it would rain on that day, it was cleared up with the sun shining and reached 90 degrees. With the solemn sound of Koto & Japanese flute Rev. Kishii & I conducted the ceremony, with our hearts burning with passion like the sun, to serve Kami. 20 adults and 3 children witnessed this solemn & beautiful service.
In December 2015, I prayed for young people in the world to get to know the Konko Faith, to serve the betterment of the world, & wrote the following poem to remember this prayer as an inspiration for future years:
"To you young people!
Your true Way to happiness
Is found in this Faith.
Come & learn it faithfully;
Become a light, of the world!"
Mr. Brian Chiao & Ms. Jennifer Shimoda kindly joined this service from Toronto. Three young members of the Wagakokoro Society, Ms. Ashton Kish, Mr. Patrick Keough & Ms. Artemis Comfort joined us in this ceremony from the St. Louis area. A young lady, Artemis-san attended this ceremony for the first time. Ms. Jasper Lumadue came all the way from Kansas City to participate in it. She took the bus from Kansas City to St. Louis and received a ride from Ash to our church. I was very happy to see these young Americans & Canadians at the ceremony and knew they wished to deepen their faiths.
On top of that, the ceremony was blessed with Kibigaku music. Jamal played the Japanese traditional flute and my wife Kanako played the Koto. I believe Kami was pleased to listen to their beautiful sound.
Rev. Takao Kishii came all the way from Toronto to officiate the service and delivered the sermon. His talk was about the essence of the Konko Faith. He said, "Everything that happens, is Kami's doing. And all is Divine Love."
He gave four examples. Three were about great people in history, ...and the fourth was his granddaughter.
He talked first about Miss Helen Keller. She had normal vision & hearing as a small baby, but she became blind, deaf & lost the ability to speak at the age of 19 months, from a severe illness.
Miss Anne Sullivan became her teacher when Helen was 7 years old. With Sullivan's creative help, Helen overcame her triple handicap and became a role model to many people in the world.
She said, "Character cannot be developed in ease & quiet. Only through experience of trial & suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
Rev. Kishii's second example was Ludwig Van Beethoven. He became completely deaf at age 46. Many of his most admired works came during his last years after being deaf.
The third example was Thomas Edison. He invented the light bulb after failing to find some light source 2 thousand times. A reporter asked Edison, "How can you feel after failing so many times?"
Edison said, "I have not failed even once! It just happened that it took 2 thousand processes to succeed."
The granddaughter of Rev. Kishii, Tami-chan was born with the genetic disorder trisomy 18. She was blind, severely handicapped in many ways and lived for only 21 months. But, her birth taught her family the value of life. They learned so many things by nursing her every day. They spiritually grew and loved each other much more than before.
When we accept the incident as Kami's doing which comes from Divine Love and continue to believe in Kami, it results in great blessing. Our founder taught, "If you want to receive divine virtue freely, you must have a heart that accepts everything as Kami's doing. We should practice faith to develop such heart every day."
After enjoying ourselves and talking over delicious meals & drinks, we had our KCNA East Regional Seminar. Our Chief Administrative Minister (CAM), Rev. Amy Uzunoe-Chin delivered her lecture & lead this seminar very well. She did so through her lectures & workshops. Her theme was "Founder's Relationship/Communication with Kami" and did her best to lead us to this year's KCNA theme, "Smile from Within, through Power of Positive Talking." She gave us the following questions: "1. What kind of relationship did our Founder have with Kami? 2. What kind of hardships did our Founder have to face? 3. How was he able to realize blessings to appreciate despite his hardships? 4. How did our Founder practice faith to overcome his hardships? 5. Through learning how our Founder practiced faith and if we practiced faith the same way, can we realize Kami's blessings and receive divine arrangements like our Founder? Why?"
All participants tried to answer these questions and by doing so they shared their faith stories so openly & well as to be moved with each other. Sometimes they did so with tears in their eyes. Even Amy sensei was surprised with that.
One day before this grand ceremony we did the campus tour of Loyola University. Amy sensei, KCNA CAM, Brian, KCNA staff, Rev. Kishii & Jennifer from Toronto and 5 Chicago conference committee members went to Loyola to see Signe, staff of Loyola. We could see all facilities except classrooms and decide almost everything in detail.
June 5th would be 45 days before the conference. Through Kami's great arrangements we prepared a 45-day lodging guarantee form and create room assignments in time for the deadline. I really feel Kami has been working so hard that everyone involved in this year's conference has great passion and we can have great expectations for it.
The first KCNA conference in Chicago is near at hand. Let us do our best to prepare for everything with gratitude by leaving everything up to Kami. Then through Kami's workings responding to our efforts, great success of the conference will be promised.
Now I should tell you the saddest news for us. Rev. Mitsuaki Otusbo, my sister Emiko's husband, passed away peacefully at age 68 on Friday, June 8 at 6:39 am Japan time. He visited our church three times with my sister for our occasions of celebration. One was the tenth year anniversary after we started mediation in Chicago. The second one was our opening ceremony of our church in 2009. The third one was the 5th year anniversary celebration of this church in 2014. Every time, Mitsuaki Sensei greatly led our faith and delivered his great sermons for us.
When he brushed his teeth in April two years ago, he vomited blood. He was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer and it was already spread. He was not afraid of it at all. Instead he respected it as "Gan-sama, honorable cancer" and has done his best to change cancer cells into Wagakokoro cells, peaceful & joyful cells. Through having done so, he could greatly change his lifestyle, his character & his destiny. He could develop his heart so deeply that we all admired his faith training and he led our faith to come closer & closer to Kami.
I wish he could live a much longer life. If so, Kami's wish for creating the era of peaceful & joyful hearts of people could be achieved faster than ever, I believe. However Mitsuaki Sensei passed away so quickly. We humans cannot measure Kami's will. Kami is always beyond human measure. Kami has another plan for him. I believe Mitsuaki Sensei will become a great foundation as a Mitama spirit to create the era of the peaceful & joyful hearts of all people in this world and the next.
The life-celebration service for Mitsuaki Sensei was held on Sunday, June 10 at 11:00 am Japan time. I sent our condolence for it as follows:
"Mitsuaki Sensei! Thank you very much for your precious faith training throughout your lifetime as the example of the heart of the earth.
Ms. Ashton Kish trained herself at KC Airaku from the middle of March this year for almost one month. I informed her of your passing. She wrote the following message to me: 'Oh, I'm really shocked to hear this! He seemed very genki (healthy) when I was with him, and always spoke very passionately. He rarely seemed to be uncomfortable at all, but that's the power of Kamisama.
May that fire continue with his Mitama spirit to further the Wagakokoro era.
I will be sure to try and thank every cell in my body every day for it's hard work, like he wished to do in his own body.'
Mitsuaki Sensei gave his remarkable influence on Ash who was an American young lady & eagerly wished to become a Konko minister.
On the morning of June 8th, during the morning prayer service, I always kept Mitsuaki Sensei in mind & offered my prayers. Then as soon as I offered my silent prayer to the Mitama spirits, I had a revelation that said, 'let me see the best Kabuki performance.'
Life is a drama where each person plays the leading part, I believe. Mitsuaki Sensei had done his best to develop the heart like the earth throughout his life. And based on this faith, he had been determined to devote himself to accomplishing his heart of the earth, even two years after he was afflicted with stomach cancer. He had devoted himself to accepting everything as an honorable circumstance or event with courageous faith that is a carefree heart that accepts even death. Through these efforts of his he had walked the best & highest path amongst humans and manifested a supreme path. There he had shown such power of Kami beyond humans that naturally had been produced in this way of faith.
I would definitely like to have his power of life. With such power that comes up naturally I will do my best to serve Kami to create the era of peaceful & joyful hearts of people in the world with Mitsuaki Sensei's Mitama spirit."
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