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On March 9, Unity District in Victoria, Canada, linked up via live feed for an international exchange meeting with Tomita District in Sendai, Japan, in the Tohoku region devastated by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The meeting, which linked the home of Mr. and Mrs. Toyonaga in Victoria and the home of Mr. Oosato in Sendai, took place over a distance of 7,000 kilometers. The two-hour meeting featured slide shows introducing scenery and attractions in both cities, songs, an experience in faith from each district and a question-and-answer discussion based on a passage from Nichiren's writings.
An experience was shared by Joni Borutski of Unity District, whose 25-year-long battle with cirrhosis took a turn for the worse recently, forcing her to quit work and be put on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Joni, who joined SGI in 2004, stated that she was hopeful that abundant prayer and strong conviction in her Buddhist practice may help her overcome this disease.
Tomita District had planned to end their part of the meeting with a popular song, but after hearing Joni's experience, they sang a song called "Champion" for her instead.
The idea for the exchange meeting arose when Unity District coordinator Mr. Morikawa attended an alumni reunion at Soka University in Tokyo last October where he met his former classmate and fellow SGI member Takehiro Asakura, who now works in Sendai and belongs to Tomita District. The friends decided to combine efforts to make the exchange possible.
related article SGI New Year's Prayer Meetings Held Worldwide From England to Bolivia, Taiwan to Burkina Faso, SGI members throughout the world celebrated the New Year with prayer meetings in their local areas on January 1 and 2. "One of the meeting's goals was to 'see' those living in the Tohoku area who are conducting SGI activities with a 'never-defeated' spirit," said Mr. Morikawa. "We have inspired each other and become more hopeful in our efforts through uniting across 7,000 kilometers."
[Adapted from an article in the April 2013 SGI-Canada Online News, photos courtesy of Bryan McGill]
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