Tenrikyo Europe Centre
by Maria Nazareht Mondelo Carballada (Head of Galicia Casa Missionera)
Today, I would like to briefly talk about how Tenrikyo started in Galicia, Spain, as well as how I encountered Tenrikyo.
Our fukyosho is in the city of Tui, which is located right beside the River Minho. The river shares the border with Portugal, so it is only a bridge away from Portugal. Our fukyosho was born in this small town.
On 3 June 1994, Rev Shin visited us and performed the service. This marked the beginning of Tenrikyo Galicia fukyosho.
In 2000, Mr Kodama and his wife Pilar, who lived in the city of Corunna, visited Japan to see their relatives.
During her stay in Japan, Pilar visited Jiba for the first time and purchased books and pamphlets on Tenrikyo, and she then read them on her return flight. As soon as she returned to Corunna, she contacted Tenrikyo Overseas Department to see if there was any missionary living in Spain. She then learnt about Galicia fukyosho and met Maria.
Pilar then began to attend the monthly service at the fukyosho. After having discussion with relevant people, Maria moved her fukyosho to the city of Corunna in 2002.
I have come to know Tenrikyo through my daughter Ayssa, who was then practising karate at Mr Kodama’s karate dojo. I received the administration of the Sazuke for the first time on 28 August 2002. My daughter received the truth of the Sazuke in January 2004 and attended the Spiritual Development Course in April.
I was raised in a Catholic family and had faith in Catholicism. But because of many things that happened in my life, I began to feel that the Catholic Church had little to offer for what I needed and stopped attending the Mass and lost my faith in the teaching. But I never lost my faith in God and I kept reciting the Lord’s Prayer which meant a lot to me.
When I started visiting the fukyosho, I didn’t know anything about Tenrikyo. I didn’t even know if Tenrikyo was a cult group or not, and I had little knowledge about the teaching. But I had a complete trust in Mr Kodama, who introduced to me this teaching, so I had no doubts in my mind. I felt that I would rather like to learn as much as possible as I had nothing to lose.
My husband was a devout Catholic believer, so he was not comfortable about me and my daughter visiting the fukyosho. So I always told him that I would visit a qigong dojo.
I never forced my husband to visit the fukyosho, but he gradually became close to Maria and eventually started to have a coffee together. Maria talked with him about the teaching of Tenrikyo when they became close enough.
My mother passed away for rebirth in February 2004. She was an amazing lady, and I still miss her a lot. Since Maria moved to Corunna, she had been very devotedly administering the Sazuke to my mother.
In August and September of the same year, my grandchildren Alex and Dani were born. My daughter Ayssa told me that she had a dream that Alex would be born with hearing disability. I became worried about it, so I promised to Oyasama that if my grandchildren were born without any problems, I would receive the truth of the Sazuke and attend the Spiritual Development course. My grandchildren were born normally, and then I received the truth of the Sazuke on 23 January 2005.
In January 2006, my husband had a stroke and was on the verge of passing away for rebirth or becoming a person in a persistent vegetative state. Thanks to the blessings of God the Parent and Oyasama, however, he managed to avoid the both scenarios. When he was discharged from the hospital, he made a resolution to return to Jiba, receive the truth of the Sazuke, and attend the Spiritual Development Course together with me.
On 26 July 2006, my husband received the truth of the Sazuke, and then attended the very first session of the Spanish Course of the Spiritual Development Course. As I attended the course, I had a feeling that I would continue to follow the path for the rest of my life.
When Maria had to return to Buenos Aires in Argentina due to her family situation, my church head minister asked me to take over Galicia fukyosho. I accepted his request and became the head of fukyosho after I attended the Head Minister Qualification Course in April 2009.
My journey since then has never been an easy one. I had only received the truth of the Sazuke four years ago, did not have much experience of following the teaching, and had only managed to learn the Mikagura-uta. However, I have been able to follow the path to this day thanks to the guidance and support from my fellow followers. My journey from now on may not be still easy, but I am determined to do my best to share the teaching of Oyasama with other people and help people who are suffering from troubles or illnesses.
The experiences that I have had over the past years have been quite remarkable. I feel God’s blessing in me and in my family.
Over the past several years after the passing of my husband, I have had difficult surgeries several times. But each time Oyasama has accompanied me at the operating theatre, and I feel that I have been recovering well thanks to Her. I always spoke to Oyasama, saying, “Oyasama, please don’t forget that I am having a surgery today”. She has never failed to remember it.
If I may add one thing, I genuinely believe that this is the path I would like to continue to follow, and I am sincerely determined to serve Oyasama. It is my sincere hope that she will use me in such a way that can help other people to find out about this path.
I cannot thank enough Rev Shin, who was the head minister of my church when I was introduced to Tenrikyo. I am very much grateful for his guidance, patience, and confidence in me. There were times when we had conflicts of opinion because of my lack of experience, but today I have deep respect and admiration for Rev Shin and his wife.
The current head minister, Rev Yoshikuni Naito, has been always by my side since I returned to Jiba to receive the Sazuke. I have always counted on his friendship on a personal level, and he has supported me and my husband with much affection. Today as the head minister of our upper church, he receives the respect, trust, and admiration of all of us followers of Tenrikyo Galicia.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.