How do UTS students spend the summer?

by Jones Iziomo


With the long summer break over, it was time once again to get busy with brain-storming classes in the first week of September. Returning to the Seminary’s ivory tower, where they will mature to become Masters of Religious Education or Divinity, the students looked fresh and well-kept and bursting with the exuberance of a hunter who had a big catch. Sure enough, they deserve to, recalling that the few weeks preceding the long break were a time of academic labor and burning the midnight oil, writing term paper upon term paper, sometimes with bleary eyes trying to overcome sleep and looking tossed by the waves but not sinking, in order to pass their exams.

As well as a time for resting the mind, the long break is also a time for toil. For U.T.S. students, this summer was a time for both spiritual and physical toils: witnessing to accomplish the goal of pre-blessing 185 couples and working to earn enough money to fuel the vehicle with which to achieve their academic ambitions.

Katsuya Ito, an RE Senior from Kyushu, Japan, went to New Jersey and stayed at the Clifton church center during the long vacation. He said, "I was washing dishes, weeding the garden and witnessing." A pause, he smiled and continued, "I was also an errand driver for the church and a counselor for the Japanese sisters." Going in pairs with other brothers and sisters, he did door-to-door and street witnessing, sometimes at supermarkets, pre-blessing an average 20 couples per day. By the end of August, he had accomplished 185 couples and began helping other couples until the end of the vacation when he returned to the seminary.

Michael Esie Akpan is an RE Senior from Calabar, Nigeria. At the beginning of the summer, he went to Italy to fund-raise in order to do pre-blessing in his tribe. His Japanese wife, Yoriko Kumasaka, flew from Japan to join him in Italy and together, they traveled to his hometown. His desire to go with his wife was "to have the maximum fortitude of the complete oneness of masculinity and femininity in God’s nature essential for total victory," he said, wearing the victor’s smile of satisfaction. Flying from Lagos to Calabar, their plane had an accident at the port of destination while landing. "One person died on the way to the hospital and several others sustained injuries, but nothing happened to us", he said with a deep feeling of gratitude to God and True Parents. In all, a great victory was won for God and True Parents as they pre-blessed 240 couples. Michael and his wife spent the last two weeks of the visit at the African continental headquarters in Lagos where they also assisted in the pre-blessing. After this, he returned to the seminary and his wife flew back to Japan.

Yamada Tetsuya, a Divinity Senior from Kyoto, Japan, went to his home country with his Japanese wife. Their first stop was his in-laws’ hometown, Hukushima, where they partook in a Buddhist festival of offering prayers to the ancestors. He later went to Chung Pyung lake for a 3-day workshop with his wife and his physical father who was blessed in 1992. They left for his hometown and "I began working at my in-law’s cargo delivery company which is one hour by car from my hometown, to raise money," he said. Before returning to the seminary at the end of the vacation, Yamada pre-blessed his widowed, 92 year old, paternal grandmother.

Nomura Kazuhisa, a Divinity Junior from Okayama, Japan, spent the summer in his wife’s hometown, Maebashi, Japan. In August, he lectured in a 10-day blessing workshop for the 18 to 22-year old members of the second generation in preparation for the 3.6 million couples blessing in November. Before this time, he wrote several articles on Japanese religious history in the Waseda Student Times. "This stemmed from my desire not only to make some money but also to educate the students more on Japanese religious history. Because I took the course last term, I now have a better knowledge of it," he said. To raise more money, he also did a traffic control job on a road construction site for ten days. Nomura pre-blessed his parents, wife’s parents and grandmother before returning to the seminary.