Victorious Members of St. Lucia and Barbados
by Betsy Eppsteiner
Florida Zone Vice Women’s Leader
On behalf of SGI-USA Caribbean Region, I am overjoyed to report the victory of the members in Emerald Isles Chapter!
On a recent visit to the eastern Caribbean island nations of St. Lucia and Barbados, I had an opportunity to meet the members and attend district activities together with the Caribbean Region Men’s Leader Louis Foster.
During our visits with the members, we chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and studied SGI President Ikeda’s guidance from The New Human Revolution, including this passage: “The beginning of the challenge of human revolution starts with identifying the ‘one evil’ in your own life, deciding to eliminate it, earnestly chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and challenging yourself to succeed” (vol. 24, p. 178).
Members shared about their battles with illness, the untimely loss of a loved one and their challenges maintaining a consistent practice. Spending time with each person, chanting to the Gohonzon in their homes and sharing Sensei’s guidance created tremendous value in their lives and hearts. In the end, we determined to put Sensei’s guidance into action.
I was so moved by my visit with a chapter women’s leader, who is warmly caring for each person in St. Lucia District. As a result of her efforts, the members feel the deep care, love and friendship of the SGI organization.
After she sent a photo of the district’s November discussion meeting to President Ikeda, he responded with a message on a beautiful card with a picture he had taken in 2018 of cherry blossoms. The women’s leader reprinted the card for each member in the district. With her leadership, the oneness of mentor and disciple is permeating St. Lucia District!
While in Barbados, members generously opened their homes, which serve as the SGI centers. We engaged in joyful dialogue about doing shakubuku, expanding the youth division and creating a culture of member care in the country. Together, we determined to ignite a flame within our own hearts, and to share the passion and joy of fighting for kosen-rufu with the members and guests of Barbados!
I had a memorable encounter with a young woman whom I had first met a year ago in Barbados. At that time, she was struggling with immigration issues. She had even consulted a lawyer, but her request for immigration status was denied, and she was scheduled to be deported.
With encouragement from a senior in faith, she made a firm determination to fulfill her mission for kosen-rufu in Barbados.
She decided to share her situation with her boss, who, of his own volition, wrote to a government official, requesting the deportation order be lifted.
Meanwhile, she continued exerting herself in faith and became a young women’s group leader to support others in their Buddhist practice. Her deportation order was ultimately lifted, clearing the way for her to achieve immigrant status.
I believe it was her deep sense of mission for kosen-rufu in Barbados and the encouragement of her district leaders that enabled her to develop an unshakable practice and to never give up on her dream. Her victory is truly a case of making the impossible possible!
I am determined to continue supporting the amazing members of St. Lucia and Barbados, who are striving to advance kosen-rufu in their countries based on the spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple. WT