Reflections about Life, Love, Light, and Liberty (the 4-Ls) by Leroy Seat.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
100 Years Old and Going Strong
Yesterday (May 14) was a big day for Seinan Gakuin,
the school complex that was founded in 1916. Following the on-campus Founders
Day ceremonies on Friday, there were elaborate centennial activities at large
downtown facilities on Saturday afternoon and evening.
It was a joy to be back in Japan and to
participate in Seinan Gakuin’s centennial celebration—just as twenty years, and
longer, ago I had told people here several times that I would.
After my last two visits here (in 2013 and
2010) I posted blog articles about Seinan Gakuin, so for background information
please see here and here.
The first part of the centennial celebration
yesterday included a public lecture by Dr. Tetsu Nakamura, a 1962 graduate of
Seinan Gakuin Junior High School.
Dr. Nakamura, who will celebrate his 70th
birthday in September of this year, has lived and worked in Pakistan and
Afghanistan since 1984.
He is a quiet, unassuming man whom I have met
and talked with several times through the years. It was a pleasure to hear him
speak again—along with about 1,500 other people who gathered in the
International Congress Center of Fukuoka for the occasion.
Dr. Nakamura became a Christian partly
because of the influence of Baptist missionary Charlie Fenner, one of his Jr.
High teachers. Although he does not say a lot about being a Christian, Dr.
Nakamura’s life and indefatigable work in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been a
very positive Christian testimony.
years much of his work in Pakistan was largely with patients suffering from
Hansen’s disease (formerly called leprosy). He
has also devoted
much time and effort working with refugees in the Afghanistan/Pakistan borderlands.
The Magsaysay Awards are often called the Asian Nobel Prizes. As the
recipient of such a high honor, Dr. Nakamura is perhaps the most prominent
among the nearly 147,000 students who have graduated from one (or more) of the
Seinan Gakuin schools.
Nakamura was also awarded the Grand Prize at the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize
ceremony in 2013. (See here
for a good English summary of his life and work that was read then.)
the past 15 years, Dr. Nakamura has worked extensively supervising the digging
of wells and in land reclamation. He said he realized it was more important to
make food and clean water available to people, keeping them from starving or
getting sick, than in helping cure those who were ill.
Nakamura closed his talk with a brief reference to his current slogan:
Reconciliation and Grace.
missionary C. K. Dozier was the primary founder of Seinan Gakuin, and just
before he died in 1933 (at the very young age of 54) he said to his wife, “Tell
Seinan, be true to Christ.” For many decades, and still, that has been Seinan
April 1 the Trustees of Seinan Gakuin issued a peace declaration, partly confessing
that in cooperating with the Japan’s war activities in the 1930s and early
1940s the school had not been true to Christ. It was a fine statement of
repentance for past mistakes and a re-commitment to the teachings of Jesus.
evening celebration yesterday was from 6 p.m. until well after the planned
ending time of 8:30. Most of the 4,000 people who attended that gala event were
SG graduates, and I hope most of them gave serious thought again to the meaning
and significance of the motto of Seinan Gakuin, now 100 years old and still going
* Born in Grant City, Mo., on 8/15/1938
* Graduated from Southwest Baptist
College (Bolivar, Mo.) in 1957 (A.A.)
* Graduated from William Jewell College
(Liberty, Mo.) in 1959 (A.B.)
* Graduated from The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ken.)
in 1962 (B.D., equivalent of M.Div.)
* Received the Doctor of Philosophy
degree in theology from SBTS.
* Baptist missionary to
Japan from 1966 to 2004.
* Full-time faculty member
at Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka,
Japan) from 1968 to 2004.
* Chancellor of Seinan Gakuin from 1996 to 2004.
* Adjunct professor at Rockhurst
University 2006 to 2014.
USPS address: 1307 Canterbury Lane, Liberty, MO 64068