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Expansion Activity in Montgomery County, Maryland

On Saturday, May 8, from 1-5 p.m., the Office of Community Partnerships of Montgomery County, Maryland, together with the Asian-American Advisory Council, held its first Asian-American Community Resource Fair with booths and seminars to kick off Asian-American Heritage Month. Montgomery County is just outside of Washington DC and is part of the greater Washington DC area.
The Greater Washington DC area is the 5th largest Asian-American community in the US, and Maryland ranks 7th in the US in percentage of Asian population. People of Asian-American descent include those from Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste (East Timor), Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
The May 8 event welcomed community nonprofit organizations, Asian or non-Asian, to showcase their work in meeting the needs of the community and to serve as a networking opportunity to learn from and connect with one another across cultural and ethnic lines. A Washington DC Sukyo Mahikari member who is active in the Organization of Chinese-Americans learned about the event and arranged for a booth for Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development. He and another Sukyo Mahikari member also volunteered to assist in set-up for the overall event and were recognized by the County Office of Community Partnership for providing logistical support that created a smooth operation at the large event. The community resource fair was promoted in many local newspapers. Ultimately, 38 organizations participated, and their names will continue to be listed on the Montgomery County Executive's website for continued contacts and networking.
The member who initiated our booth requested of the County several times to be permitted to give Light but never received a response. However, he proceeded forward and brought pamphlets to the booth with firm resolve and prayer that many visitors to the fair would be allowed to find out more about Sukyo Mahikari. Four other members of the Washington DC center also came to help at the booth.
After setting up the Sukyo Mahikari booth, the member who initiated the booth walked around and introduced himself to the other organizations. When he introduced himself to an African-American gentleman, the man asked, "What do you do?" The member said, "Please come to my booth and I will give you some pamphlets." Again the man said, "Please show me. What do you do?" Taking the man's words as the voice of God, the member raised his hand and radiated Light to the man's sore ankle.
Immediately, people started coming to the booth and requested to experience it for themselves. In addition, throughout the fair, the Sukyo Mahikari Centers for Spiritual Development website was continuously displayed on a screen, and as a result, many more people came up to inquire more about it.
Visitors one after another were allowed to experience Light for themselves. The five members were permitted to give Light to 33 people. The coordinator from the Office of Community Partnerships, Lily Qi, and County Executive Ike Leggett went to every booth to meet the organizations' representatives and learn what they did. We took a photo with the County Executive, and in addition he took some Sukyo Mahikari pamphlets with him. In a thank you letter after the event, the Director of the Office of Community Partnerships said that both she and the County Executive felt the event was a huge success, and in fact she had never seen the County Executive be so excited about an event in the past!
Reflecting after the event, the member who initiated this activity realized that all 38 organizations are communicating and collaborating, which can lead to greater opportunities to expand the Light and teachings.

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