Peace Bringer Spotlight

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 by jeni No Comments

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Peace Bringer

Summer/Fall 2014

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Yuka Saionji Matsuura

Deputy Chair of Byakko Shinko Kai

Goi Peace Foundation – Japan

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Mattie said that a Peace Bringer goes beyond his or her circle of family or friends, and learns about and tends to the needs of neighbors “around the block and around the world.” A Peace Bringer moves peace from a possibility to a reality, by choosing to share personal gifts with others, and by choosing to recognize and celebrate the gifts of others — even others who are different from us, with whom we disagree.

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Yuka Saionji Matsuura learned about peace at a very young age. Just after World War II, her grandfather offered the simple prayer, “May peace prevail on earth.” For many, many decades, Yuka and her family have worked hard to share peace through this message, and through promoting a message of respect for others and for life.

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A few years ago, Yuka was discussing peace on a radio program, and shared her reflections on Mattie J.T. Stepanek as a role model for celebrating life and  choices for peace. Mattie’s mom, Jeni, happened to be listening to the interview, and reached out to Yuka to thank her for furthering Mattie’s message of hope and peace through her own work.

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Since then, Yuka and Jeni have connected many times, each having great respect for the peace mission of the the other. Jeni is working towards funding to have a peace pole celebrating the message, “May peace prevail on earth!” placed in the Peace Garden area of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Park. And Yuka has participated in outreach activities of Mattie’s Foundation, including the annual Peace Tree activity and the recent December Prayer translation and video project.

During Spring/Summer 2014, our Peace Spotlight Honoree theme is “Peace: Attitude to Action.” As we celebrate individuals and groups who give of their time, their talent, and their treasure, and who strive to move from attitude to action with peace, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation honors Yuka Saionji Matsuura  – our Summer/Fall 2014 Peace Bringer Spotlight.

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Yuka Saionji Matsuura— Peace Bringer Spotlight Feature

Below are Yuka’s responses to our Spotlight questionnaire

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Spring 2014 Peace Bringer Spotlight Honoree Yuka Saionji Matsuura credits her grandfather, Masahisa Goi, with her passion for peace. As WWII came to a close, he offered the simple prayer, “May peace prevail on earth” — now an international call for peace.

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Tell us a bit about yourself.

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My name is Yuka Saionji Matsuura and I live in Japan. I am the Deputy Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai and represent the Goi Peace Foundation. I am also a Board member of NPO Miratsuku.
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My grandfather created the simple universal peace prayer “may peace prevail on earth” right after World World II. Since then, our whole family has been working and praying for peace  – for more than 50 years.

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I love people. I love to hear peoples stories, their experiences, their thoughts and actions.

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When you can be interested in people, and learn more about them without judgment or criticism, you can be more connected and one with them. We are all not that different. We all have many possibilities within us. We can learn so much from each and everyone of us.

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I think peace starts by seeing yourself in others. Listening has taught me to love and be closer with people.

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What does “peace” mean to you?

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Peace is a place we originally came from before birth and the way we want to move, create and manifest in our life.

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I participate in many peace activities — starting from everyday prayer and meditation, and small acts of kindness.  Also, I have attended many conferences, movements, and activities for the cause of peace. And, with friends and colleagues, we have hosted many events, symposiums, conferences, and dialogues for themes such as spirituality, interfaith peace, resilience in disasters, youth leadership, and inspiration for finding your own gifts.

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A “May peace prevail on earth” peace pole celebrating the message of Yuka’s family. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Mattie’s legacy years, the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation will be installing a peace pole in Mattie’s Park & Peace Garden.

Activities like this matter. Meeting fascinating people — everyday heroes, beautiful souls, young and elder leaders — inspired me to want to become a better person in life. It also taught me that we all have that special gift … love, understanding, forgiveness, caring… !! Its in all of us. That’s a fact. The difference is if we believe in it, if we realize that we have the gift, and if we do something to bring that out — from us and for others. Even if challenging, there is a way for everyone to believe and realize and celebrate their gift.

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My grandfather has taught me the power of prayers. My mother taught me of the power of thoughts and words. They have both told me that being positive and sending positive energy, words, thoughts and actions are most important.

 

And through this, I have learned that peace is something to find in every moment to moment. No matter where you are, find peace. Peace is not shown to you, you find it. It is not given to you, you create it. It is not what others offer you, it is for you to bring it out from within you.

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I have met people who found peace in prison, in poverty, in crisis. I have met people who have showed me peace in beauty, in love in harmony. Peace is in the attitude and action of each human being.

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How did you learn about Mattie and his Foundation?

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I think the first time I saw Mattie was on TV. Then after that, I saw Mattie’s book in the bookstore, and  I instantly reached for it. Without thinking, I went right to the cashier and bought it, and felt full of love already.

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Mattie and the message of hope and peace he shared has impacted my thoughts and actions so much. His life, his message… it was full of love and depth and appreciation and truth. And it touched me deeply. And he was living it every day every moment. And I love him with all my heart. Such gift to humanity.

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Yuka (far right) with members of her family at the United Nations.

I always talk about Mattie and his poems whenever I have the opportunity to during conferences and interviews and conversations or any speaking opportunity. A few years ago, I mentioned Mattie and his inspirational message during a radio interview. Mattie’s mom, Jeni Stepanek, was listening to the interview and reached out to me. This gave me a chance to connect with Jeni which was such an honor for me.

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Since then, I have learned more about Mattie and Mattie’s Foundation. I visit the website once in a while and learn about the projects, and I am inspired by Mattie’s words and Jeni’s messages. A few months ago, I participated in the December Prayer peace video project, and shared my translation of Mattie’s poem in Japanese.

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I am not yet Peace Certified by Mattie’s Foundation, but now this is something I would like to do.

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Do you have a favorite Mattie book, poem, or quote?

I remember Mattie shared an example of a storm, and said that after every storm to always dance and celebrate. He said that sometimes his body ached, but it mattered to choose to enjoy and live life. The exact quote by Mattie is, “Remember to play after every storm!”

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I also love that he has said everyone has a gift to offer in this earth — which he called a “Heartsong.” No matter how short or long that persons life may be, we each have a gift to celebrate and share. And that gift is to do what you love, and in doing that, you bring hope and peace to others.

Yuka during a Changemakers gathering.

Anything else you would like to share?

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I first honestly thought I don’t deserve recognition as a Peace Bringer. But then I thought a lot, and I decided to gratefully accept this honor because I have so much love and respect to Mattie and Jeni, and the Foundation.

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And through this award, for me, it feels like a commitment — that I will work hard and make peace my pursuit for life from now on. And, I will hopefully pay back and pay forward that Jeni and Mattie’s Foundation believed in me.

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I really love all that Mattie has brought to earth. My hope is that with Mattie and his heart with me and guiding me, that I may each day walk that path for peace, and help people understand that if I can be a peace bringer, then anyone can!!!

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I want to follow in the foot steps that Mattie walked. Like Mattie, I say, “Peace is possible… choose peace.” And like my grandfather, I pray, “May peace prevail on earth.”

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Yuka, with a Ghandi statue, celebrating life with the
Mehta family — who started the
gift economy movement in the USA.
Gift economy involves giving things, for free,
from time to materials, which is a
“very powerful and amazing movement,” Yuka said.

 

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Thank you, Yuka,

for being a Peace Bringer.

Congratulations!

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Learn more about Yuka and
her peace work on on these sites:

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Byakko — May Peace Prevail on Earth

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Goi Peace Foundation

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Evolutionary Leaders

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To celebrate Mattie’s 10 year legacy, Yuka donated a 
Peace Pole for Mattie’s Park & Peace Garden,
which was unveiled during the July 19, 2014 Peace Gathering. 

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Return to main Spotlight page

 

April Spotlight

In-Kind Support

Celebrating our "in kind" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with services and materials. Thank you ezStorage, Montgomery Printing, Parcel Plus, and Potomac Valley Brick! Read more...

Nourishment Support

Celebrating our "nourishment" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with food and services. Thank you Botanero Restaurant, Fontina Grille, Safeway, Coffee Republic, and Red Hot & Blue! Read more...

Community Support

Celebrating our "community" sponsors and advocates -- who support Mattie's Foundation with commitment and participation. Thank you City of Rockville, King Farm Citizen's Assembly, Kick's Karate & Mix 107.3! Read more...

Champion Support

Celebrating our "Foundation Champions" -- sponsors and volunteers of all ages who support Mattie's Foundation through donations, brick sponsorships, participation in our activities and events. Thank you!!! Read more...

- Mattie J.T. Stepanek