The finals of the Unity Games in each of the Church’s two districts in Japan, Tokyo and Nagoya, were held simultaneously in separate venues on May 2, 2023. Both constituted the culminations of such sporting event which had been underway since April.
In the Ecclesiastical District of Tokyo, Japan, players and spectators—practically, the whole family—gathered at the Todoroki Arena, in Kawasaki City, for the Unity Games held under the overall supervision of Brother Amante Rodriguez, district supervising minister.
The brethren’s aim was not so much to win as to be together in Church activities and show their solidarity with one another and with the Church Administration. As Brother Kristoffer Reniel P. Gonzales, assistant district supervising minister, said, “We can see the brethren’s excitement, yearning, their delight, and these we believe bring praise and glory to God for we’ve once more shown we obey one of His commandments, which is unity.”
Games of basketball and volleyball were played, both of which in two divisions, Men and Women. Others games included badminton, paper race, puzzle game, and color game ball, and others.
The combined team from the local congregations of Yokohama and Yokosuka won in basketball; the combined team of those from Gunma, Tochigi, and Ibaraki congregations in volleyball. Husband and wife, Jan Michael and Kaori Perez, bested in badminton. They and all other winners received trophies and medals as prizes.
Volleyball MVP Ai Sekiguchi from Gunma Congregation, said, “This activity is very good because it brings brothers and sisters [in the faith] together and also encourages them to assist each other, which strengthens everyone’s bond even more.”
Meanwhile, the local congregations, extensions, and Group Worship Services composing the Central Region of the Nagoya, Japan Ecclesiastical District held its version of the Unity Games at the Nagahama Ika Twin Arena. These are the local congregations of Gifu City, Gifu West, Hikone, Kanie, Kariya, Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Niigata Ext., Seto Ext., Fukui GWS, Ishida GWS, Mie GWS, Nagano GWS, Nishio GWS, and Toyama GWS.
Together with the Buklod, KADIWA, and Binhi members, the prospective members also competed during matches of basketball and volleyball, winners of which received medals. Some of them, especially the children, enjoyed playing tug-of-war and dodgeball.
Appreciating the brethren’s enthusiasm, Brother Manny Benedicto, district supervising minister, said, “For the brethren, the exhausting long hours of travel was worth it for afterwards we’re able to meet each other, which we so want to do for a long time now, as before the peak of the pandemic won’t allow us.”
“Being new here in Japan, activities like this are great opportunities for me to get along with my fellow brethren,” said Gerald Dizon, a basketball player from the Osaka Congregation.
“Some of the players are experienced, some might not be. But for me the best thing about Unity Games is that we’re all here for the same reason, that is, to unite,” said Ian Nobello, a volleyball player from the Ishida GWS. — With reports from Jansen Danganan and Stephanie Delos Reyes of INC News Section