The Words of the Vincenz Family
Mr. Reiner Vincenz
With a very grateful heart I like to give my testimony. Looking back at my past life many, many events, experiences and influences have formed me, but most precious to me is the way which has led me to receive spiritual life and a close relationship with the living God.
I was born on January 9, 1939 and grew up in Leipzig, a city in the east zone of Germany. With about 13 years of age I became very active in a protestant church group, and in summer 1956 I was chosen to take in a church congress in Frankfurt, West Germany. The congress lasted one week, everything was very well organized and I was very much impressed by the freedom and the material wealth around me. When the time had come to return to Leipzig a strong force hold me back and I did not get into the train but stayed in Frankfurt.
But suddenly everything looked very different, I was alone, nobody helped me and I had to enter a refugee camp. Then a difficult period with schooling started and I tried to inform young people about life in East Germany. But nobody wanted to hear about it and after a while I gave up. My desire for material wealth grew and I studied management and industry in order to earn lots of money one day. I had in my mind to go to South America. My conflict with the church had been completely broken. During my free time I started to paint, and one day I painted a very big picture with the scene "Man in the last judgment". I wondered about myself, not knowing why I had chosen this theme.
Later I started to work in a Swiss company and I met Mr. Peter Koch, who was employed as engineer. Since Mr. Koch had been in America and I was interested in going one day that direction, I was very happy when on August 22, 1964 I was invited by Mr. Koch to his house hearing about his experiences in the USA. I asked him: If you would be banished on an island, which 3 books would you take along?" Without long thinking Mr. Koch answered: "I would need only one book, a book I found in the United States and which I have translated." Of course, this made me very curious and hearing the title "The Divine Principle" I just wondered and felt sorry. But not very long, I saw the chart of "Restoration of History" and was very much impressed. Mr. Koch talked to me all day and I knew I had to study all in order to be able to judge. Every day I returned, and although I tried to find some shortcomings, all my questions could be answered and I was overwhelmed by the Divine Truth. After 14 days I decided to devote myself completely to work for God. I became spiritually very open and soon had many proofs of the great power and validity of the Divine Principle. The desire to inform the world became immense and day after day I helped searching for God's lost children.
In July 1965 I had the great privilege and joy of meeting our Master, who had been visiting Germany during His first world trip. Much love and advice we received and especially the remarks bringing the Divine Principle to neighboring countries stayed deep in my mind. Without really having a reason, I had developed a deep love for France during the last years and now my desire to bring God's message to France to grow very quickly. The German family prepared me to take the responsibility for a nation, translated the Divine Principle book into French and I was very happy when I got the permission to start in new mission-field.
On February 26, 1966 I arrived in Paris with just a little knowledge of French, without residence and working permit, but with great confidence and trust in our Heavenly Father. Never will I forget the moment I was standing at the train station, holding my suitcase with the Divine Principle book and doing the first steps heading for Holy Ground at the Eifel tower, praying at the place which our true Father had blessed in 1965, I realized the great work I had been entrusted with. Right away I started to search for God's lost children, walking for many hours every day through the streets and getting acquainted with my mission-field. Through spiritual guidance I had found a way to earn the necessary money. Every morning from 5-9 o'clock I was cleaning offices with a crew of people, who represented really the lowest class of society. More and more I could feel the suffering heart of our Heavenly Father and of our Master, and my desire grew tremendously to help to change this world.
After 3 months God wanted me some other place and I was overwhelmed with joy when I was accepted as a receptionist in a hotel in "Quartier Latin". Here I got a monthly pay of $ 30 and a tiny room which served as the first Divine Principle center in France. Now I was in the heart of the city, in the district where thousands of young people live. I searched and searched for the first person who could understand God's will today. Many people I invited. Satan attacked me severely, he wanted to force me to give up. But the power of God and my love for Him were much stronger. One night I had a very clear vision. A long period of my past life was shown to me and a voice said! "This is the way I have prepared you." Next morning I realized, that exactly 10 years ago I had left my parents and the city of Leipzig.
The atmosphere in the hotel had become unbearable and again it was like a miracle I found a room in a better neighborhood. My search for the first follower continued and it was one night in March 1968 that on my way home a strong voice told me to go to a certain subway station in a very different direction. I was very tired, didn't want to go, but after some inner struggle I obeyed and was really guided to a little dark street where a young man was standing alone. Right away I knew that I had to talk to him. Three weeks later he was the first follower of our True Parents in France, His name is Henri Blanchard. From then on work advanced quicker. Soon we were 4 people and we could establish a center in Boulogne-Paris. Soon afterwards, March 1969, our long wish came true. We could welcome our True Parents in Europe. Happiest and warmest, most valuable and exciting days followed. For me personal a great change of my life came, for which I am most grateful. Our True Parents blessed me with Barbara Koch in marriage.
Through the visit of our True Parents France had been greatly blessed and all work for the Father could develop much better. In the meantime we could establish French headquarters in the heart of Paris and open Divine Principle centers in Beirut, Lyon, Lille, Neuilly and a second one in Paris. Growing personally through the experiences of each project and learning to understand deeper the heart and the will of our Heavenly Father.
I am most grateful that God has called me, showing me the deep meaning and challenge of life, and giving me all necessary help and guidance during all these years. With all my heart I follow the True Parents. They are the way, the truth and the life. Through them everyone can return to our Heavenly Father.