The Words of the Koch Family
Rev. and Mrs. Peter Koch in Mauny, France, May 1978. To the right, Rev. Reiner Vincenz, spiritual son of Rev. Koch.
I accepted True Parents in January 1962, in Dr. Young Oon Kim's group in San Francisco. At that time, I was an engineering student in Berkeley. Through some friend I got acquainted with a member who I invited over and we had a whole group of people who heard this; yet I was the only one to take it seriously. Everybody just laughed. And then I went to the center to inquire more. I immediately was impressed by the great truth, especially regarding the mission of the Messiah, which answered many, many questions I had, and at the same time I received a great deal of spiritual help.
Looking back, I can say that God had prepared me for at least about fifteen years to meet the Principle with experiences during and after the war, which didn't make any sense to me at that time, but later looked to me as steps in this process of preparing me for the Principle. Right from the beginning, after meeting the Principle, I had a lot of spiritual experiences, which means dreams, etc., and I saw Father in spirit before I saw a picture of him.
I was in, I would say, in about two weeks. I was firmly established as a new Moonie. At that time the family was small. At that time we received our membership numbers after we passed the test, and I was very happy to know I became number ten in America.
I was, at that time, a foreign student at Berkeley, and therefore I felt responsible to witness to foreign students at Berkeley. I sent out two thousand letters to foreign students at Berkeley, and visited them after that; we won one new member. At that time, of course, the family was very small, and it was certainly not over-organized, which was quite a healthy stage. On the other hand, we didn't have a lot of spiritual material which we have now.
I decided to drop my engineering career, though I think I would have been a very good engineer, because I said to myself, "There are many engineers in the world, but there is no one in all of Europe who can teach the people the Principle." So I prepared myself to go back to Germany, my native country. Together with Ursula Schuhmann, I translated the first Principle book.
Then I started the mission in Europe. I went by ship because I didn't have enough money for a plane ticket. I started the mission in Europe on June 11, 1963. This last Day of All Things was exactly the twentieth anniversary of the start of the European mission. I first went to the city of Muenster where I used to live before my immigration to America, and bought a mimeograph machine and personally printed the first eighty copies of the German translation of the Divine Principle. At that time, I also witnessed in Muenster, especially to ministers. After a few visits they usually became very, very friendly, but they never wanted to see me again. I decided not to start the mission in my hometown, but to go away from my hometown into some other city.
Someone in the family had received some revelation that I should start in Heidelberg. Today I don't see any special reason why I started in Heidelberg. Heidelberg was just a city like any other city, so I said, "Why not Heidelberg?"
Then in order to make a condition, I wanted to walk to Heidelberg. So I got myself a raincoat and a knapsack and put the Principle inside and told my mother I would go to another city, but I would not tell her what city, and I would write when I arrived. Since it was quite a long march (it later turned out to be exactly three times 120 kilometers), I took some good American Army boots. However, there was something wrong with those boots. Usually there is a little piece of leather glued into the boot under the heel. On both boots, this little piece of leather got loose, floated up and caused a terrific blister. When I reached the city limits, I already had considerable blisters on both heels.
My first goal was a city exactly forty kilometers away. When I reached that city, I was absolutely exhausted and suffering terrible pain from my heels. When I entered the city, it was just six o'clock and all the church bells were ringing. I said to myself, "How significant." But I was so exhausted that I decided I would just get a place to sleep and the next morning call a taxi to bring me to the train station and take the next train home. During the night Father appeared to me in a dream and he said, "That is nothing. That is not suffering, you should know what I have gone through. Go on! Go on!" Of course, the next morning I went on, but the situation with the blisters really got terrible. One the third day, I made all of thirteen kilometers in eight hours. The blisters were very, very big, and the water in the blisters and the pressure on the water tore away the skin. After three or four days, my feet were in terrible shape. Nevertheless, I walked on.
I had planned to make this trip in twelve days, but one night a voice came to me and told me, "If you make it in 21 days, that is okay." I was very heavy about this because I would never have made it in twelve days. This march to Heidelberg, this 21 days, was the worst thing I have ever gone through in my life. Once on that highway I wished I could die, but it was impossible because I had not fulfilled my mission yet.
After a few weeks in Heidelberg, I decided to work together with Ursula Schuhmann who had arrived by then and started a center in Frankfurt. As we were looking for a center, we found something like a garden house right in the center of Frankfurt. However, this garden house had just been rented out to somebody else. I was not willing to accept that fact, so we kept marching around the block, praying to God that we needed this house for His mission. We asked Him to please give us this garden house for a center. Ten minutes after we finished our march around the block the owner sent us a telegram that we could move in.
This was how we started in Frankfurt. We witnessed mainly to established groups, like church groups, prayer groups, all kinds of groups. Because there we could look for prepared people and people who would be interested in religion. Just talking to anyone on the street, probably we were going to come in contact with a lot of people who were not going to be interested at all. But actually in the church groups, we did not find anyone who stayed. Rather, at my work, I met somebody to whom I witnessed and right away accepted as the first new member in Europe. This was Reiner Vincenz.
When I started the mission in Europe, I was a member for about one and a half years and I thought I knew everything about the Principle. Only little by little did I realize how little I actually know and that I still have to learn a great deal. Later Paul Werner, his wife and son, and Elke Klawitter came, and my sister, Barbara, joined us in the Frankfurt area.
Well, it's nice to have some miracles, but the problem is you cannot rely on miracles. Most of the miracles you have to produce yourself. As Edison said, "genius is five percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration."
One point I really want to stress. Many of our members do not realize how important prayer is. In the fall of man, man's love for God was destroyed. It was that point that was destroyed, so that is the point that has to be restored. That means the restoration of heart is the most important thing in the restoration process. God loves us, but He is waiting for our response. If you love somebody, and he does not respond to your love, wouldn't you feel very, very miserable? The same is true for God. If we want to liberate God from His grief, then we should express our love to Him not only with our emotions, but also with our actions. If you pray and establish a heartistic base in this prayer, you will be filled with the spirit of God and that will change your entire life and you will never, never be able to leave God again.
Such experience gives you so much strength that you could walk to the end of the world. These kind of prayer experiences are really necessary in the family. If we pledge to "charge bravely forward into the enemy camp," we can do so only if we have the right spirit. Other- wise, we just try to hide behind a lot of excuses. And in the end, we just spiritually die, and lose everything which we have won already. This is one point many members should remember.
During the tuna fishing, I had tremendous prayer experiences with God. I was all alone with God, and the water and the sky, and nothing was distracting my attention from God.
Father visited us in Germany in 1965, and established the three Holy Grounds. I travelled around with Father in a Volkswagen bus for two weeks. This was an unforgettable experience. Although at that time we only had 12-15 members in Germany, Father told us to send out at least three missionaries to France, Spain and Austria. After the 43 Couple Blessing in 1969, Father sent me to take over the mission in Austria. At that time the Austrian family had about thirty members. We did mainly street witnessing. Right after the Blessing in Europe, all the European missions had a very fruitful time. Many members joined at that time in several nations.
Our problem in Austria was that we could not do any fundraising, since it was absolutely illegal. In 1974, the Unification Church was declared illegal and was dissolved by the Austrian government. Being forced into the underground makes life an interesting experience. If you constantly have to dodge the police, you either become very strong, or you drop out. It forces each one really to become mature. If the first thing in the morning, eighteen policemen came into our center and turned it upside down, we could not start explaining to the members what to say. Everybody has to know what to do. Furthermore, this underground work taught us a lot of things which we could use in underground work in other nations.
We still are not a legal body in Austria, but things started normalizing. The public just got used to our presence. Everybody knows us, and this is even improving our situation with the media. They have spread so many horror stories about us already that now they have to bring stories about something else. That takes some of the pressure from our neck. The government and the churches are trying their best to make our life miserable in Austria, but we see this more as a challenge than as a difficulty.
It is not against the law to help your neighbor, so home church is the ideal solution for our situation. Almost everybody in Austria is doing home church. There's no full time office staff anymore. One positive side effect of our situation is that we cannot have a lot of paperwork and no statistics, so we can concentrate on the practical witnessing mission. Austria is a very, very beautiful country and the Austrian people are very heartistic and absolutely non-nationalistic, so it was not difficult to explain to the members that they have to think on a worldwide level. We have always tried to send out as many missionaries as possible and support them until they really get established. During all these years six out of every seven Austrian members have been sent out to help other nations.
I hope that one day also the American family will live for the world and give itself to the world.
Before man is doing anything he is thinking. Before he thinks, he is motivated by some emotion. This means restoring just the actions of man without restoring his thinking and his emotions will be no solution. Also restoring man's thinking would restore his actions, but would not restore his emotions, the source of whatever he is doing. This means that at the heart of restoration is the restoration of the heart. Or in plain language, we have to learn to love God. People make mistakes simply because they are not in harmony with God's heart. They do not know the truth, therefore, they cannot act upon the truth.
They are not motivated in the same way as God is motivated in that particular situation; therefore, they act in the wrong way. If you have any problem, no matter what kind, there is one solution: fall in love with God. This is my life motto.
If restoration is our business, then we should start with the restoration of the heart. Our own heart first, then the hearts of the others. How did I receive help from God to carry out my mission? This is very difficult to answer. Of course, there have been some miracles, but I think mainly you are guided by your intuition. If you have a prayer life that really reaches God, then you will know by intuition what you should do.
What is receiving instruction by intuition? Some people understand this to be spiritual openness, but the spirit world is very large and quite mixed. So first you would be running around with a TV screen in front of your eyes with all the TV programs of the world channeled in at the same time, you would only be confused. What counts is that you get the information which you need and nothing else; that is intuition.