The Words of the Kuzmin Family
This summer we had a unique witnessing campaign in Ryazan (a city 200 km southeast of Moscow with a population of more than half a million). CARP members, blessed families and home members from St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl and Moscow stayed in Ryazan for forty days. We didn't just give out books (Father's autobiography) as we had done a year earlier in Nizhny Novgorod, we were witnessing; that is, inviting young people to a church center while giving out the books. Thirty-four members volunteered to come to Ryazan this summer -- twenty-three of them married people, some of whom had children with them. Our center couldn't accommodate everybody. Some volunteers from other cities, even some families with children, stayed with families in Ryazan. We gathered every morning in the church center, held a morning service and went out to witness. Families with kids took turns babysitting each other's children. Ryazan families kindly handled all household issues, so that the out-of-towners could dedicate themselves fully to their main mission.
We printed introductory lectures on small leaflets. After giving a short lecture there on the street, we would give listeners a leaflet with the lecture outline. Those that responded favorably to the material we invited to the center.
We killed two birds with one stone, by both fulfilling the goal from True Parents to give out a certain number of autobiographies while at the same time remaining focused on the search for people sincerely interested in Divine Principle. We managed to create an uplifting spiritual atmosphere, so that everybody felt spiritually enriched during the forty days.
Of course, we had challenges and fears -- things that we had to overcome -- but we wanted to support God and True Parents. Brothers and sisters were doing many types of spiritual conditions, including fasting and bowing, but our most important condition was personal investment into our mission. Young members liked to witness with blessed couples because there were many things to learn from them. Older members in turn could recollect their "younger" years.
It is still too early to evaluate the results of our activities, but the fact itself that many brothers and sisters could deeply experience God is a source of joy.
We gave out all in all 1,809 books and audio CDs of True Father's autobiography. We sowed 1,809 seeds in Ryazan's soil that we believe will sprout in time. We gave 172 introductory lectures. Since we lectured in the street, by no means everyone who listened to us came to our center to continue their Principle education. Even so, it was our desire to help as many Ryazan citizens as possible come in contact with the Principle.
A hundred and seventy-two Ryazanites learned this summer that there is a new truth called the Divine Principle. Nineteen people decided to learn more about the Principle, seven of whom still regularly come to our center and continue their education. Of course, we also collected contact information from many people that our Ryazan Unificationist family will call and try to care for. Some of our guests have already heard lectures on True Parents' course, so we strongly believe that soon Heavenly Father will see more people from Ryazan coming back to Him.
An unusual aspect of our campaign was that it was guided by three pastor couples in succession; first Roman and Olga Plotnikov, then Artyom and Helena Palkin, and finally Oleg (that's me) and Chisana Kuzmin. As each pastor emphasized different aspects of witnessing and of one's life of faith, brothers and sisters told me that they felt that God was teaching them flexibility. Members could learn something good from each leader.
Local families and visiting volunteers actively participated in witnessing activities. I could see how united church members can be if we have a common purpose in our hearts.
We are looking forward to summer 2013 in Ryazan!