Unification News for
Testimony from Rostov-Na Donu, South Russia
by Patrick Nolan-Moscow
Katya Karmanova is a 20-year-old University student and 7 months a church member. She is one of the youngest members in our region (physically and spiritually) and only this Sept. became active and moved into center. She was matched by Father one week before the Blessing and was unable to contact her spouse (an even younger, one month member from Nizhny Novgorod) before she left to attend the Blessing in Moscow. On Thursday night, the time that this brother should himself leave to Moscow, his very negative mother called to the center informing them that her son was not coming and would stay at home. Meanwhile, Katya has already arrived in Moscow and expects to meet her spouse the next day.
Instead, three hours before the holy wine ceremony, she received the message that her spouse was being kept at home and was out of contact with his center. No one knew his situation-if he still wanted to participate in the Blessing or even if he was still a member. His being so young and his parents being so negative and the Blessing being such a spiritually intense event (you know how much Satan wants to destroy it)-easily one could expect the worst. Nonetheless, Katya decided to go through with the ceremony alone, believing that her spouse would spiritually attend even if physically he could not. She bought a handsome frame for her spouse's photo and went to receive the holy wine.
As she saw so many other sisters together with their spouses-talking, smiling, laughing, praying together- she felt alone. Of course, other people were also there without their spouses, but they had at least spoken to each other. They knew where there spouses were and who they were and that they too were thinking and praying for the sake of the Blessing-if not actually attending a ceremony somewhere else. But Katy did not know such things and she began to feel sorry for herself. At that same time, one Japanese sister came to her-this was her spouse's spiritual mother! God had sent her at just the right moment! With a great desire to comfort Katya, but with very limited Russian, she spoke all she knew and felt about her spiritual son and his serious faith in God and True Parents.
That night, Katya prayed a long time and shed many tears, but now not for herself. She shed tears thinking of the love that Heavenly Father had shown to her through this Japanese sister and through giving her a spouse. She shed tears for True Parents who had endured so much suffering to give this Blessing to mankind, but must suffer more when they see Satan trying to prevent it. And she shed tears for the sake of her young spouse, who at that very moment may be fighting for his spiritual life-fighting to be able to receive the Blessing that would bring salvation to his family, the same family that is blocking his way. She never met him, never even heard his voice, but she would pray deeply and cry a long time.
On November 29th, she proudly and brightly stood with his photo and attended the wedding ceremony, representing their couple before God and True Parents. During that time, she tried her best to imagine that her spouse was at her side but it was difficult. Instead, she found that someone else was beside her-it was Heavenly Father! Katya said that never in her whole life did she feel so substantially close to God. And when she saw True Parents and heard Father's prayer, she felt so deeply that these were HER parents and that this was the moment that they were embracing her with all their love. So many joyful tears poured out. Katya thought that even her spouse's not coming was a gift from God. If he were there, she would have paid more attention to her spouse's presence and maybe would not have noticed God's.
After that, she had no more worry about herself. As others spent their time together with their spouses, Katya spent her time helping and serving them. She didn't look for anyone's pity, instead she spread joy and a bright spirit wherever she went. When she returned to Rostov, her testimony and her determined, hopeful spirit moved everyone to tears. When her mother called and she needed to explain about what happened in Moscow, she spoke honestly and with words of faith and hope-so that her mother would have nothing to worry about.
And still, every night, she spent a long time in tearful prayer to Heavenly Father for the sake of her spouse-whose situation remained a mystery. She knew that he would be her Messiah and she would be his and she hoped to save him-liberate him-through her prayers. (And all her brothers and sisters joined her in this.)
Finally, seven days after his mother's disheartening call, this brother appeared in the church center, still faithful and determined to become worthy of True Parents' blessing. Then, he called to Katya and said he was sorry to have missed the ceremonies. But the smile on her face and tears in her eyes showed that no apologies were necessary. His freedom and faith were all she had prayed for and all she needed to hear about.
Other elder brothers and sisters repented in front of Katya after hearing her testimony. Their situations were without difficulties and they could share that precious moment of the Blessing together with their spouses. But they were so caught up with their emotions and expectations and external things, they never had such an experience with God or True Parents -such an experience of faith and true love. They felt sorry that they somehow had missed the blessing of the Blessing, but felt sure that Katya had found it.
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