The Words of the Kiely Family

Testimony by Michael and Maria Kiely, Parents of Kotun

Michael and Maria Kiely
February 8, 2003

Some parts missing in text as received.

SPRING VALLEY, NY – True Father’s direction last year that blessed couples match their own children created a bewildering dilemma for us blessed parents. The matching, once the exclusive purview of True Parents, suddenly became an inter-family affair. The question for us was: could it still produce "a match made in heaven"? The comforting absoluteness of a choice by True Parents had suddenly vanished, and the brave new world of we parents doing the job ourselves instead was oh so rudely thrust upon us! We knew nothing about our kids’ contemporaries; we were not confident of our children’s trust in us; and we wondered if our connection to heaven was solid enough.

In short, we worried whether our choices could possibly correspond to those of heaven. Assuredly none of us felt worthy, much less capable, of the task of matching our children.

Over the past six years I have spent most of my time away from America. I have been the "Senior Adviser" to the FFWPU in Nigeria; so I knew almost no second generation young people in the States. Maria, my wife, has worked intensely as an elementary teacher to maintain our family financially and to help fund our work in Africa. Neither of us was familiar with any of our kids’ second generation contemporaries except as first names they "hung out" with or "IM-ed" on the Internet. We wondered how, starting from scratch, we could possibly learn enough about them to choose an eternal spouse for our kids. Ignorance of the pool of possible spouses was an issue for us.

The paucity of applications for the Blessing this year by second generation young people suggests a second matching issue for mature blessed families: young people of blessing age may be hesitant to trust their parents with the responsibility for matching them. Accepting and embracing the matching by True Parents had already been an act of faith for our adult children and for us, but now allowing their parents to choose a match was quite another matter. It demanded an even greater act of faith and considerable trust. It tested their belief in our connection to True Parents and spoke mountains about the depth of their confidence in and love for us.

Few second generation children had ever had a conversion experience as we first generation members all had had when we joined the Unification movement. Rather, our kids had been nurtured and raised on the Unification Principle and with True Parents. Now as young adults having been reared in a secular, sexualized culture with competing ideas, they sometimes struggled with both the DP and True Parents. Sometimes, too, their respect for and trust in us had become casualties of that struggle.

A third challenge we faced was that we ourselves lacked confidence in our own ability to make good choices. We had heard True Father speak often about how he matched physiognomies and destinies, but when faced with the need to apply his guidance, we felt incompetent to do so. How does one choose an eternal mate who is complementary in both character and destiny and with whom one has ample opportunities for dispensational restoration? The task was daunting.

In sum, the matching became an intimidating project which we tended to put on a back burner. It languished at the bottom of our To-Do list as other non-blessing-related, more comfortable tasks took precedence.

During 2001 Kotun had spoken to us a number of times about going to the Blessing. (Her story in her own words follows this article.) For months Maria in the United States and I in Nigeria communicated by email and web phone about matching Kotun, but we had done nothing substantial about it. Nor had we taken any action during my infrequent visits home. As the Blessing approached, however, we felt increasingly that we should strike while the iron was hot and give this important matter the priority attention it deserved. So, on my return from Nigeria to the United States in late January of this year, we decided to act.

Feeling incapable and unworthy of performing this task by ourselves, we prayed hard for guidance and help. We sensed we were in a situation similar to that of Joshua inheriting the mantel and power from Moses. Because True Father had given us this direction, we did feel that if we invested wholeheartedly despite our limitations, we would receive the guidance and help we needed beyond those limitations to accomplish the task.

We also sensed that heaven would be actively engaged in every step of the process. In gathering information, if we were able or unable to reach the family of a candidate by phone, or able or unable by other means to obtain information about him after a reasonable effort, then this was the hand of destiny. Whatever happened was neither positive nor negative; it was simply heaven’s will, and we accepted it as such and flowed with the process.

In our search, we further felt it was preferable not to look for a handsome, pleasant, smart, well-connected or otherwise attractive brother. We prepared ourselves, rather, to chose even an ugly, poor or awkward husband if he otherwise fulfilled these criteria and if we felt guided to select him for our daughter. It seemed important to ask whether there was the potential for dispensational restoration in this relationship for both of them and perhaps for some larger whole that they represented by birth, ethnicity or upbringing, either individually or together.

One other criterion we did feel was important was that he speak English. Knowing full well that True Father has historically often matched couples with no common language, we felt nonetheless that an inability to communicate by language was too much of a burden to place on their Blessing. Again, as BC’s they had had no conversion experience as we had had, and we were concerned about the current ambivalent BC culture and the challenges elder BC couples face in their marriage relationships. As a result, we felt good, same-language communication between our daughter and her future spouse was an important ingredient of a successful second generation blessing relationship.

Over a period of several weeks before my return to Nigeria, we spoke with CARP and STF leaders, local youth ministers, other parents, older second generation members, pastors – anyone who might be able to give us information about second generation members, including those who had not attended a blessing workshop yet. It quickly became apparent that there was no central source of information about the second generation in America. While Europe and Japan had published web sites with information and pictures about a few of their second generation members, America and Korea had no such site. The second generation office told us that they had not put up a site because only one 17-year-old second generation brother had applied for the Blessing. (Less than a dozen second generation sisters had also applied.) The head of the office and a number of other leaders advis --------

Kotun, however, felt that now was the time she should make her offering, and I also did not know how soon I would be back in the States again. It was clear to us that this was the time we had available to us – and it became increasingly apparent as we pursued this matching process that heaven agreed.

Our son, Yung Kwang, and our other daughter, Inmay, produced an initial long list of names of possible candidates. Kotun also contributed to the list, but was careful only to provide factual information about possible candidates. She insisted that we make the final choice and refused time and again to express her opinion or feelings about any potential spouse we discussed with her. She was adamant about not influencing the choice at all and determined, in this way, to fully follow True Father’s standard for the matching.

As a family we poured over our long list. Some brothers on the list did not meet Father’s guidelines about matching levels of education; others were physically too short or too young; most had not even applied for the Blessing and had not completed the Blessing workshop, though these last were not absolute criteria for us. We gradually developed a short list and began to call families and central figures for more detailed information. Some were never home and never returned our messages. Others were not ready to consider the Blessing at that time.

Our search took us to a candidate on the European web site of second generation blessing candidates, but after several weeks he had not fulfilled all the requirements to go to the Blessing. (To our knowledge, he never did.) We also considered a Japanese second generation brother whose father was an 1800 couple and one of the few on the Japanese web site who spoke English (according to the Japanese Blessed Family Department). We did not know whether the son spoke English or not.

In reviewing our long list to be sure we had not left any stone unturned, we found Noriyuki Uruga whom we had not initially considered. I don’t remember why he had not made it to our short list initially, but we decided we had had no adequate reason to exclude him; so, we included him on our semi-final list of six candidates.

We then called each of the families. Four of them we could not reach or the parents excluded their sons as not ready for the Blessing. This was worrisome because it looked as if we might end up with an empty list; we wondered whether heaven was being too severe? It looked as if this process of elimination might end up crossing everyone off the list. If that were to have happened in fact, we would have been back where we had started – empty handed. We could only surmise that this was heaven’s way of helping us make this difficult choice. Only two candidates remained: the Japanese 1800 family in Japan and the Urugas in Israel.

We had several phone conversations with the father of the Japanese candidate in Japan. He seemed quite serious about the Blessing as restoration. The father spoke English well, but his son was not so fluent. Nonetheless, we were impressed with the simple goodness and warmth of the father. This sounded like a good family, and Kotun clearly would have a solid restoration course to follow between America and Japan. Perhaps this was the one whom heaven had in mind for Kotun.

Our last call was to the Urugas in Israel. When Masahiro-san, Nori’s father, came on the line, he and I both felt a special energy and a presence between us; someone was eavesdropping, and it was not a wire tap! We also felt that this call was meant to be, that some kind of destiny was working itself out as we spoke together.

I told Masahiro-san we were looking for a spouse for Kotun and wanted to talk to him about the possibility of his son Nori as that spouse. We exchanged information and spoke for perhaps ten minutes. Both of us – we each learned later from the other – sensed this was the end of our search. He, too, had been searching and praying for a spouse for Nori. Other parents had approached him a number of times with photos of their daughters to speak about Nori, but he had not felt there was a match and had turned them down. Now without a photo of Kotun in hand, he sensed that this was the bride God wanted for Nori. I also felt we had found a match.

At the end of our call Masahiro said, "Heaven was with us during this call" or words to that effect. I thought so, too. We both sensed we had found our future in-laws. Maria, my wife, and Mieko, Masahiro’s wife, agreed; we all felt we had reached the end of our search, and the photos we subsequently exchanged only confirmed our feeling. Together we had shared an apparent spiritual experience, and we were all humbled by this warm and special presence. In that moment we experienced firsthand that we were not alone as we faced the challenge of matching our blessed children.

Nori and Kotun’s match offered a number of opportunities for restoration, too. Nori’s family is Japanese; our family is American (Michael) and European (Maria is from the Czech Republic). That provided opportunities for East-West restoration and Mother-Son cooperation. Also, Nori was born in Israel and Kotun, in Tunisia. That combination offered a framework for Israeli-Arab restoration and Christian-Moslem restoration. It was clear that this match offered a comprehensive package of restoration potential!

We shared the good news of the matching with Nori and Kotun. Then the two of them, without even speaking with each other, accepted the match. Shortly afterwards they held an acceptance ceremony with the Regional Director in Northern California, Rev. Byeng Chul Kim, in which they bowed and prayed together before a photo of True Parents expressing their acceptance and gratitude for the match. Maria and I also offered details of the matching along with photos for church approval to our Regional Leader, Rev. Dong Woo Kim, who presented the photos to Rev. Chang Shik Yang, the North American Continental Director.

Quite unexpectedly for us, Rev. Yang presented Nori and Kotun’s photos to True Parents one morning at East Garden, and they approved the matching. Rev. Yang said they were "very happy" with the match. With that surprise, affirming approval came the absoluteness and heavenly authority we yearned for! We had had no idea this would happen; we did not anticipate it or expect it, but when it happened, we were overjoyed. What had been a precious family-to-family experience had suddenly been elevated to a new providential level by True Parents’ attention and approval. We felt that this was now a match not simply made in heaven but also approved by heaven, in fact, one that heaven was "very happy" with. We also felt that ---------

Because we had waited for the appearance of the American web site on the advice of the Second Generation Office, our matching process was not complete in time for the February 16 Blessing. Nori and Kotun did not attend the April 27 blessing because we were told that second generation couples had not been invited to participate. The day after the July 3 Blessing, Nori had an important college entrance exam to take in Israel, so they could not attend that event either. That meant they had to wait until the next Blessing in February 2003 to be blessed – that was, until True Father announced an earlier Blessing September 14 in Manhattan.

As fortune would have it, Nori was to be back in the States earning more money for college at that time, so we decided September 14 was their Blessing day. What we did not realize at first was that their couple was a perfect match by birth place for the theme of the Blessing: Christian-Moslem unity. It seems that heaven had matched Nori and Kotun with this particular Blessing event in mind and that they had been destined not to attend the earlier – or later – Blessings.

During the September Blessing, we had the pleasure of having Nori and Masahiro-san stay in our home in Spring Valley, New York, for a marvelous week. Nori’s brother Yoshi was also to have attended, but he was apprehended by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and held in jail through the time of the Blessing. What a cruel jeu de destin not to be able to attend one’s brother’s Blessing by force! We could only take it as a familial offering for the holy event. The Blessing itself was spectacular with fiery prayers by blessed Christian pastors and Moslem leaders, and a Moslem-Christian newly blessed couple.

During their week-long visit with us, as two original missionary families whom True Father had sent out in 1975, we reminisced ad nauseam about our Mediterranean adventures. We cannot imagine better in-laws than a family that has attended True Parents faithfully for many years! As we shared, it became apparent to us all that this matching process happened as it did because both our families took Father’s direction seriously even though we had no idea how to go about accomplishing it. Both of our families were guided to do what we would never have imagined doing on our own.

It became apparent that if heaven can work through us – as we are convinced it did in this matching – it can work through any family where there is a receptive foundation for it. All we brought to the process was a conviction that if True Father said we should do it, then we could do it. All we had to do was, like the Israeli priests in Exodus on arriving at the bank of the Jordan River, to step into the water of the Jordan River – for us, the challenge of the matching. We had to take that step with the conviction of the authority we had been given as blessed parents empowered by True Parents to match our children. Then the path through the water would be opened before us – as ----

Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents
Copyright Information
Tparents Home