The Words of the Koch Family

Testimony To Peter Koch

Branislav Chalowka
September 28, 2008

Given during the farewell party for National Messiah Gertrud Koch in the HQ of the Slovak Unification Church, near Bratislava.

I met Peter Koch in Great Britain, in mid-August 1981. At that time I was a student in USSR, in Moscow, in my last grade before graduation. After many years of spiritual loneliness, without any peers and without possibility to carry out any spiritual activity I was in a way spiritually down, loosing my faith and spiritual determination. Somehow my mother managed to arrange the possibility of going for a trip to the West.

For this she had to got to get a special foreign currency allocation from the Forex Bank, and some additional papers, which that time was quite a difficult thing to do, especially for a person studying in USSR, since for such category of citizens like me there was applied an unspoken rule -- ban for trips to the “West”. Nevertheless the trip was arranged and I went to London to meet somebody from Austria. Everything was arranged like a conspiracy…

The person I met was Dolores Rebernigg, who actually introduced herself under a different name, and she told me that we will meet Peter Koch, who was well known and did not need any undercover nickname.

To be honest I was quite down, I did not have any experience at all with the church life and habits. I met the church when I was 17, and soon afterwards almost everybody I knew went to prison, and I went to USSR to study, and was alone for quite a number of years, meeting sporadically isolated group of church members (from 1 to 5 persons) during my holidays in Czechoslovakia, always in some secret “underground” place, sometimes even watched by secret police.

So naturally meeting Peter Koch, the church leader from Western Europe was something I was curious about. When the meeting took place I was still afraid of being watched by some KGB guys chasing me from the Soviet Union, so in the beginning I could not really focus on Peter. My first impression was “a tired man”. We traveled by a car to a nice real estate somewhere in the forests in South-West of England. There we had more time to communicate with each other. Peter stayed for several days, and actually he did not speak too much. That time there was Christa Stadler, and they were resolving many issues in German. I later realized that the British church was in quite a bit of trouble.

Nevertheless during one of the first evenings Peter took me to a TV set, connected to it at that time “advanced computer” with some air-fighting games, and we played together the game. As later on Christa told me, he had never played computer games with other members. Gradually I shared with Peter my concerns, that. I was a communist and I did not feel good about it. Peter in return shared with me a lot about Communism. I think he was one of the few people in the European Church who really understood in depth the Democracy-Communism conflict, and had the right approach in dealing with it.

I gave Peter a gift, which by the way Gertrud still has -- and allegedly likes -- a small wire jewelry bowl with golden coating. Peter gave me some chocolates, which for somebody would mean nothing, but for me, who had spent years in USSR, where many times you could buy only potatoes, pasta and salt it was quite a gift. I got the straight feeling -- “This man understands me!” Maybe it sounds funny that a piece of chocolate could drive me to such conclusions but it is true. Peter was very gentle, more spiritual than others, using few words but expressing a big heart. He was very much like our daughter Andrea who passed in the age of 13 to the spiritual world -- everybody loved her, but she did not speak to us parents so much.

In the middle of resolving many serious problems Peter Koch had always a piece of heart to share with me. You know I had spent quite a time absorbed by my spiritual fights, ups and downs alone, so for me being just a few moments with him was a full-scope and great experience, perceived by me as something precious, which maybe will not be repeated in the future at all -- simply because this could had been my last trip to the “West”, and that time nobody knew how long Communism would last. This I think helped me to understand and perceive the events happening around me more deeply.

After a couple of days I realized that Peter is in a way special man, because Christa shared with me a testimony about some leaders´ meeting, where other church leaders were treated by their members as respectful elders, or senior church representatives, while Peter was treated by Austrian members like a real father. Although I had not been very active in church center life in my pioneer days, the typical relations between members and church leaders were related to early days church concept, when True Father was called “Master”, and the subject-object relations were stressed more than the parental heart.

Peter Koch was pioneering God’s way ahead of the whole church, ahead of time. This is something very precious, because he was a man who had lived authentically, and who had pursued his true heart’s ideals ahead of others. In the real life this means that to do something like this you have to go against the main stream. It requires courage and true determination. Even in our church.

When I met Peter I saw that his body was sick -- I was a student of medical science. When I learned from brothers and sisters that he did several 40 days fasts, while teaching at the same time, having diabetes, there is only one interpretation -- he sacrificed to save the brothers and sisters!!! Believe me I know what I am saying, because during my 6 months of active involvement in the church when I was 17 / 18 I did four 7-day fasts, two 4-day fasts, one 3-day fast, and I regularly fasted each Monday.

I did it to become successful in witnessing people. Simultaneously with fasting I had to be active all day long, and this was quite a challenge. A 40 days fast with and active life, combined with spiritual confrontation, this is really a “near-death experience”. As far as I know True Father banned Peter from 40 day fasts and after he passed to the spiritual world the True Father revisited the concept of fasting within the whole church and changed the rules (this is my guess).

During my stay in Great Britain I realized that Peter Koch was really exhausted. You know, the life of a leader is a lonely life -- sometimes nobody understands you, including even people around you, and maybe even your spouse. Then you have to take everything on your own shoulders, and keep going. You see the things that others do not see, and you come to realize that in some moments you alone have to support God. Otherwise God will be without backup. Everything is a burden, life is a burden, but you know that if you do not endure there will be nobody else to defend God. This is something only few people can do.

This is an expression of my deep connection and respect to Peter Koch which emerged during the very short meeting I had an honor to experience with him during the troubled times of early eighties.

Branislav Chalowka
Bratislava, Slovakia 

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