The Words of the Koch Family

My Way to the Divine Principles

Peter Koch
July 1971
(Missionary in Austria)

Mr. Peter Koch, center, front row, with Austrian Family

I came from a non-practicing Protestant background and grew up in a predominantly Catholic town in Germany. In school I learned the basic concepts of Christianity. But as I grew up and started to think for myself I discovered a vast discrepancy between what I was taught and what I could experience in daily life. I had been told good people would be rewarded, but evil deeds would not pay off. However, what I could observe in the reality of life was exactly the opposite: The more honest a man was the more he had to suffer, whereas evil people flourished. I have never been able to accept the concept that Jesus died to pay for all the sins -- even for those which will be committed in the future. It seemed inconsistent to me that someone who came to drive sin out of the world would tell me not to worry about my sins which I will commit in the future as long as I plan to repent them afterwards. I argued this way: If God dislikes my sinning, then His forgiving doesn't do Him any good as long as I repeat the same sin over and again. If I have a bride who betrays me with some other boy, I may forgive her. But even if my love to her is unchanging, this does not turn her love back to me. Here was the problem. As far as I saw it, it was not God who was to be moved by Jesus to change His attitude toward sinning man, but it was the other way around. What was the Church doing to accomplish this? What was the result of 2000 years of Christian history? No, I had no use for a Church which to my eyes was more than a colossal monument of failure.

This, however, did not satisfy me. Although I had no use for the Church I could not completely disregard the testimony of the lives of sonic individual Christians in the past. In addition, deep within myself I sensed there was something like a supreme being. It was this vague hope that moved me to pray in a hopeless situation during the war. Our battalion was down to 20 men, and we were pinned down from 3 sides by 13 Russian tanks. The darkness of night, which would have given us a chance to get out, was many hours away. So an easy calculation told me I had another 2 hours to live. In this situation I prayed that if God would pick me out of this mess I would in Him.

Well, He did pick me out, and during the following days my life was saved in a miraculous way in at least two more instances. What happened to my promise? It would be easy to say: "I forgot it", but it was more a case of not knowing what to do with it. I believed in God in a vague sense, but I did not know Him.

How could I find out m re about God? I have always intensely disliked going through a great deal of philosophical acrobatics to arrive at some conclusion which would somehow "float in thin air" and which could not be anchored down undeniable evidence in daily life. So I was very happy when my attention was drawn to the spiritualist Churches in San Francisco. Here a completely new dimension was opened to me as I could observe and experience the reality of the spirit realm. I am still thankful for this experience which later turned out to be an excellent preparation for understanding the Divine Principles. However, after about a year I turned away from spiritualism in disappointment over the fact that these people who had the ability to perceive the "other world" limited themselves to mere message work instead of clarifying the deep questions of life.

It was about at that time that on a birthday party a girl suggested to me to contact Ursula Schumann to discuss with her some spiritual questions. However, my first impression was that here was another one of those well-meaning friends who wanted to get me married. Being very busy as an engineering student in Berkeley I decided not to meet Ursula Schumann. However, for more than half a year a very strong inner voice kept urging and urging me to meet her. This voice just wouldn't give peace. So I had no other choice, and we met in January 1962. Daring our first conversation Ursula made some rather dynamic statements about the Divine Principles, so I realized that if whatever she said was true this would be the most important message since 2000 years. To give me a chance to find out more about it Ursula gave me Miss Kim's address. Three days later I accepted the Divine Principles.

In order to compare the Divine Principles with the teachings of other Churches I participated in the discussion groups of the various churches around the campus of the University of California in Berkeley. Here time and again I was confronted with the surprising discovery that 3 weeks in the Divine Principles movement had given me deeper insights than many years of education had given to the ministers. (If any minister should read this, he should not feel insulted, but find out as an honest inquirer why I can say this.) Especially, however, in their spiritual life the Churches were declining to put it mildly -- whereas in the small Divine Principles I experienced for the first time in my life what it means to live in a living relationship to the living God.

On June 11th, 1963 I arrived in Germany as a missionary to bring God's message to my people. My way has not always been easy. More than once I have been in a situation in which few people would have blamed me for giving up. Why did I go on? I will tell you: God has been searching for me -- thousands of years. Ile has been calling me. He has wept because of me. He has been watching me -- every step of my way. When Adam failed, I failed. When Moses failed. I failed. When Jesus was rejected, I crucified him. God wept over me, but he did not give up. He still loved me. But I was blind. I did not even know of His love. Then one day I studied the history of restoration, and I realized how God has been yearning for me. Realizing this I could not turn from Him and walk away. My heart cried out, and I told God: "You have toiled so many thousand years for man. Now you rest and let me work in your place. "It was God's love and ignited a love in my heart, and it is this love that is making me to walk on and on.

It was in 1965 that I met my father for the first time, accompanying him for three weeks on his trip through Europe to establish Holy Grounds. In March 1969 our Master blessed me in marriage with my wife Gertrud. A few weeks later we were sent out to Vienna to carry on the work of restoration in Austria. I pray to God that he may lead me to be useful for His work. 

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