Unification News for February 1997

In Memoriam Arcely Constantino Kouassi

Rev. Emmanuel Kouassi's wife passed into the spirit world Oct. 18, 1996 at 5:30am at the University Teaching Hospital in Bouake. Rev. Kouassi has been living with his family in Bouake, the second capital city of Cote d'Ivoire, since April 1996, as the regional leader of the Unification Church.

Mrs. Arcely Kouassi was eight months pregnant when she had a severe attack of hypertension. She battled with the sickness for two weeks before giving up. Her inability to overcome this terrible illness was difficult for both Arcely and her husband. "We prayed fervently and were determined to continue to have faith in God and to leave my wife's destiny in the hands of God." Rev. Kouassi said further that they were ready to accept whatever happened as the will of God.

"My wife passed into the spirit world at the time we believed that her health had improved as compared to the first few days that she was hospitalized."

Arcely Constantino Kouassi was born Sept. 15, 1955 at Magdanela, in the Philippines. She was educated at Magdanela and in the capital city of Manila.

She joined the Unification Church in 1979. She faithfully served in various pioneering missions until 1982, when her marriage with Rev. Emmanuel Kouassi was consecrated Oct. 14 in the 6000 Couples Blessing in Seoul, Korea.

She returned to the Philippines that same year and, as the first blessed Filipino sister, she served in all the posts of responsibility. She was called "Nanai" (meaning Elder Sister in the Philippines) for her dedicated service, friendly motives and kindness.

She arrived in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa, Nov. 1987. On March 14, 1991 she gave birth to her first child, Kouassi Ramos Kemir; on Aug. 7, 1992, she had a second son, Kouassi Emmanuel Joo-Bong.

In 1992 she became vice president of the Women's Federation for World Peace in Cote d'Ivoire, the post she held until Oct. 18, 1996 when she was reborn into the spirit world.

The Unification Church national headquarters in Cote d'Ivoire recorded many condolence messages from the sister churches throughout the world. The most awaited message came from the Philippines, Arcely's home country. The fax read as follows: "We received the news of Sister Arcely Constantino Kouassi's elevation into the spirit world. Arcely was the first blessed sister in the Philippines Unification Church. She lived on earth with sincere loyalty to God and True Parents. She spent all her time serving the church while she was with us. We wish to extend our condolences to Rev. Emmanuel Kouassi and the children. Also, we have informed Arcely's physical parents. We would have loved to come for the Seung Hwa, but since the last Blessing we have been persecuted a lot. Some ill-meaning authorities spread rumors intended to tarnish our church's reputation. Irresponsible newspapers published them. Until now, the government is monitoring our activities. We cannot therefore apply for visas to leave the Philippines for any reason whatsoever. We advise you to go ahead with the Seung Hwa ceremony; we are with you in spirit." The message was clear and things happened fast. It was unanimously decided that the Seung Hwa ceremony at national level be held at Bouake, Oct. 21-22, 1996. Almost all Unification Church members in Cote d'Ivoire and the West

African sub-region met in Bouake and the ceremony was held successfully. What made the occasion a big success was the sincere attitude, dedication and devotion of the members.

Throughout the ceremony, the members sang holy songs, prayed repeatedly and gave deep testimonies about the elevated spirit of our sister. All the testimonies from members close to Arcely revealed that she kept a pure and faithful heart toward God, True Parents, her husband, the children and friends.

Rev. Emmanuel Kouassi also gave a very moving testimony. "I want to pay tribute to my wife and share part of my experience with you. First and foremost, all testimonies you have heard concerning my wife are correct and true. Arcely had a Godly heart. She served the providence until God called her. She was always smiling. Even at difficult moments, she smiled, as you can she in her picture in front of you (on the Altar). This picture is a testimony of what I am saying.

"There is also this aspect of her life that I admire so much: my wife was very orderly, to an extent that her orderliness used to disturb my peace. Let me explain what I mean by this. I am somebody who hates looking for things. If there is anything I hate in my life, it is to search for something. I pack my things in such a way that I can trace them easily. For example, I can pack all the books of Divine Principle in one place irrespective of their colors or sizes. So if I need anything on Divine Principle, I can just go to the pile and take it.

"But my wife would go and sort out all the books that I packed and arrange them according to their colors or sizes. Then, when I wanted the small size of any of these books, I would have to go to the appropriate pile, and that was always a problem for me. She was so orderly that it took me time to understand her. Those of you who had the chance to enter our rooms saw how neat and decorated they were. Arcely did all the decorating. She was an artist and a teacher who inspired me. If there is anything I regret today, it is the fact that I didn't have enough time to study my wife. Arcely had so many good qualities which I had not fully explored. I would like to ask her to forgive me for any pain I might have inadvertently caused her during the period we were together. My wife should bear in mind that whatever I did, I did to make her happy. I want to promise before you who are her friends and co-workers that with your assistance I would educate our two children until they are ready for the Blessing.

"Finally, I am proud that such a crowd came to honor God's daughter. I thank you all. Arcely has made a beautiful trip to the spirit world. Till we meet her again."

by Adama Doumbia-Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire

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