by Rev. Reiner Vincenz
Peter Koch, the first missionary to Europe, had arrived in his native Germany in 1963. Reiner Vincenz, his spiritual son, was the first member to join in Europe. This is Rev. Vincenz’s story as told to a congregation at Sunday service at Belvedere, New York, in March 1984.
Part 2 of 3 (Click to read Part 1 which was posted last week)
Just shortly thereafter Father called me to America. I was most grateful for the chance to have served seven years in France and built up a certain foundation. Then I came to this very place, Belvedere. I actually went through a big struggle, because my concept was that maybe we had to fulfill things in Europe first. And suddenly at breakfast one morning Father said, “Reiner, would you like to help me?”
“Oh, Father, yes!” I said. “I want nothing more than to help you.” He brought me here, and there were fewer people present than there are this morning. Father spoke and at the end he formed us into a team of 60 people. Then from here at Belvedere, in 1973, IOWC was created.
You have to understand that this was my very first time in America. I had almost no understanding of the English language. Father was standing here outside the door; there were some vans parked nearby, and Father looked at me and said goodbye. That was all. I thought, what does this mean? Father said to take these people and he would come soon to Philadelphia, the next city of his tour. I said, “Father, I cannot even speak English!”
Father replied that it was no problem! My wife speaks good English, he said.
I am so grateful for this moment. I strongly remember how Father gave me my first members and my first mission. The memory of this moment in Belvedere pulled me through all the difficulties of 1973 and 1974 and also prepared me for my time in Korea later on. So you can see how important meeting Father is. It is important to have this really deep thankful feeling and sense of being indebted to Father. Whenever you can meet Father, even here, or even for just a moment, you should make it the most dramatic meeting of your life.
So we went crusading. Yesterday when I was reflecting about what I really remember, I can tell you that it is not the big gatherings, not the big banquets. What I really remember is this: on the 21-city tour, when we succeeded in filling the hall, serving the banquet, and everything was over, Father went with us to McDonald’s and we had a McDonald’s party. These are the moments I remember. Sometimes at midnight, sometimes after midnight, he would look at us as his children and sing us a song.
At these times Father said: “You know, my worry is not the people in the audience, my worry is not the banquet, my worry first of all is you. You are much more important to me, much more important.”
That is why I am so thankful to Father. We all have a thousand reasons to be indebted to Father.
Then, after touring in America, Father asked me if I could go to Korea and Japan. I was so shocked. I told Father that if he had this confidence in me I would do my absolute best.
Arrival in Korea
Going to Japan was such an incredible blessing. I believe that without Japan it would have been impossible for me to meet the True Parents and our fatherland, Korea, in a deeper way. I am most grateful to the Japanese brothers and sisters.
Once you go there you can begin to understand my words. The Japanese members truly care, and their hearts melted our stony, Western hearts little by little. The problems you encounter in Japan and Korea are surprising. It is not the food, the rice or the miso soup; it is not that in the Orient everything is done the opposite way compared with the West; it is not the language, the public baths or anything else. These things you can learn and manage. The biggest problem is how to handle the incredibly deep heart of the Japanese, and especially the Korean members.
The moment we drew near the coast of Busan, I felt, “This is my home.” I had traveled all over the world. I traveled to so many countries, but I had never felt that before.
At that time Dr. Pak was responsible for leading this crusade. When we left Japan on the boat, I asked Col. Pak many times if he thought True Parents would really come to meet us in Busan.
“Oh no, he is too busy,” Col. Pak said.
After a little while I said again, “Col. Pak, actually I forgot to prepare flowers for Father. Maybe he will come?” Then Col. Pak started to think and suddenly all of us on the boat were wondering if Father might come to meet us.
As the boat approached the dock I looked down from the boat and do you know who was there? Father and Mother were there! Father and Mother and many Korean leaders and the whole Busan church! The moment we docked in Busan is so deep in my memory. It may well be the deepest moment of my life, because this was my first contact with our fatherland.
Everyone alighted from the ferry and came down to the landing dock. Everybody was in tears. When we offered our first prayer in our homeland the atmosphere was so warm and embracing, so welcoming. I will never forget this moment in Busan.
True Parents are truly our parents, and Korea is truly our homeland. When Father gave the motto this year, “Creation and Building of the Fatherland,” I began to feel how Father’s heart must be. It took him so many years to build the foundation for his mission. He had to leave Korea and go around the world, laying the foundation step by step and building up the victory over Satan. Only now was he able to return after an incredible journey of so many years!
The 1975 World Rally for Korean Freedom
After crusading in Korea we were supposed to return to Japan. However, instead, Father held a very important meeting. At that meeting Father got excited, and everyone else in the room with him. Except me, because I couldn’t understand what was going on. Finally Col. Pak explained it to me. Only 18 days before the proposed date, Father was directing all IOWC teams to prepare for the Yoido Rally in Seoul. Can you imagine? Eighteen days! Father said that if we really wanted to stop Kim II Sung from invading the South, we had to demonstrate worldwide, in a most powerful rally. Attendance at the rally had to exceed the one million people who came to support Billy Graham.
My heart had never been so frustrated or so nervous than during these 18 days. At one point I really became desperate. How could I handle all these organizational and spiritual problems? Internally I was clinging to Father’s heart. Finally, I called Mrs. Choi and confided in her like a son. I told her, “I don’t know how to continue; what shall I do?”
She said, “Well, just go and see Father.”
“Mrs. Choi,” I replied, “I could never do that.” But she ordered me to do so, and so I went.
I knocked very carefully at the door. At the same moment I thought, maybe I never should have knocked at all… but then again, if I hadn’t, I would never know what might have happened! As it turned out, this meeting was very meaningful for my life and very decisive for the entire Yoido Rally operation. I explained everything to Father, and he was not worried at all! He gave me such wonderful fatherly advice. And I think that because of this one evening, many, many good things came about for God.
There was another miraculous event in Korea that I want to report. You know, the moment Father is doing something powerful for God, Satan starts preparing his counterattack immediately. On the morning of the Yoido Rally, I looked out the window, and do you know what I saw? Rain, rain, rain! I thought, “Oh God, what shall we do?” The entire sky was full of rain.
I was praying and thinking: God, all this work for your son and for our homeland is for nothing. Is the enemy really going to win?
Then a voice came very clearly to me: “You must have faith!” Very simple! We have heard these words many times. Even the Bible tells us how little faith we have!
Then at 9 o’clock we went out in the rain. There was rain everywhere except in one place: the site of the parade for the Yoido Rally! God, my faith was not strong enough, I felt. If I had had more faith before, maybe there would have been no rain at all. But anyway, the situation was solved. The fact that at this moment the only place in the entire city that had no rain was our parade site, showed us that if we continue to work with a thankful heart and deepest faith in God and True Parents, we will always bring success.
To be continued….