†can remember the first encounter that I had with Rev. Moon was in Houston, Texas, when his fifty-state speaking tour went to that city and state in February 2001. I was one of the ministers selected to give a warm-up talk, and I said, "I know some of you are seeing me with my Roman collar on, and you think Iím a Catholic, but Iím a Baptist born in the Spirit and washed in his blood! Iím Pentecostal today because Iím filled with the Holy Spirit, Iím Episcopalian because Iím a bishop, Presbyterian because Iím a priest, Methodist because I believe there is a method to salvation. I am Church of God and Church of God in Christ."
By the time I finished this expression of all of the Christian denominations of America, the place was on fire and warmed by the reception. Then all of a sudden this man whom I had heard so much about and begun to read about came on to the stage. From the first moment that I laid eyes on this man, I knew he was very unusual. When he walked into the room, the whole room seemed to be set ablaze. He carried an inner light within him. There was something very powerful, mysterious and overwhelming about him. I listened to that speech that he gave in every state, and most of the time he embellished it, sometimes spending more time speaking extemporaneously than reading the speech itself, depending on how he was feeling at the time.
The next morning at breakfast I was formally introduced to him, and I got to just be in his presence in a very intimate, warm and personal way. That was just the beginning of many encounters that I had with him throughout the fifty-state tour. I went to about twelve states. It seemed like in every state I grew closer to him. I was just embraced by his love and by his warmth. And what happened during that tour affected the rest of my life.
I was still a celibate priest, even though I had broken away and had been away from the Roman Catholic Church for twelve years. At one point during the tour, Rev. Moon said, "Archbishop Stallings! Are you serious about wanting to get married?"
I said, "Well, yes, Father, but I have not been married all these years and I donít know if I could find the right woman who could put up with me. In fact, I donít think thereís a woman who could handle me after all these years of being single. You match people. Why donít you find someone for me?"
I said, "Father, this is such a difficult decision, maybe I should ask Mother to do it, maybe sheíd have more sensitivity to her special son." So we laughed about that again.
At breakfast on another day Father said, "If youíre serious about getting married, who would you want it to be? An African, a Japanese or a Korean woman?"
Right away I said, "Japanese." I donít know why I said Japanese. I guess maybe because Rev. Michael Jenkins was always talking about his wife who is Japanese, and I saw all these Japanese volunteers with their beautiful smiles; they were so warm and welcoming, passing out origami and flowers.
Father said, "Are you sure? But you founded an African-centered Catholic Church. Youíre a strong black man. Donít you want an African woman?"
"No, I want a Japanese."
"Why do you want a Japanese?"
"I want to show that true love does not regard race, religion, ethnicity or culture. True love will express itself as real love, pure love."
I think Father liked that answer, so he said okay. I passed his test. Father was willing to trust me and my judgment and he said, "Okay, weíll proceed."
True Parents were looking at pictures and interviewing several possible candidates, saying "We have to find a special woman for Archbishop Stallings to help him with his special providential mission in this work." I heard later that they looked at numerous pictures and interviewed a number of Japanese and Korean women, but still could not find the one God had chosen.
Then one day someone said, "Well, thereís a woman at our New York headquarters named Sayomi Kamimoto." She was the very first person I met at the headquarters for the tour, because she was working for one of the organizers, Rev. Levy Daugherty. When I was in the car with Rev. Daugherty and Rev. Jenkins, Sayomi was often in the back of the car. I felt radiance and illumination coming from her. We had a chance to pass pleasantries back and forth. When True Parents were making a selection, I said to her, "You know, True Parents are having difficulty selecting someone for me to marry, and you would be such an ideal person, but True Parents donít know about the good chemistry we have between us."
Sayomi said, "What if True Parents donít discover me and match you with someone else?"
†I said, "I will just follow the wishes of True Parents and you and I will just be eternal best friends. Iíve heard all this talk about Father Moon being the Messiah; if that is true, he will just know that you are the one for me and I am the one for you. If that happens, I will be his greatest disciple."
The next day Sayomi received a call: "True Parents want to see you."
Later on that day, after they had interviewed Sayomi, I received a call that True Parents had decided that they wanted to match me with Sayomi Kamimoto. I was in such a state of shock. True Parents wanted to know if I would accept their choice. I said, "YES! YES!"
The next day, Sayomi and I went to see True Parents together, and everything else was history. I felt God had preserved me and preserved her for that special moment. I know for a fact that God prepared her for me. That is why God prepared me to be a Roman Catholic priest, to remain celibate until Sayomi could be born and prepared for me.
Note: George and Sayomi Stallings are now the proud parents of two boys.