I Choose: Subtlety in Cults
I Choose: Subtlety in Cults
Chapter four - Warming up
As winter passed by, I began wanting to spend more time in UBF. The students were nice, as were the missionaries. I was more and more interested in the Bible and in the Korean culture of most of the missionaries. Missionary Mary had told me about some Friday testimonies. She had invited me to them. The students would share what they had learned from the last Sunday passage. After, there would be food. Food is a central ingredient in the UBF mix. Like a family, we sit, eat and talk around a table. It's a nice way to meet people and it encourages the servant spirit of the missionaries and the shepherds.
That week, after school, I went to the Friday testimonies. In the centre of the main room, some tables formed a rectangle. Chairs were placed around it. In the back of the room there were rows of chairs for the missionaries and the people who did not share their testimonies. At the front, there was a small podium were the members would stand to read their testimony. The light in the main room was bright, which made it actually less intimidating. It's not a stage performance. It's more like a school presentation. Even if I had nothing prepared and I was not sharing any testimony, missionary Mary told me to sit at the table with the other students. There were a few students there, mostly guys. Marissa was there too. She was also studying with missionary Mary.
Marissa was a student at the same University as me. She studied art. Her very long straight hair and her dressed down clothes made her look like a "typical" artist. She seemed nice. I had spoken to her a few times but did not know her much. Since I was studying cinema, I thought we could eventually hang out, since we had common interests.
Also around the table were Missionary Peter, Shepherd Paul and Shepherd James. The music was led by Joseph. Missionary Peter was the head of our UBF chapter. He also was missionary Mary's husband. Paul and James were older than me. They were married. So was Joseph. I had been invited to James and Joseph's weddings. They had a double marriage with their respective wives. I did not go since it was on the 26th of December. I would spend the entire holiday with my family. There was no way I would come to the city on a holiday. It was too far, even for a wedding. Besides, these people weren't my friends yet.
That evening, I got to know the other students in UBF a little more. They were intelligent people. Some were working on Masters' and PhDs'. I felt like they were good examples. Good students and honest, hardworking, Christian people. As I listened to their testimonies, I got to know some things about them that most of their friends or work colleagues probably did not know. I could see their struggles and I could relate to some of them. I learned that most had trouble finishing their studies. They sometimes lacked motivation for school. They wanted to focus on God and also wanted to go out and have fun. While their peers were out in bars, they were sharing their Friday testimony. My problems and doubts didn't look so big anymore. I was in the same boat as they were. I wasn't alone to struggle against sinful tendencies to try to please God. Things I used to hold so dear were losing their appeal. Going out, watching movies or even just babbling about stuff with friends was becoming superficial and trivial activities. I now had more important things to do.
Testimonies encouraged the sharing of very personal information. The repenting part of the testimony about telling everyone what sins you had committed and explaining how God would help you not commit them anymore. The process has been compared to the 12 steps of AA