Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Peter C. (former Pittsburgh UBF)

Peter C.'s Testimony

(See also http://rsqubf.info/documents/reform/1989.html - "The Case of Dili Chung")

[Peter C. was the leader of a Pittsburgh UBF chapter. This chapter joined the Reform movement in 2000.]

"Do you truly love me more than these?"

Ever since I joined American UBF reform movement, the most frequent criticism hurled against me is that I am a separatist who no longer cares about the wellbeing of UBF. So, I had a quiet time to reflect on whether I truly love UBF and I know in my heart that I dearly love UBF. But I must confess that I love Jesus even more. Therefore, it is because of my love for Jesus that I pray and support the reform movement among USA UBF chapters.

When I was a freshman in college in 1972, my country, Korea, was in great turmoil. President Park declared martial law in an attempt to extend his power to a much longer term than it was supposed to be. Anti-government demonstrations broke out nationwide everyday. Many people were arrested and tortured, and a few lost even their lives. ?he college campuses were shut down by force. My heart was darkened, finding no hope or direction of life. But there was one thing that burdened my heart much more than all these political chaos. It was the fear of death. When I was 9 years old, my second oldest sister died at the age of 22 after several years of suffering from injuries she received when a military truck struck her. She was my favorite one in the family. Although I was a rambunctious, wild boy, she lovingly cared for me and molded me into an honor student. Since her death, I began wondering about where people would go when they die. No one gave me a definite answer. I regularly attended Sunday schools in my home church, but I could not find an answer to this question. I grew fearful of death. Everything-hard study, success, wealth, and honor-seemed meaningless before the power of death. When I was in 8th grade my third oldest sister got married. But I did not attend the wedding, because it seemed pointless to even get married. They say that one's eyes are the windows of one's soul. Since my soul was dark and empty, I suffered from an eye disease, next 10 years. I was being crushed under the power of death. Around this time, one of my cousins introduced me to the UBF chapter in the city of Cheong-Ju. The Cheong-Ju center at that time had only several members. I began 1:1 Genesis Bible study with Abraham Kim. I liked Shepherd Bona Hong's messages. The following year, 1973, we studied John's gospel. John 1:4 especially touched my heart, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men." For the first time, I realized that Jesus is the Author of my life; I came from him and I will return to him one day. This was the answer that I had been looking for! I felt that a ray of heavenly light poured into my heart rapturously. Through the study of John's gospel in that beautiful spring, I personally accepted that Jesus died for my sins and rescued me from the pit of misery and death. The Holy Spirit finally opened my soul, enabling me to believe that Jesus was my Lord and Savior. Since then, one of my favorite hymns is this: Since Christ my soul from sin set free, This world has been a heaven to me; And mid earth's sorrows and its woe 'Tis heaven my Jesus to know. Oh, hallelujah, yes, 'tis heaven, 'Tis heaven to know my sins forgiven! On land or sea, what matters where? Where Jesus is, 'tis heaven there. This was how my life in UBF began 28 years ago.

Soon I became a fellowship leader. I loved the UBF catch phrase, "Bible Korea, World Mission" and I accepted it as my own life direction and goal. I loved this mission and worked hard to achieve it. I willingly and joyfully offered my entire monthly allowance to God. I often served God's sheep late into the night, but I did not feel tired. I was madly in love with Jesus. A new name was given to me: Ban Suk, a rock, although I did not deserve such a wonderful name. I had quite a few things to overcome to live up to that name. The following year, Shepherd Bona Hong gave me a temporary name, "Pruning Chung" based on John 15:2. I had to cut off idols from my heart, girls and worldly dreams. Growing up in a poor family, I wanted to be a successful banker, make a lot of money and build a nice house on a hill with red roof. I wanted to live with an obedient wife, who would share all kinds of human dreams with me. Letting go of these things was difficult, but for the sake of "Bible Korea, World Mission", I could do so. One of the hardest things to give up was my home church. I was in charge of many things there, including youth group, Sunday school, choir, and middle and high school kids. But I could not serve two ministries at the same time. When I decided to leave my church for UBF, many deacons and deaconesses, shocked in disbelief, prayed earnestly in their daily morning prayer session that God might deliver me from confusion and even evil spirit. Quite a few middle and high school students did not want me to leave. They visited me to persuade me to do otherwise, making my decision to leave the church even more difficult to carry out. The most difficult thing, however, was to give up my human dream and plan for my parents. My one hope for them was to take care of them financially in their old age, since they had suffered all kinds of hardships to take care of me. Ever since I accepted God's call for world mission, however, I knew it was impossible to take them with me to the ends of the earth. One night, as I came home late, I found my parents asleep. When I saw the wrinkles on their faces, I could not control myself because my heart was full of pain and sadness. I went back to the center and prayed all night until the Lord gave me peace and faith. So, I entrusted them to Lord's hands.

In 1981 I came to Chicago as the first missionary family from Cheong-Ju chapter. I served Chicago UBF as a handy man for over a year, from early in the morning until late at night without any pay. I worked under the pretext of "young missionary in training," while my wife was taking care of our needs as a nurse's aid. But I was just grateful that I became a missionary. I had, however, a heavy burden in my heart. I left my son in Korea under the care of my aging parents. One day, my mother wrote me a letter, saying that, because of the knee arthritis, she could not take care of my son any longer. She asked to take my son back to USA as soon as possible. Tears welled up in my heart, for I missed the little boy. Then I opened that letter before God, prayed, and made a decision that I would not bring my son to America unless I raise an American shepherd first. God heard my brokenhearted prayer, and raised three shepherds within two years. Dr. Samuel Lee, however, told me one day to hand all of them over to other missionaries, leave UIC, and pilot new ministries at other campuses. So, my family moved around IIT, DePaul, Oakton and Triton campuses for the next three years. Strangely, I was told not to make contact with any of my former Bible students, all of whom had developed a strong bond of love with my family. Being taken to other missionaries without any adequate explanations, most of them had difficulties to adjust themselves to their new Bible teachers. Consequently, some of them left Chicago UBF. One day at a Friday Leaders' meeting, Dr. Samuel Lee out of the blue announced that my wife liked one of my sheep, whom we considered like a son in the place of our own son in Korea. My wife's emotional distress was beyond description. Later I found out that Dr. Samuel Lee told some of his close associates that he had deliberately said that in order to help my wife's spiritual problem. In other words, it was a groundless accusation but he concocted it anyway in the pretense of helping my wife's spiritual problem, whatever that was. My wife wanted to leave UBF, but I objected to it. I still loved UBF. My agonizing struggle between Dr. Samuel Lee and my wife grew unbearable. So, I began to pray to go out and establish a new chapter.

By God's grace and mercy, my family, together with my long awaited son, came to Pittsburgh in 1987. I inherited Pittsburgh UBF ministry from Missionary Moses Chang, whose was moving to Washington DC for his new job. Next 5 years, we worked very hard but we were given no coworkers. But God granted us 3 growing shepherds by 1992. Then one of them became difficult after reading a book entitled, Churches that Abuse. He read the story about UBF in that book and left from us along with another shepherd. We also had to send Shepherd Richard Anderson back to Baltimore UBF. All of sudden, our hands were empty after 5 years of hard work. Due to this incident, my wife got sick that year both physically and spiritually and would be bedridden for many years since then. During the first two years in Pittsburgh, the Washington UBF, the New York UBF and the Toledo UBF financially supported me each for several months in turn, directed by Dr. Samuel Lee. Many times, however, without any notice the money stopped coming, and then it would resume after a while, again without any notice. Sometimes only a half of the regular money came. To this day, I am still wondering what was all that about. I decided not to rely on such a humiliating treatment any more. I decided that I would rather beg for God's mercy than to beg for man's sympathy. I quit receiving the support. I got a job, delivering pizza, to support my family and God's ministry and I found in my heart pride and joy. Even though we were extremely poor, we sent monthly tithe to Chicago UBF. One day, we got a phone call from Chicago that we didn't need to send the tithe to Chicago any longer until we were able to send more than $100 a month. Momentarily, I was relieved that I did not need to send even that little amount of money to Chicago but use it for our chapter. I thought that they were symphathetic with our poor situation. But Chicago UBF had a different motive. Since then, I have not been regularly invited to Staff conferences. Sometimes I was not invited at all. At other times, I was invited right before the meeting and so I often had to pay high airfare. The treasury of the Central UBF once told me that it was because I was not faithful in sending tithes to Chicago. I realized that the UBF headquarters did not regard our offerings important, because they were only meager amounts. I cannot but wonder about the function of the UBF headquarters. Do they exist to support the branches or be supported by the branches? I did not, however, join the reform movement, merely because of these kinds of unpleasant experiences. There is no perfect church on earth. UBF is not an exception. The perfect one will be established only when Jesus Christ comes again. But while waiting for His second coming, we have to do our part: to make our church beautiful and godly, a pure bride for the Bridegroom. My personal experiences in the USA UBF did not crush me nor made me a crooked person. They instead helped me to open my eyes and see the problems that we must work out for the glory of God.

Our problems are not just with missionaries. They extend also to American students. The so-called "deprogrammers" attacked USA UBF for a while ago. In the course of doing the work of God, persecution from the powers of darkness is inevitable. Yet, in many instances, we have unnecessarily caused misunderstanding and persecution. What I mean is this: that we ought to face American culture with Jesus' attitude. We must not be afraid of it, simply rejecting it as "corrupt" or "wicked," as USA UBF generally has done. We must carefully study and understand it, while we firmly maintain holiness and purity in the gospel. The early Christians in Rome embraced many kinds of persecutions with humility and purity of Christ. Their purity and humility were the most potent weapons for them. Do our lives demonstrate such purity and holiness like them? Or are we like a bunch of Pharisees who are so proud of our own righteousness and easily criticize the Americans, while in our own organization, all kinds of un-gospel like behavior are displayed? Our claim to be a "special" people of God is a hollow one. I do not entirely agree with "Rescue UBF." Yet, these are the people who left Chicago UBF with various reasons and wounds. If the USA UBF refuses to change, a second, third, or possibly even more websites will pop up. I believe it is the right time for us to wake up, have courage, and repent and return to the right path of the truth. I strongly support the USA UBF reform work, for I love the UBF. I have given to it my precious youth. I have sacrificed many things for UBF mission. If I were just a guest in the UBF, I would not have done so. Instead, I might have just quit UBF. UBF is, however, not one person's business. It is ours. Why should I leave? The true owner of UBF is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ must rule over the UBF with truth and sovereignty. Many coworkers also love the UBF as I do. they have devoted all their life and everything to it. So, they do not want UBF to corrupt in this way. But I think this kind of pain is absolutely necessary for the renewal of UBF. It is like the birthpain to bring a new life into the world. We must undergo this pain, if we want to find a new hope in God's grace. "Do you truly love me more than these?" (John 21:15) This was Jesus' question to Simon Peter. Undoubtedly, Peter loved Jesus. Yet, his love was mixed with his human desires and ambitions. He wanted to achieve his human dream through Jesus. But Jesus wanted him to have a pure love for him. Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Peter realized that his love was mixed with his hidden desires, greediness and impurity in his heart. But he courageously decided to love Jesus more than anything else. Then Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep." Feeding sheep (or serving the ministry of God) must come from pure motives; otherwise, we will easily use sheep (or God's ministry) to fulfil our own ambition. If you ask me whether I love UBF, my answer is yes. I love UBF. But I love Jesus more than UBF. That is why I want UBF to reform and be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all.

In Christ,
Missionary Peter C.
Pittsburgh UBF