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A strange thank-you to UBF :D 
24th-Oct-2006 08:38 am
As a member of UBF for 10 years, I had a wide array of experiences, the best of which were the two different "conference journeys" to Russia, first in 1997 and then in 2000. The journey team went to a lot of places, mostly within St. Petersburg. We visited lots of Russian Orthodox cathedrals, like St. Isaac's and Smolny Cathedral. Of course, there were lots of Chicago UBF folks parroting the usual UBF jargon like "shepherd heart" and "life-giving spirit", ad nauseum, regarding the suffering Russian people and the role of the Church in the old times.

Between last year and this, I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy (Russian, Greek, Serbian, Romanian, et al.) with the OCA (Orthodox Church in America). I guess in part I have UBF to thank for that! Had I not seen the mysticism and splendor of the most ancient and original Christianity through those two trips to Russia, I might have never been so impressed with it and thus converted!

Thanks, UBF, for helping me to find a better church!

David Barro

p.s. You know, I'm kinda tired of the whole secrecy of being a "defector" from UBF. From now on I'm going to use my full name and I really don't care who knows it.
Comments 
28th-Oct-2006 03:10 am (UTC) - Re: trip to Russia
Hello Nick,

I was hoping that there'd be more activity on this forum than there has been lately. I guess I shouldn't talk; I could've been here but haven't been. I suppose part of it might be that people feel a sense of urgency to simply move on with their lives rather than be here and commiserate about the past. I do know that that concept has come up in therapy. Maybe a part of it is that people are actually afraid of what UBF would do in knowing their activity here. I'd have thought that would've been much worse when Sammy Lee was still alive, and even then, for the people in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Anyway, as for Russia: I was not pressed to pay for the airfare when I went back in 1997. We left so that we would arrive in Moscow airport Thursday afternoon and go pretty much straight to the conference. The usual routine until Sunday: wake up early, run yourself ragged for like 18 hours at the conference, report with the journey team twice a day about who you talked to that day (and what are their prayer topics), try to sleep while the miserable "Chicago Vocal Team" assaults your ears with their divinely-commissioned (read: Sammy-Lee-ordered) song from the other room, pack up all your stuff on Sunday and leave. On the last day, however, we were all accosted by Helen Rarick to cough up 100 dollars each or else we weren't allowed to go to St. Petersburg. This money was supposedly to go for the St. Petersburg ministry because of all the money they spent in order for us to be there. This was understandable, because we were treated VERY well once we were there. We stayed in the mother of all hotels, second-to-none, except for Hotel Astoria perhaps.

Aside from that, there was no money left over for gifts. At least not for me. Sharon Schafer and Jennifer Lemmon came up with 60 bucks for me to get some souvenirs, but this didn't last past the Sunday offering. Then, the 100 bucks (a guy from Toledo just GAVE it to me), and THEN the gifts. I honestly don't know how I did it.

When I went in 2000, it was different. I had the airfare covered, but I was asked to prepare 200 dollars as an offering to the Moscow ministries, which turned into 400 the day before the flight. I was rebuked when I said I didn't have it. :) I was secretly saving some money for souvenirs, hee hee. On the Sunday, the last day of this conference, I was told to prepare a 200 dollar offering for the St. Petersburg ministry. Oh, hey, get this: I knew I was losing my job at the University only one month later, and I didn't have another job lined up. Yet, I was expressly told "DO NOT WORRY". You know the song-and-dance. Well, I was unemployed for 6 weeks after losing my job. I was hired halfway through November by none other than Dr. Joe Schafer at the University. This was the job from which I was let go ONE year after my suicide attempt, minus one week.
(cont.)
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