Hello, I am Lexi and this is why I became a member of Shincheonji.
Searching for Happiness
I grew up with parents who understood the importance of education and self sustainability. They taught me many core values and worked hard so I can live a good life . There was not a doubt that they loved me and wanted the best for me. Since I understood this when I was young, I was determined to do anything to make sure they could be proud.
They were excited to see me do well in school, get into the college of my choice, and take a step closer towards discovering my future career path. I too was excited and that led me to registering for a variety of courses, joining many clubs, internships, and even a part-time job while in college. I really hoped I would find happiness from being so involved in many things. However, it gradually transitioned into the greatest loneliness I had ever experienced.
Faking Being Happy on the Outside
On the outside I seemed like a happy person, however inside I felt like I lacked a lot of meaning and purpose. I felt so lost and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. It was at this time where I would recollect about things back at home.
I thought about my family. However, what stood out the most was when I remembered my late grandmother. My dad said to always work hard for her since she was no longer here. Grandma was someone that I always looked up to and deeply admired. She was also a devout Catholic. Remembering Grandma pushed me to learn more about faith and religion during my time in college.
Going to Retreats to Experience God
I was fortunate enough to find a campus ministry where so many people shared similar stories about starting their faith in college. Being involved in this community opened up my expectations of what it meant to be a believer. Through it, I was able to meet a lot of great people and altogether we were able to form good memories.
Finally, I was able to be at a place that could answer my questions about faith and existence. I felt like the perfect time to do that was during the fall retreat. Though rather than finding an answer there, I only received more discouragement that others could feel a deeper connection with God and I couldn’t. They had all experienced God during that retreat, but I felt nothing.
Spiraling Into Negativity and Giving Up on Faith
Everyone at my ministry felt so close to God and this led me to fall into an even deeper state of negativity. It was after the retreat where I decided to take a small break from faith. Although it lingered in my mind to give up my faith for good, I decided to give it another chance.
One night I was inside of my room in tears desperately asking to be able to know God and to understand Him. I wanted to no longer be lost and alone. About a month after that prayer, while on campus, a missionary approached me to ask if I was religious. I told her yes and that I was looking for a bible study. She replied that there was a bible study later that day and I went.
Starting Shincheonji Bible Study
The bible study was exactly what I was looking for. As I continued on with their studies, more and more of my questions were being answered. There was one instance when the lecturer read a verse in John 8:31-32. In that verse, Jesus says, “the truth will set you free.” This verse resonated with me so much because I felt like I no longer had to live a life without purpose.
Towards the end of the studies, it was revealed that the bible study was led by members of Shincheonji. This led me to research online about Shincheonji which I regretted immediately after. There were so many terrible things said about this church which did not fully match my experiences during the bible study and after I had joined the church.
What They Say About Shincheonji Vs. Reality
At Shincheonji, I was finally able to find the support system that would encourage me to live a proper life of faith. When I first joined the church, I remember an older congregation member would pray with me every night to help me build the habit of praying to God because I asked for accountability. I was so moved by this act, that someone would go to such lengths to help me.
Is there Love in Shincheonji?
I also recall a time when I was going through some financial hardship and difficulties. When a congregation member found out about my situation. It was nice that I can open up to someone about my hardships and not have to deal with this on my own. Not too long after, a member of Shincheonji, helped me by giving me some money so that I can get back on my feet. I was touched by this kind gesture not because of the money I received, but because there were people who wanted to help me in times of trouble when they didn’t have to or were asked to. This was an act of love and reminds me of what Jesus said 2,000 years ago of how we need to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Learning How to Be a Family in Shincheonji
At Shincheonji, we are taught the value of family and encouraged to care for our own families. Furthermore, my experiences in Shincheonji has shown me what the proper image of a family is and I am so thankful for this because before joining Shincheonji, I did not fully understand the value of family.
I knew I should love my family and be there for them in good times and bad times. I was thankful to my parents and for the sacrifices that they made for me. However my actions, like most young adults, showed that I did not put family first. Instead I put school and friends first. But after joining Shincheonji, my attitude towards family completely changed. Now, still as a young adult, I prioritize my family and have built a great relationship with them.
I think I would have come to this realization a lot later in life when it may have been too late but I am so thankful that Shincheonji has taught and shown me the value of family.
What Breaks My Heart
My hope for those listening to my testimony is to see that Shincheonji is not the organization many falsely claim it is online. People say that it is a church that takes people away from their families, forces its members to cut all ties with the world and give all their wages to the church, but as someone who has been here for a few years it is not like that at all. It is really hard breaking to see people saying all sorts of untrue things about Shincheonji. I hope they can experience the real Shincheonji for themselves so they can understand who we really are.