Although my family and I believed in God, we never actually participated in any religious activities other than praying. With that being said, we never attended church on Sundays or went to bible study during the week when I was growing up. My father never saw the point in doing so because he believes that God is everywhere and that we do not need to go to a special place to worship him. It didn’t help that kids from my school would bully my brother and me just because we didn’t do religious things like them so that only pushed me away from the church even further. For the next few years, I only saw the church as an inconvenience and a place where I wouldn’t fit in with everyone. A place where people would make me feel worse about myself instead of accepting me and my many faults. At the same time, however, I felt alone and left out. Everyone else didn’t welcome me and just stayed in their own private circle while I was left alone in the dark for many painful years.
By the time I had graduated high school, I was finally able to leave everyone behind and start my new life at Northern Illinois University as well as at another place that I had never expected to visit weekly. It was at NIU that I met our current BCM President, Suzy Heinlein, during my Freshmen year when we lived together as roommates in Neptune North. We bonded over kpop (Korean pop music band) and got along well. It was also during that time that I met everyone else that included: Yvonne, Tyler, Nick, Sam, etc. We would eat together in the dining hall and talk occasionally, but that was it. We all had our own lives, and that included Suzy and me. Every Friday for the first few weeks she would go to Game Night at what I thought was a church while I stayed back in my dorm room by myself. Everyone else had other plans, so I didn’t mind having some alone time.
As time passed, however, Fridays got boring, and I felt alone once more. I never bothered asking Suzy if I could go with her because those years of bullying, avoiding church, and never fitting in still had an effect on me after all. Eventually, I started going to Thursday’s, Bible Study called Catalyst. I don’t even remember when I started coming, but I think it was this year. That’s how comfortable I am now with the BCM, my faith in Jesus, and my religion. It feels fantastic to be welcomed with open arms instead of judgment. I feel excited about the many things we can do until I graduate from NIU. Now, I am no longer alone or afraid of people, churches, or even my own religion. Now, like the members at BCM, I can finally welcome them into my heart with open arms.