Testimony by M. Susanna P. as of October 1st, 2000
Susanna P. is a Korean UBF missionary who was a long-time member of Bonn UBF and who was later sent out to pioneer an affiliated UBF ministry in the city of Siegen in Germany. In this letter written on October 1st, 2000, she writes about several grievous things she experienced during her stay in and continued connection with the Bonn UBF ministry, especially involving its director, Peter Chang. It is one of the rare documents in which a UBF woman missionary dares to tell the truth about her missionary life in UBF. The letter was originally written in Korean and has been translated. Her report was confirmed by several other missionaries who had left Bonn UBF earlier and one year later by similar testimonies by two German coworkers. However, the official UBF called her letter a “slandering campaign” only and did not care. Peter Chang himself, in response, called her and her husband, who supported her, “savage wolves” and “wicked servants of Satan”, who made up everything, and he declared that the letter was a “hundred percent lie.” Nothing changed in Bonn UBF since then.
“‘Have faith in God,’ Jesus answered.” (Mark 11,22)
To all coworkers in the UBF ministry:
I praise my Lord Jesus through whom were created the heavens and the earth and who leads his redemptive ministry among all nations towards completion. Jesus, having made a very leafy tree wither in one night down to its roots, said to his disciples who were deeply impressed by his supernatural power: “Have faith in God!” The disciples followed Jesus based on their human faithfulness and abilities. They only relied on the visible Jesus who worked many wonders. But at the crucifixion of Jesus they met their limit and had to desert him with great disappointment and despair. The risen Jesus visited them and comforted them and equipped them with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they could be changed by faith in God to be the unshakable witnesses of the resurrection! This risen Lord is with us even today and says: “Have faith in God!” The living God is the basis of our faith. To have faith in God means to rely on the Lord Jesus and to live one’s life to honor him.
I thank God that he saved each of us from the condemnation of sin in the last 39 years and has used us preciously for his redemptive ministry. But as our organization grew, more and more abnormal phenomena appeared because some had the aim to expand the organization by all means instead of working with confidence in God. God has used me in Germany UBF for the last 10 years (in Bonn: 1988, 1991-1994; in Siegen: 1995-2000). During these years I experienced some contradictory, unspiritual phenomena in the UBF chapter in Bonn. The congregation lost the gospel faith and changed into an assembly controlled by the leader. There, only things are appreciated when they serve the purpose of expanding the organization. Bonn UBF was praised by the coworkers in other chapters as being exemplary because of its great number of coworkers and the training of disciples. This is a contradiction. This letter is written so that all coworkers may be properly informed about what is actually going on in the Bonn UBF chapter.
On 1-30-2000, I asked M. Peter Chang for an appointment to clear up some misunderstandings. But he declined this offer. He canceled another appointment on 9-12-2000 one-sidedly also. I sent a letter to M. Peter after this on 9-14-2000 and asked him to answer my questions by 9-21-2000. But I did not receive any answer from him to this day. Furthermore, Pastor Abraham Lee [the Germany UBF director at that time] said on 9-9-2000 that during the leaders conference, M. Peter rejected my charges about him as lies. For this reason I considered it necessary to report in detail what I had experienced in Bonn.
I pray to God that he uses this letter preciously for a renewal of our church whose center should be God. May God help M. Peter Chang to serve the ministry in Bonn to His pleasure.
1. M. Peter Chang claims absolute authority as the spiritual father and as the servant of God in the Bonn chapter and tells the coworkers to obey only him and cooperate with him only.
In the year 1986 I met M. Maria Oh in Saudi Arabia, who had been sent out by the Meongyoon UBF chapter in Korea, and I started to study the Bible with her. Later, I received mission training in the Meongyoon chapter and received the Christian name, Susanna. Then I was sent out again to Saudi Arabia as a nurse and worked together with the missionaries there. They formed a good mission team which consisted of nurses. At that time, M. Peter Chang told the UBF headquarter in the USA about the effectiveness of this mission team consisting of nurses and having a good relationship with the Meongyoon chapter, and so the country of Saudi Arabia with its mission team became recognized as a mission field in UBF. The nurse missionaries in Saudi Arabia were so pleased that they supported the pioneering ministry in Bonn with a considerable sum of money monthly.
I also supported the Bonn chapter financially and established contact by letters with M. Peter Chang. In 1988 he invited me to the Bonn chapter. I visited him before I flew back to Korea. I stayed there in Bonn and worked together with him for approximately one year. I wanted to fly back to Korea to be able to be sent out officially as a missionary to Germany. At that time, M. Peter gave me the direction not to visit the Meongyoon chapter from which I had been sent out, but the Daegu chapter. So I went to the Daegu chapter without telling S. John Kim in the Meongyoon chapter about it.
In December of 1989, I formed a missionary family with M. Markus P. in the Daegu chapter, and we were sent out to Bonn. When I arrived in Bonn as a missionary in the year 1991, Augustin and Rebekka Hong moved to Hamburg because they did not have a good relationship with M. Peter Chang. Then M. Lukas and Rebekka P. left, and after this M. Josef and Hanna P. left also. They all came from the Daegu chapter. At the end of 1994, our family was the only one among the families who had been sent out from the Daegu chapter and remained in Bonn. We were directly and indirectly forced by M. Peter to stop having a relationship with shepherd Caleb Chung, the director of the Daegu chapter. M. Peter criticized him in conversations with us. He threatened us that we would not receive spiritual support from him if we continued to maintain a relationship with S. Caleb Chung.
In 1998 I had to go to Korea for 10 days because of the visa situation of my daughter, Priska. This was my first visit to Korea since the beginning of my mission life in Germany. I received the direction from M. Peter not to go to the Daegu chapter, but to go to the Meongyoon chapter. So he gave me this direction based on his relationship to the chapter directors. I wanted to receive his recognition and trust, so I obeyed him although I was in conflict with my conscience. I confess my sin now in front of God. I repent of this and ask S. John Kim to forgive me.
Not only that, but I also recognized that M. Peter manipulated my sisters and my Bible students in such a way that he should be the center of their spiritual lives. Although I had cut my relationship with the Meongyoon chapter according to the direction of M. Peter, I led my sisters Josefine P. and Hanna S. to that chapter and helped them in spiritual crises. I invited them as missionaries to Bonn and helped them to establish families of faith with shepherds from Bonn UBF. They were not only my sisters but also became my sheep and coworkers.
But M. Peter manipulated them directly and indirectly so that they were not allowed to have any contact with me when they came to Bonn. M. Hanna S. was relegated to another place when it was discovered that she sat next to me during a Bible conference. Shortly before the marriage of M. Josefine with S. Peter P., we were given the direction not to speak with S. Peter. With God’s help, we led S. Stefan E. to the faith in 1992 and S. Oliver S. in 1993. At the wedding of S. Stefan, M. Peter invited many coworkers from all UBF chapters of Germany and even from abroad, but we were not invited. I wanted to take part in the marriage registration of my sister M. Hanna and my Bible student S. Oliver in the city hall. But they postponed the date to prevent my participation. To this day I do not know when she married him.
Since M. Markus in 1990 and I in 1991 were sent out to Bonn as student missionaries, we carried the cross in many respects: learning the language, supporting ourselves and bringing up children like the other coworkers. We tried to work together with M. Peter well as we did earlier. When we were in Bonn, we came to the UBF center at 6am in the morning and wrote Daily Bread [UBF members are encouraged to write short testimonies every morning based on this devotional published by UBF]. We began the prayer meeting in groups at approximately 7am and then went to work or to the University. We assembled every evening to attend the testimony sharing session, the Bible fellowship meeting or the Bible studies. In the remaining time, we visited students to invite them for Bible study. So we came home almost every day at 10pm. To prove worthy of God’s calling, our top priority was to work together with the other coworkers in our chapter. As a consequence, most student missionaries had problems to get a residence permit because they had too little time for their university studies. M. Markus had a great problem because he needed four years to pass the language examination.
M. Jakob Kim from the Chuncheon chapter cooperated faithfully with M. Peter. He needed more than four years to pass the language examination. But he had to fly back to Korea before he could start the Ph.D. study because his visa had expired and he had already remained 8 years in Germany without studies. He had to work in Korea as a construction worker to feed his family. Most missionaries do not think that they need to study. Only when they are confronted with the problem of the residence permit do they start to study. This is often too late, and relationship problems with M. Peter arose from this. Because of this problem, they left the ministry. Many missionaries in Bonn came to Germany to study for a Ph.D. But among the missionaries there are no Ph.D.s apart from M. Peter because he made such an environment and told the missionaries to blindly obey.
M. Peter Chang established an absolute order in the ministry: He insists that he is the servant of God and our spiritual father. One of the heaviest condemnations in the Bonn chapter is that somebody does not have a relationship with the servant of God. Even if the coworkers have nothing to say to M. Peter, they are expected to visit him at least once every day and greet him as the spiritual father. He thinks that a member has a good love relationship with him and a grateful faith towards him if he or she mentions in his or her testimony the “labor-pains of the servant of God” and his “pain-bearing love.”
In 1995, our family was sent out to the city of Siegen [about 100 km from Bonn] and started the pioneering ministry. But we had to visit the Bonn chapter weekly to work together with the servant of God and maintain a deep love relationship with him. We, on the one hand, wanted to learn how we should serve the pioneering ministry from him. But on the other hand, we visited him more out of fear of his judging words, that we did not have a love relationship with him or that we are not willing to learn from him. He depicted M. Samuel-Peter and Hanna Yoo in Mainz [about 160 km from Bonn] as exemplary pioneers because they came to Bonn and had fellowship with him every week.
It was not easy for us to visit M. Peter as often as M. Samuel-Peter did because we were student missionaries with three children, and also, driving cost more than DM 70 [about $25]. A journey took more than six hours because we had to change trains four times. At the beginning of the pioneering ministry, for some years I arrived in Siegen coming from Bonn only one hour before the Sunday service started and then held the service. And if I had to go to Bonn, M. Markus had to take care of the children alone and prepare for the message and the service. In 1999, M. Peter gave me the direction to come to Bonn together with the children. Therefore, I had to return to Siegen on Saturday around midnight so as not to miss our Sunday service. Because the children had often fallen asleep on the train, I had to take a cab.
In 1995, the family of M. Augustin Hong in Hamburg restored their relationship with the coworkers in Bonn. M. Sarah Chang exhorted me one day: “M. Augustin Hong decides things alone, without asking M. Peter beforehand. M. Peter does not like this. However, you should ask M. Peter first in all things and act only after this.” This admonition is a typical example that God’s ministry in Bonn is carried out only according to the will of M. Peter. This principle does not only apply to the Bonn chapter but for the whole pioneering field. Under his influence, other pioneering chapters are dependent on the Bonn chapter, too. It was also usually the case that the wives of the chapter directors who had been sent out from Bonn had to attend a monthly meeting in the Bonn chapter and inform M. Peter about everything in detail. At these monthly meetings, M. Peter often condemned M. Abraham and M. Sara Lee[the Germany UBF director and his wife at that time] as leaders without spiritual insight.
In July of 1999, our family was informed by the city of Siegen that we had to fly back to Korea by the end of November. After this we tried to obtain residence permits through a lawyer. All of a sudden M. Markus had to register for 6 written examinations for his intermediate diploma because he had problems with the residence permit due to his long-standing studies. I had to fight to support our family and bring up the children. But M. Peter and M. Sara [his wife] never asked on the phone about our problems with the residence permit or about the examinations that M. Markus had to take. He only rebuked us, that we did not have any faith. In the summer semester of 1999 M. Markus passed all 6 examinations by the help of God. At this time M. Peter wanted to adopt my daughter Priska who was separated from us in Korea for more than 3 years and was coming back to us.
My younger sister, M. Hanna, had come as a missionary to Germany by faith and only with a passport, although she had tried to get a residence permit and failed three times. M. Peter wanted to solve her residence permit problem by having her get the marriage registration first. But whenever the time came, he postponed the date by telling M. Hanna: “You are not qualified enough to be a wife for a German UBF shepherd.” Or: “Your prayer topics are similar to those of your sister.”
At the fall Bible conference, M. Peter assigned a room where the children slept for me so that I could not have any fellowship with the other missionaries because I had not accepted his desire to adopt our daughter, Priska.
At the beginning of December, 1999, I could not attend the “kernel of wheat youth concert” [organized by the Bonn UBF chapter on a Saturday] and stayed in Siegen because I was ill and, moreover, did not have any money. M. Peter was furious about this and told us that we should come with the children to Bonn and hold the Sunday service in Bonn the next day. But I did not go to Bonn and stayed in Siegen. I did not want to live my spiritual life in blind obedience anymore but according to the will of God, which God really expected from me. M. Josefine got a letter from the Bonn city hall on 1-28-2000. It said that M. Hanna had one last chance for a marriage registration. But after I called M. Sara Chang, requesting to take part in the marriage registration, the marriage plans were canceled.
When I told M. Sara Chang on 1-30-2000 that I wanted to make an appointment to meet with M. Peter, she told me: “You are from the Daegu chapter and are now sent out for pioneering, but M. Hanna belongs to Bonn. What is that to you? If you really want to see her you may meet her in Korea.” That night I called M. Sara Lee in Cologne and told her I would like to meet M. Abraham Lee. I met both in Cologne on 1-31-2000. After M. Abraham had heard everything from me, he said to me: “The basic problem of UBF is that a chapter director oppresses his coworkers so that one often is not able to lead one’s spiritual life before God independently any more. One lives before the eyes of people. Whenever M. Samuel-Peter Yoo [from Mainz] delivers his testimony, the other missionaries more or less laugh inwardly at him because his testimony is almost the same as the M. Peter Chang’s message. Although the Mainz UBF has existed for over 10 years now, this ministry is like the mother ministry [Bonn]. I will speak with them.” Before the 2000 Bible conference, we learned from our lawyer that we had failed in our bid to obtain resident permits at the court of justice. I wanted to devote myself to preparing for the summer Bible conference together with the Bonn coworkers and see my sister for the last time. But because M. Peter and Sara prevented me from having fellowship with my sisters, I could speak with neither my Bible students nor with my sisters.
Dear missionary coworkers in UBF, during my mission life I learned that the servant of God should have authority to serve the ministry of raising up disciples, that one should devotedly work together with him and that the relationship with the servant of God is the same as the relationship with God himself. Paul wrote in his letter “Dear brothers and coworkers…” I learn from this that Paul was humble. He highly respected the personality and the faith of his coworkers. If a minister obtains his authority by making his coworkers – and even the coworkers whom he had sent out – obey only him, and trains his coworkers to do this, it signifies that the minister stands above the authority of God. So our ministry is in spiritual danger.
2. In the name of devoted servantship M. Peter used the women coworkers to break the spiritual order and love relationship in the house churches.
M. Peter let S. Berthold and M. Esther K. establish a family in accordance with Acts 16:3-4. He abused the Bible by saying that the purpose of establishing families and the meaning of the existence of house churches [UBF term for married couples of UBF members, however in the Bible it has a different meaning] was to establish loving cooperation such as that between the family of Priscilla and Aquila with Paul.
According to Genesis 2:24 a family is begun by a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. It is a small, autonomous love fellowship before God. The Lord of the family is Christ, and the husband has the duty and privilege to become the head of the family, and the woman obeys her husband. This is the spiritual and biblical order.
In the fall of 1999, M. Peter explained the reason why he had trained the coworkers by saying: “If the women don’t help the families with a clear attitude, it is as if they go with a powder keg into the fire.” Here the word “clear attitude” means that the wives pass M. Peter’s instructions on to their husbands and help them to work well together with M. Peter. Therefore, the German UBF shepherds understood that “It is a worldly and petty bourgeois dream, that women obey their husbands and are attached to them and bring up their children.” Therefore, they repented for having such thoughts. They choose as their top priority to work together with M. Peter first and to serve the ministry of raising up disciples and world mission. The women became messengers and enforcers of the commands of M. Peter and trainers for their husbands. As a result of this concept of the family, which is wrong in light of the Bible, M. Peter became the head of the Bonn house churches.
I noticed that many shepherd families did not even unpack their things after marriage for several months. They could not move into their own apartment, so they still lived in “common life” with other members as they had done when they were single. The women coworkers keep an eye on each other and report to M. Peter if something unusual is going with others in order to get recognition and praise from him. The living room in the “prayer house” is used fairly often as a bedroom to get the love and praise of M. Peter [i.e. the members stay over night in the center instead of going home to show their loyalty towards UBF].
Once, M. Peter annulled an engagement when one partner “did not show a clear attitude” [UBF expression for a faithful devotion to the leader]. The engagement of Stefan E. to Gloria Kim, who had been sent out by the Myungryun chapter, was canceled despite a common prayer meeting which had been held for them, and the reason given was that S. Stefan E. allegedly had sexual fantasies. And then M. Gloria Kim married S. Michael C. It was a fairly common occurrence that marriage partners who had already been introduced to each other and who had contact with each other were suddenly given direction to marry a different marriage partner.
Sometimes, out of curiosity, the children asked M. Sara Chang about marriage. She responded to them: “Until the marriage we don’t know who will come together with whom [who will marry whom].” This fact revealed quite clearly to us that the leader did not serve the ministry of establishing house churches with prayer and fear before God, but exploited the marriage partners and the marriage by faith so that the ministry members would obey him and his will blindly and fulfill the task of raising up disciples. For the ministry of raising up disciples and to ensure the coworkers’ good cooperation with himself, M. Chang supervised the marriage life of the church members, and the families had to take turns serving M. Peter Chang with meals. M. Sara Chang reports the “faith status” of the shepherds to M. Peter after she makes one-to-one Bible study with them. For his health, M. Peter played badminton, table tennis, went swimming and enjoyed the sauna. After lunch, he would be massaged by the women coworkers. How can he lead such a life as a servant of God and shepherd, while the coworkers had to char and to struggle hard, trying to be financially independent?
As a (so to speak) spiritual father he could look into the bedroom of the women coworkers without restriction because he was allowed to go to the bathroom and outside through the room where the sisters slept. (So he even knows how the women coworkers sleep.)
The coworkers have to support themselves financially, study for school, make one-to-one Bible studies and take part in all of the meetings. Therefore, they have little time. Nevertheless, M. Peter makes the men and women have prayer hour at 11pm separately. When M. Sara has night duty [as a nurse], he likes to have fellowship with the women coworkers so that married couples hardly have time to talk with each other as a family. Does the Bible approve of such practices? M. Peter is the only one who claims that the relationship between the director and the coworkers must be even closer than the relationship between marriage partners.
3. M. Peter brings up the children (the second generation) by force and in an unnatural way to make them members of his ministry.
In 1995, I entrusted my son Isaac (2½ years old at the time) and my daughter Priska (1 year old at the time) to my parents-in-law in Korea in order to serve the start of the pioneering ministry in Siegen and be financially independent. After this it turned out that I became pregnant. This was a great shock for us because we had just begun the pioneering ministry. When M. Peter learned about this he was very annoyed with us and said that such a pregnancy was against the will of God. He said that such an event was a sign from God that we should fly back to Korea, and he pressed us to fly back to Korea.
At the recent summer conference 2000 M. Sara Chang invited us to talk to her and advised that we had better fly back to Korea for the education of our children because we would not be able to do mission work with too many children. And after the birth of our third child Lydia we were given the direction that we should repent our lustfulness, after M. Sara had already told us to give Lydia to her three months before she was born. And when my daughter Priska came back to Bonn after over 3 years in Korea, M. Sara encouraged us to send her to school in Bonn.
When M. Peter learned that we had been given an expulsion order in July of 1999 from the immigration department in Siegen, he suggested to us that he could adopt Priska. And in return he would arrange a job for us in Bremen. Furthermore, he often told Priska that she should stay in Bonn on the occasions when we visited Bonn. Through this, Priska became afraid in her heart before she had established a trusting relationship with her own parents [having come back from Korea recently]. We did not obey M. Peter’s direction and sent her to school in Siegen. Therefore, he started to criticize us during the coworker meetings, calling us unbelieving and covetous.
At the end of 1994 we went to M. Peter before we sent our two-and-a-half year old son Isaac to our parents-in-law in Korea. When the child [Isaac] whimpered in front of the door, M. Peter hit the child on the soles of the feet the whole evening until Isaac was exhausted and fell asleep on the floor. He said that doing so he wanted to lead the child to surrender, because the evil spirit was expunged from him that way. My youngest daughter Lydia had been locked in his office and trained by M. Peter since she was one-and-a-half years old so that she was frightened and began to cry at just sight of Asians on the street.
When my sister M. Josefine married S. Peter P. in January of 1998, my parents flew to Germany together with Priska. M. Peter was extremely furious about my being together with Lydia in the kitchen, saying that we were not cooperating with him in training the children. In revenge he ordered M. Markus to return to Siegen together with the other children immediately. So M. Markus could not even see his daughter who had come back to Germany after 3 years or my parents. And my parents, who had come to Germany for the first time, were sent to the hotel although they did not understand a single German word.
I often saw the other children being given training because of disobedience towards M. Peter [the children were separated from their parents and given under the “care” of Peter Chang]. The parents only visited their children to change their diapers and feed them. M. Peter himself was proud that he never remained separated from his two sons, Petrus and Johannes, and that he had beaten Petrus only once.
I do understand that M. Peter wanted to help the student missionaries who have to financially support their studies independently and have to cooperate for the ministry in the church at the same time, and therefore, have difficulties in the bringing up of their children. However, if the children are not brought up by the parents but are trained by other people, even by force, it is obvious that the development of their personality greatly suffers from such a treatment.
I learned from the study of Genesis that God founded the family in the garden of Eden and blessed it to be fruitful and increase in number. The child is a blessing from God, and the parents are commissioned by God to bring up the children and to be responsible for them. Therefore, I believe that M. Peter’s method of bringing up children breaks the spiritual order of Creation because he wants to have others’ children against the will of their parents and trains children by force to be obedient.
The extreme way of life of the Bonn UBF members, setting the growth of the ministry as their highest objective, leads to a tremendous problem in the bringing up of children. The first son of M. Jakob and Sara Choi, who had returned to Korea, often bumped his head repeatedly against the wall out of boredom when his parents left him alone at home. Thus, the neighbors became aware that the parents were not at home and reported it to the police. The boy was sent to the child care center by the police. After much pleading, his parents were allowed to take him back. However, when the same thing happened again, the boy had to stay in the child care center together with his brother Tim for several months. And their parents were allowed to visit them. M. Peter made M. Sara Choi responsible for this and attributed it to her wrong way of bringing up her children.
The children are the crown of the father and a gift from God. Jesus also let the children come to him. In order to bear this blessing from God the parents have to bring up their children according to the will of God and with great care. The unnatural and violent bringing up of children by M. Peter reveals his goal of training children to become puppets on a string which move only on his orders.
Dear coworkers! I have testified by listing some examples of what actually happens behind closed doors in the ministry of Bonn UBF, which unfortunately is misjudged [by the UBF director, Samuel Lee] to be an exemplary ministry. I have done this so that these problems may be solved absolutely.
May God bless your work in Christ!
M. Susanna P. from Siegen