As an other experience group says about me, "I grew up poor." I do not have shame over it, because it helped me grow and understand. Anyways, that's not the point, when I was younger my family used to live in this apartment complex. It was where poor people could find a place to stay for cheap, but the thing was, children had no parents supervising them because the parents always were out working. (well, mine were. I have no recollection of my dad until I was in middle school.)
There was always this red and white bus that came through our apartment complex; it was a Christian bus that picked up kids who wanted free things: free candy, free toys, free "whatever we wanted" they said. At first, they didn't offer free things, and in turn they would try and convince us that we would be going on a great trip to have fun and learn. They would lie to us and tell us that our parents said it was okay, and that they wouldn't mind. Well, we would run from them, but the people would chase us. They really wanted to save us, they really believed that it was for our own good, that it was worth chasing kids and catching us by our collars or arms. Well, soon, they got smart, and realized we wouldn't go with them, that's when they started offering free things. At first, they would only get a few kids, but after awhile, more kids started going because they saw what their friends got.
The day I went, or rather got pushed, onto the bus, was just like any other day. We saw the bus and went into the house to hide. Well, my brother and sister thought it was a good idea to go get some things and get on the bus to go with the Christian people. As I was young, I didn't want to be by myself, so I followed them outside to see what they were going to do. My sister and brother were greeted by 2 men, and led onto the bus. I stood there, confused, knowing full well that I wasn't supposed to get on there. One of the guys came to me, grabbed my arm and told me to get on the bus with them, practically shoving me into it. I was trying to push away, but when I did, the man threatened to tell my parents that I let my brother and sister go and that I would be left alone. Well, lets just say, I reluctantly let myself be pressured and pushed onto the bus and sat down with some boy. I don't remember how we got there, but I do remember the inside of the building. How dark, how not like a church it was. The walls weren't even plastered, but were wooden beams with blankets on the other side acting like a wall or a curtain. I remember they separated my sister and I from our brother. We were shoved into this room with a lot of other girls, told to get naked. I remember hiding behind this couch they had to get undressed while my sister hid behind one of the blanket/curtain type things. From what I remember, I don't recall putting on a robe or anything, just being nude with all these other girls. A person, I don't know if it was a man or woman, came in and told us to file out of the room. We were lined up next to a tub and a table full of crappy toys (those little books that hardly even pass as being coloring books with only one picture to color, bubbles, little candy pieces, etc.) One by one, the kids would be taken by this man, dunked in this tub full of nasty water that all the other kids had been in, and taken out, wrapped with a towel and we then could go pick out ONE toy. That was it, they watched us as we got them, so as no one would take more than was allowed. After all of the kids were "baptized" and "saved," they brought us, in our towels, to this room were we sat on the floor while this woman preached to us. I don't remember what she said, just about this was a good thing, and that we had been saved by Jesus or something. We were then allowed to go back to that one room and put our clothes back on. We left in that same bus, they dropped us off at the apartments, and to this day, I never told a soul, not even my parents about this. I'm not sure what my brother and sister took from this experience, but I was scared and confused. I just know now, that I'm glad that I'm still alive, and they didn't kill us while we were there.
And to anyone who believes these people didn't trick us, and that we did it on our own free will... why did they bribe us? I mean, come on, they knew what they were doing! Poor kids running the streets with hardly any food or toys... what kid wouldn't want to take the offer of free candy and bubbles and toys? I'm just sorry I took the offer, and stupid enough to follow the lead of my siblings on that day. As I got older, I realized the extent of what happened to me and why. They returned us back to our homes, so I really think they didn't mean to hurt us, but they really thought they were influencing us kids. Changing our minds into believing Christianity was the only way one could live. They were so determined into getting us to go, to let us get saved, to let us hear the word of God, hoping it will save us from our childhood of poverty and destruction. We ran the streets, yes; we trusted people too much, yes; but there was no reason to practically kidnap and pressure kids to do things in that way. When I really thought about it was when I realized how they really only wanted to spread their religion by any means necessary. To corrupt the minds of children who didn't know any better. I think this was when I challenged my concept of organized religion and God.
NOTE: I know that God and organized religion aren't the same. I just didn't word that last sentence so greatly. Thanks.