International Exchange Student
I, too, was once in the Assembly in Urbana-Champaign from September 1983 till January 1986. I recognize many of the names, the vocabulary, the language. Just tonight I thought of one of the sisters, wondering (as I do regularly about several I had gotten to know well) what had become of her. So I went on Google and found your website.
I was excommunicated because I had gotten engaged to my husband sooner than the elders had counseled. He was not from within the Assembly and, coming from a Catholic background, they also did not believe that he was a Christian. Because of their impression of him and their interpretation of my going against their counsel, they said I either had to break my engagement to him or I could no longer come to the meetings.
Needless to say, it caused tremendous confusion and turmoil because I had wanted to do everything just right and had apparently done everything wrong. In addition, I was an international exchange student and had no parents, relatives or friends nearby to counsel me. (I probably would not have asked them for fear of being misunderstood).
As soon as I decided not to break my engagement but instead to leave the Assembly, I had no further contact with any of them. This was not of my own choice, however. In fact, had it not been for my husband, it would have been devastating to me because I virtually had no other friends, certainly no Christian friends. Not even one person from the Assembly responded to our wedding invitations.
God does take care of his own. I believe that He used that time in my life to keep me from going astray and doing my own thing. It is now 20 years later and much has happened. I am glad I did not break my engagement - I am happily married and we have four beautiful children by adoption.