This past week, I traveled to Kissimmee Florida for a few days, to the Exodus International Leadership Reunion. We had a number of teachings, lectures, worship, and round table discussions, which started out with a fun time around Super bowl kind of watching but mostly talking.
I’ve been a part of Exodus for a number of years, really 22 overall, but I didn’t even realize it for the first many years. After coming out of homosexuality, I heard a radio ad that was promoting a local conference for a ministry on homosexuality. Before this, I had never heard of such and did not know that there was such an outreach. The ministry was very helpful, but never let me know that it was an Exodus ministry, nor promoted the Exodus conferences. Finally, one day years later, I saw a flier in their office to an Exodus conference in Virginia. It was at a time in my life when I desperately needed to hear from God and desperately needed a move of God upon my life.
That conference and those people were used by God to change my life. It was at that conference that the Lord confirmed upon my heart that He had called me to do this work. My wife was with me. She had yet to even hear that I had fallen with another man six weeks earlier. At the event, I became overwhelmed. Crying desperately to a leader at the foot of a staircase I spilled my life to him. I had shared all these things to my counselor back home, but the weight was so heavy upon my heart and soul. He encouraged me to not share with her that weekend, but wait until I got home.
I got home and shared with her. It wasn’t easy, but it helped so much having the guidance of that Exodus leader. A few months later we flew clear across the country to our first national in Seattle Washington. It was amazing. I didn’t know any of these people, in Virginia or Seattle, but they certainly loved me and my wife as if they did. I became more and more involved in my Exodus ministry back home, and about a year and a half later, my wife and I were convinced that the Lord had called me/us to start Truth Ministry.
Each part of the way, the Lord has taught me so much. One of the things the Lord has used greatly was the staff of Exodus. In the early days, the staff of Exodus was represented in my life by Alan Medinger, my regional representative. He really took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I’m sure he laughed, when he received my application to Exodus with its seven page testimony that explained my life and my most recent fall.
This past year with Exodus has been tough. Many ministries have left, believing that Exodus was going in the wrong direction. I took a great deal of time reading, conversing, reading the Bible for my own study, and certainly praying. The biggest thing that came out to me was a verse I’d heard many times about love. About this time, I heard the verse in my head many times, and driving down the road I heard it spoken. “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor 13:1).” Exactly, I thought.
This week, as I sat and listened to Alan Chambers and was surrounded by my Exodus friends, I knew I was in the right place. A new face, Kate Petersen, stood up and said during a time of sharing with the group, “Every time I go to an Exodus event, you teach me to love better.” Exactly.
The Lord, my wife, godly friends through the church, and Exodus have been there with me throughout these years and have taught me to love better.