2017-2018 "Highlights" Update
Hey everyone. Michael Carducci here!
We want to make sure that you are up to date on the latest opportunities that we have had since our last communication (September 2017). Many things have transpired from October of 2017 until now; the beginning of March of 2018. Let’s just go through this together!
Beginning with October, we headed down to Tampa, Florida where we presented at Portico SDA Church. We spoke during the day to the young students of the academy and in the evening we would speak to the church. Danielle, Wayne, Ron and myself gave our presentations and were happy to speak to the needs of the church as far as educating and illuminating, young and old alike, that there is victory over sexual sin and all sin temptations. The week was ended by a strong attendance during the afternoon meetings and a Q&A that helped to address any questions that came up during the speaker presentations and any concerns that the church may have about friends and loved ones that are living in the LGBT community.
In October, Wayne Blakely, one of the founding members of 'Coming Out' Ministries made the decision to retire. As difficult as it was to say goodbye, we parted emotionally and wished him nothing less than a richer experience with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Leaving a hole in our hearts, we press on learning to fill the incredible responsibilities that he had held in this ministry. It is difficult to describe how you realize that when one of us is gone, the rift that is created and how difficult it is to forge ahead and make sure that the ministry moves forward in God’s Majestic timing.
Next was a trip to Alabama, where Danielle and I presented, at a church plant, in the conference office of their great state The congregation was small but there were great needs that the new members and visitors brought forward. The one on one conversations were opportunities to speak first hand about the onslaught of sexual sin and how a compassionate Savior has the patience and strength to see us to victory and keep us there.
It was planned to have a healthy cooking demonstration before each presentation, but Danielle was called away due to the passing of her grandfather. The meetings went on and we were invited to return one day soon so Danielle could have the opportunity to give the healthy cooking classes and also to give her presentations.
'Coming Out' Ministries ended November by speaking to Wisconsin Academy. The students were very inquisitive and interested in the presentations as well as had many questions for Danielle and me. We talked about ways that the enemy of souls confuses and confounds us through our senses. Using music and media to manipulate and destroy our ability to hear the voice of God as a loving Father and Friend. One of the wonderful things about young people is their authenticity and transparency when they feel they can trust you. In our time at the academies, we value the downtime with the young people to establish relationships and to cultivate opportunities to speak individually to students that struggle with identity and temptations.
In December, we ended the year with a weekend presentation at the Light Bearers SDA church in Baltimore with Scott Ritsema’s Belt of Truth Ministry. What a complementary message it was to be together and to address many of the same topics but from different perspectives! Scott brings the science and Bible together to show what sexual sin does to the mind and how it affects our relationship to God. 'Coming Out' Ministries addresses the biblical aspect of our intimacy to God as loving and relational and how sexual sin destroys our ability to view God and man as valuable and satisfying. There were many that were touched by the weekend event and we look forward to working with them again in the Spring.
Wow, we hit the ground running. Ron Woolsey and I went to man our booth at the GYC in Phoenix at the close of the year and heading into the new year. I had to pack my bags for a triple event that would lead me from one event to the other. This was the first year in several that we did not have a part in the program, but were so excited to know that GYC is an industry leader with the youth and did not neglect to address sexual sin in their workshops and the issues that young adults struggle with. Bravo GYC for your continued excellence in providing tools for young adults as they navigate this world and train them as leaders, not just for their families, but for the church in the future.
In less than 24 hours after GYC, I was off to Paris, France with a friend of 'Coming Out' Ministries named Karol Prado. She gave powerful presentations about coming out of Transgender Lesbianism. Below is her before and after photo. We were later to be joined by Danielle and Ron who were sharing at another event in Texas, but Karol and I began a 3 week event for the churches all around the city of Paris! Once we were joined by Ron and Danielle, it took off. We spoke at 12 different churches during our visit. We had two teams, and each team would speak at a different church each night while our presentations were being recorded in French. These programs were to be left for the French speaking people around the world that would benefit from the translations in other French speaking countries and Islands.
The people we met and interacted with, were amazing even though the weather was miserable! But that didn’t stop the people from coming out to the events and they covered us with all kinds of French food and they set us up in a very nice condominium where we would stay warm, collect ourselves and get ready for the evenings’ presentations. We met many wonderful people from the leadership of the events, from the pastors and their wives, to the individual churches we spoke in.
One lady we want to acknowledge is, “Izzie” who cooked for us and provided wonderful pots of food that we could heat up. She helped us with our French pronunciations and we met other members of the church that would take us on tours and help support us at the meetings. It was a delight to work so hard with such sacrificing fellow Christians working together to bring a message to the people of Paris.
Our time in Paris ended with a youth rally on Sabbath afternoon in an auditorium that was able to fill 400 people. We were to capacity and they had to keep bringing in more chairs to where we had over 450 young people sharing worship and hearing final presentations and calls for purity from 'Coming Out' Ministries. Words can’t describe how amazing it all was to see the faces of all those young adults supporting and praying for their brothers and sisters trapped in sexual sin. And for the response that we experienced and friendships that were formed, it forever changed our opinions of France to know that there are “seven thousand that have not bent their knee to Baal.”
Our final Sunday we were whisked off to the northern border where France meets Belgium. We were all four giving our testimonies to the people of Lille, France and did a Q&A afterwards. Just as we were getting used to having our stories and presentations translated, we were now giving our last in France. There were a few that wanted out of their sexual bondage to sin and we were able to pray for and with them to help them continue on their journey with Jesus Christ. It was a powerful way to end our time in France as we headed home.
Home was going to have to wait until just one more stop to Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama. I had enough time to re-pack my bag, with clothes I had in my car that was in the parking lot at the airport, and then the next day jump on a plane that was going to take me to Alabama. I was actually on the same flight as Carlton Byrd the Senior Pastor at the University Church there on campus. He remembered me from a few years ago speaking with him in Connecticut and was very encouraging about the event to happen at Oakwood.
Because of jet lag from Europe, I was up at 3am working on my presentation for the chapel service that was a tight 30 minutes. And anyone who knows me, that is a huge challenge to stay on time! I had prepared slides and quotes that I thought would mix my testimony and also victory over pornography and sexual sin; the issues that are rampant with our Christian youth and church as a whole. But when they hooked up my computer to the video, it would not connect. As many times and ways that they tried to bring my program up on the screen, it would not work. So with my computer just sitting there, I knew that I was going to have to go rogue, without my slides and quotes. And so after I prayed, I relied on the Holy Spirit to give me the words and off I went. The link is provided here so you can watch it if you wish.
In the afternoon I did a radio interview with the campus radio station and they made an appeal for the community to come and see the film "Journey Interrupted" that evening along with the students. This was the very first time that an Adventist University was willing to show our film to the student body. We are so happy for their support and for their bold decision to share our message and what a response it got! There was a man who came up to me after the film and Q&A who said that he had heard my interview on the radio and drove two hours to be there to see the film! The students were so touched by the authenticity and transparency of the film and the answers to their questions afterward, that they were asking the leadership to bring 'Coming Out' Ministries back for a week of prayer. We would be delighted to continue the conversation and help to equip the young people for a life free of the besetting sins and temptations that attack our youth in our schools and universities.
To view or order your own copy of Journey Interrupted, that has now been translated into 8 languages, go to JourneyInterrupted.com or you can also find it at ComingOutMinistries.org. If you order your own copy to be delivered to your door, you will also receive a bonus track of our living room discussion talking about more of the conversation that was not able to be included in the film.
We are now on the homestretch and just have one more month to go.
February brought some sad news as Ron’s mother in Law, Stella passed away. She had lived well into her nineties and was a special friend to 'Coming Out' Ministries. She would even at times sit behind our booth at ASI and tell the praises of her son-in-law and the goodness of the Lord. Always positive and joyful, her presence will be missed even for those of us who only knew her for a moment. Our hearts go out to Ron and his family for their loss and for the promise of seeing Stella’s sweet face again in Heaven.
Danielle and I headed to Harbert Hills Academy in southwest Tennessee. This was the sixth year that 'Coming Out' Ministries had led out in their Student Week of Prayer. The principal has always been so supportive of our ministry and is a dear friend to us at 'Coming Out' Ministries.
We held meetings throughout the week and we even divided the young men and young women to speak to them seperately about their challenges to stay pure and to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
On our way back home, we had an invitation to speak to the students on a Monday morning at Heritage Academy and then to talk to the leadership about coming back to do a Week of Prayer for the students. This was a divine appointment that we hadn’t counted on but saw how God was working out a visit to the school and to begin to minister there as well.
Now you have been caught up on what we have been doing and Jesus Christ is still working incredibly with opportunities.
Look at what is happening in Ohio and Michigan; parents are losing custody of their children due to the laws protecting transgender youth that desire to physically transition to the opposite sex. We live in portentous times and our dependance on Jesus Christ must increase to keep us connect and unaffected by the advance of dangerous life altering laws.
Do you believe in this message? Would you like to become a part of a global ministry that is out to share the power of Jesus Christ and the healing that He offers? We need your financial support to help us bring this message into other areas and countries that otherwise can’t afford to hear us. I think of the need in Cuba. The poverty level is so low that the average monthly income is only $25. Last June, we shared our film with the President of the SDA Conference in one of the provinces and he has invited us to come back and share our message and film with the people all around their country. We hope to return there in December, but we need your help.
If the Holy Spirit has impressed you with what 'Coming Out' Ministries does and the message that God has given us, won’t you please help us monthly with your tax-deductible donation so that we can plan our trip to Cuba in 2018? We need $15,000.00 to make this happen. If just 300 people gave $50 one time, we would have the funds to go into Cuba and also many other areas around the U.S. and into many countries. What if you just systematically gave $20 or $30 dollars monthly? That would open up incredible opportunities for us and we could plan on multiple events and produce other projects in the future! It would keep us from holding back scheduling events because we would know that we would have the funding from your generous monthly gift to plan for.
We invite you to visit ComingOutMinistries.org and hit the DONATE button and set up your, tax deductible, monthly payment today. Help us connect more souls for the Lord’s Kingdom. It is an investment that has priceless returns.