One Year "Highlights" Update
"To ignite an unquenchable movement restoring all men and women back to the image of their creator God."
~Coming Out Ministries Vision Statement
Many things have been happening with 'Coming Out' Ministries in the past year, and we wanted to make sure you were aware of some of the accomplishments your prayers and support have achieved. For this purpose, Michael Carducci has written out these details to share with you all.
Private Showing at Lake Union Office and the Premiere of “Journey Interrupted” at Villiage SDA Church, September 2016 — It would be good to start a year ago when we were all gathered in Berrien Springs Michigan to have our Premiere of “Journey Interrupted.” It was a huge moment of exhilaration and surprise as we had over 700 people come to watch the first showing! The Villiage SDA Church had to use two overflow rooms to accommodate the crowds that turned out. There was a Q&A session after the film to address questions from the audience, but before we began, Don Livesay, Lake Union’s conference president asked everyone to break into groups of two and three to pray for Anna from the film. Anna’s mom was in attendance and was moved to tears for the time that was given to Anna in her journey. It has been our practice ever since that day to make sure we spend time with our audiences to lift Anna up in prayer. She represents all the individuals who’s journey is our privilege to pray for them and to lift them up in love and prayer.
There was a powerful experience that happened also at our premiere. A man from California who has been studying his life of homosexuality and addiction came all the way to Michigan for the weekend to view the film and to check out for himself. 'Coming Out' Ministries. We had invited him to come and spend time with us and to see if we were the ‘real deal.’ He was so moved by us and the film, he stated Sunday evening that he knew there would be changes that he would have to make in his life. We continue to be in touch and it has been a confirmation that we are making a difference in people’s lives by providing the very resources and conversations that would have been so helpful when we were looking for answers.
General Conference Fall Session, September 2016 — From Michigan, we ended up at the eleventh hour with an invitation to show JI (“Journey Interrupted”) at the General Conference Fall Session in Maryland! We had a Private Screening at Andrews University before the premiere for many of the staff and pastoral leadership, which included Nancy Wilson and NAD Family Ministries Director Claudio Consuegra. Their support and positive responses were the very confirmation we were looking for and God was moving us and the film into places of leadership that we would never have had the opportunity before. Now the film will have the opportunity to make sure that individuals can view the film privately or share with friends and family in the privacy of their own homes. It would also make a great discussion topic for a youth meeting, Sabbath School or vespers. journeyinterrupted.com
Just to name a few…
There are so many opportunities that have opened up their doors since the premiere, but to name some of the events that have been miraculous and challenging, I want to make mention.
Costa Rica, October 2016 — This was the first time JI was shown internationally. It was organized by the team of young adults who manage GYC Costa Rica. They created such a frenzy by issuing tickets for the film, that we had over 900 people come to see the film at the end a week of presentations to the school, during the day, and in the evenings presentations to the local church and community. Harrison Umaña, now the president of GYC Costa Rica, has a special relationship with 'Coming Out' Ministries since he has allowed us to put into print his testimony for one of COM’s tracts.
Here are the covers of all the tracts that are available for purchase on the website.
In both San Jose and Limon we spoke at church schools during the day and to the churches in the evenings. All of that concluding with Sabbath sermons from the team and showing the movie in the afternoon with a lively Question and Answer period. There were enthusiastic crowds that were coming, with personal testimonies of their own and multiple prayer requests for loved ones that they once thought there was no hope for. The door was opening with individuals who were finally seeing that there was hope for them to come out of LGBTQ confusion.
“Week Of Prayer” for SDA Academies, November 2016 — The momentum then swung to academies in the southeastern United States where 'Coming Out' Ministries started to unpack the recklessness of sexual sin among the media, affecting not only adults but the youth in a way that is bombarding them as early as pre-school. The numbers of young people who are only hearing the media that “I was born this way” without sound guidance from parents or the church. What should be addressed in a loving and restorative way, leaves the youth to adopt the ideology of an impotent god that rejects people who struggle with sensual thoughts and attractions.
Our only goal with the academies is not just to address our history of brokenness and also the power of Jesus Christ. We also present practical tools for overcoming porn addiction, masturbation, and pre-marital sex, which are larger issues with the youth than homosexuality. We have found that the youth appreciate a message that isn’t ‘watered down’ and isn’t afraid to address the difficult and sometimes never heard topics that are confounding young people who are sincerely seeking answers to their questions of maturity and happiness.
In one academy, we had 31 students stand requesting baptism after a week-long process of interacting and presenting! We encourage the youth to dialogue about their concerns and struggles.
Pasadena California, December 2016 — A test of epic proportions! Wayne was invited to speak at Pasadena SDA Church and made a way for me to be invited to share with him. The pastor, so humble, you would not have known if he was the pastor or the janitor, had spoken to us about how he saw the events to proceed in view of great opposition from the gay-affirming activists that were organizing protests with the local LBGT community. Demanding the church to cancel 'Coming Out' Ministries to speak and show JI. The pastor stood firm recognizing that the leadership was unanimously standing behind their decision to help the church minister to the LGBT individuals inside and outside the denomination.
Friday evening Wayne and I were called to come back to the church for an interview with the local news station about the presentations and demonstration for the next day. We had no idea what the news exposure would bring. The community already seemed to have a certain air of hostility, but we moved on as God opened the doors. The next day the protesters came, but so did the little Philippine ladies in their Sabbath best, offering danish, water and even hot chocolate to the demonstrators inviting them to watch the meetings or come inside to rest if they needed a break. The Pasadena SDA Church, in our opinion, demonstrated Christ-like love without compromising truth. It was indeed a very positive day!
During the day, there were many individuals who were protesting outside, calling passerby’s to beep their horn to disrupt the programs inside, but it was a constant reminder to Wayne and myself that we were there to offer hope and freedom, not to condemn or ostracize those that felt minimized and marginalized.
A gay couple with their young child was there for the whole day and were moved by the service. There were also five individuals from the local gay church that came with their pastor and stayed for the program. And while they didn’t agree with our biblical presentation of God’s love and healing, they were challenged but not offended by the tone of the days presentations.
However, there were three individuals that traveled for two hours to hear Wayne’s sermon about “Engage”, describing how to interact with LGBT individuals inside and outside the church. They were so moved that after the film and the Q&A, one of them approached me to say with grateful tears, that he had left the church 10 years ago because he thought there was no room for him in the church and that he wasn’t welcome. He said that he identified with every person in the film and that for the first time he realized, he was welcome and that he can come back to God as he is and to find the healing he is entitled to. That night those three individuals decided they were going to leave their gay identities and to put on the identity of Jesus Christ.
This picture shows the pastor holding the LGBT flag as he encouraged the protesters to come in and eat haystacks that had been prepared for them. They declined, saying that they had to hold the signs and flags, so the pastor replied, “I’ll hold the flag, you come in and eat.”
GYC Houston, December 2016 — A milestone that has yet to be surpassed in our vision for JI. With an attendance of over 1300 young people that came to see the film, we were once again overwhelmed by the generosity of the leadership of GYC to show “JI" at their event. It has begun conversations that continue to this day. And many young people are starting to find answers to questions about sexuality that include masturbation, pornography, and pre-marital sex. Something that has been elusive for way too long.
Satan’s Repetitious Plots...
“Near the close of this earth’s history Satan will work with all his powers in the same manner and with the same temptations wherewith he tempted ancient Israel just before their entering the land of promise. He will lay snares for those who claim to keep the commandments of God, and who are almost on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. He will use his powers to their utmost in order to entrap souls and to take God’s professed people upon their weakest points. Those who have not fought the lower passions into subjection to the higher powers of their being, those who have allowed their minds to flow in a channel of carnal indulgence of the baser passions, Satan is determined to destroy with his temptations—to pollute their souls with licentiousness." TSB 84.2
'Coming Out' Ministries is more than just a ministry for homosexuality. We address all the areas of sexuality from the word of God. Many people that have never struggled with SSA (same-sex attraction) have come to us confessing their own struggle with heterosexual temptations too. By the age of adulthood, according to Covenant Eyes, only 17% of girls have never seen pornography, and a staggering 3% of boys have never seen pornography. 'Coming Out' Ministries wants to reach out with testimonies and programs for practical overcoming to help individuals who want out of their habits and practices of sexual sin.
North American Division Ministerial Convention, January 2017 — Since the beginning of the year, we have attended the Ministerial Convention in Tucson, Arizona, where we showed JI to the leadership of the North American Division. It was well received and opened up the discussion for many people that had otherwise thought that there were no other options outside of acceptance or rejection of homosexuality in the church.
3ABN Simulcast with Dare To Dream, February 2017 — was a huge undertaking and momentum leap showing the JI film and offering an online Q&A for an hour afterward. For the first time ever, we were being filmed live and it was a breakthrough for 3ABN as well to simulcast to their sister network at the same time. The response was tremendous. There was a man that wrote in saying that he was planning his wedding to another man and happened on our movie being shown and he was so moved by the film and the Q&A and was so convicted, he cancelled the wedding and knew that God was using that film to speak to him to come out of his sexual identity into an identity in Jesus Christ. Wow! How the Lord is moving with this film. To view it online, go to www.journeyinterrupted.com.
Ohio State University, March 2017 — Wayne Blakely and Karol Prado were invited to share “Journey Interrupted” at the third largest university in the United States and provided a Q&A afterwards. It was the first time that 'Coming Out' Ministries was able to share the movie on a secular university campus.
Andrews Seminary Department, March 2017 — We had the opportunity to not only share with the seminary students JI but also had a 30-minute presentation by all the members of 'Coming Out' Ministries and we engaged with the students and staff afterward. It was a first for JI to be shown on a university campus and hopefully we will be showing it on all of our denominational colleges and universities. It was a huge step in our outreach to our Adventist young people who are being shaped as our future leaders.
Five weeks in California, March and April 2017 — We headed off to California where we spoke at a college and four weeks in local area churches. It was Fresno SDA, Weimar, Sacramento Central SDA, Yountville SDA and Paradise SDA. It was an idea we had come up with to encourage several local churches to financially share the responsibility of bringing 'Coming Out' Ministries to their area and share the responsibility, so we could reach more churches that otherwise could not afford to bring us. We spoke to the school students whenever accessible and then presented to the churches in the evening. Many great conversations happened and there were many interactions where we were able to encourage church members who were studying with gay couples and how to address sexual sin in the church and how to be loving towards all types of people searching for Jesus Christ.
Riverview and Tampa Florida, April 2017 — By the invitation of a mother who’s sons are LGBT identified, her valiant efforts brought three members of 'Coming Out' Ministries to the Tampa area for two weeks. We stayed with a family that had adopted 3 children and they took all the children into the parents room on a blow-up mattress so that we each could have our own room. The family, I believe, ministered to us! They were so kind and hospitable. We were speaking in the area Spanish churches and our translator was working overtime to translate all of our messages and have them recorded so that they would be accessible for here on our website. Please keep an eye out for them soon.
Cuba Mission Trip, June 2017 — I am not even sure where to start and I know this blog has gone for way too long, but I have to mention that Cuba was one of the greatest endeavors that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of! The other individuals that Danielle and I worked with are examples of what the beauty of Jesus looks like. It was inspiring to me and changed my walk with Christ. The needs of the people in Cuba are great. There is no funding for them to sponsor anyone to come to them. It has to be funded totally by the mission. 'Coming Out' Ministries was able to meagerly fund both Danielle and me to spend 14 days in Gabara, Cuba. June is extremely hot and humid. There are no protective covers on the fans that oscillate back and forth providing momentary comfort when it swings your way. To escape the heat and humidity, multiple showers every day and outreach was done from 11am-3pm, but the needs of the people were great and their appreciation was overwhelming. Every humble dwelling with little to offer came with the invitation, “this is your home now”. We had powerful devotions every morning at 6:30 am and the singing on the front porch of one of the hotels overlooking a busy street with the sunrise over the ocean just beyond, was where we sought for strength and guidance but what we received the most was a unity that was exponentially more than anything that I had experienced before! Not one complaint or conflict from within! There were many things that would be troubling, if you wanted to focus on them, but because we had so much and they had so little, every inconvenience was easily tolerated because of the worship that we started the day with. The translators were treated just as important as the speakers and we got to know them personally and became fast friends. We were in the trenches together and that bond will last for an eternity! Everyone was a preacher in a church, whether locally or riding every night, on the old metal bus with open slits for windows that would bounce and chug down the old pot-hole filled roads that led to the churches in the Cuban countryside.
We were fed delicious fruits and sauces made with garlic to keep the bug bites at bay, but the joy of the kitchen staff made it easy to include them as part of our team. Torrential downpours that would flood the rooms behind the church, dining area, where the translators stayed and that only made for fun and laughter as some people used it for their midday showers as it ran off the metal roof.
The SDA president of the province we were ministering to, reluctantly watched our film but was so moved by its message that we were invited to show it to multiple churches in the evenings whenever we weren’t speaking at other events. He was so impressed, that he asked us to come back so that we could share with all the provinces of Cuba and all over the island with our message to their people of victory over sexual sin. We would have to provide the funding on our own since they do not have access to funding. The average income per month is $25. If you feel inspired to help out, please click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
ASI Houston, August 2017 — This was our 5th annual attendance at ASI and last year Danielle presented her testimony and this year Ron was able to present. 'Coming Out' Ministries’ influence has been growing and it was a great opportunity to meet with people around the world.
“HOPE for PERU,” August 2017 — In the summer of 2016, I spoke at a Colportering mission that was out of Boston, MA for the close of their summer of selling books and evangelizing. While I was there, a good friend to 'Coming Out' Ministries, Miguel Harris and his friend Carla were impressed that there were many who needed this message of hope in Peru, Carla’s home country. They marketed and raised the funds and found the venues for 'Coming Out' Ministries to come to Lima, Peru and also bringing in Karol Prado and Miguel Harris as speakers and translators for us. This was quite an event. We spoke to several local churches, to the Adventist school, to the parents, and to the staff daily. It was a powerful opportunity to be inner city and to not only reach out to the denomination but also to individuals that Carla and Miguel had been talking to for over a year in planning. It was incredible to meet a young man and his sisters that came for our meetings and to be encouraged and strengthened as he is finding his way out of his homosexual identity and into the arms of Jesus Christ. We saw this young man and his sisters huddled together while we were speaking nightly; weeping and rejoicing as we spoke, that their brother had returned. While they do not have Gay Marriage in Peru as of date, the issue is just as strong as it is world-wide. While there is still time to speak openly about what is available from the word of God, we found that there is nowhere you can go where the LGBT agenda isn’t being promoted and accepted.
Guam, September 2017 — By invitation to speak to the Women’s Ministry department, Ron, Wayne and myself were on our way. We were asked to give a workshop on how to deal with the LGBT issue on their island. From the moment we landed until we left, there were receptive hearts and minds hungry to hear more about ways to reach out and extend the hand of mercy of Jesus Christ to all. On the weekend, each of one of us spoke at a different church and came together to do a Q&A, where a woman stood up and shared that she had been a lesbian and how God had convicted her that He could not answer her prayers while she was living in that culture. Defiantly answering her mother when she was told her mom could do nothing more but prayer for her, she said, “Well I am going to pray and block your prayers!” It was a wonderful opportunity to record Vanessa’s testimony and it is now posted on the 'Coming Out' Ministries' website and FaceBook page.
AFCOE Student Training, September 2017 — Danielle and I met with the students of AFCOE for two days talking about our testimonies and how the power of Jesus Christ has practical applications in the lives of those seeking freedom from all sin. The first day we talked about the LGBT issue in and out of the church with practical ways to evangelize and reach those people that have been labeled as unchangeable and unreachable. The second day we talked about purity and the effectiveness it has in God’s work as we are free from all areas of lust. We talked about how to achieve and maintain a close relationship with God so that we can be effective in ministry. We also handed out quotes that we have used to help us in our pursuit of sexual integrity.
In the afternoons we did 1:1 with the students that requested and we heard many testimonies of abuse and how the LGBT issue has affected them by their personal stories. Two men that were willing to share how God had addressed their pain and the past were recorded before we left Sacramento and you can also watch their testimonies on our website and in our FaceBook page. Daniel Harvey and Edwin M. Cotto are two brave men that are willing to share how God has found them and redeemed them from a life of dysfunction and heartache.
'Coming Out' Ministries has recently been working on an Associates Program to help provide more voices to our work for the Lord. This will help people to see that “by the testimony of two or three, shall a thing be established.” Pastor Ron has said it would be telling if there was just one person that walked away from the LGBT life, but imagine if two or four or more gave voice to what the power of God can do? We see the benefit for humanity to give opportunities for others to share their stories of deliverance so that others will see that there is hope for them. Please watch and share the testimonies. Use the movie “Journey Interrupted”, our tracts or any of our books and DVD’s to show that God is still the same as He was when He touched the lives of men two-thousand years ago.
So now you have been updated for the events that have taken place this year so far. I haven’t mentioned all of them but wanted to spotlight some of the places and things that we have experienced as God has opened up doors for us to share. There are many more places to go and to spread the news that Jesus Christ is still the working that not one soul would be lost. Would you like to become a monthly partner? Your tax-deductible donations would help to send us back to Cuba, where they are hungry for this message but have no funds. It would also help to sponsor students that are wanting freedom from their SSA and sexual brokenness. Your monthly, regular giving, would help us to plan for events in the future to provide seminars and workshops specifically for LGBT individuals and families. People who are wanting nurturing and loving support as they find their way into a restorative relationship with Jesus Christ. Would you prayerfully consider becoming a monthly giver? Come and partner with us.