Recently, Whosoever conducted a “Stories of Hope” essay contest, asking readers to reflect on what Whosoever has meant to them over the past ten years. We’ll be sharing these stories as we continue our celebration of our decade of ministry to GLBT Christians. The following story is from one of our runners-up.
When I first pulled up Whosoever in the fall of 2005, I was not sure as what to expect. I have been very leery over the past few years since leaving the church I was attending during the 1990s, due to the fact of being Bible abused about who I am in Christ and accepting who God created me to be.
My best way to tell it is to go back from the early 1990s when I realized that I was gay. (I hope to keep this portion somewhat short and to explain more over of how Whosoever has been there for me.)
I graduated high school in 1990 in a very “Conservative” town in central California. This was the beginning of having to hide who I was for a very long time. Three years after leaving high school, I was invited to attend a church service with some friends of mine in a twelve step program. This was a wonderful church except for the fact that they were not GLBT welcoming or affirming. I however continued to attend until the fall of 2001. This was actually the time in my life that I accepted who I was and came out of the closet. This is also when I realized that I was attending a church that was actually breaking my soul instead of lifting it up.
After leaving this church I was not willing to attend church for sometime due to the fact of so many people that attend church were not welcoming to me. Finally in the Spring of 2002 I did find an affirming church that I was able to attend for a time. This church welcomed me with open arms as it was a church for the GLBTQ community. After being there for four months, the board and pastor of the church felt that God had led me to attend this church to become the new assistant pastor.
I was however unable to attend faithfully due to the fact of the job I was working at the time required that I worked nights and worse of all, all night on Saturdays. This became very difficult to always attend services when I wanted to. In December of 2002, our pastor fell gravely ill and the church had to close its doors due to the lack of a full time pastor. Finally in May of 2003, our loving pastor went to be with the Lord in her heavenly home. Since then I have had a hard time finding a church that accepted me and supported my beliefs.
For the past year and a half, my partner and I have been attending a Spiritual Awareness Center in the affiliation of Christian Religious Science. Many of the beliefs are not what I grew up on and believe. So for this matter it has been a struggle for me attending a church that I truly felt at home at. (I hope this doesn’t seem that I am rambling on.)
Now to the current time in my life with Whosoever and what they have meant for me.
When I found Whosoever, I thought that I had only found a place where I could be a prayer partner to many others around the world as well as whenever I needed prayer I could ask for it without being judged by who I might be. When I started going onto the Whosoever site, I realized there was so much more to Whosoever.org than I ever thought was possible. This site has been a wonderful source to me in my growth with the Lord, after not really having a church that I could attend that is affirming to the GLBTQ community. After the past few months I realized I found a home church online that I can attend whenever that I choose to attend. If I am in need of hearing the gospel that God intended for me, even if it is in the middle of the night, I can go to Whosoever.org and read a word that was inspired to bless me. If I just need a lifting of my spirits after a bad day at work, I can come home and click a button and I feel that I am at church.
I never thought that it was possible to have a community of believers who are just like me, who feel love like me, who believe in a faith of a God like me, and just feel so comfortable as who they are and not feel like they need to hide in a closet of facades.
Had it not been for Whosoever during these past few months, I would not have been able to handle the fact that I nearly lost the love of my life. The friends that I have made here are not just friendships made here on earth, but also wonderful friendships that we will be able to take to heaven.
I pray that the ministry of Whosoever.org not only celebrates the most wonderful of anniversaries this year as it turns ten years old, but also that it has another forty wonderful glorious years of helping others realize their glorious potential in God.