Love Hurts? An Interview About Domestic Violence with Vision of Hope Ministries

19 09 2010

Black and blue is not the color of love. But sometimes people paints it to others who they suppose to give their love. We shouldn’t  expect domestic violence in a relationship but in this fallen world we need to open our eyes to reality.  It really happens. A nightmare comes true when boy beats girl. A very painful truth.

Jason Sweeton of Vision of Hope Ministries gave us some dose of this sad reality and much more as we talk about domestic violence.

ROCK Ministry: First let me ask about your ministry and who do you minister?

Jason Sweeton: Vision of Hope Ministries is a Christian counseling ministry. We were started to minister to the victims of domestic violence. We also counsel teens in their many issues from cutting, depression, and sexual abuse. We counsel the victims of sexual abuse and post traumatic stress disorder. Our counseling centers also provide family and marriage counseling. Our centers treat much more though. We have counseled everyone from people that don’t go to church to pastors and missionaries and their families.

V.O.H.M. was started as an answer to a local problem in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. God had been dealing with my mother Joyce Sweeton for some time to start a ministry for battered women. At the time I was serving as the chaplain of the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. C.R.M. is a emergency homeless shelter in Chattanooga. I noticed women and children being brought to the shelter by the police from domestic assault situations. The women and children would stay at the most a couple of days and return to there abusers. I realized the women felt they had no choice. C.R.M. didn’t have the facilities to help them.

In 1997 I resigned from C.R.M. and with my mother we started V.O.H.M. to help the victims of domestic violence. The ministry God called us to do has grown beyond our expectations. We have ministered to 4,745 women 23,725 children 1,265 men in the past thirteen years. God has blessed us with the opportunity to lead 14,867 people to Lord Jesus Christ. We now have ministries in four states here in the U.S.

V.O.H.M. administers counseling centers, clothing and food distributing ministries for the homeless and poverty-stricken. V.O.H.M. has three 24/7 hour mission churches in Georgia and Tennessee. We have 11 full time missionaries and 54 volunteers. God has allowed us to counsel women and men in sixty five countries by way of the internet. Men and women who need help but we would never be able to reach any other way. God has blessed us so much. Our key purpose is to help people. We know no better way to help people than to share Jesus Christ with them. Jesus is at the center of everything we do here at V.O.H.M.

ROCK Ministry: I have a straight forward question: Why do guys sometimes beat girls?

Jason Sweeton: A batterer abuses because he wants to, and thinks he has a “right” to his behavior. He may think he is superior to his partner and is entitled to use whatever means necessary to control her.

ROCK Minstry:  Why does this kind of violence commonly happens in a relationship?

Jason Sweeton: Domestic violence often occurs because men may believe:
1 they have the right to “control” their female partners in any way necessary.
2 “masculinity” is physical aggressiveness
3 they “possess” their partner.
4 they should demand intimacy.
5 they may lose respect if they are attentive and supportive toward their girlfriends.

ROCK Ministry: What are common abuse women undergoes in domestic violence
Jason Sweeton: Domestic Violence includes a wide range of abuse including:
1 Physical Assaults
2 Sexual Assault
3 Psychological abuse
4 Threats
5 Intimidation
6 Emotional abuse
7Isolation
8 Manipulation of children
9 Economic control
10 Destruction of property or pets

RM: What are the physical and emotional trauma attached to those experience?

JS: Victims of domestic violence often experience emotional systems like:
1 Having unwanted thoughts or pictures in the mind about the abuse when nothing’s happening to remind you;
2 Suddenly reliving the abuse as if it’s happening again;
3 Getting distressed or upset when reminded of the abuse;
4 Having the kinds of physical reactions when being reminded of the abuse that it’s usual for people to get when they’re frightened, like the heart beating faster, the breathing speeding up, the muscles getting tense, getting butterflies in the stomach, and other things;
5 Trying to avoid thoughts and feelings that remind you of the abuse;
6 Trying to avoid conversations, activities, people and places that remind you of the abuse;
7 Being unable to remember some important things about the abuse;
8 Losing interest in things like the job you were doing before, or the social activities or other things you used to like;
9 Feeling detached or cut off from people around you;
10 Feeling emotionally numb; so that would mean being unable to experience some feelings, perhaps loving or joyful ones, and being unable to cry;
11 Feeling as if you’re bound to die before your time or that you won’t achieve anything in life; not expecting to live to raise children to adulthood, or to be able to get a good job, and so on.
12 Having difficulty falling or staying asleep;
13 Feeling anger and grief about what happened.

RM: How can someone who says he loves a girl ever raise his hands to that girl?

JS: This one will be fairly simple, he can’t. love is not just word and feelings it is actions. Violence at it’s root is an action of selfishness and hate not love.

RM: What are the signs that most likely identify an abusive partner?

JS: Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
1 Extreme jealousy
2 Controlling behavior
3 Quick involvement
4 Unpredictable mood swings
5 Alcohol and drug use
6 Explosive anger
7 Isolates you from friends and family
8 Uses force during an argument
9 Shows hypersensitivity
10 Believes in rigid sex roles
11 Blames others for his problems or feelings
12 Cruel to animals or children
13 Verbally abusive
14 Abused former partners
15 Threatens violence

Common clues that indicate a teenager may be experiencing dating violence:
1 Physical signs of injury
2 Truancy, dropping out of school
3 Failing grades
4 Indecision
5 Changes in mood or personality
6 Use of drugs/alcohol
7 Pregnancy
8 Emotional outburst

RM:  What should a girlfriend do if she wants to get out of this relationship?

JS: Gather the support of your friends and family. Confide in your friends about your situation. Your friends and family should help for the first couple of weeks after your break up.

Make sure your mind is clear when you break up with your boyfriend.

If your afraid your boyfriend may harm you after you tell him you want to break up, take at least one friend with you, keep a cell phone by you at all times, and have another one of your friends waiting in a car outside so you can quickly escape.

If you are afraid of him harming your friends and family, do not even tell him about breaking up. Gather all your belongings ( Without him noticing of course) and leave immediately. Notify him that you have left him, and tell him that you are going to file a restraining order against him. This should be enough incentive for him to leave you alone.

File a restraining order against him. Do not answer his calls or texts.

Make sure he doesn’t know where you are. You may have to live in motels for a couple of weeks, but in the end, it will be better than having him find you. If you have children, keep your children with you at all times.

RM: There are girls who undergone this abuse and feels that no one will ever love them. What can you say to those girls who feel hopeless?

JS: The thing you need to keep in mind domestic and dating violence is an isolating experience. Let them know they are not alone. Simply put be a friend. Never push them to do anything they are not ready for. It will only make them feel more isolated and alone. Let them know you love them and will always be there for them. Above all else let them know Jesus loves them and is concerned about there suffering. When they are ready to seek help be prepared to act quickly.





Fully Booked! Enjoying Christian Books: an Interview with Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing

21 05 2010

Aside from the Bible, we ought to read Christian books. Reading makes us grow and mature as Christians. We learn a lot and discover things about being a Christian .So we asked Ms. Joy C. Solina, Editorial Manager of Church Strengthening Ministry Publishing, about Christian books, what to read and more…

ROCK Ministry: What’s the importance of reading Christian books?

Joy C. Solina: Christian books are literature or reading material that are written from a Christian or biblical perspective. They help hone the reader’s mind to see things from a biblical point of view and learn to think that way. Otherwise, he is vulnerable to all sorts of ideas that do not necessarily reflect spiritual values or have anything to do with God. Good Christian books, next to the Bible, satisfy one’s spiritual hunger for knowledge and guidance in dealing with life’s struggles and questions. They have often inspired gifted Christian writers to fulfill their calling of changing people’s lives through the printed word. What would this world be like without the works of C.S. Lewis, John Stott, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Rick Warren and Billy Graham?

ROCK Ministry: How do we cultivate reading as part of our Christian life?

Joy C. Solina: It pays to start early. If you grew up in a family that loved books, you already have an advantage. You have developed the interest and the habit, and all you have to do is choose the books you read. If you didn’t grow up reading books for pleasure, you can still develop the interest and habit. First of all, you have to believe in its overall spiritual benefit because if you’re not fully convinced that it will make you a better person and Christian, you’ve lost the battle before you’ve even started. Second, ask godly people you admire and respect what books they can recommend to you. They would most likely lend or even give you some books that have blessed them tremendously in their spiritual growth. It also goes without saying that reading the Bible everyday helps instill the discipline if not the passion for reading Christian books.

ROCK Ministry: Many Christians read but are not readers. How do you encourage them to pick up a book?

Joy C. Solina: If you’ve personally enjoyed a book, you won’t keep that to yourself. You would gladly recommend it to your family, your friends or people you’re discipling. Aside from a highly respected author’s name on a book, a friend’s recommendation is a good enough motivation to read that book. Like a coach, ask feedback after a couple of days or weeks. If your Christian friend stopped reading it, ask why. Point out which sections you enjoyed the most or have proven helpful in your life and encourage him to read some more. When he has finished the book, suggest another one and help him get a hold of a copy. Nothing is as effective as a friend’s encouragement and example.

ROCK Ministry: For first-timers, what advice or book do they need to read?

Joy C. Solina: If you mean first-timers in reading Christian books, I would encourage them to find out who’s the best Christian author in the genre that interests them the most. If a person is fond of historical novels, go look for one that was written by a Christian. If a person is fond of biographies, find one that’s about a well-known Christian. If a person is fond of deep, philosophical discussions, find one that’s written by a Christian philosopher or apologist. You may also look for books that can help meet a pressing or current need. If a person is new in the faith, offer books that explain what salvation means and how to grow as a Christian. If a person is having trouble with finances or people at work, look for Christian books that deal with this.

ROCK Ministry: How do Christians choose the right Christian book?

Joy C. Solina: The “right” Christian book will depend on your interest, your need, and your budget. Whichever of these three takes priority, ask your pastor, your friend who loves books, your discipler, and Christians you look up to for their recommendations. Check the blurbs of books for endorsements. Classical authors on the Christian faith such as C. S. Lewis, John Stott and A.W. Tozer are always a good choice. The latest best-selling title by a Christian author may not necessarily appeal to you unless someone you know personally benefitted from reading it. If you have learned a lot from a Bible study guide or curriculum, you may take note of books mentioned in the lessons or in a reading list given by the author(s).

RM: Is there a right time to read a particular type of book? Let’s say, a new Christian should read Christian living first then if he is mature enough, he can read about apologetics.

JCS: New Christians instinctively know that they need to study the basics of the faith for them to grow spiritually but I would not limit them to one kind of books. It will also depend on their level of reading “maturity” and the genre they’re interested in. Those who love to read can read “unexplored territory” to find out if they’re prepared for it or not. If a new Christian wants to know what apologetics is all about, he can go ahead and read it, then decide for himself if he can already handle it or not.

But to maximize one’s time (hardly anyone has all the time in the world to read anything), I would recommend a mix of serious study and light reading. Choose a tested and proven study material on growing spiritually, such as Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God or Beth Moore’s A Heart Like His, alongside an easy-to-read but insightfully loaded book, such as Bob Sjogren and Gerald Robison’s Cat & Dog Theology or Rene Resurreccion’s Called to Excel.

RM: Church Strengthening Ministry has lots of titles to offer. Tell us what books you highly recommend to people.

JCS: We have a lot. I’ll try to be brief (if I could). This year we have local editions of best-selling Christian authors in the US, such as Gary Chapman (Five Love Languages, Five Love Languages for Singles, Five Love Languages for Teenagers), Nancy Leigh de Moss (Surrender, Brokenness, Lies Women Believe, Lies Young Women Believe), and Richard Blackaby (Unlimiting God).

For church lay leaders and pastors, James Garlow’s Partners in Ministry will enlighten and equip pastoral and ministry teams. Pastors can add variety to their exhortation when officiating the Lord’s Supper by using Jim Townsend’s Two-Minute Messages for Communion.

The Lord has blessed us with more local authors who have equally powerful messages to share to Filipino believers and Filipinos in general. Rene Resurreccion’s The Power to Create Righteous Wealth and The Heart of the Economic Crisis are positive reads for facing these financially challenging times. Bing Pajaron’s Parenting Teens gives much-needed advice and biblical principles to parents struggling to understand and raise their teenaged kids the right way. Campus minister Kevin Sanders’ second book with CSM, Learning the Hard Way, uses true-to-life stories sent by readers of his blog. Former mayor Marides Fernando’s Urbanidad explains how urban dwellers can live harmoniously under the law based on biblical insights shared by DZAS station manager and pastor Eric C. Maliwat who also has his first book with us, Maging Ubas Huwag Pasas.

A growing number of readers now prefer conversational Tagalog and need not feel limited in choosing books to read. For people in the workplace, Maloi Salumbides’ ProTips, Standing Tall through Tough Times and Shining Attitudes for Women at Work are ideal reads while traveling to and from the office or during break times. For young mothers, Bessie Rios’ Memo ni Mommy serves as daily doses of advice and encouragement. For couples wanting to communicate with each other better, Gary Chapman’s Now You’re Speaking My Language in conversational Tagalog offers practical tips on developing intimacy in your marriage. For anyone else who wants to relate to God more deeply, Joey Umali’s Mahal Ka ng Diyos contains selected messages from his well-loved early morning radio program, Hardin ng Panalangin.

For readers who also listen to MP3s and audio CDs, we have compiled Ed Lapiz’s messages into 15 audio CDs, each containing eight (8) messages, and have also produced three (3) audio books of his best-selling titles, I Will Survive, Pera o Puri and Sa Tao ang Ngawa.

RM: How does CSM choose a book to release? Do you choose it because this will be a best seller; it’s the fad or what?

JCS: A publisher always wishes each title it releases becomes a bestseller. But realistically, that will not happen. So what’s our basis for choosing which books to publish? Those that align with our company’s mission of strengthening the church, equipping the saints and reaching mankind for the Lord—what our name stands for. When we translate this mission into products, they fall into the following categories: evangelism, discipleship, worker training, family enrichment, Christian living, missions, and leadership.

Our core products have always been church-based curriculum (Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, discipleship and pastoral resources) which we consider our special niche in local Christian publishing. Therefore, we are on the constant lookout for curriculum writers, editorial board members, reviewers, translators and songwriters/arrangers.

When it comes to books, we follow the same basic guideline. For imported titles, we choose the titles from publishers’ catalogs, request review copies from the publishers, have them read and reviewed, then seek republishing rights. For local titles, we choose the authors and/or manuscripts based on certain criteria, such as writers’ credentials, writing style, unique approach, timeliness of message, theological stance, etc.

RM: Just an observation, why do most Pinoy Christian readers prefer foreign titles than home grown titles?

JCS: We haven’t gotten over the colonial mentality or the Pinoy’s propensity to be mesmerized by anything foreign. But that is significantly changing. Our line-up of local authors and conversational Tagalog titles is increasing. More and more Pinoys are buying locally written books, but the preference for foreign authors (especially the famous ones) is still strong.

For one thing, foreign titles have the uncontested advantage of “marketing” or media mileage. They’re more exposed to the international market because of the much promoted success or wide following of the authors’ ministries in their home countries. We can already learn something from that picture. We do have gifted Pinoy Christian leaders who have a lot to say that will benefit a much wider audience. The challenge lies in putting those messages into well-written, attractive, affordable print form and getting it into the hands of readers who will appreciate it the most.

RM: I’ve checked your website and you carry Ed Lapiz titles. Tell us more about him and his books.

JCS: Ed Lapiz’s books have enjoyed huge sales in mainstream bookstores for years. His success as an author is the exception to what you previously said about Pinoys preferring foreign titles to local ones. I can only explain the secret to his publishing success as his ability to communicate flawlessly and to teach deep, biblical truths simply to any Pinoy who reads his book. When I asked a friend why she likes reading Ed Lapiz, she said in Tagalog, “I don’t have to analyze further or ask someone to explain to me what he means. I get it right away.” His radio program, Day by Day, raises the ratings of any radio station that airs it. We are, therefore, so privileged to enter into an agreement with him to exclusively distribute his titles and will soon publish two new book titles from him.

RM: Please tell us more about CSM, what you do and how they can contact you. What can we look forward to in the coming year from you?

JCS: In keeping with our name, we also publish curriculum for churches and Christian schools, conduct training seminars and workshops for church workers and pastors, and produce audio books and videos for equipping and outreach. We strive to keep up with the changing times by studying how technology affects the way people communicate and learn. Thus, we have added audio (MP3 format) and video CDs to our list of products.

We have just produced our first one-year children’s Sunday school curriculum pack called Faith Grower containing free CDs for the music and reproducible teaching pictures. We plan to release another one-year Sunday school curriculum pack for all ages with a separate CD of new songs by the end of this year. We also released our first children’s music video entitled Songs for Jesus that was quickly sold out. Another children’s music video entitled God of Creation will be released soon.

In our last training season (November to April), we organized over 30 training workshops for Vacation Bible School and children’s Sunday school for local church workers and volunteers in partnership with PCBS bookstores as well as Thompson Chain Bible Institute seminars for pastors and preachers all over the country. We will expand our training program to include youth and adult Sunday school teacher workshops, parenting seminars, and trainings for school teachers.

This year we started offering music clinics for worship teams. Some of our clinic instructors are our video “authors” (Bernie Duran for Learning to Play Bass Guitar, Dehann Ballesteros for Guitar for Beginners, Relly Villanueva for Drums for Beginners). Other instructional videos in our Music Station line-up are Worship Leading by Roy Fabella and Voice Lessons by Lyn Fabella, the husband and wife team of Windsong. We are exploring possibilities for training accredited facilitators of these instructional videos.

We’re the first Christian publisher to offer audio books. We have released 22 titles by local authors: Leah Darwin’s Yes! I’m a Pastor’s Wife, Eric Maliwat’s Maging Ubas Huwag Pasas, Maloi Salumbides’ ProTips in 3 volumes, Standing Tall and Shining Attitudes, and Ed Lapiz’s messages in 15 volume CDs. We have just released three (3) audio books by Ed Lapiz and three (3) new Ed Lapiz videos soon. Our latest MP3 audio CD title is John Maxwell’s Leadership 101 containing nine of his books.

CSM also offers design, typesetting and printing services for your church and school. Our building has facilities that churches and other groups can use for seminars and corporate events, and guest units for travelers at affordable rates. We are located very near the international airport or NAIA 1 and can be contacted by phone (8527301 to 02) or email (direct@csm-publishing.com). You may also visit our website (www.csm-publishing.com) for a complete listing of products, updates and upcoming events.

RM: Thank you granting us an interview and God bless your publishing ministry. God bless also those Christians who read and support your books.





R.O.C.K. List 10 Tips to Pass the Board Exam

6 02 2010

There are something to cheer about in the beginning of February. Lyceum of the Philippines University is on number 2 ranking in the recent Nursing Board Exam. Also R.O.C.K has members who are board exam the passers. One of them is Ruel De Castro a Christian and original member of the pre-ROCK campus ministry. Congratulations Ruel! May God bless you as a registered nurse. After giving us his testimony at our Soul Fuel, asked him to jot down this list to provide you insight and advice on how to pass the exam:

  1. Prayer- very powerful tool. Tutulungan ka nito na maging calm and relax during the exam at maiiwasan yung pagiging ngarag o kabado.
  2. Be positive-it will attract positive energy.
  3. Believe to the power of God- Dapat we will always put in our mind that God has a good plan for us. Just have faith.
  4. Review your past lesson- Manganda kung everyday nagbabasa ka ng pakonti-konti ng mga past lesson to refresh your mind at para hindi mo sila makalimutan.
  5. Gumawa ng sariling abbreviation o acronym about sa topic kung saan mas madali mo silang maalala, it can be a jingle, ABC, poem o kung saan ka mas comfortable.
  6. Bawasan ang puyat o kung may bisyo wag muna magbisyo habang papalapit na ang exam. (Better yet drop the vises—editor:-))
  7. The night before the exam, matulog ng maaga at gumising ng maaga para pag nagstart ang exam gising na ang diwa mo at mas madali ng gumana ang utak.
  8. Pag magrereview,, konti lang ang ilas na gamit o yung materials na aaralin kasi once na madami nakatambak tatamdin ka lang mag-aral.
  9. It is best to study sa umaga para fresh pa at hindi overloaded ang utak. Huwag din isabay ang pagaaral sa panonood ng TV.

10.  Pumasok sa review center para maupdate sa mga bago, at types ng paexam ng mga BoN.





Out Of Lesbianism

11 07 2009

One of the current issues in our time is homosexuality. So ROCK Ministry (RM) talks with Mary Loker (ML) and she shared her life as a lesbian and how Christ change her the way God intended her to be.

Her book “The Making of an Oak”, CD’s “The Way to My Heart” and tracts are available for free at ROCK Ministry. Please contact us if you want copies of it.

 
ROCK Ministry: Can you give us your background? What was life when you were a lesbian?

Mary Loker: I grew up in a strong Christian home. My parents were missionaries and I was a student of the Bible. I had a heart for the lost and participated in Christian events and even went to a Christian college. I did not have my first lesbian relationship until after college. I struggled many years internally with my lesbian feelings and my faith in God.
 
ROCK Ministry: What age where you feel that you were “different”? Did you tell your parents about it? What are their reactions?

Mary Loker: From a young age (7 or 8), I was drawn to girls – wanting to “go steady” or hold hands. I was always a “Tomboy” – even as a small child. I did not tell my parents of my draw towards girls. I eventually told them about my lesbianism after I had struggled with it for many years – when I was around age 29.
 
RM: Is it hard being with people knowing we’re a lesbian? Being with men what do you feel? Are accepted?

ML: I used to be very secretive (ashamed) about my life, my past (being a lesbian), but now, I am very open and have nothing to hide. I am free in my Father’s eyes and it doesn’t matter what people think about me. Being with men – I have some very amazing male friends, but I am not interested in dating any of them. I feel I have a higher calling from God to be an ambassador for His Kingdom – and I surrender to all that He has for me in this.
 
RM: Did you have relationships with other women? Did it lead to the point of being romantic?

ML: I had 4 romantic relationships with women. For the most part, my partners were Christians and we started as good friends – and the attractions became romantic.
 
RM: Did people criticize you or Christians telling that you’re wrong? What’s your reaction then?

ML: Mostly my family would confront me and tell me that I was living in sin. I was not allowed to bring my partner to some family gatherings nor bring my partner around my sibling’s children. I knew that the church was not accepting of my behavior, so I stayed away from Christian friends and believers.
 
RM: Some Homosexuals says that they got homosexual thoughts when they were abused when they were kids or there was no father figure to look at. In your case what lead you to homosexuality?

ML: I have questioned the origin of my homosexual longings for many years…. Intense wrestling with God! I think that some woman have had terrible experiences with abuse and have a hatred towards men which may lead them to the arms of a woman. Me – I can only say that this has been the thorn of my flesh – as Paul calls it in II Corinthians 12:7. This thorn has broken me and brought me to the feet of Jesus and now I have so much compassion for the gay and lesbian community… to be a light to them and share Jesus with them. I can say that my struggle with this thorn has been worth it to be able to understand, relate and share Jesus with the gay and lesbian community.
 
RM: Some lesbians I know have this drive to outwit or outsmart men. Some are very possessive in their relationship that their partner can’t exit in that relationship. What do you think drives lesbians with that behavior? Have you had that behavior too?

ML: Women who have been hurt by men or even just rebelling against God’s commands definitely have anger/rejection issues. I think much of it goes back to the curses in Genesis 3:15 and 16. Women are fighting for equality in all the wrong ways.

Anything not blessed by God is going to be damaging for a person. God set it up for sexual relations to be enjoyed in a covenanted relationship between a man and a woman. Anything outside of that – will be dysfunctional and damaging. This includes heterosexual sex outside of a covenant.
 
RM: Can you honestly say that you’re happy being a lesbian then like ordinary people? Homosexuals portray a normal life or another lifestyle but what really is the truth?

ML: During my years living with women, I had the appearance of normalcy – worked hard, lived a “good” life. But I did not have peace and my relationships never satisfied me. There was a lot of emotional dependency which came out as possessiveness, control and disharmony. I had the Spirit of God after me, so I was not satisfied until I surrendered to Jesus. However, a non-Christian gay or lesbian will be just as any other non-believer… living their life as best they can.
 
RM: What made you decide that you want to leave lesbianism? What was the turning point? Did you just get tired of it?

ML: As I approached 40 years old, I grew tired. My eyes were opened to how these relationships were not working and not satisfying me. I saw the dysfunction. God was speaking to me in so many ways. He opened my eyes to much deception in the world, the church, and the governments. I can honestly say, God was leading me to Him – step by step – through solid loving believers and mostly His Word.
 
RM: What are the struggles and hardships of getting out of it? Did it come overnight for you?

ML: After I left my last relationship, God pretty much isolated me from people. I was very much alone – with just the Word of God and a few male friends. I still had a few attractions to women, but God was also teaching me many things in the midst of those times.
 
RM: Now that you’re a Christian what is the difference between what you are back when you’re a homosexual and now?

ML: To be honest, I am not sure when I became a Christian as I tend to think that our walk with Him is a journey. I had a relationship with God throughout my life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, that I repented and surrendered my life – and have chosen to follow HIS plan, not mine. What Christians don’t understand is this…. Many Christians struggle with homosexuality. I had a strong believer in Jesus question me about my relationships with women and he was FLOORED when I told him that I was WITH a woman while I was teaching at a Christian School – and teaching Bible.

I had a heart after God – but I was also living as a lesbian – in secret…. Living a double life. God was patient with me and led me out of the counterfeit lesbianism love to a deep relationship with Him.
 
RM: The controversial issue now is same sex marriage and same sex parenting. Unlike gay relationships, does lesbian relationship guarantee a monogamous relationship and sexually disease free relationship? What about those adopted ones of the lesbian couples? Are they truly happy?

ML: I was always monogamous, but this is not always the case. ANYONE engaging in promiscuous sexual relationships is susceptible to disease. If a person is not a Christian, they do the best they can with what they have. I am sure there are very “good” moms raising their children just as there are very abusive straight couples beating their children – both types of families are lost without Jesus.
 
RM: There are churches that are liberal to homosexuals and even ordain them to the clergy. Why didn’t you settle for them rather abandon homosexuality because they guarantee refuge for homosexuals?

ML: When I was with woman, I was always around the Christians and churches who preached against homosexuality. I did go to a few gay friendly churches, but I was never drawn there.
 
RM: Homosexuals says” Hey good for you, you found your own happiness” “I am happy of what I am, I don’t need to change” or “I am born this way and God made me like this. There is no need to change.”, what’s your response to these?

ML: The issue is — they need Jesus. People need Jesus no matter if they are gay, straight, a gambler, a drunk, a prisoner, a proud religious person. What Christians need to realize is this… stop addressing their sexuality and meet them as a lost person. Love them, befriend them, understand them – and when God makes a way, share Jesus with them. A key passage is Luke 7 – Jesus’ interaction with the Centurion. Jesus did not address his shameful living, but addressed his need. It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
 
RM: Any advice to those people who wants to come out of lesbianism or homosexuality, to those souls who are struggling to get out and don’t feel they can’t change. Is there hope? Is there a thing called change and is it possible and permanent?

ML: The goal is a repentant, surrendered life to Jesus Christ and then in that process, God renews a person’s mind and a disciple is created. God leads people into righteous living. It is the same for anyone who is trapped by ANY issue.
 
RM: Tell me about your ministry, your materials and how can they reach you for further information?

ML: I follow the Lamb where He leads. I meet people where they are and love them. As God opens the opportunities, I share His truth. I plant and water seeds and God brings the increase. My book, testimony on CD and tracts are available to anyone who asks – for free. I love sharing what God has and is doing in my life. I can be reached at: truthseekersusa@gmail.com