It’s difficult to know where to begin to bring you all up to speed with everything that transpired during my three weeks in Trinidad and Tobago. Each and every day without exception presented a new and high level opportunity to share about “ex-gay ministry” with the public at large, Christian leaders of various churches and denominations, and dignitaries of many departments of public service.
Frankly, I have never experienced anything quite like what unfolded in Trinidad and Tobago. It can be described as nothing short of astounding. God is good and there is no doubt He engineered the trip in its entirety.
It so happens that one afternoon, Dr. Judith Henry (Hospital Christian Fellowship) and I made a casual stop at Christian Radio Station 98.1 to pick up a CD. No sooner had we stepped inside the radio station than we were ushered from interview to interview to interview which culminated in my recording testimony and why I was in Trinidad and Tobago which became aired frequently all over Trinidad and Tobago. Needless to say, what God enabled at 98.1 greatly helped in promoting the educational seminars while pounding the air waves with, “Yes, freedom from homosexuality in Christ Jesus!”
A full-day training seminar at the San Fernando Open Bible Church was outstanding! With 65 persons in attendance, numerous pastors and Christian leaders from various churches and denominations received instruction and training on such topics as: Reaching Gay Youth, Understanding Homosexuality, The Myths of Homosexuality, and The Church and Homosexuality.
Dr. Judith Henry and Dr. David Jackson (Hospital Christian Fellowship) sensitized all those in attendance to the overwhelming need and reality that it is the Church’s responsibility and privilege to facilitate ex-gay ministry throughout Trinidad and Tobago; a message that was overwhelmingly well received. Maria Branford offered a remarkable presentation on understanding “gender,” and the developing crisis with regard to how “gender” is being redefined. I was completely unaware that a free-lance reporter was in attendance for the training. Ultimately, he asked if he could tape an interview to be presented to all of the local television stations in Trinidad and Tobago for viewing and distribution.
Following the training seminar, a “Jubilee Celebration,” the likes of which Trinidad and Tobago has never seen, occurred in a huge stadium with thousands of people coming from all over Trinidad and Tobago “just to worship God.” No preaching, no teaching – just “worship.” I was blessed beyond measure as I looked around at a sea of humanity and became consumed with one thought, “Yes, Lord, this is indeed how it should be.” I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise. (Psalm 101:1) And, wouldn’t you know it, the free-lance reporter spotted me out of thousands and handed me a DVD of the training seminar, fully packaged and presented.
For years Tobago has been called “The Isle of Robinson Crusoe,” the perfect tropical island that captivates its visitors. Tobago is home to the first protected rain forest in the western hemisphere and its waters teem with life. Add to this the warmth and friendliness of its people and its rich multi-cultural heritage and you have the capital of paradise. My two days in Tobago included meetings with a number of professional people and several pastors, a one-day training seminar, and an incredible meeting with the Chief Secretary of Tobago.
Thankfully and gratefully, a number of pastors expressed their desire to network with His Way Out Ministries for the purpose of educating and training members of their congregation with regard to ex-gay ministry. The full, one-day training seminar included individuals that attended for the express purpose of learning how to better reach and minister to the vast, enormous, and virtually untouched mission field called “the gay community.” From beginning to end, all seminar participants were fully engaged in the presentation and expressed many questions about homosexuality which enabled an upfront and personal format and setting. Ultimately, those in attendance had one final question, “When is the next training?”
Without a doubt, my meeting with the Chief Secretary was both a humbling and productive experience. I found it truly remarkable the Chief Secretary frequently expressed his belief that it is the Church’s responsibility and privilege to offer ministry to those with unwanted same-gender attraction. He emphasized, “The Church can and must do more to help individuals, families and churches impacted by homosexuality and related issues.” Ultimately, I found myself often thinking – we couldn’t be more on the same page. At the closing of our meeting, the Chief Secretary extended his hand and said, “The Lord bless you and please continue this vitally important work!”
One day, Dr. Judith Henry and I met for an hour and a half with the Ministry of Education Curriculum Director. We had the opportunity to share our concern that young impressionable minds, hearts and spirits within the public school system here in Trinidad and Tobago are not being shared the truth with regard to homosexuality. Presently, any and all information that
students are receiving about “gay” comes entirely from the media and, more specifically, American television. Got the picture? We left an abundance of literature with the Director and she seemed eager for continued dialog and the possibility of educating “teachers” on the complexities of homosexuality.
An evening meeting provided the privilege of meeting with the Leadership of TTACC (Trinidad and Tobago Association of Christian Counselors). Frankly, I think they “wanted to check out this guy named Phillip Lee and what does he teach?” Thankfully, our web site answered the overwhelming majority of their questions and we quickly moved into discussing and planning training events for approximately 400 counselors within their network. At this point, we are looking at the trainings to be held this coming October 2012 when I return to Trinidad and Tobago. Amazing!
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world. Since the arrival of Amerindian tribes more than ten thousand years ago, this twin-island Caribbean nation has become a melting pot of different races, traditions, customs and religions. European colonizers and settlers from Africa, India, China and the Middle East, have all influenced its diverse and unique culture.
No greater witness to the blend of a unique culture was the last two days which provided opportunity to share teaching and testimony in two schools. With several hundred young men and young ladies in assembly, Dr. Judith Henry and I had the wonderful opportunity to share about freedom from homosexuality in Christ Jesus and offer HIV/AIDS awareness as well to the
student body. Their attentiveness to everything we shared was nothing short of remarkable with many of the students asking for continued information and education.
Maria Branford, Dr. Judith Henry and I, shared at an all-girl school with 600 young ladies attending the two-hour session. Maria once again shared her expertise and highly educational information regarding “understanding one’s gender.” Dr. Henry offered an outstanding presentation regarding the push for gay civil rights in Trinidad and Tobago and I had yet one more opportunity to share testimony and biblical teaching regarding God’s divine intent for human sexuality.
The attentiveness of the young ladies was amazing. It was undeniable the young ladies simply could not get enough information. Even after the session concluded, many of the students remained wanting to ask questions and continue the dialog. I will never, ever forget their facial expressions. The sincere, genuine interest with regard to the session topics was undeniably visible and when I shared the His Way Out Ministries web site address, I could not help but notice how many jotted the address down and made sure they wrote in down correctly before leaving the assembly hall. Just as we were beginning to wrap things up, I received a tap on my shoulder. As I turned around, a delightful young lady said, “Pastor Lee, may I share something with you?” My response? “Please.” She stated, “Pastor Lee, I believe you had to go through those 17 years of ‘gay’ so God could bring you out of that identity, out of that behavior, and out of that community, to bring you here to Trinidad and Tobago and share the truth about homosexuality to us here in Trinidad and Tobago.” I was more than touched and moved. God is good.
During my last evening in Trinidad and Tobago, we all had the opportunity to share over dinner, all of the wonderful, incredible and astounding things our Lord accomplished during the three-week journey. To God be the glory! I will forever be grateful to everyone at Hospital Christian Fellowship for their unbelievable hospitality and phenomenal attention to detail which produced such a highly organized and productive missionary trip. I do recall at one point stating, “Isn’t this trip just incredible!” Dr. Judith Henry responded with, “Well, should we really be all that surprised at what God has done? A multitude of people have been praying.” Indeed!
Hospital Christian Fellowship has done and continues to do an outstanding job in rallying The Church regarding the issue of homosexuality in their nation while seeking to minister to those within The Church, and the community at large, with the Truth of Scripture, the power of testimony and the dialog of issues.
This is not only a very critical time for Trinidad and Tobago but for the entire Caribbean. I believe all Christians are absolutely called to minister with grace and equally called to be completely faithful to God’s absolute truth. Therefore, in dealing with homosexuality, whether here in America or the Caribbean, and the many related issues, it means The Church must oppose the gay rights movement’s social and political agendas because of the call of God’s truth, while remembering each individual who faces same-sex orientations and practices remains a person who deserves the ministry of God’s grace.
I will be returning to the Caribbean in June 2012. Please remember the Caribbean in prayer at this very pivotal and critical juncture. It is quite possible (and from a Christian perspective, obligatory) to object to homosexual practice, and yet treat individuals with the respect and dignity they deserve. Neither truth nor love is homophobic. Therefore, responses to homosexuality which bear these qualities can never be homophobic. Ultimately, a society, any society, which seeks to base its public policy upon truth and love, will gain one of the most precious of social virtues – justice.
Pastor Phillip Lee
His Way Out Ministries
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