Multiplex: Sexuality - Willy Torresin - Cape Town 2010

Uploaded by lausannemovement on 06.10.2011

>> Hello, everybody. I want to share a little bit of my story with you. I'm one of those
people, those starving people that Alan just talked about.
I grew up in a Christian home, or I should say maybe a church going home. And ever since
I was a little child, I wanted to be loved like I think everybody else here. And in that
at that early age, I understood that love was something to be deserved. I had to earn
it. Like most of us we often grow up in homes where we talk about love but you are loved
when you do certain things and when you don't do other things. Okay? So I was very good
at understanding that. That if I wanted to be loved and accepted, I would have to be
a good boy.
And I really tried very hard at being and becoming a good boy. And I think I was very
successful at that. I especially wanted to be accepted by my father. You see, I grew
up in a very dysfunctional home. My father was an alcoholic. My mother was trying to
do both jobs as a mother and as a working mother trying to make ends meet because my
father was always out of jobs.
And my father was a very introverted man who kept to himself. And I think he understood
that his role as a man, as a father was just to bring money home. When he couldn't do that,
he just withdrew into his world and my mother just worked harder and harder. And I wanted
to be loved and loved.
I also was an accident, sort of. Because my parents were not planning to have a baby when
I was born. You know? You see, they were taking precautions but the precaution didn't work.
So here I am, you know.
I understood that from my family. And then I transferred that to God. And as an illustration,
when I was a little kid, I lived in a very small town and we went to a Baptist church.
A very tiny little church. And at that time it was a frontier town and electricity had
not yet reached that place. And I was sitting right at the front bench because it wasn't
even a pew, it was just a wood bench. And there was a preacher preaching. And there
was a kerosene lamp right in front of him. One of those old traditional ones, you know?
and I always loved fire. Even today I love to play with fire. And you see, he was preaching
that long sermon. He didn't have anybody pointing how much time you have like here. You know
so I was mesmerized not by the message but by the flame of the kerosene lamp. And, of
course, children have to touch everything.
And so sure enough, I went with my little finger and I touched the glass of that part
of the kerosene lamp, you know, where the flame is. And, as you know, that's very, very
hot. And, when I touched it, it sizzled. And the preacher, who was obviously watching me,
he seized the opportunity and he said, "And that's how hell is going to be like. But not
just the tip of your finger. Your whole body for all eternity."
Yeah, I said ‘oh, my. I don't want that.’ You know? What do I have to do not to go to
hell? You've got to be good. And so I tried very
hard to be as good as I could.
You know? And I was very successful, as I said before. I became involved in everything
I could in my church. And eventually, to make a very long story short, I was youth group
leader. I organized Christian camps. And even in my church they talked that they said one
day you should go to the seminary because you're going to be a very good pastor. You're
such a good person.
I also felt along that time in my early teen years that there was something wrong with
me. But I did not know exactly what it was. I noticed that my friends, you know, the other
boys, you know, at my age level, they were already talking about girls. And I wasn't
interested in girls at all. On the contrary: I started to notice that some guys, I looked
at them and said, ‘oh,’ and I didn't know what it was but something inside of me said
hey, there's something wrong. You see, we did not talk about sexuality. And, of course,
no one talked about homosexuality even less.
When I was, going back a little bit, when I was about 5 or 6, I was molested sexually
by a neighbor. By a woman who was one of our neighbors. And that helped to contribute to
my difficulties with the opposite sex. I was also abused emotionally by strong women as
I was growing up. So I started to become afraid of women first. Eventually I started to feel
angry at women and at the same time I started to have feelings toward men and I had no idea
what they were and I couldn't talk to anybody about it. Sometimes I would hear things in
the church like some sins are worse than other sins. And little by little I understood that
that was "the" sin.
So what I did is I promised myself that I wouldn't do that. Because you know me, the
idea of having a fellowship with God was God was up there in the up the stairs. And I had
to climb the stairs to get to God. You know? So I was working my way up those stairs.
Eventually I did go to the seminary when I was 18. And I learned about a missionary organization
called OM, Operation Mobilization. And I joined them for a month. I ended up staying for two
and a half years. And during that time the feelings that until then I was stuffing down
trying to hide from myself really started to come to the surface and it was horrible
because I couldn't talk to anybody about them.
I remember one time we were in Colombia and I was interpreting for a preacher, an evangelist
in Colombia downtown, I think. And during the altar call, three young men came towards
us and I was supposed to be counseling the people who were coming forward and they came
to me and they said, "We are homosexuals. Can God change us?"
And I started saying, yes, of course, there's nothing impossible for God. But in my heart
I was falling apart because I was struggling and I did not know what to do.
To make another long story short, eventually I came to my leader, one of my leaders on
the ship. I was on the ship. One of the ships. Doulos. And I said to him, I don't want to
be doing what I'm doing any more. Because I was traveling a lot by myself and I was
afraid that I was going have a fall, that I was going to get involved. You see, until
that time I had never had any sexual involvement with anybody in my whole life. And I noticed
that it was becoming more and more dangerous. And I did not want to tell him what I was
struggling with because I was afraid. But he pressed me a little bit. And eventually
I said yes, I'm afraid that I'm going have a sexual fall. What do you mean? Well, I've
discovered that I am attracted to other guys and I'm afraid that I'll have a sexual fall.
Now, he stared at me and he stopped talking to me. And he said, eventually, he said, "You'd
better pack your things and go home." That was the first of four times in my life when
I was kicked out some of kind of Christian organization because of my struggle with homosexuality.
You see, this was many years ago. And back then they did not know how to handle this.
And it hasn't changed very much. I was very disappointed, went back home. But still tried
very hard to be good and earn God's favor.
I ended up going to a missionary conference in Sao Paulo, a missionary conference, much
like this. Not as many people, of course. And in that conference I met a guy who was
also a seminary student. And I had my first sexual involvement with that man in a missionary
conference. I tell you this because sometimes we think oh, we don't want our young children
to get lost out there in the world. You don't have to go very far, you know, to find partners
for a lot of things.
I was devastated because I thought, okay. I committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness.
And then, of course, I promised God that I would never do it again. And I intended not
to. However, that had been the first time that I had another man hugging me, embracing
me and saying "I love you." You see, I was emotionally starving. And I wanted that love
from another man. I did not understand at that time the dynamics behind it all. But
that hug and that tenderness brought me back and eventually I went to a gay bar. And I
remember when I walked in that gay bar for the first time, I said to myself, "This is
heaven and I found it." And you know why? Because there I could take off my mask and
be honest about what I felt.
The tragedy is that the place where we should be able or we could or should be able to take
off our masks is the church. And I found that in a gay bar, as Alan sort of said, you know?
And at first I was very excited about that because I felt God is too hard to please.
I can't please him. So I walked away. All my love, all my devotion for God just vanished.
And I thought well, I tried very hard. I was a missionary. I was in seminary. I dropped
out of seminary and I said to myself, it's impossible to please God. He must have made
me this way. He probably created me for condemnation. And there's nothing I can do about it. But
I have to be true to myself.
I started, you know, living in the gay lifestyle as first as best as I could. And eventually
you start learning, you pick up, you start enjoying certain things. And I thought God
doesn't want anything to do with me. And little by little I met people. I got everything I
wanted. Some years passed by. I tried several times to go back to churches. Every time my
background came up, I was kicked out again or I walked away in shame until I gave up
totally and felt there's no hope for me. I was born gay. This is what I am. And, when
I die, I'm going to go to hell. So let me enjoy it while I'm here.
I thought that God had given up on me, so I had given up on God. But to my surprise,
when I gave up trying to please God, I started hearing God speaking to me. Now, you see,
I grew up a Presbyterian. In Brazil we joke saying when a Presbyterian listens to God's
voice, he has to go a psychiatrist. You see, I wasn't a Pentecostal. I was this traditional
Presbyterian. But God came to me and said, "Willy, I love you." And I would look around
and say who's there, you know?
After many times of that thing happening, I started to discern, yeah, this is God speaking
to me. What is he trying to say? You know? It doesn't make sense to me. How can God love
me being gay? It's impossible. God doesn't love gays. He hates them. He sends them to
hell. And that happened several times. One day I was washing my car outside and again
that voice came and said, "I love you and I have so much to give you."
I got so mad. I had a bucket of water in my hands. I threw it down. I went inside the
house. There was nobody there that day. And I started screaming at God and I said God,
‘Don't you have anything else to do? I'm busy washing my car and you come up with I
love you, I love you, I love you? I can't do this. You know? I can't be straight. I
can't change. And I'm not going to change. And do you know what? I don't want to change.
It's impossible to please you. I tried everything,’ and blah, blah, blah. I went on for a long
time. And I waited for the lightning to come down and strike me or for the earth to crack
open, so that I would go straight to hell. That didn't happen. Instead a voice said,
"Are you finished?"
I said, "Yeah" waiting.
"What do you think you have that I do not have? What is it that you think you can do
that I cannot do better than you can? Do you think I need your money? Do you think I need
your time? Do you think I need your worship or praise? I'm God. I don't need anything."
And I said, "What?"
I've always heard people telling me I should do this and that to please you, to climb the
stairs. And he said, ‘Why didn't you ever ask me
what I wanted from you?’
And I had never done that. You know and said okay, what do you want? Are still aggressively.
He said, "I want your heart." I said, "Oh, my heart? What are you going to do with it?
Throw it into hell? Because it's full of dirt" I didn't use the word "dirt." I used another
Anyway, he said, “No, I'm not going to do that.”
“What do you want to do with my heart?” “I want to pour my life into your heart.”
I said, “Why?”
He said. “Because that's what I made you for.” And in that moment something inside
of me said that's it, that's what I have been looking for. Something inside of me said that.
But I said, “Hey hey hey, wait a minute. I'm not going change. I’m not going to give
up my boyfriend. I'm not going to go to church. I'm not going to read the Bible. I don't like
Christians. I hate them. They're terrible.”
“Will, you don't understand. I'm not asking for anything in return. Will you accept my
“Is that all you want?”
“Yes, that's all I want. I want to give you my love. Will you take it?”
I said, “Are you sure you're not going to ask me anything in return?”
He said, “No, that's all I want.”
I said, “Okay. If you want to love me, here I am. Love me.” And that was about 14 years
ago. The love of God came. It came. And it didn't stop. It hasn't stopped ever since.
God never asked me for my boyfriend or never asked me to go to a church. He never asked
me to leave my gay friends or anything like that. The minute God's love started pouring
into my heart, I noticed, I knew immediately, this is what I had been looking for so far
and haven't found. Whether it was in religion, whether it was in being good or whether it
was in being as bad as I could I wasn't finding it. And now here's this love finding me.
That was the beginning of a transformation process that eventually I realized hey, I
am a beloved son. The words of God to his son Jesus "you are my beloved son in whom
I have great delight." That's exactly the same words I heard that day and that's the
words I hear every single day when I wake up. I am a beloved son of God. I'm not ex
gay. I'm not becoming a heterosexual. I am a beloved son of God. And I'm growing and
learning day by day to be more and more like Jesus.
At first I thought hey, this is too good to be true. After a while, hey, this is so good
and it is true. And then now this is so good and it is true. And the world needs to know.
And this is why we're here. This is why EGA exists and Exodus all over the globe and this
is why we're here. To proclaim the truth. That there's no sin that God cannot forgive.
There's no chain, no bondage that he cannot break. Amen.