TITLE: I'm coming out, too
By Maurice Armstrong
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I'm coming out, too.
I've been in this closet far too long. Whatever happens from here on, it's all up to the one who created me in his Image and likeness. I am who I am all because of him. I have nothing to be ashamed off. I have accepted my life's calling: my gender, my sexual orientation, my upbringing and all that life has allotted me, over these many years.
All that know me are familiar with my lifestyle, and have accepted me for who I am. However, from time to time, I am called a fanatic, some say I'm misguided and yet there are others who say, I'm just delusional. The Bible does however, describes me as Peculiar.
There is nothing I want more than to be with him
He is everything to me
He is my best friend
I yearn for his presence. Yet he, is always with me
I think of him all day long, but he, is always thinking of me
I need him, I love him, and yes, he absolutely loves me.
I am no celebrity, therefore my “coming out” may not impact the world. But, since so many others are coming out, and this seems to be the right season. I decided to embrace the opportunity. I trust that many others will join me; and Let us all come out.
It all began when I was just about 10 years old. We met at mom's church, during a Gospel crusade. It was mom's church, because no one else in the family ever wanted to attend that church. An American Evangelist was the guest preacher, and this particular night, he was giving away American pennies. Living in a third world country, anything from America was worth having, especially as a child. So, here was my golden incentive; a far cry from the usual ... “have to go”, because mom said so.
I cannot recall what the well spoken, tall, blond hair, preacher said, but after the sermon; he began to sing, “Just as I am.” A hymn I have grown to love more and more since that day. As the singing was hushed to a low hum, He asked, “All those desiring a touch from the Lord; please come down the center Isle, and join me at the Altar.” I knew I wanted that, because that was what I always did. Mom would always say to me, “Curiosity killed the cat.” She said, I touched everything that caught my attention … Everything did.
At the Altar we repeated a short prayer, as the Preacher led us. I did not feel anything supernatural. I did not shout or shake or felt any difference. As we returned to our seats, we gave our names to the tiny old lady, wearing what looked like a home-made apron with an embroidered blue cross.
The final prayer was said, and now here comes the part I was waiting for, the preacher began giving out “American” pennies to everyone. To my great surprise he also gave me, what he called a nickel and a dime. He explained, a nickel was 5 cents and the dime was 10 cents. That night I was the happiest 10 year- old child in the whole wide world.
The next day, I could not wait to go back to the Church. I was dressed at 5pm. The crusade started at 7:30pm. As I sat in church that night, my heart was overwhelmed with excitement. I wanted to sing that hymn “Just as I am” over and over again. I knew then, I wanted to become a preacher; to invite people to come, to receive a touch from the Lord. I wanted my own Bible with my name on it. I wanted to tell everyone; I have been “Touched” by the hand of God. His touch is so gentle, yet so transforming. I was changed and I want the world to know … I am a Born Again Christian. I belong to Jesus Christ. I am his, and he is mine.
It’s now more than 40 years later and I have grown from Sunday School Teacher to Youth Minister, Evangelist, and 15 years as Assistant Pastor. I now pastor a small church in my home City. The adults are the parents of the boys and girls who attend faithfully. I am blessed, to have this opportunity to teach them the word of God. Each Sunday, we all spend time reading Bible passages, as we explore the biblical precepts for life.
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