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My name is David. I'm here to talk to you about what God has done in my life and in the life of my family. Let me start off by giving you a bit of background.  

I was raised in the Assemblies of God Church. My father was a Deacon and a Sunday School teacher in a small town in Missouri.  

After graduating high school I went to College in Springfield Mo. At that time I was young and immature and dropped out for a semester and worked on my uncles farm. After a year passed, I enrolled in college again at a Bible College in Springfield Mo.

In 1962 I married my wife, an Assemblies of God ministers daughter.  

Prior to my wife and I marrying we were told we would probably not have children due to a medical condition with my wife. After four months of marriage went by we were told we were going to be parents.  I don't have to tell you how happy and excited we were.  On July 25, 1963 our daughter was born.  During this time I was in school, my wife worked at the juvenile office and brought home $210 a month. Our big deal then was to go to A&W Root Beer, get a papa and a mama cheeseburger and a root beer. That was the extent of our social life at that time. I was working 100 hours a week in the summer for an ambulance company making $.35 an hour. $35.00 a week didn't go very far even back then.  But, I look back on that now and am so thankful for the blessings of the Lord on our lives.  

In 1966 our son was born. When we brought him home from the hospital our daughter who knew she had a little brother didn't expect him to be so little. Her comment when she looked in the baby crib and heard him crying was "Take him back". We still laugh about that and she still likes to tease him about that today. Having a daughter and now having a son just made our lives complete.  

For us we thought we had a normal life, working all week and in church all day Sunday. My wife and I worked with the church youth group as one of the sponsors. Our kids grew up going to church every time the doors were open.      

In 1988 we moved to Texas. I had known prior to that move that our son was gay but was praying and trusting God to "make it go away."  In March of 1988 our son, and a female friend of his, came to visit us and also take a trip down to Mexico.  We had only been in Texas for about 2-3 weeks so a lot of our things were still in boxes. Our daughter and the girl shared a bedroom. The girl told our daughter that our son was gay and our daughter told my wife the next morning after He had left for Mexico.  About 9 am I got a call from my daughter crying and wanting me to come home.  She told me what the problem was.  I always knew this day would come, but had hid the fact that our son was gay as long as I could. I knew what it would do to my wife. It is normal for parents to blame themselves when they find this type of "problem" exists in their family. My wife did go through this blaming herself, searching her own life for answers that did not come.  It was my intention to protect her as long as I could. At first my wife was upset with me for not telling her.   

At the time we moved from Missouri to Texas our son was working and finishing college in Missouri.  When he got back to Missouri from his trip, I told him what had happened.  My heart was broken. My wife and daughter were afraid for him to be around our granddaughter, because of the AIDS scare.  We only knew that the possibility of AIDS was something that happened to other families and not ours.   

We went through several years of depression, confusion, confessing the Word of God and begging God to change him.  Unbeknown to us, he was also praying and asking God to take away the feelings he has for men.  I have since learned of times he would beg God, cry and even thought of suicide.      

About a year after he moved to Texas he was transferred to San Francisco to open a new Hotel property there.  I questioned God as to why He would let this happen.  We were praying, believing God for his deliverance and God allowed him to be transferred to the gay capitol of the world?  I was angry with God and felt that God had deserted me and I was mad about it.  However, we continued to pray although I must admit it was a prayer of demands rather than a prayer of love and peace. I knew all the scripture and had beaten my son up with those scriptures.    

While all this was going on, I got a red letter Bible and searched the scripture looking for anything that Jesus might have said on the subject. It seems this is a subject Jesus didn't deal with. There are no scriptures on gay or homosexuality where Jesus said anything on the subject.  God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit began to deal with me about my attitude.  While searching the scripture I saw how Jesus dealt with sinners as well as self- righteous Christians.  I ran across the scripture again which talks about the fruits of the spirit. I'm sorry to say instead of showing the fruits of the spirit we are many times the first to show criticism etc…. The Bible says, "The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and faith, meekness and temperance against such there is no law."  At this time there was very little love, joy or peace in our family.  It was an uncomfortable time of being together.  We all tried to make it through Christmas each year as best we could.  That was the only time we saw our son during the year.      

While our son was getting acquainted with his new church friends, I felt God gave me a dream.  I dreamed that I had two grandsons in California.   I awoke the next morning and was happy and excited and finally felt I had some hope and something to hang on to.  I was excited that I was going to have a daughter-in-law. I thought about what she might look like, what color her hair might be, and what my grandsons might look like. My son is a handsome man if I do say so and I hoped they would look like him.   

About two months went by.  I never told him about my dream. I was confessing it, claiming it, and reminded God almost daily about it.  One day he called and he said,   
"Dad, I've met someone. It’s a man.   

I felt like God was playing a bad joke or at least allowed a bad joke to be played on me. He went on to say, 

" and he has two sons" 

It was like getting hit in the head with a hammer. Once again I was frustrated and upset and questioned God. Everything I had been taught seemed to be crumbling in front of me. Why God? Why would you allow this to happen? Where are you when I need you the most? Don’t you care?  

A few months passed and he asked me if he could bring his family home with him for Christmas.  I said no. At this time I was rebuking the devil out of everything I could. Out of my home, behind that bush, anywhere I thought he might be. I was hurting bad.  I know and knew how much he loves his family.  I was hurting for him as well. It gives a father joy to be able to give to his children and I couldn't give to Todd the request he had asked for, and bring his family home for Christmas. He came home that Christmas by himself and we all tried to make it happy and joyful but it was uncomfortable.   

A year went by, my sons friend and the boys moved in with our son in California.  Toward the end of the year we once again began making plans for Christmas.  He again asked if he could bring his family with him.  I told him no.  He told me if he couldn't bring his family with him then he wouldn't be home for Christmas.  This was like a knife and I felt like I couldn't stand it. It was as though my body would explode with the hurt and pain. I love my family and I could see it coming apart. I was also very angry, with God, at him, at the world. I began to hate Christmas music. I became depressed and my wife will tell you I was a bad person to live with. How could we possibly make it during Christmas without the family being together? I felt though that I had to stand up and do what I thought was right.  

During this time I had stopped praying about him and was still angry about my dream.  I felt I had no one to talk to.   My father-in-law was in his 70's and still pastoring and I couldn't go to him because of the family ties. God through the prompting of the Holy Spirit began to deal with me.  In desperation, I once again turned to God.  The scripture about the fruits of the spirit began to become more precious to me than ever before.  God began to deal with me about my relationship with my son.  How was I going to minister to my son when there was not much "peace, love and joy" in our relationship? Oh I loved him but there was no unconditional love. The love I had for my son had the condition that I would love him if he would "Stop being Gay".  

As a Christian I would show love and joy and peace to the men of Teen Challenge, a group for men who have primarily been drug addicts.  I would work with them in the church but I was showing contempt, unhappiness and no peace toward my son.  I was convicted over this.  After much prayer and discussion with my wife I called Todd and told him if he wanted to bring his family home for Christmas he could.  It was like a weight moved off my shoulders.  I was scared, happy, afraid, and said many days, "Oh God, did I do the right thing?"  I felt the reassurance of the Holy Spirit that I did.  

On the day that our son and his family were to come home I went to the butcher shop and got a long piece of paper and wrote on the paper, "Welcome Home Todd, Jose, Jose Jr. and Frankie". I taped this all across the double garage of my home.  The time came and they arrived. I don’t know who was the most nervous, the boys or us. We had been looking out the window every few minutes when we thought it was about time for them to arrive. When they arrived, we went out side and hugged Todd. Then we hugged Jose and the boys.  

Everything went fine. On Saturday night I was considering taking the boys to a different church than my own. Todd knew that was not where I went to church but I would tell him we were going to visit another church today. Beside I had heard that that Pastor was hard on the gay issue and he might preach on it that Sunday. At least I hoped and had told God it would be all right with me if he wanted the pastor to preach on that subject. God began to convict me of this for that would not be the truth. I was concerned as to what my church would think. On Sunday morning, we got up and away to the Assembly of God we went. Church had already started and we marched in all five of us. The ceiling tile didn't fall off nor did any of my fellow church members pass out. Then came the end of the service. I knew the Pastor always stands in the middle isle and greets folks so I thought I would head out the side door and we would be gone. Well again God began to deal with me. So I marched all of us to the center isle and there he was, the pastor. I just said well OK God this may be my last day here but I’m going to be truthful. I introduced my son and his family by just those words to my pastor. He welcomed them and didn't flinch a muscle. I know I was watching to see what he would do to me. I have since had the opportunity to talk with him about that day and he asked me "How did I do'? I told him he did great and his Christian conduct made it easier for me. I am proud of him and will always be grateful for the love and spirit he demonstrated that day.  When we got to the car Jose asked me if the pastor knew about Todd and his family. I said no. He began to cry when he realized the love and acceptance I had shown toward them.      

From that small beginning a wonderful relationship developed.  Over the years my son and I have grown closer than ever before.  Although Todd and Jose are no longer together, my wife and I love Jose and the boys. We have enjoyed many Christmases together. Those Christmases have been some of the happiest in our lives. I will never forget that first Christmas. It was like we were in the presence of the Holy Spirit all during Christmas. It was the feeling of revival. There are a lot of things we don't understand, but have left these in the hands of God. There are a lot of things I cannot explain but God has not called me to give a theological explanation. He has called me to be a Christian Dad reaching out to my hurting brothers and sisters.   

Since that time I have had the opportunity to speak at a camp meeting in Houston conducted by Advance Christian Ministries. Many have been kicked out of their churches. I was able to be there for a weekend. I arrived not knowing anyone. I had met Tom Hirsch on America On-Line and he was the only one I knew of all the people there. On Saturday night I was asked to speak to the group. I began by confessing my unconditional love to my son. There were men and women present that knew Todd.   

I have also been a part of a panel discussion at the T-E-N Conference in Phoenix in February 1996 and was asked to speak at a Spiritfest meeting in Arkansas in May 1996. I accepted those invitations and have been in those services, also.  

There are a lot of things that I don't understand in the gay community. But, there are some things I don't understand in the religious heterosexual community.  I don't understand how good Christian people can treat their pastors the way some do.  I don't understand how people in church can gossip, run down and sometimes spiritually kill new baby Christians.  There is one thing I do know and that is God is a God of love and mercy.  I believe that I am a spiritual being as well as an earthly being. The Bible talks about the fruits of the spirit.  I believe those fruits will be a part of my life if I truly am born again.  

On Friday Feb. 23 1996 I flew from San Antonio to Phoenix Arizona to attend my first TEN conference. The service was outstanding. The music of praise and worship was wonderful. It was during this service that the Holy Spirit began to impress me that I was to personally minister to someone there. This is something that happens not very often and I am scared and nervous when it happens. First I want it to be God and not David. Second I don’t want to offend anyone. As I looked across from me the Spirit zeroed in on a young man and the Spirit impressed me that was the one. I was setting and the service was going on and I prayed for God to tell me at what point. A few minutes later the pastor asked for the members of the panel that were to speak on Saturday to come forward and pray with anyone that wanted to be prayed for. I went to the front and the Spirit said now, so I motioned for the boy to come to the front. He came up to the front and I took both of his hands and began to give to him what I felt God had asked me to give him. He began to weep and the spirit of the Lord was so strong. After a time of prayer he went back to his seat. After the service a man came up to me and said before church tonight I went to the altar and prayed that God would send someone to speak to this young man as he has many needs. I didn't know this man and was amazed at what he was telling me. Later that same night the young man I had prayed for talked to my son and confirmed what I had told him was true. I had never laid my eyes on this young man in my life.  

This is not a special thing nor am I special. God wants to use his children in ministry and he will do it where there is a willing vessel.  

Saturday was a good day. The services just seemed to build with each service and the blessings and presence of the Lord was just wonderful. Saturday afternoon was to be a panel discussion. On the panel was Peggy Compolo, wife of noted author Tony Compolo. Also Dennis and Evelyn Schave, Pentecostal evangelists from Phoenix,  Elizabeth Storbo, who have previously been a counselor for an ex-gay ministry in Vancouver BC, and me. Prior to the panel discussion Peggy Compolo gave a stirring message on her life and how God had led her to begin a ministry with gays and lesbians. Dennis and Evelyn shared how they began to minister to the gay community and how this had affected their lives and caused them to be removed from a mainline denomination where Dennis was a church official.  

Soon it was my time to share the things that we had been through and of our struggle. I began by telling the congregation that there was something I wanted to do before I began to talk. I wanted to profess my unconditional love for my son and his family. This is something that I feel God would have me do for He has brought me from a place where I was very angry with my son and just asked God to "Get Him". Well little did I know that God was going to answer that prayer so forcefully but the “him” in that prayer would not be my son but me.  

Sunday morning was to be the crown on the trip. Jose’s mother came to the service and Jose was one of the worship leaders during praise and worship. As I sat next to Jose’s mother I noticed she began to cry. There was such a sweet spirit and God was all over that place. Brothers and sisters were singing, some crying, some praising and some just standing in awe of the mighty presence of the Lord. During the service communion was served. Pastor Fred Pattison came up and took a loaf of un-sliced bread and broke it into several pieces. As I sat there in that service the spirit of God came over me and I began to weep and I was afraid I couldn't weep quietly as the emotion was coming from deep within. Finally it was time for the four of us, Todd, Jose, His mother and me to go up for communion. As we approached the table I began to weep in the presence of the Lord again. In the front of the church are 3 crosses. As the four of us stood there, shoulder to shoulder, the presence of the Lord just became even more real. Very few times in my life has the presence of the Lord been that strong. It was like I didn't know if I could stand it. When each of us had taken our bread and drank the juice we stood there and prayed. I again was crying tears of joy. The music was softly playing and it was like all at once the 4 of us turned toward one another and the 4 of us stood before the cross, weeping and embracing one another. What a beautiful time of fellowship, what a presence of the Lord. As we began to return to our seat one of the men came to me laid his head on my shoulder and cried. What he had just witnessed with the 4 of us at the altar he wants to see in his family. He doesn't have that now from his family. I felt God would have me encourage him. I told him that God is no respecter of persons or families and what He has done in our family he is able to do for his. The theme I feel God wants me to share is the responsibility that the Gay person has toward their family. Its normal to get upset when we are mistreated, but I feel God would have us show Christian love and kindness when mistreated. The fruit of the Spirit that comes from a Christian’s life is to be" Love and Joy and Peace..." So many Christians in their frustration of having a child that is gay want to spiritually beat them up with scripture. If scripture could change the feelings and desires of the homosexual then we would see gays becoming straight over night. I have talked to young people that have been kicked out of their Churches, relieved of their Sunday school classes, asked to leave the choir. I have met so many wonderful musicians that have such talent with the piano and organ only to be told they are no longer welcome in their church. One young man told me of the time his pastor called him into his study verbally abused him, took him by the arm and showed him the door and as the young man was going out the door kicked him in the seat as he left the church. That isn't God. When I got on the plane Sunday evening to fly back home, I noticed my eyes were stinging from all the tears, but my heart was full of love and admiration for the group of men and women that I had spent the weekend with. What a precious bunch of friends   

Mercy has become one of the most beautiful words in the English language to me. Some time ago,  I got a message over America on Line from a Christian young man who told of the times he has prayed, begged God, confessed it and still God never made him heterosexual. One day I felt God gave me a thought. I didn't one day decide I was going to be heterosexual. It was natural and the way I felt.  I don't believe that the kids in the gay community one-day wake up and decided they will be gay.      It is our desire that you have someone that you can talk with and will stand with you in pray while you make your journey. You didn’t choose your orientation.  It wasn’t a journey I would have chosen for us but now that I am on the other side of the mountain I wouldn’t take anything for what we have learned and the many people that we have met. It’s truly a heart wrenching time and a joyful time also. There is no way someone that hasn’t been in a parents shoes can understand all the emotions one goes through but I want to assure you there is life after this issue if you will allow your child to continue to be your child. To the gay or lesbian child I encourage you be available for the time when your parent will be ready to talk. There will be harsh things no doubt said to you but I encourage you to not return harshness but rather pray for those that don’t understand.  There were many tears but also laughs.  

I would have never dreamed that Todd and I would be traveling America speaking to churches and groups encouraging Moms and Dads as well as their gay and lesbian children. We have seen family’s that were separated come together. On Fathers Day 2001 Todd and I spoke at Potters House Church in Tampa Florida pastored by Rob Morgan. What a wonderful time of ministry we had there. Before I began this ministry of Unconditional Love I had never been used by God with words of knowledge. This is not a unusual happening in our services now. In this service God spoke to me about a certain situation that someone was going through. I said what the Lord had said to me and there was no response. Then the Lord gave me the knowledge of something that this person and God alone knew and then a young man stood and said that’s me. He came forward and Todd and I prayed over him and he left with answers from God that he had searched many years for.  

In July Todd and I were invited to speak at a church dedication in Little Rock Arkansas. This church is Open Door Community church pastured by Randy McCain. This church service was the first service where I saw a mother and a father of a gay son in the church. This Dad was as he said “A Arkansas Redneck” that God had changed to a father that loved his son Unconditionally and now they all go to the same church. One of the highlights of this weekend of ministry was to be at a restaurant after church Saturday night. We were all at the table ordering hamburgers and cokes and a young man approached to take my order. God spoke to me and told me to take one of my ministry cards and give it to him. On this card is the words Unconditional Love Ministry and down both sides are rainbow colors. This young man was shocked that there was a church or anyone that would love him unconditionally. You see this young man had been raised in church and had been asked to leave because of his orientation. The next morning he and his spouse were in church.    

Recently my wife and I were setting in a restaurant in Frisco Texas having breakfast and a young man approached our table to take our order. The Lord spoke to me and said to give him a card. I said ok I would leave the card with the tip at the end of the meal. I began to pray and I said Lord is this really you telling me this or is this me. All of a sudden the name ADAM was ringing in my mind. I said God what does this mean. Does this mean my nephew Adam or is this something else. When the young man brought us our check I handed him a card with the tip. I went to the line to pay and soon I felt a tap on my shoulder and he wanted to know what Unconditional Love Ministry was. Did I have a church? I told him what it was and he got my email address. I introduced myself to him and asked what his name was as he had no nametag on. He said my name is ADAM.     

This story continues.