Participants: Michael Carducci (Host), Miguel Harris
Series Code: PC
Program Code: PC000114A
00:01 This following program discusses sensitive issues.
00:04 Parents are cautioned that some material
00:06 may be too candid for younger children.
00:41 Welcome to Pure Choices.
00:43 My name is Michael Carducci,
00:45 and I'm with Coming Out Ministries.
00:46 Today, we're going to be interviewing
00:48 a friend of mine, Miguel Harris.
00:50 Miguel, welcome.
00:51 Thank you so much. It's a privilege to be here.
00:53 Yes, yes.
00:54 You know, it's my delight
00:55 to be able to hear your story one more time,
00:57 and I know, Miguel, that for a young person
01:00 to have come as far as you have
01:03 through the history
01:04 of what you experienced as a little boy,
01:07 all the way up to how the Lord has done
01:09 some miraculous things in your life,
01:10 it's exciting to hear stories like yours.
01:14 Amen. Yeah, so let's get started.
01:17 I want to talk a little bit about when you were born,
01:20 you know, what was the situation
01:22 was with your mother and father,
01:23 and how you came into the world?
01:25 So I was brought up in a broken home.
01:28 My mother was an alcoholic,
01:30 and my father left her when I was a baby,
01:33 so I never had the opportunity to know my father,
01:36 and have a relationship with him.
01:37 So were your parents married?
01:39 They were not married. They were just together.
01:41 My mother was 19 when she had me,
01:43 and my father is 13 years older than her.
01:45 Okay. And...
01:49 So what part of your raising
01:52 did your father have to do with you?
01:55 Actually, he didn't have any.
01:57 Since I didn't know my father from a young age,
02:00 I would just see him come and go
02:03 from five to six months periods,
02:05 and just give me money,
02:07 and that was all that I had to know my father.
02:10 So from the time that you were born,
02:11 your dad would stop by occasionally
02:14 and drop by some money, like every five or six months.
02:16 Yes, that's right.
02:17 That's called twice a year, right?
02:19 Exactly. Correct. Okay.
02:20 And my mother was barely even home
02:23 because she was an alcoholic,
02:25 partying and drinking was a casual thing for her.
02:28 And there was times where I didn't see my mother
02:31 for two weeks or so.
02:32 Two weeks at a time? Yes.
02:33 And how old were you?
02:35 I was four years old, and she will leave me
02:37 with my great grandmother home.
02:39 And she will baby-sit me.
02:42 And that's when one of the incidents
02:44 that happened in my life that brought up, you know,
02:47 this sexual attraction later on in my life
02:50 was that my grandmother and I took a trip once
02:53 to one of her friend's house.
02:55 And I was just sitting there in the living room with her.
02:58 How old were you? I was about...
03:00 Yes, I was four years old.
03:02 Four years old. Okay.
03:03 And so your mom is gone, and now you're staying
03:05 with your great grandmother.
03:06 And so your grandma is just taking you
03:08 to one of her friend's house.
03:09 Exactly. Okay.
03:11 And I was tired of seeing, you know,
03:12 two old ladies just talking in the living room,
03:14 just like we are.
03:17 I just started to go around the house...
03:19 To be curious.
03:20 And I noticed that there was a door that was open.
03:22 And I went inside this room and there was a young man,
03:25 and he was inviting me in.
03:27 And he just told me to get in the bed,
03:30 and he started to play with me and touch me.
03:32 And I didn't know what was going on.
03:33 And then all of a sudden, he was just, you know,
03:36 he took advantage of me.
03:38 Okay, how old was he?
03:40 He was in his teenage years, I can say.
03:42 At least a teenager. At least 13 years old or older.
03:47 And the horrible reality
03:48 is that he took advantage sexually
03:50 of a four year old boy.
03:52 So what was your reaction to this?
03:54 Do you even remember it, Miguel?
03:55 I remember it perfectly.
03:57 Sometimes it just, you know,
03:59 back when I used to struggle with these thoughts,
04:01 I remember it like it happened just yesterday.
04:05 And I didn't know how to react to it.
04:08 Okay. I just basically took it.
04:10 I remember him telling me to keep it a secret.
04:12 And so I did that.
04:14 Having an abusive mother,
04:15 I didn't have anybody to confide in and tell to.
04:19 And I felt that if I would tell her,
04:21 coming from a home
04:23 where I was physically and verbally abused,
04:25 I felt that if I would tell her
04:27 that she would tell me that it was my fault
04:28 and physically abused me, so I kept it a secret.
04:31 Wow, at four years old, again,
04:33 I think that there's something to be said
04:36 for the victim mentality that it's my fault.
04:39 You know, that seems to be a reoccurring reaction
04:42 to little children that are molested and abused
04:45 that it's my fault or that I'm going to get in trouble
04:47 if I say anything.
04:49 And you held sad because what that does
04:51 is that protects the violator, you know.
04:54 So you couldn't go to your grandmother,
04:56 and your mom was gone.
04:58 And talk a little bit about what it was like
05:01 living with your mom with the alcohol in the home,
05:05 and some of the physical and verbal abuse.
05:07 Oh, it was very tragic for me,
05:09 especially at that age because, you know,
05:11 not having a father and only having your mother,
05:15 and her not being there
05:16 as much as you would want her to be there,
05:19 it was very hard for me
05:21 to be able to learn how to function, you know,
05:25 there was many times where I just did
05:26 whatever I wanted to do because I had nobody
05:28 to tell me right from wrong.
05:30 No supervision. Exactly.
05:31 And so for her to come home and see me doing things
05:35 that were wrong in her side at least,
05:37 things that sometimes I was even ignorant about,
05:39 and just physically abuse me was just...
05:43 It just didn't make any sense for me.
05:45 So that started a hatred towards my mom.
05:48 So from a young age, I started to hate my mother
05:50 and rejected her as a role model as well.
05:53 Okay, so now there's some retaliation
05:56 for the verbal and the physical abuse.
05:58 And now it's starting to show up
06:01 that now you're starting to have these
06:02 negative feelings towards your mom.
06:04 So your mom was coming and going,
06:06 there were times when you'd be left alone,
06:08 what was going on inside of your family life,
06:12 you know, you told me this story about one night
06:15 when your mother came home drunk.
06:16 Can you just share that to get an idea
06:18 of the depth of what the abuse was like for you?
06:21 And tell me what age you were when this happened?
06:24 Yes, so something that I perhaps didn't mention
06:27 at the beginning was that I was born
06:28 in the Dominican Republic.
06:31 I was staying with my great grandmother
06:33 since she was taking care of me,
06:35 and she lived right in front of my grandmother.
06:37 And I was looking through the cracks of the door,
06:40 and I saw that my mom was had to come home.
06:43 And, you know, I had such a long time
06:47 since I didn't see her that I just, you know,
06:49 felt like I needed to go out there
06:51 and help her, and protect her.
06:52 So she was drunk and I wanted to get her to bed.
06:56 And as I'm walking her to her room, you know,
06:58 I lay her down on her bed, and she's just like,
07:02 "Let me go outside, let me go outside.
07:03 I want to go drink again."
07:05 And I'm just like, "Mom, please stay in the bed."
07:07 And she's like, "No, no, you have to let me go."
07:09 And I'm like, "Okay, mom, I'll let you go,
07:10 but please spend at least an hour in bed."
07:12 I'm just trying to calm her down
07:14 so she will go to sleep.
07:15 And then she just reacts and holds me
07:18 by the neck and tells me,
07:19 "If you don't let me go drink right now,
07:21 I'm going to choke you."
07:22 Okay, so she's got her hands around your neck,
07:25 and she says, "Let me go or I'll choke you."
07:28 While she's choking me already.
07:29 She's already choking. Yeah.
07:30 And so I just, you know,
07:32 called my grandmother, and I said, "Help me!"
07:34 And she comes into the room and takes her off of me
07:37 because she was literally going to kill me.
07:39 And I run out of the room and she follows me.
07:41 And then there's like a table in between me and my mom,
07:45 and she's giving me this really mean look.
07:47 And my grandmother had no choice but to let her go
07:49 because she just cannot handle her.
07:52 All right, so this was just a onetime thing
07:55 or was it something that was in the relationship
07:57 many times when you were a little kid?
08:00 That was the first time that I experienced my mom
08:03 doing that kind of abuse like choking me.
08:06 The other kind of abuse that she would do was just
08:09 instead of using a rod, she would do anything
08:12 that she will find, she will hit me with it.
08:13 Whether it was barbed wire, cables, anything at all.
08:17 Sometimes you will see bruises on my back
08:20 and everywhere on my body.
08:22 It just looked like I was very brutally abused.
08:25 All right, so here we have a little child,
08:30 that's four years old, and he is molested.
08:32 And now you have that constant abandonment
08:36 of your mother, who is an alcoholic,
08:38 and then when she does come home,
08:40 the beatings are happening.
08:42 Wasn't there also some name calling?
08:44 Yeah, many times I was called sissy, queer, gay,
08:48 you know, faggot, the normal name calling
08:50 that people will use.
08:52 From who?
08:53 From my mother and also my grandmother.
08:55 Basically, everybody in my family.
08:57 Wow, hang on a second.
08:59 It's one thing to get that from kids in the neighborhood,
09:01 which is just as destructive,
09:03 but now we're talking about your family members,
09:06 the people that are in charge of your care,
09:07 the ones that you love,
09:09 that you really need their affirmation the strongest.
09:12 And the affirmation that you're receiving
09:14 from your mother and your grandmother
09:16 is that you're a sissy, a queer, a faggot?
09:19 Yes, exactly.
09:20 Like you said, yeah, it was enough
09:22 that I was getting that from my friends themselves.
09:24 But, you know, getting them from my grandmother,
09:27 and my mother, and everybody else,
09:28 I remember one particular time that stuck with me
09:32 was that my grandmother saw that I was just,
09:35 you know, just being normal in my ways
09:39 with mannerisms and stuff.
09:40 What were your mannerisms like?
09:42 Well, I would pull down my shirt
09:45 and put it over here.
09:47 Off your shoulder.
09:48 Yeah, like resembling the kind of clothing that women wear
09:50 that is off their shoulder.
09:52 And just walking very feminine,
09:55 using my hands like this many times.
09:57 And my grandmother goes,
09:59 "Why do you act like a homosexual?
10:00 Your father wasn't a homosexual."
10:02 And I'm just like, "I never knew my father,
10:04 so how can I know that?"
10:06 Okay, so about your dad,
10:07 remember you told me that you were five years old,
10:10 and one day
10:11 you were just outside playing, and somebody said,
10:13 "Oh, do you see that? That's your father."
10:16 What was your reaction?
10:18 Well, I was just in front of the house,
10:19 and he just pulled in.
10:20 And somebody, like you said,
10:22 pulling him out and said, "That's your father."
10:24 And I said, "Oh, that's my dad."
10:25 Like our relationship was never, you know,
10:29 since we never had a relationship,
10:30 to me to see my father was like,
10:33 you know, oh, okay, another person.
10:35 Because since my mother was an alcoholic
10:37 and she would drink and party so much,
10:40 I got used to seeing a lot of other men
10:42 that were with her.
10:44 And she would tell me, "Oh, that's your dad."
10:45 So I always got used to the idea of having a new dad
10:48 every time she would bring another man along with her.
10:50 Along with her.
10:52 You mean she would bring him home?
10:54 Yes, she would bring him home. Okay, all right.
10:55 So it's not just that she's with another man,
10:58 she's not bringing them home,
10:59 and then every man she's saying is your father.
11:01 Is my father.
11:03 So now this guy that pulls up in the drive
11:04 and someone says, "Oh, that's your dad."
11:05 You're like, "Okay, I guess..."
11:07 It just became another one. Wow, wow.
11:11 You know it just seems that there's no safety net
11:14 at all for you that where's a safe place
11:17 for this little boy to go when he can't even find
11:19 security and safety with his mother
11:21 or even his nearest relatives, his grandmother.
11:24 And then you have the situation
11:26 where the kids are not only calling you names,
11:28 but your mother and this physical abuse.
11:30 Miguel, how much of this could you take?
11:33 Did it seem abnormal to you?
11:36 It didn't seem normal because sometimes
11:39 I will see friends who have normal families,
11:41 like a mom and a dad, and they seem happy.
11:45 And it seem to me that I couldn't have that
11:47 because I never had it in the beginning,
11:49 so to me it was like I was never going to.
11:52 So for instance, we moved into the United States
11:55 when I was 10 years old.
11:57 My mother met a man through the phone,
11:59 and then he started to come to Dominican Republic,
12:02 and they started to date, and later on became...
12:05 You know, got married.
12:06 And that's how we came to the United States.
12:08 And so where were you living?
12:10 I was living in Connecticut.
12:11 And what happened there?
12:13 So one of the things that happened there,
12:16 you know, when I lived in the Dominican Republic,
12:18 I was already going through broken home
12:20 all of my childhood.
12:22 Now moving into the United States,
12:25 and living in Connecticut, and having a father now,
12:28 I thought that things were going to be perfect,
12:30 but it wasn't so.
12:32 My mother still had a lot of anger issues.
12:33 And I remember one night specifically she...
12:38 I heard a lot of noise,
12:39 and I'm just like, "What's going on?"
12:41 And I'm in my room.
12:42 So I opened the door,
12:43 and my mother is coming towards my room
12:45 with a knife in her hand.
12:46 And I'm thinking this for me.
12:48 You know, and I'm just like,
12:49 you know, "What's going on?"
12:50 And she was just like, "Stay in your room"
12:52 with a very angry look in her face.
12:53 And I'm just like, you know, started crying.
12:56 And I just... I want to follow her
12:57 but she's telling me in a very mean way,
12:59 "Stay in the room."
13:01 So I stayed in the room. With a knife in her hand.
13:02 Yes. Okay.
13:03 And I'm looking out of the window,
13:05 and I see her following my step dad with this knife,
13:07 you know, following him.
13:09 And she comes back to the house
13:10 and pinches all four tires of his car,
13:13 so he cannot drive away.
13:14 So then he came back later on in the night,
13:16 and he cut off our electricity.
13:18 So then we had to now move into my aunt's house
13:21 and stay there.
13:22 So there I went through broken home again.
13:24 Another one, right?
13:26 Another time to be reminded
13:27 that you're never going to have this normal home.
13:29 Exactly. All right.
13:30 And so, there was a time
13:33 when you found some pornography.
13:35 Yes, exactly when I was eight years old,
13:39 I said, and also masturbation.
13:43 When I was eight years old, my mother,
13:45 you know, she read a lot of comic books.
13:48 And even though people think as pornography as,
13:50 you know, like a sex tape.
13:52 You know, pornography nowadays I would say is everywhere.
13:54 You know, you cannot sell a car
13:55 without seeing a woman half naked.
13:57 And to me, my first view of pornography
13:59 was just comic books.
14:01 Seeing woman with big breasts
14:02 and man engaging in sexual activity.
14:05 Hang on.
14:06 These aren't just comic books, they're sexual comic books.
14:09 So there's a distinction that we want to make there.
14:11 Okay, so that was your first exposure.
14:13 And that put a stem to my mind.
14:16 Now living in the United States,
14:18 in middle school, my friends talked about
14:20 masturbation and pornography so often,
14:22 you know, at the age of eight as well,
14:24 my friend invited me to his house and told me,
14:28 you know, that he wanted to show me something new,
14:29 and he masturbated in front of me,
14:31 and then try to compel me to do the same,
14:33 and I tried it as well.
14:35 So it's interesting.
14:36 You weren't in Christian school,
14:37 this was in public school. Yes.
14:39 And it's so cavalier
14:40 that people are just talking about it openly
14:42 about pornography and sexual activity.
14:45 So when did homosexuality kind of take hold for you?
14:49 You know, coming to the United States,
14:52 this is something that is not acceptable
14:54 in my country.
14:56 Back then it wasn't as much as it is now.
14:58 So, you know, this is nothing but about be a manly.
15:01 And if you're not manly, you're degraded
15:02 and almost like shun away from society
15:04 and your own family.
15:05 Right, but you were kind of set up...
15:08 Because here is your mother and your grandmother
15:09 telling you that you're gay,
15:11 and that you're sissy and all these things.
15:13 So when did that really take hold for you
15:16 because, you know, what's incredible
15:17 is that you're 22 years old, but you've had a lot a life
15:20 that you've lived.
15:21 So now how old are you?
15:24 Now how old am I today?
15:25 No, like in this time period
15:27 where the homosexuality starts to really kick in for you.
15:29 I was about 13 years old. Thirteen.
15:31 Yes, and, you know,
15:33 seeing how acceptable it is here in the United States
15:35 opposed to my country,
15:37 I thought that it will be normal
15:38 to just, you know, be who you are.
15:40 Because I thought that these feelings
15:42 of same sex attraction were identifying who I was.
15:45 All right.
15:46 And having people call me that,
15:47 you know, was rooting it in even more.
15:49 Okay. So...
15:51 Well, I think that's important to emphasize
15:53 that the fact that people were calling me this,
15:55 it rooted it in even more.
15:57 Yes. Okay.
15:58 And so, I felt the need to be accepted, you know.
16:01 You know, the Bible says that our words have the power
16:04 of life and death.
16:05 Of life and death. That's right.
16:06 Proverbs 23:7 if I'm not mistaking.
16:09 It says, "As you think of in his heart, so is He."
16:12 So one night what I did was I was tired of hiding
16:15 and, you know, in the closet you would say,
16:17 and I went up to the mirror and I said,
16:20 "I'm bisexual. I'm bisexual."
16:24 Was there anyone else there with you?
16:25 I was alone.
16:27 So you're talking into the mirror?
16:28 Into the mirror.
16:29 And you're just telling yourself that I'm bisexual?
16:32 And I felt like I needed to call someone and tell them
16:34 so that I can see if I'll be accepted.
16:37 And so I called my friend, and she accepts me
16:40 and tells me that she loves me, and she's happy now
16:42 that she has a gay friend who she can go shopping with.
16:44 So, you know, I was excited. Okay.
16:46 And so I wanted to fully embrace it though
16:48 because I didn't feel like I was bisexual.
16:51 So you knew that it wasn't you...
16:53 You basically were kind of covering yourself
16:55 with this label of bisexuality.
16:57 But now it's like, "Well, if I'm free to be this,
17:01 then what's the next step?"
17:02 Exactly, and so what I did was that
17:04 I went back to the mirror, and I felt like
17:06 there was this dark presence in the room
17:08 telling me, you know, "Embrace it. You are gay."
17:10 And so I went back to the mirror and I said,
17:11 "No, I'm gay, I'm gay."
17:15 And that just gave me the freedom to go
17:18 and tell everybody else that I was gay.
17:20 And I was just welcomed
17:21 with open arm into the gay community.
17:23 Yeah, no resistance at all.
17:25 No resistance at all.
17:26 Okay, so talk about Tammy?
17:28 So I made a wonderful friend named Tammy.
17:32 When I had come to the United States
17:34 and I started to go to church,
17:36 as I mentioned, my mother was an alcoholic,
17:38 but she took a year off drinking alcohol
17:40 since she was pregnant with my sister.
17:42 I was not interested in going to church at all
17:44 because of some past experiences going,
17:46 you know, off the Catholic Church,
17:48 and just not liking church at all.
17:49 But I just felt the need to go
17:51 and see if I can find some friends.
17:54 So I felt so welcome in this church, you know,
17:58 but I still was struggling with same sex attraction.
18:01 And I didn't know the answer of how the church...
18:05 Of how God can change a homosexual
18:07 because it almost seemed like the only thing was that
18:11 if you're gay, you'll burn in hell and die.
18:14 Well, and how old are you now?
18:15 At that time I was about 14 years old.
18:18 Fourteen, okay. Yes.
18:20 And so little by little,
18:21 I myself started to leave the church
18:23 because of having to take care of my little sister
18:26 and being alone.
18:28 My mother was not there anymore,
18:29 so I didn't have her support anymore.
18:31 So help me understand,
18:32 your mother started going to church,
18:34 and you were enjoying it, and the whole family was going,
18:37 and then all of a sudden about a year later
18:38 your mom drops off, but you keep going
18:41 because you were enjoying the socialization
18:44 and getting to know who Jesus was,
18:46 and here's this 14, 15 year old boy
18:48 that's taking a sister every week to church.
18:51 And so eventually because you weren't getting
18:53 any kind of support that way, have actually just tapered off.
18:56 Yes, and so struggling with my same sex attractions,
19:00 you know, and being accepted by society
19:02 and thinking in my head
19:04 that I was already rejected by the church
19:06 even though they didn't know.
19:08 I just felt so welcome that I went into the world,
19:11 and I did what I wanted to do.
19:13 So the church rejected you, but the world...
19:15 Accepted me. And they embraced you.
19:17 I remember one specific time
19:19 when I met with one of the church members
19:22 and they told me that if I didn't give this up,
19:23 I was going to hell.
19:25 So I felt that was my, you know, my only solution
19:27 was to just live my life because the outcome was hell.
19:30 So instead of pulling you into the church,
19:32 what it did is it pushed you out.
19:35 Okay, so now you're doing the club scene,
19:37 and bring Tammy into the picture if you would?
19:40 And so Tammy,
19:42 she was a very big example in my life.
19:45 Even though I was living this lifestyle
19:46 which she did not approve of, she always loved me,
19:49 she told me that she did love me
19:51 even though she didn't accept this.
19:52 Now help me...
19:55 I just want to paint the picture
19:56 for the people that are listening
19:58 because I know your story.
19:59 Tammy was a thug in your neighborhood.
20:01 She was a thug when I first met her
20:02 when I was 10 years old...
20:04 Ten years old. Yes.
20:05 Right, so but she became
20:06 the mama for the neighborhood, isn't that right?
20:08 Yes, she did.
20:09 'Cause I think of Carol's story as well.
20:11 But, so here we got Mama Tammy,
20:12 who's about as big as my finger,
20:13 so she's a tiny little person,
20:15 but a very loving and caring person
20:18 that's a thug.
20:19 Yes. All right.
20:21 Many times that I was kicked out of my house,
20:22 I was always welcome into her house.
20:23 So I guess that those instances
20:26 just build confidence in knowing
20:28 that whenever I will struggle with something,
20:29 I can go to her.
20:31 To Tammy, and you'd sleep on the floor,
20:32 she'd feed you food.
20:34 Yes. Okay.
20:35 And going through my last same sex relationship
20:39 with this boy that was very bipolar, you know...
20:41 How old were you?
20:43 I was now 17 years old. Okay.
20:46 And I had gone through
20:48 many breakups in my life before,
20:50 but I was tired of, you know, breaking up.
20:52 I wanted to be happy and be with someone forever,
20:55 but it just didn't seem that was possible from me,
20:57 so I was trying to make it possible
20:59 even though it wasn't working out.
21:01 And last time we had a fight,
21:03 you know, he was threatening me,
21:05 and verbally saying bad things about me.
21:08 And I don't feel comfortable with those things,
21:09 so I told him I'm done, you know, I'm leaving this.
21:12 I had already gone through
21:14 too much depression and anxiety,
21:15 and, you know, to have that going on in my life
21:17 that was not working,
21:19 it was just like this is not for me.
21:20 So I left his house crying and devastated.
21:23 And Tammy only lived a block away from his house.
21:26 She never knew this was going on.
21:27 Right. But hang on a second.
21:29 Something happened between the time you were ten
21:31 to this thug
21:33 that was this mother in your neighborhood,
21:34 and now you're 17?
21:35 Yes, I'm 17.
21:37 Okay, so what happened in Tammy's life between that
21:39 that made a difference for you?
21:41 What do you mean exactly?
21:42 She's a Christian now, right? Yes, she's a Christian now.
21:44 Well, that's the part that's so I think important to emphasize
21:48 because Tammy still was this neighborhood mother,
21:51 but now she knew Jesus Christ.
21:52 Yes. Okay.
21:54 So talk about that now when you show up at her door
21:55 and here you are heartbroken
21:57 that your boyfriend's broken up with you again,
21:59 and you're frustrated,
22:00 and you're tired of all of this rejection.
22:02 What was her reaction to you?
22:04 I knocked on her door, and she just looked at me.
22:07 And as soon as she looked at me,
22:08 I just stopped and started to cry.
22:10 And she welcomed me into her home, sat me down,
22:13 gave me some water, some tissues to wipe my tears
22:16 and my snot.
22:18 And she just told me to explain to her
22:20 what happened.
22:22 She didn't know any of this that was going on.
22:24 And this was only a block from her house.
22:27 And I told her I worn out. I don't want this anymore.
22:30 This is not for me.
22:31 And from that day on,
22:34 I found that she was praying for me
22:35 all along, her and her husband, and I had no idea.
22:39 So they'd been praying for you. Yes.
22:40 What was her response to you
22:42 when you said I worn out, I don't want this anymore?
22:44 She just simply looked at me with this peaceful face,
22:49 and at the same time, worry, you know,
22:51 because she hadn't known what was going on
22:53 all along in my life.
22:55 But she helped me through since that day on.
22:58 And she told me, you know,
22:59 go back to his house, get your clothes,
23:00 and come back, you're staying here.
23:02 So Mama Tammy, it opened up the door,
23:05 and now she led you to Jesus Christ?
23:07 Yes, she did.
23:08 She helped me to know Him, and to accept Him into my life.
23:12 I was once looking for a job, and I didn't know what to do.
23:17 So I'm just applying in all these different places,
23:19 but I'm not getting accepted at all.
23:21 And one night coming back home from party
23:24 and then doing my thing still.
23:27 I get like 30 calls on my phone,
23:29 and I'm just like, "Whoa, who died?"
23:30 You know, and so I looked on my phone and it was her.
23:33 And I called her back and I'm like, "Hey."
23:34 And she's like, "I got a job for you
23:36 at a Seventh-day Adventist summer camp."
23:37 And I'm like, "What?"
23:39 She's like, "Yeah, you start tomorrow.
23:40 When do you want to leave?"
23:42 I said, "I'll leave right now."
23:43 You know, so I packed my clothes
23:44 and I just left.
23:46 And... So hang on a second,
23:47 so people understand the picture.
23:48 We look at you now,
23:50 and you look together, you look like somebody
23:52 who never struggled with anything
23:53 that had a perfect family,
23:55 but at that time, you had hair
23:57 down past your shoulders, isn't that right?
23:59 You were curling your hair in your mother's hair salon.
24:02 So you had this androgyny look going on,
24:05 and you were a dancer in a bar,
24:07 and now all of a sudden, she's got you a job
24:10 at a Seventh-day Adventists summer camp.
24:12 Yes, exactly.
24:15 Doesn't that sound bizarre to you?
24:16 It does sound bizarre to just see like
24:18 where you've come from.
24:20 And, you know, I was a dancer, like you mentioned,
24:23 and, you know, just being sucked
24:25 into that world was a disaster for me.
24:28 So we have just a few more minutes left,
24:30 and I really want you to talk about
24:32 how you embraced Jesus Christ,
24:33 and what that's like for you now, Miguel?
24:36 Well, you know, going through that experience,
24:38 going to the summer camp,
24:41 I was there to minister to children.
24:42 I myself was broken,
24:44 I'm like, "How am I going to do this?"
24:45 But God provided that opportunity,
24:47 so that I can now be minister on to.
24:50 And these children were telling me
24:51 about their love for Jesus.
24:53 Oh, that's fantastic.
24:54 They would sing to Jesus and pray,
24:55 and I'm just like, "Lord, I want that for you."
24:58 Wait, the Bible says,
25:00 "And a little child shall lead them."
25:02 Was that your experience?
25:03 That was exactly my experience.
25:05 All right, so, Miguel, where are you now?
25:07 You're 22 years old.
25:08 You've got your whole life ahead of you,
25:10 and you've lived a whole life before you.
25:12 What's it like walking with Jesus?
25:14 Now all of those feelings are gone now?
25:16 Like was there a switch that flipped
25:17 and now you're totally on the other side?
25:20 What's it like for a young man
25:22 that's come from that struggle today?
25:25 It is an amazing experience.
25:27 I can say that this is the best choice
25:29 that I've ever made in my life
25:30 is to let go and let God come into my life,
25:33 and be what I needed my mother to be,
25:37 my father to be,
25:38 because now my heavenly Father is my father.
25:42 And He takes care of everything or need that I have.
25:46 And now I just find joy in serving Him,
25:48 and serving others.
25:50 My modus is of not...
25:51 Are not any more self-centered
25:53 in looking on to what I want for my own happiness,
25:55 but for what others need for their happiness.
25:58 And I just find joy in serving God.
26:01 And I'm acting in an aggressive service,
26:05 such as, you know, canvassing
26:06 or mission work to help others in their needs too.
26:09 Right, and so, Miguel,
26:11 what I really want to help other people
26:12 that may be watching is what do you do
26:15 when the struggle comes back?
26:16 What do you do when the thoughts inside your head
26:19 start banging on that door saying,
26:21 "We want in."
26:22 How is it that you hold together now?
26:24 Talk to me about that?
26:26 You know, reading the Bible has relieved me
26:30 from a lot of things,
26:31 you know, coming to know Jesus
26:33 and who He is has just relieved me from a lot.
26:35 And what I do now is that I look to Him,
26:38 and I claim a promise.
26:40 And I tell Him, "Personally, Lord, I am weak."
26:42 I have to admit that I am weak.
26:44 And tell Him, but you are strong.
26:46 And I know that you can do it.
26:47 And so, Lord, I'm just asking
26:49 that You may work through me,
26:50 and that You may help me, you know,
26:52 and the Bible says it in the Book of James 2.
26:55 It says, "The devil and he will flee from you.
26:57 Draw nigh to God, and He would draw nigh to you."
26:59 And so, I go to my savior,
27:01 and get away from this temptation
27:04 instead of feeding into it.
27:06 And the Lord just helps me.
27:08 And when it comes back the second time,
27:11 He prepares me for it,
27:12 so that I can be much stronger to meet this temptation.
27:15 And so it's a growing process, you know,
27:17 that you have to go through.
27:19 It's not just like a light switch,
27:20 you just turn it on and off.
27:22 I'm not one day gay,
27:23 and then the other next day, you know,
27:25 these feelings are gone.
27:26 This has been a battle,
27:27 but you have to recognize that Jesus already won the war.
27:30 Thank you. All right, praise Him.
27:32 That's fantastic.
27:34 You know, we're almost out of time.
27:35 And I think it's important to even share
27:37 that you've even had reconciliation
27:39 with your father,
27:40 and you found forgiveness there too, isn't that right?
27:42 Yes. That's amazing.
27:43 God is amazing.
27:45 And for the transformation in your life
27:47 by making pure choices.
27:48 We hope that you'll come back and join us again.
27:50 We have many more stories of overcoming victory for you.
27:54 And we welcome you again,
27:56 and we'll see you soon on Pure Choices.