Come to Him, He is Waiting…
The Story of Alan MacGowan
|To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship, “when you are in the cross you no longer fear the truth.”|
I present myself to you having lived most of my life as a homosexual. But, let me start at the beginning.
Looking back on my early life, one would consider I grew up in a normal Christian home. Having loving parents and an older brother and sister, we attended church and Sunday School on a regular basis. At no time did I realize that it was necessary to make a personal commitment to God; all the while claiming to be Christian because my parents were Christians. So what happened to make me a homosexual?
I found it difficult to relate to my dad and my brother – they were “sports”; while my character was more artistically and musically inclined. My mother, in her sincere love, overcompensated with her affection, by maintaining too close a bond well into my childhood. I could not relate to my peers. I seemed to be on a different wave length. My loneliness expressed itself in overeating. I became fat, and to me, unattractive. Because I didn‘t like myself, why would others like me? Especially girls! I was shy, rejected, and insecure. As such, this became the pattern for my life.
Growing up without any positive affirmation of my masculinity, I craved any type of male attention, while longing to be like the other boys. At first, this was admiration; but that same-sex attraction turned sexual during puberty. I found myself liking it; thereby giving me a counterfeit male affirmation for which I so desperately longed. Knowing that this activity was not right, I continued to struggle with my sexual identity for most of my young life. It was in my late 30’s, when my work took me to Toronto, I bought a motorcycle and was introduced to the Toronto gay motorcycle crowd. I quickly became a popular leader in the group, becoming instrumental in establishing one of the first and largest homosexual organizations in Canada. As the founder, I was president and leader for 5 years. I had became a “hard core” homosexual.
At that time, I thought I had everything that life could offer to make me happy – a nice home, two cars, a motorcycle, lots of friends. However, one day I realized that was not so. Although I had everything, something was missing – there was a big void. Fortunately, friends invited me to attend church at the International Gospel Center in Kitchener Ontario, where on May 24, 1975, I fell to my knees and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Praise God for his mercy.
At that point my life changed. Through the Word of God, and good Christian Fellowship, I grew steadily in faith. However, I couldn’t seem to realize freedom from my homosexual lifestyle. For years I fought for release and victory. Dissatisfaction grew in my soul. Moving to NB in 1985, I became an Architect for a church developer. Praise God, for at last I was working for the Lord in helping to ‘build’ His Kingdom. However, there was still no victory. I knew something must be wrong. Could my shame have caught up with me? I found I wasn’t comfortable in attending church. If God is real, there must be more. My confusion was too distressing. I needed answers.
In August 2001, I was riding my motorcycle one sunny, glorious day, singing praises unto the Lord, when suddenly, another vehicle appeared directly in front of me. I cried out, “Impact is inevitable, Oh God Help Me.” Crash! Riding at 80 km per hour, I could easily have been killed. A Christian friend asked, “If you were singing and praising the Lord, why did He let it happen?” Good question? The Lord replied, “It matters not whether you live or die, as long as you are safe and secure in your faith in Jesus Christ.” Stop! Where was I? I began to seek God for a deeper relationship. He started dealing with me about my homosexuality, and other issues of rebellion and disobedience. I realized, “As I was drawing nearer to Him, He was drawing nearer to me.”
In May of 2002, it was through four distinct visitations, through four separate denominational pulpits, that God spoke to me with the same message “–time is short… You must make your decision… or it will be too late…” The fourth time occurred when again I happened to be at the International Gospel Center, where I had accepted the Lord 27 years earlier. I was convicted. I could no longer resist. I fell to my knees, repented, and gave over. I gave my whole heart; my whole life, and my whole being. “Lord I give you all. I can no longer run my life myself.” In 1975 I had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, but in my pride, I had continued to live my life as I wanted. No! Jesus requires all. Full submission. At that altar, I gave my all – my whole life.
Shortly after, I heard about the “Alpha” program. After a few sessions at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Chatham, NB, I realized that those Anglicans had a spirit about them that I had not previously encountered. I had finally found a church were I felt loved and accepted for myself. The presence of The Holy Spirit was so rich. I felt a sense of belonging through compassion. Upon joining, I was now in the church where God wanted me. I learned about a weekend retreat program in the church called “Cursillo.” I sensed a strong urge to attend. What a wonderful experience with the Holy Spirit.” My heart was so full. I was on cloud nine.
It was then I started attending sessions with a Christian Counselor. Having bared my life to him, he shared some pertinent information on homosexuality and Christianity. Immediately, I realized that psychologically, I had misrepresented my life choices and attitudes which I had developed throughout my life experiences. With a new revelation of wholeness in Jesus Christ, I came to know that I was not born a homosexual; I was a child of God, created in His image. I was therefore whole and complete. I too was born heterosexual! Overnight I had a change of psyche. I became a new man. God had healed and delivered me from my neurosis; a deception from the pit of hell. My life and outlook was transformed and forever changed. My desires, my hopes, my aspirations have been renewed and restored. Glory to Almighty God.
In August 2003, God spoke to my spirit. I was to separate myself for three weeks to be alone with Him. Experience had shown me that while riding my motorcycle, I could be alone with God, and able to talk with Him, and He with me. Choosing to ride to Alberta, it was during those three weeks I encountered a glorious and wonderful experience of fellowship and communion with God. While praying and talking with Him, He revealed Himself to me. He told me various things He had planned for my life, (one of which was that I would be married within two years). I came to love Him so, and I realized He loved me too – in a very special way. I marveled at what He revealed to me, and what He asked of me. He put a ‘call’ on my life! I confessed to Him that I was not capable of doing what He asked, but with His help, I am willing. I returned home with a new and gloriously reawakened spirit.
As a result, God became present in everything I did. He seemed to go before me. In every decision I made, or everywhere I went, the Lord had prepared the way as a blessing for me; or He had me become a blessing to others. Amazed, I realized that God was very much evident in my life, particularly in my thoughts and actions. Within my soul, the Word Of God became TRUTH; I began to trust it, and believe in it. By faith, every thing I thought, everything I did, and every decision I made, became that which the Lord would have me for me to do. I no longer had doubts. Truly, I realized He had taken control of my life and was leading and directing it. Praise God.
Since I joined St. Mary’s Church in 2002, I frequently asked God, “why did He put me in the Anglican Church?” Just one year ago, while attending a conference dealing with acceptance of same-sex unions in the Church, God revealed to me, “He put me in the Anglican Church ‘for such a time as this.’” The next day in prayer He added, “He had allowed me to live the life I lived, ‘for such a time as this.’” Having written a four page report about my transformation, I was led by the Lord to e-mail that report to the Primate, and all the Anglican Bishops in Canada. As a result, I was contacted by a group of ex-gay Anglicans (some of whom are priests) to participate in the preparation of a response to the General Synod of the church about how God can, and does heal the homosexual. We needed to affirm that it is an affront to the ex-gay not to be consulted about God’s transformation in our lives, prior to the church changing liturgical policy through the blessing of same-sex unions – especially when such action is contrary to the Word of God.
This group of ex-gay Anglicans (The Zacchaeus Fellowship) has established a ministry to present to the church the good news of our transformations, and of God’s healing power. We are now working to bring within the church a compassionate understanding and knowledge of homosexual deviancy, and how we may respond with love and respect to the homosexual, while not condoning his/her sin. We are continuing to monitor the issues, while seeking to present the truth of the Word of God.
In November of 2004, while showing a video presentation of the transformation of ex-gays called I Do Exist, and sharing my personal testimony, God introduced me to a wonderful Christian lady, who through a short two-month courtship has now become my wife. We have realized a blessed union and deep love, with God as our center. God can and does transform lives. At this time, we are preparing to attend a Living Waters Leadership Training Conference in July, dealing with the healing and transformation of those suffering from sexual addictions and immorality.
Realizing God’s call on my life, I am confident He has asked my wife and I to reach out to the homosexual, offering a program of healing and redemption to those suffering from sexual immoralities and addictions. Compassionately, they need to realize they are loved and accepted as children of the Almighty. They need victory through the love and fellowship that only the true church of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can offer. Let us all, with the help of God, minister together to those who are suffering and hurting as the result of a life of brokenness and heartache; for that is our purpose as the “Bride of Jesus Christ.”
Alan MacGowan (1936–2008)
Eleventh-Hour Warrior for Christ
Alan died suddenly on December 3 2008 while participating in an Internet-based teleconference with fellow members of the Zacchaeus executive. Alan loved to witness to the transforming power of Christ, and he will be greatly missed.
Alan was active in the gay community for most of his adult life but found no peace in a homosexual identity, as he describes in a testimony he shared on many occasions. In 2002, at last repenting of his rebellion and disobedience, he offered his full submission to Jesus. Through a Spirit-filled Christian retreat, he found healing of his homosexual passions. At the age of 68, Alan fell in love with a Christian lady, Shirley, and they were soon married.
When heart trouble and a series of other medical problems put him in hospital, his first thought was the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the people he would meet there. In a recent e-mail he reminded us, “I have been through quite a bit in the last three years, and He has brought me through, even though I do suffer at times with fatigue. I trust him completely, and praise him always.”
Never one to mince words, Alan continually wrote impassioned letters in which he denounced the drift of the Anglican Church of Canada away from scripturally based faith and morals and called it to repent for tolerating and even blessing sexual activity outside marriage. He remained always personally compassionate, though, towards his old friends in the gay community and others trapped, as he had once been, in sexual addiction and immorality.