Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Compassion & Truth

Berita NECF: “The Church needs to realise that there are many Christian homosexuals struggling with their sexuality,” according to Edmund Smith, a former homosexual who now runs a ministry – Real Love Ministry (RLM) that helps gays and lesbians who have decided to leave their homosexual lifestyle.

“In fact, 70 percent of the people that we work with are Christians.” he revealed. The Church must come into the picture and work with us to help them.” Edmund observed that churches generally have a “hands-off” attitude towards homosexuality. There is therefore a great need in Malaysia for a ministry to firstly, educate and equip churches to counsel people struggling with the issue; and secondly, help those who have decided to turn away from the homosexual lifestyle.

RLM was started by Edmund and his wife, Amanda, in 1999 to fulfil these two objectives. It conducts a four-season recovery programme for its members, who comprise only gays Help for the Homosexuals and lesbians.

At each season, members face up with the issues that contribute to their homosexuality bent, and they must resolve those issues before moving to the next season. For instance, at Season 1 or the Education Season, (the first season in the programme), helps members to deal with the perception of their gender and appearance.

Once these issues are resolved, members move on to Season 2 – the Celibate Season –
where they learn how to love people of the same gender in a platonic way. By the time
members reach Season 4, they are actually ready for heterosexual relationships which will hopefully lead to marriage.

The journey of recovery is a challenging journey, and should not be travelled alone. RLM therefore assigns journey partners, called RLM Befrienders, to walk alongside its members. Currently, about 200 people are participating in RLM’s programme in Penang, Ipoh, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Johor Baru. As membership is free, RLM depends on freewill offering and donations to finance its work.

RLM also conducts awareness programmes in churches, schools and youth groups to educate the public on homosexuality. Those who wish to invite RLM to share about
its work may contact Edmund at 016-680 9996.

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