Last night I watched a testimony video of a former male prostitute, drug addict, transvestite that lived on the streets of New York City for years. I was certainly moved by the powerful conversion story of this individual. Repentance, acceptance into the church, true transformation back into a real man. This individual then married, and tasted life as God had designed it.
He then evangelized to others that were trapped in their sin just like he had been. An amazing story. And true. The man ended up dying of aids as a result of his former life, but now he is in the arms of His Redeemer.
What really connected with me were two aspects of his testimony.
The first was the faith and courage of a simple man that would evangelize these troubled men. He would go down to the salt pits, where the city stored their winter street salt. This was where these male prostitutes would hang out and get business from doctors, lawyers, and all types of professionals from Wall Street. Anyway, this man of God cared enough to go there and tell them of the Savior's love, of God's greatness, and of the power of God to save. The story spoke of only the one man that was rescued, while others walked away in their troubles, despair, and sin.
God is awesome, sending his people to the "pit of hell" to rescue His people.
The other thing that really moved me was how the church received this mixed up individual.
You see, he did not embrace Christ at first. The initial sight that the church saw was still the shocking sight of this male prostitute dressed as a woman, enter their church. The first thing he did was come to the worship service. He was in appearance as an attractive, slender blond. He did not know how to be a man, walk like a man, talk like a man or dress like a man anymore. The church met with him and treated him as some woman's son, and a creature of God, and they told him about the love and power of Christ to save.
Over the next few weeks, he was befriended by a small group in the church. He learned how to be a man again. He learned how to be who he was created to be. What an example of the church of Jesus Christ, Who came to save sinners, troubled, wicked, stinking sinners. Jesus did say that he came to "seek and save the lost" not those who had their lives together, or at least think they have it together.
William Cowper reminds us that we, like this troubled man, are vile as he, yet also as clean as he, in his Hymn There is a Fountain, in verse 2
"the dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day, and there may I though vile as he wash all my sins away".
Hallelujah, what a Savior!