Good evening dear friends, I am Boris from Sanchong small group in Tong-Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church. Thanks be to God for giving me this opportunity to share my life story with everyone.
My family moved from Taitung to Taipei for work purposes when I was young and because of this, my grandma was the only person to accompanied us when we were growing up. Hence all my memories were with grandma and besides her and my two elder sisters, I also had the company of cousins. As my age difference was the greatest, I was left alone whenever they were playing together, and they often broke their promise to go out with me. When these situations happened, I would find grandma and cry. Perhaps because of these experiences growing up, I gradually was afraid of being lonely or being rejected, and thirst for love.
When we reached the age of going to school, my grandma knew that I needed to go to school and return home alone, she would go to a Way of Former Heaven Sect, a Taoist organization to practice. Hence, I had to force myself to grow up alone. Although my father would prepare dinner for his three children after work, he would leave after dinner for ballroom dancing almost every day. He was passionate about ballroom dancing since young and he is currently a teacher. My mother had to come home every day when we are almost about to sleep because of work reasons. Hence it gradually became a situation that when my parents are not home, I need to look for my elder sister whenever I needed help.
Due to this situation when I was growing up, I felt distant from my father and the love that I wanted the most was from my father. I needed my dad to stay at home and talk to me instead of going out. One day when I was in middle school, I caught a cold and had a fever. I was hoping that my dad would bring me to see a doctor, but he gave me 500NT and asked me to ride a bicycle to see a doctor because he was going out. I had to ride a bike alone in the cold weather while feeling unwell. I held back my tears as I told myself that it is alright, I am already in middle school and I need to depend on myself in many situations.
When I was in elementary school, there was a male teacher who cared especially for me. Whenever I was upset, he would pay special attention to me when I speak and his charming personality caused an uncontrollable deep attraction towards him. My thoughts towards him was all I wrote about in my diary then and I know that during that time, I was thirsting for someone who would listen to me and keep me company. Gradually, I found that whenever I went to school and saw him, I would be happy for the whole day and whenever I didn’t see him, I would be feeling down. At that time, I didn’t hear about homosexuality. All I knew was that I liked him and seeing him would really make me happy the whole day. Even after graduating from elementary school, we would write a letter to each other at least once a year to find out about each other’s situation. I once saw that he was holding a Bible in his hand and out of curiosity, I asked him to bring me to church. I couldn’t remember what church was to me, all I remembered was that when he was there I was very happy. Now that I think about it, no matter where he wanted to bring me, I would agree.
I’m not sure exactly when in middle school, the person whom I can talk to the most is a female classmate. I couldn’t find as many topics to talk about with my male classmates compared to my female classmates. Hence during home economics or art classes, my female classmates would form a group with me to knit scarves, sew or cook. Because of this, I wasn’t sure whether I liked boys or girls. I only knew that within the school, I would often look at a few male teachers, and I would discuss about these teachers with my female friends.
One summer in middle school, I attended a summer camp organized by a church and there I first heard about the love of Jesus. One of the verses in the Bible was, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whomever believed in him would not perish but have eternal life”. In this camp I learnt that Jesus loves you and he came to this world to bear all of your burdens. If you are willing, you can be his child and let him love you. At that time, I thought that the love of Jesus can fulfill my need of being loved and that is what I knew I needed the most. Hence I made a decision and told Jesus, “Jesus, if you are willing to love me, I will believe in you and I want you to love me.” After the camp, I started going to church and join small groups. In the church, I gradually started feeling the love of Jesus, and the sincerity and love of others. I enjoyed going to church to learn about Jesus until I attended college and found why it was different.
When I was studying in a college in Tainan, I started living alone again in a foreign place. I had no relatives or friends and I felt extremely lonely. The only company I had was from church. Once when I was attending a computer lesson, I accidentally opened a website from another country. The website caused my heart to race and I wanted to close it immediately, but I also wanted to open it. I had this struggle for a while and I asked myself what’s wrong with me? Am I gay? What should I do? I asked myself many questions, including whether I was ill. Hence I started searching for resources in this area and since I was in a medical college, there were many articles and theses about medical or pharmaceutical knowledge. I found out that homosexuality is not a disease and although I knew I wasn’t ill, my heart was unwell. I went to church and small group gatherings as usual, but I was searching for gay lifestyle in forums, bars and saunas. I started sinking in this lifestyle because I felt wanted and loved, but the love of Jesus was so far away! Every week I would struggle to choose between church, bars or saunas, and I didn’t dare to let anyone in church know. This happened for one semester and at the same time I had my first boyfriend. When I broke up with him, I couldn’t concentrate in class and didn’t feel like going to church. My small group leader felt that I became another person, hence I shared my struggles with him. In traditional churches, all they could do was exorcism, healing, fasting and prayer, or baptism to cause me to stop all this. When I completed this “healing journey”, I thought I was completely cured, but whenever I was alone, I could not get rid of the desire of being wanted and loved by men. After a long while, I became deeply depressed , to the point of getting treatment from a psychiatrist for up to ten months. During this time, I had no memory of what happened, such as who came to see me or what they said to me. After I left, I decided to bury the fact that I was gay and never speak of this to anyone again.
When I started working, I went to church only occasionally and had a few relationships, but whenever church was mentioned, it would end. Hence for a period of time, I would complain to God that although You said that You love me, why am I not allowed to receive love from people? Do You not love me anymore? Or am I unworthy of Your love? Or should I give my entire being to You before You are willing to love me? God did not reply, but I decided to let go of my homosexual identity and feelings towards men to focus entirely on serving in church, to the point of resigning from my job and focusing only on church planting.
During this time, besides resting during Chinese New Year, I took no leave. I took classes in a Bible College on Mondays when the church was closed, I was always at the Tuesday prayer meetings, Wednesday community gospel classes, Thursday small group visits, Friday meetings with small group leaders, Saturday youth services and Sunday church service. Also on Tuesday to Friday afternoons I would accompany the youths and help them with their studies. I asked God whether this arrangement would be enough, and whether I was qualified enough to love who I want to. This went on for three years and at the same time, the main topic was about marriage equality. Whenever the church was praying against this issue, I knew that I couldn’t. Up to the point when I was asked to produce a petition against marriage equality, I silently asked God whether he knew I was gay. Why am I to be in such an environment and suffer from this? Is what I am doing not enough? Why do You want me to live like this? I am so exhausted to the point that I thought of ending my life in a few occasions.
I could not take it anymore and decided to leave the church. I abandoned all restrictions and at the same time met my ex-boyfriend, whom I lived with for three years. During this time, I truly enjoyed a gay lifestyle, met many gay friends and learnt to love and be loved. However, in the last six months, I struggled in my relationship with my ex because of differences in opinions. During this time, my second sister, who is a firm believer of Jesus, and whom I had learnt from about my faith, suddenly asked to meet me for a meal. During this meal, she expressed her concern about the period of time that I left the church and home. She also said that it did not matter what my lifestyle was, she loved me. She asked if I was living with another man and I did not reply. She said that it does not matter even if it was a man I was living with, as long as we loved each other, she would support me. She also apologized, saying that we are all beloved children of God and God loves us. God would not stop loving you because of who you are, she should not have been so unaccepting of me and that we are family. She loves me because I am her brother and she accepts me for who I am. I should not leave God. When I heard all of these, I wept at the restaurant, because the family member whom I loved the most changed from being unable to accept me, to totally accepting me for who I am. This was a very, very long journey.
When we finished our conversation, she encouraged me to return to church. I also knew that I had not returned to the house of God for almost three years. Although I was afraid to enter church, she brought me to Tong-Kwang church in January of 2019. Initially, I was afraid to interact with church members because I was hurt many times in church. I also doubted whether God was in Tong-Kwang. The church was just a place for Sunday service. Until the Holy Communion in April, a pastor through the act of the breaking of bread, reminded me that Jesus Christ gave up His life for us and bled for us. When I was preparing to receive the bread and cup and prayed, I heard God telling me, “My child, I am here and I have always been here. I personally gave up my life for you and I love you. You do not need to do anything to earn my love. Return for this is your home. Return to your first love, return to the way that you first loved me. I love you my child, I love you.” I had never cried so loudly for so long, and the warm voice filled me, reminding me that God truly loves me and does not need me to do anything to earn His love. I only needed to simply believe in His love and that He is always there for me.
The Bible says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Dear friends, my life previously was destroyed as this verse says, but because of Jesus, my life became fuller. The love of people may have a limit, but the love of God has no limit. When I experienced love and hurt from relationships, family, church and other different sources, only the love of Jesus is unchanging and always there. Now I can proudly say loudly “I am gay and I am proud! I am every prouder that I am a gay Christian!” I believe that the love of God doesn’t change. This is my life story and maybe some parts of it is the same as yours. I hope that you can experience this incomparable love!
Next is a worship song called the Mark of Blessing. The lyrics mention the following “All my struggles, all my weaknesses and failures, shall become marks of God’s blessings. The journey has laughter and tears, and leaves the marks of God’s blessings.” I hope that both you and I can have this mark of blessings.