By Joanne Highley
Since we were going to San Juan to teach counselors in November, one of our counselees, Ty Brodie, who had worked with the Billy Graham Crusade, and who grew up in Antigua, made arrangements for us to speak at his church, Bible Believer's Fellowship in Cassada Gardens on November 13, 14 and 15, 2005. Dick and I had to awaken at 3 a.m. in order to get a limo to go to JFK Airport for a 7 a.m. flight. All was going well, we got checked in and had breakfast and just as they called our flight, I glimpsed Dick's passport and said, " O no, I forgot my passport!" You can get into San Juan without a passport, but not into Antigua. So we began frantic calls to Robert Schaeffer to get my passport out of my apartment and send it ASAP. That did not work because of tight security at my apartment building. They could not prove I lived there by a phone call so would not let anyone in on my word. Then Pastor Barnes in Antigua began to try to get special permission for me which he finally got approved, but we missed our 2:15 p.m. flight and had to wait until the 7 p.m. flight which was an hour and a half late. So I missed speaking for the over 600 people who had gathered to learn about this subject. It was painful to know what trouble I had caused, but the lovely attitude of the pastor and his wife and the wonderful deep interest of the congregation in learning how to minister to people in this sin made me feel somewhat better. (I will never forget my passport again.) We could hardly believe the amazing way the people swooped down on our material table and took every piece of free literature the first night. On the second night they purchased every last tape, syllabus and CD that we had brought. These are such intelligent, alert and concerned people. They were a delight. The island was discovered by Columbus in 1493, and has very interesting historic buildings. It was occupied by the British until 1980. We hope to return there because they are the most wonderful and attentive people who truly care about being prepared to minister to those caught in homosexuality. They also gave us housing and meals at a lovely place called the Jolly Beach which was a delightful resort right on the ocean.
Calvary Chapel in San Juan
Since the very first trip we made to San Juan in 1995, we have known two lovely women, Millie and Margie, who let us stay in their beautiful apartment in Isla Verde overlooking the ocean and one block from the beach. They had taken us to their church, Calvary Chapel, last year and this year we were invited to speak for their Wednesday night Bible study on November 16, 2005. Their head pastor, Dan Crespo, was in Israel on tour, but his lovely wife, Linda, made us feel very welcome as did the other pastors, Tony and Hector. After a time of very anointed worship, we spoke to about 60 people. We were asked to speak thirty minutes but the questions went on for about 45 minutes after I spoke. One woman spoke so eloquently about how she had been touched by the death of an aunt who had been involved in lesbianism. She and her family went to the community where the aunt had lived and invited all her friends who were mostly lesbians to the funeral. She said about one hundred of them came and she witnessed to some of them, kept in contact with them and had such a burden for people caught in this sin. She told the Bible study she had slept with many men before salvation and she would have never made it to God without Christians who stayed with her and fought for her freedom. She told us privately she had been molested at an early age and had, she thought, become addicted to sexual sin with men. It was such a joy to share with that church and see many of our friends from earlier visits to San Juan.
Counselor Training in San Juan
We were taken to a lovely retreat center in the Guaynabo section of San Juan on a high elevation overlooking a river and densely covered green mountains. It was a glorious setting for this seminar to train counselors and to teach counselees in the way to be set free from homosexuality. This seminar was sponsored by the only ministry in Puerto Rico working for freedom, Nueva Condicion, led by Heisha Fernandez-Romero. About 40 people attended including nine pastors and we were given great amounts of time to set forth the truth about the roots and causes of homosexuality and the way to be free. I taught six hours a day on Friday and Saturday and three hours on Sunday morning. I counselled a number of people one-to-one in the evenings of the first two days and Sunday afternoon. It was a great blessing to be able to teach them the entire contents of our new Spanish Counselor Training Syllabus, which is the outline of our teachings. Two of our men had worked for 18 months to complete it and to harmonize it with our English syllabus. We praise God for the joy of sharing what God had revealed to us and what we have proven and tested for 27 years as a biblical basis for ministry to people ensnared in this addictive sexual bondage. It was also a great joy to see many of the people we have known for years as we have made seven trips to minister on the lovely island of Puerto Rico. We see the fruit of our labor and it is good.