Ivan's Story

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Hiding was something I was very good at. I hid from others and from God. Struggles in my sexuality and identity pulled me away from people and God. I was afraid to be judged, expelled, and rejected by others. I tried to be a good, friendly, and godly man in front of my friends and in the church. I pretended that I was happy and fine even though I wasn’t. The truth is I was very lonely, full of shame, and I was hiding my true self from God and everyone around me.

Journey was the safe place for me to begin to open up and show my true self authentically before God and people. How was I able to do this? Because when I was brave enough to look into people’s eyes at Journey, all that I found was mercy. There was no judgment there. There was no disgust when I opened up my struggles to others. I saw mercy, acceptance and love in their eyes.  My small group leader told me: “I am a broken man too, and God has had mercy on me. I’m not a judge. All I want is to bring you to God, The Source of mercies.”

Those words made me lift up my head and I saw God’s eyes for the first time. That’s right. I found abundant mercy and love in Him. Since then I have started this merciful journey; not alone, but with God and His loving community. I am grateful.