(The Roberta Laurila Story)
By: Roberta Laurila
Roberta has a powerful ministry of intercession. "I am glad you feel the need for intercessory prayer," she wrote us recently. "I love homosexuals and can't quit praying for them to find and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I thank Him for understanding and loving them in spite of their rebellion."
If you have unsaved loved ones in the gay lifestyle, or other concerns and burdens, Roberta would like to receive your prayer requests. You can contact her at: Roberta Laurila, P.O. Box 403, Grandville, MI 49468 or call her at (616) 538-5754.
Roberta is a pioneer in the ex-gay movement. She came out of lesbianism long before there were any ex-gay ministries. In 1969, God gave her a vision of a worldwide ministry to homosexuals, which He is bringing to fulfillment. Her own story of Gay Liberation was published in 1975 and was the first ex-gay testimony published. Roberta has been used of the Lord in interesting little-known ways. For example, a schedule conflict prevented her from going to the first Exodus conference in September 1976. She asked another woman to go in her place. That young woman, Robbi Kenney, went home and began Outpost in St. Paul, Minnesota, which is now, one of the oldest ex-gay ministries in the nation.
Right from the day of my birth, there was a hint of future problems. When my mother first saw me, she expressed her love for me, then remembered she only had a boy's name chosen. Thus Robert became Roberta.
During childhood, my mother's heart condition and crippling arthritis kept her from doing the usual things with me that my friend's mothers did. I became a loner and a daydreamer. At the age of eight, I was imitating everything my older brother did, from smoking cigarettes to dating girls.
When I was ten, I "fell in love" for the very first time with my lady school teacher. This crush lasted for three years until our paths separated when I began my freshman year in high school. My heart was grieved until I met a beautiful brunette in my class and new love sprang up in my heart. Of course I couldn't speak of this love to anyone. I began to realize that somehow, I was different. My whole being cried out to love and be loved. Living with my secret longings through those teen years was so difficult.
I tried being like my friends and began dating young men when my father would allow it. When he wouldn't, I became angry and rebellious. I built a bad reputation for myself and as the small town tongues began wagging, I started withdrawing, antagonistic toward all.
My Christian mother was very patient during those years, but my father was under conviction for not accepting the Lord. His cursing raged out of control nearly every night as he verbally abused my mother. These times sent me into a rage. It was during this time in my life that I decided no man would ever treat me like that.
I also rejected my father for getting mom pregnant again. She was in ill health and she hadn't wanted another child. I had also heard many stories of my father's first wife dying at childbirth and that filled me with fears of having children. No way was that for me.
Then at sixteen, my "steady" boyfriend tried to rape me. That event really confirmed to me that sex was filthy and an abomination.
After high school, all my girlfriends were getting married. I became fearful of being left out. In desperation, I gave in to my brother's suggestion to meet one of his friends, twelve years older than myself. In less than three months, I married this man whom I didn't even love. After two years, I divorced him and began writing to a man in the Armed Forces who had loved me before my marriage. The decision to marry him came when I learned he would soon be going to Germany in active combat. I could receive an allotment check and wouldn't have to live with him. What a farce! Less than two years later, he came home and I soon divorced him.
Not long after, the Holy Spirit began to convict me of my sin. I had attended tent meetings in a Pentecostal church when I was a child and marched to the front night after night to get saved. But I'd given it all up when I realized I couldn't be good in the days following.
When I began to feel pangs of guilt, this made Satan angry. Soon after, I was introduced to a lesbian who had been in that lifestyle a long time and knew the ropes. She was a bad influence on me and soon I began drinking, which I had never done. The second night, she invited me to spend the night with her. I began meeting other lesbians and partying far too much. Not long after, I was fired from my job.
I soon met a girl who was my "type" and we lived together for eight years. Because of the guilt and drinking, my fits of jealousy and temper became uncontrollable. Then I left my first friend and began living with another. After a year I nearly killed her in the car after drinking too much wine. Needless to say, she left me for good.
I was home alone the afternoon of October 7, 1955. With fear and panic in my heart, I made the decision to take my own life. I was too ashamed to commit myself to an institution to find help for my troubled mind. Pride was still very much alive, even though I thought I was beyond help. I wondered how to call my friend to ask for her forgiveness. I wanted so much to be forgiven, but it seemed out of the question.
I started for the kitchen to turn on the gas jets. I had already had a few drinks to try to give me courage. Just before I entered the kitchen door, I fell to my knees in front a chair. With tears streaming down my face, I cried out, "God forgive me. God forgive me!'
Only later did I realize that I was saved at that moment. The Holy Spirit came to live within me, and began leading me in ways that confirmed my salvation. But in rebellion, I still held onto my old friends.
I had two lesbian relationships after my salvation. "God doesn't expect me to "quit loving women," I reasoned. Of course, I couldn't stop without supernatural help. And I didn't have anyone else to help. This was years before God raised up former homosexuals to begin ministries.
Ten years after I received Jesus Christ as my Savior, I was still living in sin. God began allowing me to feel the consequences of my rebellion. I could not have survived the trauma that followed without the Lord's care and mercy. God allowed the devil to pour out his wrath in such a devastating way. I still shudder at his trickery. With demonic signs and wonders, Satan convinced me that God wanted me to live with another woman while involved in Christian ministry.
The climax came following the suicidal death of a dear friend whom I had betrayed. It was from that shocking emotional experience that my stubborn will was broken. I promised God that I would not let her death be for nothing. Then came the vision.
While living in what seemed to be a hell on earth with my lover, God came to me one night. I was alone and in deep despair, The Lord gave me a spiritual vision of a worldwide ministry. This outreach would reach homosexuals who wanted a close relationship with Jesus Christ and who wanted to be set free from their sin.
As the vision unfolded, I knew God was saying I must leave this lifestyle forever. I was to begin interceding for Him to raise up individuals from the gay lifestyle and others, truly called by Him, to begin specific ministries to homosexuals.
Six years after the vision, God directed me to write my personal testimony of deliverance from lesbianism. My story entitled "Gay Liberation" was published in book form in 1975. It was the first of its kind and not many bookstores would accept it, due to the subject, which was "hush-hush" at the time.
Much has happened since that time. While I continued to intercede, God began calling forth former gays to minister. God has blessed my friendships with many of the "pioneers" in the Exodus movement, such as Frank Worthen, Robbi Kenney, Ed Hurst, and others. I have been blessed also to see many ministries begin in foreign soil. What a wonderful God He is!
God has kept me at a low profile. At times, I have rebelled concerning this. But deep down, I know I was called to intercede for others to be led by the Holy Spirit into the entire world.
Even as I write these words, tears are flowing down my cheeks. Surely God will complete His perfect plan to reach the many millions of the lost who have been so rejected and lonely so many years. I weep for the church, blinded by the enemy so it cannot see the need to teach gays. So many Christians cannot truly believe that God can set these people free. My great desire now is to reach those in the gay church. I am believing God to also work a miracle there.
Our God reigns!
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