Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
In His providence, the Lord has given Annetta Small a ministry she never anticipated when she first launched out into Christian service.
Annetta and her husband, Gary, live in Washington State, where they now serve in a ministry of helps to local churches. Gary retired a few years ago from the pastorate and now supplies pulpits and holds special meetings. Annetta serves by ministering to transgender and homosexual people as they struggle with the consequences of their lifestyles. Let’s let her tell us a bit about her ministry and some of the biblical principles that guide her.
How did you get involved in this ministry?
My husband and I were active on the homosexual issue in Washington in 1995. We brought a Christian young man who had been involved in homosexuality and who was HIV positive from Alaska to Washington to do a state tour. At that time we were dealing with an initiative that would prevent giving homosexuals minority status. Subsequently, this young man came to our state to help us pass a bill to define marriage.
We were in contact with a number of homosexual activists at press conferences and in the media, and I became burdened for homosexuals spiritually.
We became very close to the young man we mentioned. In 1996 he learned he had AIDS, so he moved to Virginia to be with his parents. We all thought he would die within one-and-a-half years, since his HIV diagnosis came much earlier in 1986. He was an excellent public speaker, so I volunteered to do his scheduling on a national level. I did this from Washington State. He nearly died in September 1996 but regained his health. However, he was limited in his physical endurance. There were times that my husband and I went to his speaking engagements, and I could see that he needed more help. I offered to fill orders for him and soon found that many people who contacted his ministry wanted to talk to someone.
That began my ministry on a whole new level. From 1997 until November 2002 I had contact with over 2400 individuals. Of those, about 350 were homosexuals. The others were family members or friends of homosexuals.
Are you still involved in this ministry?
I have been a volunteer online missionary with Global Media Outreach (https://globalmediaoutreach.com) since May 2012. I am in a specialty community that deals with homosexuality and transgender issues. Currently I am working with individuals from several foreign countries and with an individual who is transitioning back to her birth gender here in the USA.
In addition, I also have a ministry helping other ladies involved in similar outreach. For example, I am currently working with a lady in a church in another state who is discipling an individual coming out of the lesbian lifestyle.
What foundational concepts do you use in your ministry?
At the very heart of it is the power of God’s Word (Ps. 119:42). It is important that an individual knows that the Word of God is central to our lives. It is the foundation for all that I believe. It is paramount that we are passionate for God’s Word.
We should not be apologetic for God’s Word or ashamed of it, nor be defensive or have a chip on our shoulders but rather have an excellent spirit like Daniel did (Dan. 6:3). Daniel was humble, always gave honor to God, and was not ashamed of his beliefs. We should not be ashamed to identify with Christ as a Christian and as one who loves God’s Word. When it comes to ministering to people bound up in sin, such as homosexuality, we should not underestimate the power of God’s Word to speak to a person’s heart (Heb. 4:12).
When it comes to specific ministry to homosexuals, here are some things I have shared with them.
The Bible is the only supernatural book in existence. Because the Bible is a supernatural book, it tells me more than I like to know about the wickedness of my heart. It shows me exactly what I really am. Even more, it shows that God in His wisdom knows what is best for me and for all of us.
Some may say, “I don’t understand the Bible.” If they are unsaved, they won’t understand about the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, but I will tell them, “We may not understand everything in the Bible because it’s a supernatural book, but there is enough that we can understand to keep us busy for the rest of our lives.”
God changes lives. God works in hearts. He does not leave us without hope!
Reprinted from Frontline magazine, September/October 2020 issue
--------- Annetta continues with more details about her ministry:
When someone contacts me, as in the case of “John” from an African country, I began by telling him that I have ministered to those struggling with homosexuality. I then told him that the most important decision he can make is to receive Christ as his personal Savior. I shared the plan of salvation with him in very simple terms using Bible verses that told him of God’s great love for him (John 3:16), and that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8), and we must repent of our sins (Acts 3:19) and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31.) I shared with John that salvation is a gift and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The ground is level at the cross. We are all sinners and in need of a Savior Who paid the penalty for our sins. Extending care and compassion helps to take away some of the hostility, if it is present, towards me as a Christian.
The next step for John was to come to the place in his life where he would love God with all of his heart and be willing to obey Him.
Because God created us, He knows what is best for us. God’s design is that the sexual relationship be between a man and a woman in marriage. We may have other desires but He is wise and His plan is best.
John received Christ as his Savior, began reading his Bible daily, and began to grow stronger in his faith.
There are many things to teach a new Christian, and I focused much on God’s holiness and majesty, and learning to love God.
John broke off his homosexual relationships, gave up his job, and went back home to his family.
I told him that practicing homosexuality is a closed door just like committing adultery, stealing, murder, etc., are closed doors. We cannot live by our feelings. We can be led astray by our feelings. I emphasized that the more he thinks about the temptation, the stronger the desire becomes. He said that was true in his own life.
John had to reach the place where he decided whether he loved God and His Word more than he loved his sin (Psalm 119:9-11; Philippians 4:8).
John chose to love God and to walk in purity and holiness. His perspective on the temptation began to change. These changes did not come without a spiritual battle. The desires of the flesh are strong, and Satan uses them to destroy a person’s fellowship with God.
John’s appetite for God’s Word grew by leaps and bounds. For over a year, we did a Bible study on Ephesians and Colossians.
In response, John wrote, “I have started by God’s grace to follow the practical steps for me to be free from homosexuality. I told God I want to abandon my life for HIM. I have come to know that God needs my whole life and am ready to give HIM all of my life withholding nothing. Reading my Bible has meaning to me these days.”
I cautioned him to be very careful with any friendships from his past. One of the practical steps John took was to meet his friends in public places where he wouldn’t be tempted. This was a helpful safeguard for him.
John realized he needed to separate from his homosexual friends. He asked me how he should do this. I suggested that he tell them he was making changes in his life and going in a different direction. This opened the door for John to share the Gospel with one of his friends. The man received Christ as Savior and also left the homosexual lifestyle. John and he do not live in close proximity to one another.
Helpful Bible passages:
There are different ones that I use depending on the situation, but here are a few:
2 Corinthians 10: 5
I Corinthians 6: 11
Christopher Yuan link: christopheryuan.com His book Out of a Far Country
Pure Life Ministries: purelifeministries.org/blog/are-you-an-addict-desperate-for-change
In January, John wrote to me: “Always thank God on my behalf for saving me and making me wholly HIS. God is helping me grow…..by HIS grace I am done with homosexuality…..It has been good giving my life to HIM. Just keep praying for me in all areas….”