SEX, DRUGS AND ROCK & ROLL A true story of hope and freedom from sexual abuse and addiction!
by Wynn Cameron Thompson
After many years in rebellion, I am now walking and living out the Lord’s call on my life. There have been many trials along the way but also many blessings, confirmations and encouragement’s! I would like to share some of the miracles God has done in my life and how He has brought me to this point in time. I was raised in a solid Christian home. Nevertheless, during my childhood, I was sexually molested a few times, unbeknownst to my family. My first experience was gang rape at age six. Twisted adults also molested me, under the guise of “love and tenderness.” I could never tell my parents. There was a “no talk” attitude (about sex or anything that really mattered) in our family that I believe caused me to withdraw from expressing my feelings of fear, guilt and shame. From an early age, satan tried to destroy both me and the call of God on my life. When I was eleven, a twenty-five year old woman in our church molested me. My body had matured but my mind was still that of an eleven-year-old. I experienced fear and guilt but loved the attention and the physical feelings. In the midst of the act, another church member discovered what was happening. She phoned my parents. When my father confronted me he said, “We must get down on our knees and pray for forgiveness.” I did not understand what was happening, but I did what he asked. At that moment, I felt alienated from my father’s love because “I had allowed” this to happen. I experienced more fear, confusion and shame. I didn’t realize at the time but I disconnected from him and felt it was all my fault. As a child, I then understood that sex with women was bad, and to have any sexual feelings was a sin. When I experienced the awakening of sexual feelings within me, I did not know how to handle this powerful force. The real struggle began.
Consequently, a year later when a man approached me with the intention of molesting me, I fell into the clutches of homosexuality without any struggle. I wanted the attention and love from a man. All I knew was that I was hungry for my father’s masculine affirmation and acceptance and I was not receiving it. From that point on, my life became more and more difficult and confused. I had accepted abnormal sexual behavior as “normal” in my life. I became sexually aggressive. Bad sexual conduct caused my arrest by juvenile authorities two different times. My parents were very confused about my behavior. They went to our pastor and asked her for help. The pastor suggested that my parents bring me to a prayer meeting in which they would “cast the demon of homosexuality” out of me. I was 14 years old. I remember being terribly frightened. My body shook with fear as they prayed. I felt condemned and rejected. Afterwards I was in a terrible state. I was hurt and more confused than ever. However, one thing remained…I was still hungry for masculine love, affirmation and touch. I didn’t realise at the time that I had suffered more abuse at the hands of “caring adults” who truly didn’t know any better. In my confusion, I became very secretive. I began to mistrust women and didn’t like the power they held over me. In time I found myself becoming an abuser, all under the guise of “loving behavior.” I could not understand why people thought there was something wrong with me. I felt good about my feelings and trusted them as a close friend. I did not realize that I was building up mistrust towards adults as well. My only condemnation was from people. I heard nothing from God. His reality in my life was non-existent.
As I searched for who I was, I found myself being pulled into Hollywood. I became a professional singer and worked in commercials and movies. I was in my element. I needed to prove myself and be accepted by everyone. I needed self-worth. I was young, good-looking and “eager” to succeed. I never quite made it. My success was always short-lived. The snares that kept success at bay were drugs and sex. They were the “easy” escape route for me. My motto became, “sex, drugs and rock & roll.” And in that order! I tried about every type of drug that was available at the time. After a three month singing tour through Central America (very successful at first, but failed in the end) I returned to Hollywood and to the drugs and sexual security I knew would comfort me.
My parents didn’t know exactly what was going on in my secret life since I had learned to hide everything as a teenager. The only things they could see were the obvious signs of sin and rebellion, like drug abuse and being thrown in jail. They were confused and didn’t understand. I knew I was hurting them but I had no idea how to stop. It all caused more and more shame. By the time I was in my early twenties I believed that, “This is the way I am, so I needed to live with it.”
I was in and out of jail several times. One such arrest in my early twenties sent me into depression. My parents came to see me and said they would not bail me out. I couldn’t believe it. They were not going to rescue me! The feeling I had was one of being abandoned, again. I returned to my cell and began to cry out to the Lord. He heard me and, for a period of time after my release from jail, there was a marked change in my life.
My mom and dad introduced me to a young lady, Judi, who after I was released from jail began to get to know. For the first time in my life I realized that God had a special purpose for me. God wanted to do a complete work in me at this point. I started a ministry called Peace Unlimited and Judi helped. We were able to reach out to hundreds of young people caught in the grasp of drugs. Nevertheless, I found myself trying to hide my past, the rape, molestation and sexual addiction, from the Lord and others. The hurts were too much for me to deal with. Subsequently, three years after this “marvelous” conversion, I fell…and fell hard! I became like the man Jesus cast the demon out of and the demon went around looking for a new home and couldn’t find one. He returned to his original home to find it clean and vacant. Then he brought seven worse devils with him into the man. I was worse off than before! I broke my engagement with Judi which devastated her. But for one sane moment in the middle of my rebellion and confusion I knew I had to break up with her. I just didn’t want to drag her into my pit. Some would say there was no “true repentance.” However, I believe God has shown me that He wanted to heal all my past hurts and experiences before He released me into ministry. I didn’t allow Him into those areas of my heart to do that specific work. All I wanted to do was go full steam ahead “working” for the Lord. It was a way of covering up those past hurts and feelings in a cocoon of religious denial. God, in His patience, has taught me that He longs to do a complete work in our lives if we will only let Him. He doesn’t just put a bandage on the wound, to cover it up. Our Father wants to go deep into those hidden places to cleanse, heal and fill us with His love. I did not understand that then. God has taught me to know His forgiveness, and from that experience, to then forgive others and myself. He continues to teach and heal me.
From that time until about 1985, I again rebelled against God. I thought nothing of abusing others to satisfy my deep hunger for what I thought to be true love and masculine affirmation. My need became paramount. I was a true Narcissist. Throughout this period my mom and brother continued to pray. They never stopped trusting. God had given my mom a promise and she believed Him completely. Gently God brought me back to Him. I did not realize the transition at first. It started with a tragedy in my personal life. The devastation of losing a long-time lover caused me to experience isolation and fear. Nevertheless, God was in charge and His timing was perfect. I became sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I was willing to do anything to change!
Before long, I had a desire to go to church. Most importantly, I found myself seeking God for an answer. He began to teach me slowly, through His Word, then through dreams and by speaking to me in His gentle, quiet voice. He wanted me to know how much He really loved me. There was no one around who could help me, let alone understand my brokenness, so I found myself going directly to God for everything.
I was offered the job of creating a cable television morning talk show in Bishop, California, and quickly latched on to the opportunity in 1981. I had always loved “show business” so it was a natural step for me. After turning to Christ in 1985, I began to insert Christian themes and music videos into my TV show. I began to tithe and attend church regularly. The Lord had brought me back to Him. I felt as if I was doing exactly what He wanted me to do as well as what He had designed for my life. God blessed my endeavors financially. The show became very popular. Little did I know that He had other plans for me.
Through a set of circumstances, in the summer of 1991, the local police found out about my past. Until that time, I was under the impression that I had fulfilled my probation requirement. I didn’t think I had to register with the local authorities when I moved into a new area anymore. A mistake made by a clerk in the courts where I had been arrested, found guilty and served a sentence, found that the regulation was still valid. I was completely unaware of this. It was a skeleton in my closet waiting to be exposed. Almost overnight, I lost everything. The TV station asked me to leave the show I had created and developed. I was sentenced to three months in the county jail for the misdemeanor. In my confusion I cried out to God, “Why?” just like Job. He began to show me He had a purpose and that He wanted my trust. He was in control and I had nothing to worry about! I was released after serving two months of my sentence. God began to speak to me through friends. First He had to show me that there was another road for my life, than what I had chosen. He had “ordered my steps” and I needed to be willing to say “yes” and walk in those steps.
During all that, God gave me seven wonderful years with my mom before she died early in 1992. We became very close and I was able to tell her all my feelings about what had happened in my life. All those “secrets” I had kept for so many years I was able to tell her. I explained the anger I felt towards my father and what had happened regarding the abuse and the unhealthy lifestyle that it induced. God helped her to accept and understand. That was a wonderful release for me. God was healing and shaping me into the man He created and purposed me to be. Although I had desired “overnight” change, I realized that my healing was a process and God was doing a perfect work in me as I continued to yield and obey His Word.
Through different sources I received a Word from the Lord about becoming a missionary in Youth With A Mission. For a while, I refused to accept that Word. However, through God’s gentle nudging, I began to listen and follow His lead. I decided to go to the hospital where my mom was to tell her that I believed God was calling me to become a missionary. She had not talked for over a month yet when I told her she looked up at me, and with a twinkle in her eye she opened her mouth and said three words – “Go for it!” That was the ‘blessing’ I needed from her. She never spoke another word. She died two weeks later.
After my mother’s death, I left my home in California to travel to Lausanne, Switzerland for Youth With A Mission’s Crossroads Discipleship Training School, where I was trained in cross-cultural missions. During five very productive years in Europe, I moved into a staff position and began to train others. God brought me those who were broken, even within the mission. I was accepted by heterosexual males, which deepened God’s healing in me from the rejection I’d perceived from my father. In January 1993, in Lausanne, God gave me the vision to bring hope to those who have none, through educating the Church, as well as developing a network of global teaching teams to do the job. Later that year I attended the intensive Biblical Counselling School with YWAM, Amsterdam. This furthered God’s call and purpose for my life. I was privileged to travel all over Europe and the Middle East to encourage, teach and mentor. One year later Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, gave me a Scripture he believed the Lord wanted to speak to me: In John 14, Jesus says that He goes away to prepare a place for us. Loren believed that God was preparing a specific place of ministry for me. Two years later, 1996, God sent me to South Africa and within the first three months, the church leaders that I was accountable to knew that the Western Cape area of South Africa was the place that God had prepared for me.
In 1997 the founders of TRAILBlazers, an interdenominational intercultural ministry based in Johannesburg, asked me to join them and develop a ministry in the Cape area of South Africa – TRAILBlazers-CAPE.
From the onset I believe God directed me to establish a core group then a board to bring accountability to the ministry in the Cape. The goal in the Cape was clear – to train and equip church leaders, counselors and lay-worker to deal with relational and sexual brokenness within the Church, see support groups established within the safety of the Church and to create a network of resources with other Christian ministries. Also in August 1997, I was ordained by the International Federation of Christian Churches in South Africa as a Minister of the Gospel.
In 1998 Atlantic Christian Assembly Church (now Life Church), near Cape Town, invited us to join with them as an affiliate ministry. Within the first year we partnered with them to initiate a four-month counselling school to mentor qualified lay counselors from churches from all denominations. Those churches began to open their doors to us to speak and hold One-Day Leadership Training Seminars. It was a continuing effort to educate those who wanted to help within their local church. Where once some church leaders said, “But we don’t have that problem in our church”, realized that as Christ’s ambassadors we could no longer stand by without helping those around us who suffer in the shame and secrecy of unwanted relational and sexual brokenness. Our ministry in the Cape saw the start of several support groups for strugglers, as well as for their families. We also developed a counselling referral network across the Western Cape of South Africa.
In 1999 I became a member of the Exodus Europe, Africa and Middle East Board. I served for almost 4 years.
The following year I was privileged to complete the Living Waters accredited Training Course of Desert Streams Ministries (founder/director Andy Comiskey). I became one of the coordinators in the Western Cape. Together with a tightly formed team we forge ahead seeing Living Waters become an integral part of the healing process for those who are ready to do such an intensive course.
In 2001, together with the team of seven teachers and writers within our ministry, we created the “RESTORING WHOLENESS LEADER’S EQUIPPING COURSE”. Our goal was to assist, educate and give a foundational comprehension to the Church on how to understand and minister to those struggling with relational and sexual issues within the Church. It is intended to assist Church leaders, counselors, youth leaders, cell/home group leaders and those preparing to step into leadership rolls. It was accepted by many churches such as Vredelust Dutch Reform Church, the South African National Assembly of God, His People Christian Church, Baptist Churches and Anglican Churches within the Western Cape. As I look back, I see the time in South Africa as being the beginning of the vision God gave me in Lausanne, Switzerland. At the end of 2001 we were released by TRAILBlazers to move into our own identity as a ministry. We became RESTORING WHOLENESS MINISTRIES.
In 2003 I was chosen to be one of nine authors to write the book, Big God Big Life, published in South Africa. Each chapter was written by different leaders from around the world, and on topical subjects of the day. My chapter, entitled “The Crisis of Sexuality in the Church and in the Family”, deals with the problems as well as solutions facing the family and the Church in today’s society in a much avoided issue of life. 2004 saw the creation of several LIFE MATTERS 10 week introductory ministry Courses. The aim: to assist church leaders thus providing entry level help for congregants that pave the way for more intense and focused programs such as Living Waters. Once trained through the LIFE MATTERS LEADER’S EQUIPPING COURSE, church leaders could designate facilitators to continue to run the course for new church members. In the middle of this growth has been the constant struggle with obtaining the correct visas for ‘long term’ stay in South Africa.
In 2004 and in 2008 this struggle reached a crisis when I was asked to leave South Africa, due to my 30 year old criminal history in California. Yet after several appeals God intervened and the South African Minister of Home Affairs wrote me a personal letter relieving me of any prohibition against me. God continued to be faithful! During my 14 years in South Africa my colleagues, RW Board members, church leaders and friends stood by me, encouraging and supporting me. The family of the Lord is awesome!
In 2007 several major events happened. Judi contacted me via our ministry web site and we began to communicate once I learned that her husband of 32 years had died. Later that year a group from the University of Arizona Chi Alpha fellowship came to South Africa to do a short-term missions trip and work with and through Life Church in Sea Point, Cape Town. The leader, Brett Martin, was introduced to RESTORING WHOLENESS MINISTRIES. After a deep conversation we both realized that God had ordained our meeting. He asked if we would allow him to participate in an internship with SA RESTORING WHOLENESS MINISTRIES so that he could take the ministry and teachings back to Arizona and the university students. We agreed and he returned to the States. Almost a year later I had to return to the US to take care of my visa. During that time I saw Judi a few times. I also was asked to teach of seminar and preach at Central City Assembly Church in Tucson, which Brett arranged. Afterwards I was asked by the pastor, Dave Ferrari, if I had ever thought about moving back to the States. At first I thought the idea was crazy since I knew God had called me to South Africa. But during my trip back to South Africa I realized several things…one, I was in love with Judi and through a Skype call asked her to marry me. Second, there was an inner ‘drawing back’ to the USA. It was unmistakable…God was giving me a new directive.
At the end of January 2009 I moved back to the USA. It was a huge challenge and I needed to embrace many changes. I settled in Tucson in March, and in June I married Judi in Bishop, California. Judi then moved to our new rental home in Tucson. We began our marriage, the ministry and a whole new life. In the months after, we created a USA Board and obtained our Non-Profit Organization status with the US government.
We began to hold LIFE MATTERS LEADERSHIP EQUIPPING COURSES and LIFE MATTERS Support Groups. The ministry in the US is growing and we are excited to see what God is going to do next.
We are partnering with Several Campus ministries on the University of Arizona campus, as well as the campus of Northern Arizona University and the University of Minnesota, which is proving to be a God-ordained purpose. God is bringing those in need from all over Arizona to the ministry and we are seeing Him do awesome things in their lives.
Through many trails and hardships Judi and I, as well as RESTORING WHOLENESS MINISTRIES, continue to forge, ahead growing one step at a time. There is much more to this story. Many many miracles have happened but the most important is that God is using my broken past to heal the future of others as I daily continue to walk out my own healing. I know Judi feels the same way. We have not arrived but we know the Cross of Jesus is the only way of healing for those who struggle with any type of brokenness. His victory is our salvation and hope.
Wynn and Judi Thompson