One week ago activists J Mason and Crystal Cheatham traveled to Des Moines, Iowa and Riverside, Los Angeles and La Mirada in California to host workshops on faith principles and the inclusivity of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) people. Coupled with support from local organizers and Soulforce, an organization committed to bringing religious and political freedom to LGBTQ people, the two facilitators were able to reach 5 Universities, 2 churches, and the youth of the Child Leader Project. During the week they led 8 workshops and 2 trainings, reaching a total of over 640 students, faculty, and church members. Thanks to the many donations that poured in during the week, the IDK was able to leave behind 30 Kits in Riverside, 15 of which stayed at the Child Leader Project. The work is not finished yet. Plans have already been set in motion to revisit Riverside and continue conversations that were started this month. The focus of this trip was to influence conservative churches in their ability to support LGBTQ members, as well as inspire closeted individuals to maintain their identities as LGBTQ and Christian. Both Mason and Crystal were able to tackle difficult questions, with folks leaving messages of hope after hearing their personal stories, in depth studies on homosexuality and the Bible, as well as traditional facts on LGBTQ identity in the US today. Those who heard either their messages of personal acceptance or attended the educational trainings, left the event with bright eyes. The following are a few of the many messages received:
“Thank you for sharing your gift with us in Riverside. Looking forward to following your growth.” -Mike
“Thanks again for taking the time to speak at our church. It probably took courage!” -Kelsy Jarboe
“This may be only the beginning of a long, hard struggle at Biola, but last night, all those LGBT students who are still living in silence found out that they are not alone. And that they can have a wonderful, vibrant relationship with God just as they are ;-) Keep up the righteous work!” -Don Mueller, Biola University
“Thanks again for sharing your story. What you and Mason are doing is really inspiring. It gives me hope for the future of Christianity in this country!” Melinda Smith, Hollywood SDA Church
“May God PROFOUNDLY bless you and the work you are doing.” -Kevin
Stay tuned for more stories from the road.
To find out how these two facilitators can visit your area contact Crystal@youridk.com. If you would like to further support this work donations can be made here.
-The Team of Your IDK