16th Oct 2012. By Ezra Chim, CM –
Pastor Edmund Smith’s message to sexually broken people (SBP) is that “Change is possible and he is a living example what the Creator God has done in his life.” At a young age of 13, he was already leading the life of a homosexual, being attracted to males, behaving like a girl, plucked his eyebrows, shaved his legs and wore tight fitting T-shirts and short shorts. He had his first gay lover when he was 18 and the guy was 30. But the Lord was faithful that at the age of 25, Edmund Smith decided to “go straight” and not to be used by men again.
He decided to walk away from homosexuality when the pain and dissatisfaction crept into his life and the calling of God was ever increasing in his life. He explained that “From a very young age, I knew my calling was to reach out to the marginalised community. I have worked with Catholic nuns in projects to bring literacy to a group of illiterate adults in the Portuguese Settlement, Malacca and also joined the Salvation Army to help the mentally disabled.” Being a marginalised person himself and living in a mainstream world, he knew “deep down inside” that God had great plans for his life. The lifestyle he led in his young days will someday be used mightily for the kingdom of God.
Divine providence was not very far away. When he decided to adopt the “ex-gay” lifestyle and walked away from homosexuality, Pastor Edmund has already built two great friendships with two important women in his life that will change his life around – sister Jenny who is now a pastor and his wife Amanda Amutha Perumal. He married Amanda in 1996 and today he said “ I am with the woman that I want to share my life with.”
In 1996, Edmund and Amanda Smith became the founders and directors of Real Love Ministry (RLM), an organisation that trains individuals into becoming Befrienders for the Marginalised Communities. The church, RLM Fellowship, was set up in 2006 to cater mainly for the sexually broken and Befrienders to sexually broken.
Asked about the “triggers” that drive a person to homosexuality, he said that there are three specific ones. Firstly, it is the issue of “self” where there could be something that you hate, be it your gender or your appearance. Secondly is the “vacuum” trigger. It is when you want to “suck” another man or woman into your life. This is due to the lack of parental love especially father’s love. And thirdly is the “barrier” issue. It is either a barrier towards people of the same gender or the opposite gender or both. With proper love and guidance, sexually broken people can be fully restored to the man or woman that God created them to be.
“The goal of RLM is to help homosexuals resolve the three issues in their lives, be it the self, vacuum or barrier issue, “ says Pastor Edmund Smith.
Seasons of Recovery
At RLM, they have a special program called The Seasons of Recovery where participants or members are taught how to identify, deal with and overcome the issues affecting them. Members must graduate from one season before he moves on to the next. There are four seasons of transformation taught in the program.
Season One is the “educational season” where all members are assigned a trained RLM worker called “befrienders” who will spend quality personal one-on-one time with him. Questions will be asked on sexual lifestyle and the need to overcome any “self” issues like gender and appearance affecting them.
Season Two is the “celibate season” during which the member must abstain from sex and romance. No long-term relationships, no one-night stands. A member is to focus on deep platonic relationship (DPR) which are deep, non-sexual friendships as the only solution to resolving his “vacuum” issue in life. “ Men are more sexual beings but they too need love and appreciation from people of the same gender. Take a cold shower or get busy with things that interest you to get rid of your strong urges,” Pastor Edmund advises.
Season Three is the “dating season” during which a member goes out with those of the opposite gender as a way of resolving the “barrier” issue. Dating at this stage is not equivalent to a long-term relationship. A homosexual’s key to freedom lies in resolving the first three issues affecting them and upon recovery may choose to move forward to Season Four, the marriage season.
Season Four the final stage, is the “marriage season” in which a person is committed to a long-term relationship moving from being a boyfriend / girlfriend to being a spouse and later be a parent.
Pastor Edmund said with a compassionate heart that “RLM is not an organisation that forces people to change. If you are still gay and want to experience real love from us, we will love you. Being a person who has tried both worlds, I can testify that being straight and “ex-gay” is more enjoyable.”
Sister Amanda Smith was asked whether she has any worries that Edmund may fall back to his old ways? She says that “I choose to live one day at a time and not allow any fears and worries to ruin my marriage. As a wife, I see no sign of Edmund returning to his past lifestyle. Ex-gays must be given a chance. And for the relationship to work, you must have lots of patience and love. In the first two years of courtship, Edmund did not even hold my hands because he was still learning how to love me as a woman. I am so blessed to have him as my husband and he was my first and last boyfriend!”
Today, Pastor Edmund Smith is the Senior Pastor of the church, reaching out and spreading the love of Jesus Christ to the sexually-broken and marginalised community. The proud father of two child – Angel and Ethan- has a passion for the performing arts and still sings, acts and dances professionally for a living. He also travels to various churches and conferences as a speaker to share about the great work of the Lord in his life and family and the powerful Word of God that can transform our lives no matter what the situation we are in.
The current church premises is rented and they have started a building fund project to raise RM500,000 to purchase their own building to cater with the increasing needs of the ministry.