Luis Javier Ruiz, a survivor of the June 2016 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, says God saved him from his former lifestyle, and he has now found freedom in Jesus Christ.
Jesus “didn’t just change my life, but exchanged my life for His,” Ruiz said, according PJ Media.
“I should have been number 50!,” Ruiz wrote in an April 27 Facebook post, referring to the 49 people who lost their lives in the attack. “Going through old pictures of the night of Pulse, I remember my struggles of perversion, heavy drinking to drown out everything and having promiscuous sex that led to HIV. My struggles were real! The enemy had its grip, and now God has taken me from that moment and has given me Christ Jesus.”
“I’ve grown to know His love in a deeper level,” he continued. “2 out of the 49 were my close friends and are no longer with us. They lost their life that night. I should have been number 50 but now I have the chance to live in relationship and not religion — not just loving Christ but being in love with Christ and sharing His love. I know who I am and I am not defined with who the enemy says I use to be – but who Christ Jesus says I am.”
Ruiz’s post about his life transformation comes in anticipation of the Freedom March in Washington, D.C. “The worship event will kick off at the National Sylvan Theater at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 with speakers sharing their testimonies as they celebrate their freedom from homosexuality thanks to Jesus Christ,” Christianity Today reported.
The march organizers have partnered with “Voice for the Voiceless,” a group who’s mission is “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families,” according to the organization’s website.
Christopher Doyle, co-founder of Voice of the Voiceless, told NBC News that the event is “about celebrating our lives and not hating the LGBTQ movement.”
Watch a promo for the event below:
The Freedom March also follows proposed legislation in the California Legislature that seeks to ban the sale of books written by former gay individuals and Christians who want to offer help to those looking to leave the gay lifestyle.
“(B)ill AB 2943 aims to ban gay conversion therapy, as well as advertising for these commercial services, deeming it a deceptive business practice under consumer protection laws. California already forbids conversion therapy by mental health professionals on those younger than 18,” the Denver Post reported.
This legislation has received widespread push back, including from those involved in the Freedom March.
“Freedom March organizers want to know why Californians want to silence their choice to share their stories,” PJ Media reported. “Event founder Jeffrey McCall states, ‘Everyone in this country gets to speak their ideals and beliefs freely, so why can’t we tell our stories?'”
Besides Ruiz’s posts about his conversion to Christianity and the Freedom March, he has also publicly forgiven Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the deadly nightclub shooting, and Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman.
“When Jesus died for me on the cross for all my sins he forgave me and today I publicly want to say that I forgive these two,” he wrote. “This was very hard but no longer will I give these power over my life! It’s time to let the father in heaven completely heal my heart.”
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