The Experience of a Lifetime!
By McKrae Game
Conferences have always played an important role in my introduction and growth into Christianity.
I remember my very first conference, 25 years ago. This past February 24, was that anniversary. It was a Friday through Sunday Amway conference, called Freedom Conference. Sunday was a church service. It was intimidating, exhilarating, inspiring, and certainly drawing. Friday and Saturday, they were getting us all pumped up about dreaming and growing our Amway businesses. Then it got serious really quick. Saturday evening, around nine o’clock, Brigg Heart, the head of the organization came out on stage. “I just got word that our planes are in the air. We are getting ready to cross enemy airspace (the Desert Storm invasion). If you are a Christian and want to join us in prayer, come now. We are going to join together and pray that the Hand of God goes before our troops, protects them, and gives them victory.”
This experience was life changing! In an instant, God came down on me like a flood! I started crying uncontrollably! My friends didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know what was going on! God was doing a work! He was pressing into me to the point that I could not refuse. He was introducing Himself to me in such a strong, overwhelming way that it was really undeniable.
The next day, Sunday morning’s church service, the tens of thousands had cleared out. Now, it was a more relatable crowd of about three thousand. Story after story was shared about God’s amazing love, His drawing, and interventions. Seeing these faces in praise and worship, I thought to myself, “These people have what I’ve been searching for.” Still then, I did not yet know exactly what it was. I’d been raised in church my whole young life, but I’d never asked Jesus into my heart. Up till then, my life seemed to repeatedly go from the mundane to crisis. This was now something completely different! The gospel was presented and I went for it. I was the first up to the stage. I never really thought it through. God had so primed me, it was as if we were doing it together. Still to this day, I believe He pulled my chair out for me and walked with me to the front. He was there. But now, He is here, with me always.
I cannot explain to you how much this experience impacted my life. Still to this day, I cry every time I write or speak of this experience. Yes, even as I wrote this.
It didn’t end there, though; this was just the start of my journey with Christian conferences. Next up was Promise Keepers.
Two years later, 1993, I was on a bus with a group of men from my church, headed to Boulder, Colorado. Some men had gone the year before; they wanted us to experience what they had. A few on the bus knew of my past, but it wasn’t a public thing for me at the time.
I can’t tell you what it was like being there together with thousands of other men, about forty thousand in all. This time, instead of dreaming of being rich and growing a business, we were celebrating Jesus. From all across the country, all types of backgrounds, different colors and denominations, collectively lifting our hands, our hearts, our voices to praise our Lord and King—Jesus Christ. Going to lunch together, having college kids and thousands of charcoal grills cooking some of the best grilled chicken I’ve ever eaten. Sitting on the grass, hanging out, and just enjoying being with one another.
Life started happening, good things and bad. I continued going to Promise Keepers conferences. Eventually I met Julie; we dated and married. We started trying to have children, really trying. She was charting her cycle, going to the doctor, eventually starting hormone therapy. Nothing was happening! We were going crazy! We were both a mess! I was a mess! A long story—I got back involved in gay porn and ended up having a one-time sexual fall with a man. Julie had caught me with the porn, and forgiven me, and was loving me through it. How though, could she forgive the adultery?!
She wasn’t surprised, and agreed, when I told her that I needed to get back involved in counseling. It was there that I learned about a regional Exodus conference, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I knew in that moment that I needed to be there. God had always met me at Christian conferences in the past. Julie still didn’t know of my fall and I was terrified.
Both scared, we drove the five and a half hours to Virginia. We didn’t know what we were getting into. What type of people would be there? I asked Julie if her stomach was turning flips like mine was, “Yes!” she replied. We knew no one there.
When we arrived, we were greeted with very warm and normal faces. We instantly felt at ease, knowing we were in the right place. There were not thousands, about one hundred fifty in all. We put our things away in our cozy cinder-blocked room, with two twin beds, linoleum tiled floor, and a shared bathroom with the next room. The room had not been decorated since its construction in assumedly 1950. This was NOT a hotel room like we were used to. I’d never been to jail, but this was the closest I’d ever wanted to come to it. We went to meal time, the food thankfully, was very good. But the praise and worship? The testimonies and teachings? Like nothing I’d EVER experienced! These people knew me! This wasn’t Amway, this wasn’t Promise Keepers. This wasn’t my church. We ALL could relate to one another. We were there because we struggled with or had a past in same-sex attraction and homosexuality, or were someone who had a family member caught up in homosexuality and/or the struggle.
This alone, changed the atmosphere. There was none of this—“What would these people think if they knew my struggle?” There was a relaxed atmosphere of being okay with not being okay. I cannot express to you how that felt.
God met me in such a powerful way that long weekend. My wife still didn’t know of my fall. I was counseled by a leader at the event to wait and tell her when we got home. I was pretty scared, but through it all, God spoke to me. It was at this event that I heard Him say that this was the ministry He had called me to.
It was also at this conference that I learned about the Exodus national conference in Seattle, Washington. I knew then that we would be going, it was just a matter of working out the finances. I asked my mom and my church for help. There again, the same experience, but larger. I was hooked! I never missed another Exodus conference. I spoke at the last one. When hearing of our new network, people’s main concerns to me were, would the conferences continue? I understood their concern. These conferences had become a lifeblood to each of us.
It’s the one time a year when you can fellowship with people that truly “get” you. You can be yourself and not worry what anyone thinks. You can collectively worship unashamed; your struggle, your inclinations, your failures are understood by everyone around you.
Your opportunity to attend a life-changing conference is approaching quickly. It’s not what we do, though. Sure, we work very hard on the details, so that everything is perfect for you. We understand that it is a sacrifice of cost and time, and we also understand the apprehensions of coming to an event like this for the first time. But, once you make it through the doors, that all goes away. In an instant, you know you’re in the right place. You’re in an “elite fellowship that gets you.” This was how my wife phrased it, when I tried to explain to her how much the fellowship at the conferences meant to me.
This is way more than a conference. You’ve never been to anything like this! This is not some serious, boring, rigorous conference. This is actually a lot of fun! Yes, it can be overwhelming. God’s power, His pressing, His drawing, will be there in such a way that you may have not experienced before. There will be testimonies, teachings, classes, conversations, prayer times, that touch you in such a profound way that you won’t be able to hold back the tears. But there will equally be such fun times around the camp fire, conversations around the couches in the lobby, and meal times with new friends that you don’t want to leave. You’ll not want to go back to life as it was.
You won’t have to, because you will have been changed. The old you is gone. The new you now has a hope that you did not have before: for yourself, for your family member, for your sanity.
You’re accepted. You’re loved. You’re changed.
These stories and much more are in my book, The Transparent Life.
These conferences laid a foundation of who I was to become. They aided in awakening the man I have become, the man I’ve learned to enjoy that has accomplished so much. Your journey awaits you at the HFW Conference!
DO NOT MISS THIS LIFE-CHANGING EVENT!