Pulse Nightclub Shooting Survivors Proclaim Freedom in Christ: “It’s not a gay to straight thing; it’s a lost to saved thing”

By Julie Roys
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June 12, 2016, was a day that forever changed the lives of Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz. That’s the day a Muslim gunman massacred 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. And that’s the day both Colon and Ruiz—two men who miraculously survived the shooting—turned back to God.

Both Colon and Ruiz grew up in Christian homes, but gave in to homosexual desires and sin until the Pulse shooting awakened them to their grave spiritual condition. Since then, the two have started a ministry called Fearless Identity, which equips Christians to reach LGBTQ people with the love of Christ. Colon and Ruiz are also leaders in the Freedom March—a group of former LGBTQ people who march in major U.S. cities, proclaiming freedom in Christ and reaching out to the LGBTQ community. On September 14, Colon and Ruiz will be hosting a Freedom March in Orlando, just 10 minutes from the Pulse nightclub.

Recently, the two men shared their amazing stories with me on a podcast. The interview truly was one of the most gripping and inspirational interviews I’ve ever done. I’ve pulled several highlights so you can get a taste of what the podcast includes.

Two People Prophesy About the Shooting Before It Happens

Weeks before the shooting, two people shared stunningly accurate prophecies about the shooting with Ruiz. One was visiting speaker at Ruiz’s church. The other was his mother. Ruiz brushed off the warnings at the time. But he recalls: “My mom calls me and tells me, ‘I just had a dream . . . This dream is very different. This dream has me freaked out.’ She said in this dream I was at a club and everyone around me was dying. There was blood all over my clothes. There was blood everywhere.”

Both Colon and Ruiz Miraculously Survive Shooting

When the shooter began his rampage, Ruiz fled into a courtyard where he was trampled by fleeing patrons. He escaped thanks to a stranger, who helped Ruiz extricate his foot from a fence where it was caught. Colon, on the other hand, was only 5-10 feet from the shooter and got shot several times in his legs. He also was trampled and broke his femur. Lying on the floor of the nightclub, with the shooter hovering over him, Colon thought he would die for sure. Then, he began to pray.

“In that moment,” Colon said, “something clicked in my head and I felt the spiritual warfare going on on top of me. I could feel something heavy and I said, ‘You know what? No!” And I changed my prayer. And I started to prophesy upon my life. I started to say, ‘Lord, you promised that I had a purpose in life. You promised me that something big was happening with me . . . None of that has happened, so that means I need to leave here alive. And I’m going to leave here alive.”

Thank you, Lord!

After surviving that harrowing encounter with the gunman, Colon felt God had snatched his life from the pit. “I look around again and everybody that was around me was dead and I am alive,” Colon said. “And I just started thanking God. ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord . . . The moment I get out of here, I’m testifying about you. I am worshipping you for the rest of my life.’”

Ruiz’s Conversion

For Ruiz, the resolve to surrender everything to Jesus came very soon after the nightclub shooting. The experience broke him and drove Him to God. Yet, he really wrestled with his ongoing homosexual desires until he had an epiphany. “It’s not a gay to straight thing,” he said. “It’s a lost to saved thing.”

Backlash

As soon as Ruiz left the gay lifestyle and started witnessing about Jesus, people in the LGBTQ community viscously attacked him. Yet, God used those attacks to draw people to Himself. “In all this, behind the scenes, God was working because I had ex-lovers that were coming to Jesus because they saw a Facebook Live that they were making about me, and laughing about me . . . This brought people to email me and say, ‘Hey, I want to know about this Jesus you’re so in love with.”

Changed Man

For Colon, the process of surrendering his life to Christ took longer. He said he was afraid of the backlash he saw Ruiz experiencing. Yet Colon said that once he surrendered to Christ and began testifying about Him, God radically transformed Colon. He said, “The person I became after I started testifying to the world, after I shared to the world that He is my God, that change is possible, that I left the homosexual lifestyle . . . we became these men, these soldiers, these generals that aren’t scared anymore to share wherever they go the gospel of God.”

Here’s the Full Podcast:

To download the podcast or to read the transcript click here.

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14 thoughts on “Pulse Nightclub Shooting Survivors Proclaim Freedom in Christ: “It’s not a gay to straight thing; it’s a lost to saved thing””

  1. Praise God! Thank you Jesus for restoring these lost sheep to your flock and for their powerful testimonies which are saving others who are lost! Amen!!
    Thanks to Julie Roys for her faithfulness in reporting the truth no matter the cost!

    1. Though I am happy for the life in Christ these men have found, it is dangerous for the evangelical church to continue pushing the narrative that people can convert from gay to straight. Doctors, psychologist, therapist and other medical professionals agree. Thousands of suicides have resulted from this type of rhetoric.

      1. That’s a bogus narrative. There’s only been one legit study on people who have attempted to get rid of unwanted same-sex desires. Here’s what it concluded:

        “Outcomes for harm: Following prevailing
        professional wisdom, our hypothesis was that
        involvement in the orientation change process
        should result in worsening psychological distress
        outcomes on average on the SCL‐90‐R. Our analysis
        yielded no support for this hypothesis. The global
        severity index or GSI did not show any indication on
        average of increasing psychological distress. The
        results in Table 3 do manifest significant changes for
        the whole and Truly Gay subpopulations, both in the
        moderate effect size range, and both indicating
        improved psychological status.”

        https://www.cedarville.edu/~/media/Files/PDF/Student-Life-Programs/Critical-Concern/Ex-Gays/jones-and-yarhouse-2009.pdf

        1. Your response is typical of the evangelical community. Instead of doing the hard, difficult research, you suggest my narrative is “bogus” – when it is not. It is the narrative I know, I have personally lived, and know many others to have personally experienced. After calling my narrative “bogus” – thus calling my credibility into question, you then move on to suggest all studies that counter your narrative are not “legit” and only your one study is “legit”. I would argue, as this article suggests, that there are many real flaws in your “legit” study. https://exgaywatch.com/2007/11/a-critique-of-jones-and-yarhouses-ex-gays-part-1/

          1. I have done a lot of research on this topic–more than merely reporting my personal experiences. I read the article you posted from “Ex-Gay Watch”–hardly an unbiased site. I notice the author also states his presupposition in the third article on whether change efforts are harmful. He writes, “It is clear to me why the participants in this study retain homosexual desires, attractions and arousal: they were born that way.” Certainly with that presumption, an author is going to find fault with a study finding that some people have successfully changed their orientation and that change efforts are not harmful.

            Finally, the only evidence the author states concerning harm is that some participants (five, to be exact) claim change attempts were not “healthy or necessarily beneficial” and some feel “hopeless,” “helpless,” “empty,” “frustrated,” “hurt,” and “very alone.” One apparently bemoans he spent so many years trying to change that he has missed out on other goals in his life and another claims involvement in the therapy made life “more difficult.” That’s a far cry from being suicidal. And my guess is that in any group of nearly 100 people, you’re going to find some who feel that way. This hardly establishes that change efforts are harmful.

        2. Thanks for standing up to the spirit of our age which has so politicized this particular issue in our current day that truth has just been trampled underfoot. The Word says that all sin produces death over time. From my own study of statistics on gay sex and practices, there are plenty of evidence of this death from studies that predated the current fad, which will soon pass, of shaming everyone who are reluctant to accept the pro-gay political agenda.

          Beyond that, you forgot to mention the fact that the shooter in this case was also a practicing gay man. This is another evidence of death as the persecution came from within their own LGBTQ community. I believe that I have seen the enemies long range plans in promoting this political agenda. Satan, whom the Bible calls a murderer, wants to flush as many out of the closets as possible and into the public record. He wants gays to be deceived into a false sense of acceptability and security. He wants a violent backlash to happen once the public gets fed up with all of the abusive shaming going on by the political wing of this movement. What happened in this club is just a small precursor to what will eventually happen. Throughout most of recorded history being openly gay would get you incarcerated or killed. This will eventually be the case again as history just keeps repeating itself. People need to be saved out of this as only Jesus actually possesses the Life that we all want so badly. And you are right that salvation must come before sanctification. Every one of us Christians have sin that we have to fight against inside us, and in that way people with same-sex attraction are no different than the rest of us. We all have something that is hard to resist that we should…

  2. I love personal stories of transformation and conviction. Dr. Tony Evans podcasts talked about how God breaks a person. He says experiencing being broken is like as if you are ready to vomit. Something doesn’t feel right in your gut. How true in so many levels. There is hope in Jesus. Hope that any person in the most troublesome of circumstances is convicted and be delivered thru Christ. The Lord will chase us down when we stray. If God can’t get your attention through His word, He will through his wrath. He never left but always there waiting for you to humble yourself and be transformed.

  3. The title is a bit misleading. You say it’s not a gay or straight thing but then the you keep reffering to “homosexual desires” instead of just saying “sin”. Straight or Gay, living a permiscious lifestyle is sin. Please tell me what a “homosexual lifestyle”is. Thats also an ignorant term. The friends I have that are gay are much less permiscious then my straight friends who aren’t follwing God. You’ve watched to many movies and taken in to many sketch comedy cliches. For every Gay Night Club there are ten Straight night clubs where straight people are sleeping with each other at every opportunity. I’ve know multiple girls that have been date raped at Straight clubs. I’ve never met a gay person who has. I imagine it happens but with all the maney gya people I’ve met I’ve never heard it. In fact the gay people I know hate night clubs! They are extremely sensitve, caring, talented people. Let me ask you Julie are the straight people who go to the thousands more Straight Night Clubs that exist living a “Straight Lifestyle”. It’s great that there lives were spared and that they are apparently following God. But I think there time would be better spent simply spreading the Christ’s Love freely and without qualification than going on a mission to turn people straight. You might want to think about that as well. Your blog just seems like another lavacious gossip mag with Christian twist than anything written by someone who believes that Christ died for anyone and everyone. Nothing you are saying helps further a deep, intimate relationship with the Eternal Christ through whom all things were created. I didn’t happen to see any sadness directed to the people who did die in the shooting either. I hope that these two Children of God, whatever there sexual preference is, are able to maintian a real, spiritual relationship with God the Father, God The Son and God The Holy Spirit. One God. Beyond the click bait.

    1. Jeremy,

      Did you listen to the whole podcast? It sounds to me like you didn’t because there was a lot of sorrow on all our parts concerning those who were killed in the Pulse shooting. Also, this post has nothing to do with comparing homosexual sin to heterosexual sin. You’re doing that, not me. Sin is sin. That being said, there are differences between homosexual relationships and heterosexual ones. Homosexual relationships are always sinful, but heterosexual ones are not always sinful. Also, studies show there is a significant difference between the sexual behavior patterns of men who have sex with men as opposed to men who have sex with women. (There are always outliers, but the patterns are what’s indicative.)

      According to one peer-reviewed study, “MSM (men who have sex with men) have longer periods of partnership acquisition, a higher prevalence of partnership concurrency (having two or more partnerships that overlap in time), and more age-disassortative mixing than heterosexuals.These factors likely help explain higher HIV/STI rates among MSM, despite higher levels of condom use.”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3334840/

  4. Always speaking about heterosexual vs homosexuality and the difference is none everyone fornicates and sleep around and throw stones as it one sin is greater than the other! PLEASE don’t keep up the nonsense and disrespect to humans 1st! And the rainbow family called the LGBT COMMUNITY. THIS IS SAD TO BE SO HYPOCRITICAL!

  5. My name is Kristina. I love Jesus and Jesus looooves me. And guess what. I’m married to another woman. She also loves Jesus. Jesus himself NEVER spoke a word about committed same-sex relationships. I’ve never been more sure about the fact that God created me just as I am and loves me just as I am.

    I tried to be straight. I went to years of therapy, I had my gay prayed away, went through deliverance multiple times. It’s not possible to change my brain chemistry, who I am at my core.

    First and foremost I’m a Child of God! I’m thankful for a church home that accepts me for who I am and for who I am not. My wife and I attend church together, are leaders of a ministry and are closely connected with the pastors.

    I’m also filled with the Holy Spirit. Be careful saying that people can change their sexual identity. In my case, which is all I can speak to, no amount of prayer or the like would or could change me. God made me who I am. I’m ok with that.

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