To be honest, I haven't always looked forward to the Gay Pride Parade Outreach. Sometimes I've even dreaded it. Don't get me wrong, I completely believe in what we’re doing and why we’re there, but the biggest challenge for me has been being able to look beyond the sin and the "homosexual" label to just see the people. But this year, that changed for me. This year I saw the PEOPLE. It sounds obvious, but it was hard to get past what I didn't understand.
Our prayer walk prior to the parade was key in helping me see things differently. My prayer partner prayed how this outreach is about the people. This became a recurring theme throughout our walk, and when we arrived at the festival the next day, I recognized that something had shifted in me. After the first few surveys, I realized I wasn't feeling as awkward as I had felt in years past. I had a new confidence, and I wasn't afraid of the people we were talking to. Instead of thinking to myself, "Oh, I'm talking to a lesbian." I had a genuine interest in the person and what they had to say - even if I disagreed.
There were some moments where I felt my love was recognizable to the people. Instead of being afraid or repulsed, I smiled and was able to look them in the face. The parade is always filled with a lot of vulgarity and immodesty, but instead of being disgusted with them, I was able to see beyond that and see the person. Since the outreach, I cannot seem to escape the image of the crowds of people walking by and how each one of them needs to know what Jesus had done for them. This is why we go to reach them where they are.