A formerly gay Muslim man who is now a Christian serving in ministry says Jesus radically transformed his life after he had a supernatural encounter with the Lord in a dream.
Donovan Archie shared his testimony in a June 8 episode by Delafé Testimonies, a global evangelistic project on YouTube with over 378,000 subscribers that aims to "create the world's largest archive of Jesus testimonies."
Archie spoke about growing up practicing Islam, his father's religion, while also living a homosexual lifestyle, noting that he struggled to find satisfaction in life. Islam, he added, was based on "performance" and felt he was constantly “performing” and experiencing no transforming revelations or changes in the process.
“I could do things to try and get into the presence of God, that I could try to facilitate my way to get God to accept me and love me. And I found no avail in it; I found no satisfaction. There was no deep feeling or deep conviction about who God was, as I was practicing Islam as a gay person,” Archie continued. “There was no change in my heart. It was just me living my lifestyle and me performing for God. Oftentimes, I think of a dog that I once had. And my dog would perform to get treats.”
Archie was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was a practicing Muslim, which led him to adopt Islam as his religious identity. According to Archie, he was aware of his same-sex attraction from a young age and was bullied in elementary and middle school for being more effeminate.
By the time he went to college, he was already working as a professional dancer and had been hired to dance ballet and modern dance. In his junior year, however, he was invited to attend church and participate in a dance performance.
“I told them, ‘Well, you know, don't expect me to become a Christian or anything like that or pray or to do anything else that you all do at church.’ Because at that time, I identified as Muslim ... but then, I also had these struggles with my identity and sexuality,” Archie said. “I didn't want them to preach to me or to pray for me or anything. I just wanted to go there and dance.”
During the church service, Archie recalled that as he waited for his turn to dance, he heard a message the pastor was preaching that changed his perspective on Jesus.
“The message [was] ‘restoration of the gatekeepers,’" Archie recalled. "The pastor is talking about how God is calling people back to God’s Self and is beginning to restore people who have God's name. God is actively looking for people to respond to His love in the world. God is after our hearts and is calling for people who are gatekeepers in His kingdom."
"He's restoring them, and He's bringing them out of dark places. He's provided for them this lifestyle of transformation.'"
Although the sermon "intrigued" Archie, he remembers thinking that he "wasn't ready to experience Jesus yet."
After the service, Archie returned to his dorm room where he had a life-changing dream that he had encountered Jesus for the first time in his life.
“In the dream, I am asleep, but I'm waking up and I'm fighting for my life. ... And there are loud noises going off. There are sirens going off. The room heats up. My eyes go red. I can't see anything but red,” Archie recounted. “I remember trying to call out for my best friends. I remember trying to call out for my mom, my dad — all the people who meant so much to me, for who I thought could provide help at the time. I tried to dial a person who was a spiritual director for me at the time, an imam, and the phone melted in my hand,” he continued.
“Then, I just remember calling on their names and not having any other choice but to call on Jesus' name. And I said, ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and immediately that stronghold was broken.”
Archie said he woke up from his dream with a newfound awareness that Jesus is real: "I clearly heard God say, ‘I'm restoring you and the strongholds are broken.’”
“This is not like at a church service. It's not a high moment where people are speaking in tongues or you know, praying over you. It's me by myself. And the experience I had with God in my dream,” Archie said.
“I throw on my light and I throw up my hands and I say, ‘God, you got it. Like, whatever it is that you want to do with me, whatever it is you're doing right now, you've got it.'"
Archie said hearing the voice of God speak was “groundbreaking for my life.”
“The stronghold of identity that I felt I had on my life with my sexuality, with who I felt I was in the world, who I felt I was just really in myself; all these identities that I tried to cling onto, they didn't serve me anymore,” Archie said.
“Not only did they not serve me, but they were, in fact, creating a stronghold for me to really learn and know who I was in God. It was in that moment where I knew … ‘God, if you're removing strongholds, and it's just starting with my identity, I can only imagine what other strongholds there are that you're wanting me to break free from,” he continued.
According to Archie, after the dream, he recalls “packing up almost half of my dorm room because it was pride flags, and it was Islamic prayer plaques, and it was a prayer rug that I would pray on five times a day. I remember packing all that stuff up, walking it off campus and throwing it in the dumpster behind a gas station.”
'Could God really love a person like me?'
Archie said that even after the dream, he wrestled with the question, “Could God really love a person like me?”
“It didn’t make sense to me. I struggled with it," Archie said. "I could not, as a person who was homosexual, as a person who was gay, live an openly gay lifestyle, with these also thoughts of hate from God. These thoughts of well, ‘God hates me.’"
“The world says that ‘I'm loved.’ So, I guess ‘I am loved.’ But still, just this contention, just this conflict in my heart of … ‘God hates me; that God really wants for me to change.’"
After some time of wrestling, a friend invited Archie to a Bible study on the topic of identity in Christ. He meditated on Scriptures like Romans 12:2, about being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The Bible study helped Archie to better understand that Jesus loves him and that Jesus wants him to be transformed.
“Jesus came in and redeemed me from my identity or from my identities, from multiple identities, and then, just showed me a different path,” Archie said. "So that difference was having to perform for a God (Allah) that was almost non-existent. It was all based off what I could do myself."
“But then God really put me in relationship with Jesus who was revealed to me as the true [way to] God, the God who actually wanted my heart and wanted to do some real stuff with me.”
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: email@example.com.