ORLANDO — Neither rain nor intense heat could stop hundreds of people from gathering Saturday to proclaim their freedom from homosexuality. A group of passionate millennials who call themselves “overcomers” brought the Freedom March to Florida to share how Jesus delivered them from the LGBT lifestyle.
Despite the threat of a tropical storm and counter protesters, hundreds of people arrived at Lake Eola Park to march with the group of overcomers. Several local and national ministries set up tents around the park and local churches also came out to support the march, including: C Life Orlando, Church in the Son, First Baptist, King Jesus Orlando, and Redeemed by God, among others.
The event kicked off just before noon with fervent prayer for the city, for the LGBT community, and for other groups of people.
A security detail and police officers secured the perimeter during the event because the Freedom March had received several threats, even one threat from an LGBT-affirming Christian group. No protesters arrived, however.
Angel Colon and Luis Javier Ruiz hosted the event and led the sharing of testimonies of salvation at a bandshell before the group marched around the park. Both men are survivors of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in 2016 and have since left homosexuality and started a ministry called Fearless Identity to help churches effectively share the love of Jesus with the LGBT community.
“It’s not a gay to straight thing, it’s a lost to saved thing,” Ruiz declared.
Worship was led by Edward Byrd who used to identify as androgynous before finding freedom in Christ and accepting his identity as a son of God.
Hundreds lifted their hands in praise and adoration, declaring in lyrics, “Jesus you make the darkness tremble” and “there is power in the name of Jesus.” Several overcomers shared their testimonies.
The Freedom March's founder, Jeffrey Mccall, shared how God brought him out of a life living as a transgender prostitute. A woman named Laura Perry shared that she battled with gender identity so much so that she surgically removed her body parts to become a man only to find that nothing changed on the inside. Instead, it was her heart that was missing a savior.
A powerful moment was when the young group of overcomers took to the stage and had a moment of silence for the 49 people who were killed on June 12, 2016, at the Pulse gay nightclub by a gunman who proclaimed his allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.
The group proclaimed to the crowd that God “loves gay people” and it’s important that people come to know Jesus as their Savior before trying to change their lifestyle. They preached that it is God who transforms and it has nothing to do with conversation therapy or anything else of the sort.
As the worshipers sang, Ruiz and MJ Nixon, a former lesbian and founder of Uprooted Heart Inc., performed spontaneous baptisms for several people in a pool they set up side stage.
Many in attendance wore T-shirts declaring such messages as, “Changed,” “FM (Freedom March),” “Fearless Identity,” and “Taking back the rainbow.”
A tent set up for “fearless” moms and dads was filled with parents who are trusting God for their children's salvation. The parents hugged people as they walked by and found support in one another.
In the last hour of the event, the overcomers asked everyone in attendance to turn toward the city with their hands raised and pray. People were also led to Christ. All of those who found freedom in Christ took a group photo and then everyone mobilized to march around the park. There were over 400 people marching around Lake Eola Park shouting phrases such as, “freedom in Christ, it’s so nice,” “Where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom,” and the call and response, “when I say Jesus, you say freedom.”
The first Freedom March was held in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2018, and the group of millennials intends to continue to take the march nationwide, and will be heading to Georgia in October and back to Washington in May 2020.
Each march is meant to share their transformation in Christ, equip the Body of Christ on how to reach out to the LGBT community and offer a safe place for those in the LGBT community to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
For more information on the Freedom March visit their page.