Tom: I’m Tom Capiaghi and this is my wife Phyllis. We’re um, we just celebrated our 43rd anniversary. Ah, we’ve been coming here since 2009. We got saved in our teenage years. There was revival going on, so people were getting saved and we were very involved for years. And then there was a church split and I didn’t handle it very well. And my relationship with the Lord suffered. It was a time that I uh, was in a deep depression and I uh fell into sexual sin. Uh, huh.
Phyllis: It was part of his history that he had a very difficult childhood. Tom was abused as a six-year-old and it was very serious. The man finally was found out and went to jail. And that ended up having more of an effect on his life than he even knew um.
Tom: I had gotten involved with um, same-sex relationships at that time. And it was something that um, I couldn’t believe that happened. And um, <pause> it wasn’t until many years later that um, you know we ended up here at Grace. And it was a time when I was depressed and suicidal because I just couldn’t deal with what I had been doing. And um, there was um January 31st, 2010 Pastor Jarrod preached a sermon called Grace Over Guilt. [Listen to the Message HERE.] It was s story of infidelity and Grace and forgiveness. And um, the Holy Spirit just made very clear to me that I need to confess to Phyllis what had gone on. It was something I swore I would carry to my grave. And um, the moment that I acknowledged in my heart that I would tell her something happened to me. From that moment the bondage of sexual sin had been broken in my life.
Phyllis: So it was obviously devastating as a wife as a mother. But God gave me an incredible gift. And the Holy Spirit, when you walk with Him, He speaks to you in ways that really help you. I knew I had the capability of destroying him or setting him free in forgiveness and made the choice to set him free in forgiveness. You make a choice of your will the Holy Spirit empowers you and it’s a choice you make. My emotions at the time were all over the place. But being able to make the choice to forgive and then decide that we’re going to work together against the enemy’s work. And we were bonded together. We said, “the enemy is going to be really sorry he did this to us. Cuz we, we will take this and we will glorify Him in the end.” And that’s what brings us here today.
But we went through years of learning about sexual abuse and what sexual abuse does to make people vulnerable to sexual sin and to difficulties. We learned about addictions and what addictions do to take hold of your life in a way that you cannot break it without the power of God.
Tom: I learned, a new kind of love with Jesus uh, that I received through my wife. That uh, enabled me um, to go on. And to <clears throat> I wouldn’t be here today. I had no hope. I was looking for years and screaming on the inside and had no hope and didn’t know where to go. And uh, I just want other people to know that there is hope and there is freedom in Jesus Christ. And the beginning of freedom is confession and transparency and openness. And um, I just need to share that message and I need to let people know what God has done because it happened here at Grace.
Phyllis: We are at a place now where we live in freedom. Our marriage is far better than it was ever before. We um, again celebrated 43 years and our desire, our heart’s desire is to glorify the Lord and to really bring His hope to people who are broken before the sin in their life.
Tom: The Lord is kicking the darkness and uh, and it’s happening here. And we want people to know about that. Because if we don’t tell they don’t know. And it’s for God’s glory. It’s that He would be glorified.
Phyllis: And LET’S GO, Grace because we are kicking the darkness in the Northeast. And we are going to set captives free by our testimonies. They overcame Him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimonies. And we have testimonies here, they are growing every day. And so we need to pull ourselves altogether and we got to get out there and find our broken people and help them and love them and be Christ to them.