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The Testimony of Brooke Donnelly
I grew up in Michigan in a family of 14 children. We grew up in the church. When I was in 5th grade, I heard the message that Jesus was knocking on the door of my heart and wanted to come in. Yes, I accepted Jesus and really felt Him come into my heart, though I didn't understand what the cross was all about because I hadn't really understood sin.
From the 3rd grade until the 7th grade, I was sexually abused by some teenage boys. Then in my teenage years, I began drinking and drugging. After barely graduating from high school, I shared an apartment with a girl who introduced me to the nightclub scene. The clubs played alternative music, which attracted some strange-looking people, as well as bisexuals and homosexuals. Because of my sheltered upbringing, I had never met anyone who was gay until then. The influence of the people and the music took me on a path that nearly cost me my life. I began doing cocaine with my live-in boyfriend. I eventually ended up moving closer to Detroit, where my real trouble began. Proverbs 1:10 cautions, “My son, if sinners tempt you, don't give in to them.”
One day, my live-in boyfriend brought neighbors, a punk couple named Candi and Brent, up for a drink. Candi told me about the underground punk club where she worked as a female bouncer and invited me to come check it out one night after work.
The club was located in a seedy part of town. Inside, I saw a huge man who was wearing makeup and was dressed in black. Candi was sitting next to him, wearing full makeup and looking much different from our first encounter. Candi’s job was to frisk me before I entered the club, where I saw that everything was painted black. Behind the bar, I noticed a huge mural of the Last Supper. I didn't realize what that meant at the time, but I found out later that this club was a haven for witches and warlocks.
I continued going to this club on a weekly basis and, over time, changed my looks. I shaved my head completely bald, pierced my nose, and got tattoos. My heart became hard, and I began doing things I never thought I would do. Candi got me a job as a female bouncer in the club. It was during this time that I began to experience violence and power. Fights were a welcome part of the scenery in the club, and Candi was part of it. She had a notable presence about her which I thought at times might be demonic. This magnetism was unlike anything I'd ever seen or experienced. People swarmed around Candi, and I even saw some bow down to her.
For two years, Candi and I worked as exotic dancers in Detroit. During that time, we became lovers. Candi mentally and emotionally abused me. Her dream was to be rich and famous, so she convinced me to move to California with her and two other people. One was another lesbian named Sophie, who was to be our bodyguard, and the other was a straight Sicilian guy named Frank, who funded everything.
So in 1994, the four of us arrived in Hollywood via a one-way ticket. We had no place to live, no car, no job, and no prospects, so we camped out in a motel for a month.
One night, while living at the motel, Candi wanted to go to West Hollywood to check out the gay scene. West Hollywood is a city where gay rainbow flags hang up and down the center of Santa Monica Blvd. There are gay shops and gay and lesbian bars and clubs. West Hollywood is home to the largest lesbian club in America, called Girl Bar.
Around 11:00 p.m., we started walking toward a bus stop. We were both dressed in black, wearing our biker leathers, baseball hats, and combat boots—we looked like two guys. Two men at a pay phone began to walk behind us with intent in their steps. Candi and I stopped talking and pretended everything was okay as we continued to walk. The men continued to pursue about a foot behind us. I felt the hair on the back of my neck standing straight up as my mind went blank. Then, out of my heart, I prayed these words: "Lord, please help!" As soon as the words left my heart, a blast of heat came in between us and the two guys! I felt it down the back of my legs. The two guys turned from following us and veered off into the parking lot. I was stunned, not saying a word. Candi broke the silence, asking, "Did you feel that heat?" I exclaimed "YES!" I told her I had prayed, so both of us thanked God. Two radical lesbians, walking down the street thanking God!
When I was a child, my Mom taught us this Scripture: "Whosoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved." (Joel 2:32a) She said we could call on Jesus' name in any kind of dangerous situation and that He would help us. She was right—God had heard my cry! This didn't cause me to ask God to forgive my sins because I had chosen to believe a lie and thought I was okay with God and didn't need to be forgiven. In my mind, when God answered that prayer, I was sure I was on the right path.
There was another incident when Candi, Sophie, and I were attacked as we entered the elevator to our apartment. The man who attacked us threatened to kill us. I prayed, "Lord, please help!" As soon as the words left my heart, the man extended his hand and said, "I'd like you to accept my apology." I was stunned. We got back into the elevator with this guy! A great peace came into the elevator as we went up to our floor. When we were safely inside our apartment, I told Candi and Sophie that I had prayed.
Again, the Lord had answered a small prayer from a lost girl. He was drawing me unto Himself, showing me that He is faithful to His Word and to His name. He said, "I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. I have kept on loving you with faithful love." (Jeremiah 31:3)
My sister, Rachel, who was attending a Bible college in the mountains about two hours from me, wrote that she had come to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Her letter said, “Just because you grew up in a Christian home does not mean that you are a Christian.” I was furious! How dare she tell me I was not a Christian! So, Candi, Sophie, Frank, and I paid my sister a visit so I could tell her what I thought of her letter. Rachel joyfully greeted us with her guitar in tow, then we all went with her to sit by the lake. She began to play songs about Jesus. After she began to belt out yet another song about Jesus, I said, "Why can't you just be normal? Why does everything have to be about Jesus?" (Funny how I had gone to convince her that I was a Christian but couldn’t stand to hear songs about Jesus!)
Later, I cornered my sister and asked, “Do you accept me for who I am?" Rachel had always loved me. Now she was faced with the question of where she stood with my lesbian lifestyle. She said, "Brooke, I believe what the Bible says about homosexuality, and it says that homosexuals do not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1Corinthians 6:9-10). I pointed right at her face and shouted, "You are on my black list, I HATE you!" I learned later that she asked her entire school to begin praying for me.
Every night, Candi and I went to a different club or bar. One night, pointing to a brochure, Candi said, "Let's check out this new club tonight." I replied, “No, every time I have gotten one of those brochures, I get the worst feeling." Candi continued to press me, "Well, we owe it to ourselves to check it out, to at least see who is there." I repeated my refusal to go. Candi said, "Well, then, let's just sit on the fence about it."
Those words triggered something in me. The only time I had ever heard the term “sit on the fence” was in church when I was younger. The preacher would say, "Don't sit on the fence; you are either hot for Jesus or cold, but not lukewarm!" So as Candi’s words penetrated my heart, something took place within me. I could sense spiritual warfare around me, and I called out, “In the name of Jesus! Lord, I don’t know what you want, but I’m asking You to help me.” Candi jumped up and said, “I’m outta here!” then left.
God was bringing His Word to my mind more and more, and I was becoming very aware of the conflict of spiritual warfare battling for my heart and mind.
I left the apartment and made my way to a nearby ravine. While there, I could sense the Lord saying to me, “Love is the most powerful source in the universe.” I said, “Okay…what about Candi?” In my spirit, I heard a very loud “NO!”
That is when I came to my fork in the road. I knew I had to decide who I was going to live for—Candi or Jesus. It took everything within me to choose, and I chose with all of my heart and all of my soul and said, "Nooooo…love is the most powerful source in the universe, love is the most powerful source in the universe.” I made my decision to follow Jesus. It seemed that what had just taken place was that I was sitting on the fence, and I was caught between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. I had told people I was a Christian, but my lifestyle said I wasn’t. God had drawn me to the ravine, away from Candi, so that I could make a decision. The spiritual warfare I had experienced was Satan pulling me since I had chosen to believe him and his lies over the Bible. But now I made the decision to come off of the fence and follow Jesus.
Back at the apartment, I found Candi standing at the spot that had many occult artifacts; it was also known as “the altar.” Candi was burning incense and wearing my necklace. She was trying to use magic to find out where I was. I was not sure what my next step should be, but I knew I’d had a conversation with God and that I had made a decision to follow Him. I knew I had to leave Candi, but I didn't know how. The strange part was that I wanted to leave. I had never before wanted to leave Candi—she had been my life, my soul mate.
The next morning, I packed a suitcase and insisted that Candi drive me to the airport so I could leave her. But since I had no money and nowhere to go, I ended up going back home with her. There was a definite break between us, and we both knew it. I began refusing to go to the clubs, which infuriated Candi because I had always done everything she wanted me to do until now.
The Lord continued to prompt me to leave Candi, and I knew I needed to obey. So when Candi was out, I called my mom to ask if I could come home. Immediately, she began calling all of her praying friends, saying "Pray! Brooke is coming home!" So the body of Christ began to pray for me. Then my Dad called my brother, Tim, who lived two hours from me in California. He agreed to drive into Hollywood to get me. He brought with him an ex-police officer who was carrying a gun. My mom also called my sister, Rachel, who was at a Bible college in the same city where Tim lived. She brought her fiancé along, too. Rachel was the one who had gotten her whole school to pray for me months earlier. So my mom called me back and told me that my brother, sister, and two others were coming to get me.
When Candi walked in, all my suitcases were in the living room. "Where do you think you’re going?" she demanded. I had determined not to say a word to her. "Who is coming to pick you up?" she asked. "You aren't taking the car anywhere!" I just stayed quiet. I was scared, but calm. As I fled with my family, Candi came out of the apartment building with something in her hand. It was a statue of Baby Jesus that I had wanted to give to my Mom, but never did, Candi threw it into my half-open window, shouting, "Don't forget to take this!" That was the last time I ever saw her.
I left Hollywood so very fragile and broken. I had been in deep darkness for so long that coming into the light was a slow process. My life had been directed by a woman who practiced witchcraft and had read the satanic bible. But now, for the first time, I was released from the prison of my sinful life and brought into the light. It took time for me to heal and allow the Lord to restore what the devil had destroyed. Colossians 1:12-14 says, “…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus has set me free from lesbianism, witchcraft, drugs, and alcohol, never to return again! Jesus my Lord has paid the price for my freedom, and He has gently and faithfully healed my broken heart. Through His Word and forgiveness, He has enabled me to forgive those who have wounded me. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Coming to the cross of Jesus as a broken person and asking for forgiveness is what has changed my life the most. I have come to know that His arms are always wide open to me, and He longs for me to come to Him on a daily basis. When Jesus died on the cross, the old Brooke died, too. All of my sin was put upon Him. He has forgiven me, and He has taken my punishment. When Jesus rose from the dead, the new Brooke was given new life! I want to share His Love with the world!
No one is too much of a sinner for God’s tender mercy. It has now been more than 15 years since the Lord brought me unto Himself. My hope and desire is that others would come to know His love, His power, and His deliverance from strongholds of sin. Jesus alone is the One who sets people free. Praise the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
This testimony has been adapted from the full story as submitted by Brooke herself. To read more, or to find out more about Brooke, visit her website—please click here.