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Joined in 2010
October 13, 2011, 19:55

🙂 Hi to all you beautiful people out there

This is our testimony (Helen & Harold Grebert) that we gave at the Sydney F2b(e) meeting in September so I just thought I would share it.

Our journey only started for our family as the parents of a gay son about 2 years ago.

Now, a little bit of past history that you may not know is that Sam just announced one day to Harold and I that he was moving to Sydney. No reason – no nothing – he was just going. We had no idea that he was gay. From a very young age he was just a typical kid who just lived for Jesus.

There was always other Christian kids at our place and even more so in his teenage years when he was Youth Pastor.

When Sam announced that he was moving, he was Pastor of a very successful faith-based church in Grafton that he planted 12 months previously. He was only 19 at the time – almost 20.

Harold and I totally supported this church and loved being there every Sunday to support him and interact with his congregation. When he announced he was leaving Grafton and handing over the church to someone else, it was a most gut-wrenching time in all our lives because he was just so passionate about it and so were we. It left a huge void in our lives.

You see, the lady he handed over the church to was also someone he trusted and confided in about his same sex attraction. This person then gossiped about him around town and this in turn led to quite a number of people knowing about Sam’s orientation even before Harold and I did. One lady I had known for many years (she also attended his church) actually stopped me in the street and asked me if Sam was gay. Of course, to this I replied “no” because I didn’t know at that point.

Sam came home for Easter in 2010. He was quite agitated that weekend and that’s when he told us. He only told us then because an old man who he also confided in and who is a real character and family friend, told him that if Sam didn’t tell us – he would – and he would have too!

I don’t know quite how I felt initially. Harold and I both didn’t say too much at the time.

I had a few tears – not too many because I recall that my first reaction was rather selfish when I look back on it, and that was of not being grandparents especially when Sam is an only child.

Harold’s reaction and comment was that Sam is old enough to make his own decisions and it doesn’t matter – we love him no matter what and we told him this.

When I reflect back over the last 2 years, it’s really quite funny how naïve we were as his parents. There was really no indication that Sam was gay ever except for one Christmas I remember he was about 3 or 4 years old and he let his older cousins hang the tree baubles on his ears like earrings and thought he was just great and had them on most of the day (sorry son).

Even when Sam first moved to Sydney he flatted with 3 gay guys in St Peters and we thought nothing of it. We stayed with them and got to know them quite well and we still didn’t put 2 and 2 together that he was gay.

As you probably already know, Sam also took me clubbing with him quite a few times when he was single to the gay clubs and we had a blast and I still didn’t click that he was gay. You are probably thinking – is this woman stupid or what? Well, Sam says I’m very liberal – not stupid, so that’s good.

Both our families know about Sam and none of them are bothered by it and just told us that “Sam is just the same as he was before they were told – it makes no difference”.

Harold and I have always been very broadminded people and have just accepted people for who they are. I grew up with a girl who I didn’t know was gay until in my early 20’s and she has been living with the same partner for over 33 years now.

Not only have Harold and I met some amazing new friends in Sydney in the Freedom2b(e) family, but we also now have another “son” in Ben and an extended family in the Greshams. Sam and Ben have helped each other immensely in their journey of reconciling their faith and sexuality and this is reflected in the relationship that they have shared over the last 12 months.

We, as parents, now see Sam as a very happy, gay young man who has come a long way in 2 years from being “out there” initially in the gay scene to now knowing and accepting who he is.

We love you guys and our door is always open (even though we live 10 hours away at present). We are actually moving to Sydney in the next 12-18 months so then our door will really be open to you all.

It’s been a pretty good journey for us really and a very big learning curve as well. Harold and I are like sponges – soaking up as much knowledge and understanding as we can where the gay community is concerned, as 2 years before, we knew really nothing.

One of the main highlights for me personally so far, is that of marching in the Mardi Gras alongside Sam this year. I felt so proud, not only of Sam but of everyone who marched. Harold will be joining us next year so I am so looking forward to that.

You are all amazing people, we love you all and everyone’s story is just so different and you all should be so proud of where you are at today.

I just want to finish with some words that are very special to our family and also relate to many of you here tonight. Some of you may not know, but we lost Harold’s mum and dad this year and his sister was diagnosed with leukemia in May also and is awaiting a bone marrow transplant as we speak and has been away from home (us) since May so it’s been a tough year so far.

These words were written on the chapel blackboard at the hospital the day that we lost Harold’s dad.

It’s called Today.

Today is ours – let’s live it

And love is strong – let’s give it

A song can help – lets sing it

And peace is dear – let’s bring it

The past is gone – let it go

Our work is here – let’s do it

The world is wrong – let’s right it

If evil comes – let’s fight it

The road is rough – let’s clear it

The future is vast – don’t fear it

Is faith asleep – let’s wake it

Today is ours – let’s take it

You are loved.

Thank you

Chapter Leader
Joined in 2008
October 14, 2011, 07:46

Love your work and your words, Helen. Sharing your (and Harold’s) journey is so valuable and encouraging for all of us – but especially for parents facing the same journey.

God bless ~ david

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
October 14, 2011, 08:59

Hi grebo5454

It’s wonderful to hear some of your journey. Your support of Sam, Ben and our community means so much.

There was really no indication that Sam was gay ever except for one Christmas I remember he was about 3 or 4 years old and he let his older cousins hang the tree baubles on his ears like earrings and thought he was just great and had them on most of the day (sorry son).

hehe 😀 From that, I wouldn’t have thought your son was gay. I mean I’ve known kids who do that who are not gay. The gay clubbing however……. well… that’s another story!! 😉

I love the poem at the end too – very poignant. Thanks for sharing it.

On another note, I’m sorry to hear your family has had such a tough year and wish you all the comfort you need to get through it.


Ann Maree

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
October 14, 2011, 11:25

Thanks Helen for sharing your journey. I remember reading your story when we first found out about Mr Summit, I was moved by your story, your love for your son is an inspiration. You have led the way for parents to join the Mardi Gars and who knows we may very well be marching with you next year. 🙂

I think it’s great to have follow up stories on how people are going, makes us feel a part of their lives.

I think all kids do the Christmas decoration type things as kids; boys play with dolls etc doesn’t mean they are gay. Yeah I think I would have cottoned on with the gay bars bit 8) , but hey you were just lost in spending time with your son wherever you were. Maybe that was his way of trying to tell you. 😉

When I read your story for the first time I felt for you only having one son and no prospect of grandchildren. I don’t think that is selfish it’s a natural part of being a parent, we love them being small and being with us all the time 0:) . We love it when they finally go to school and are not at our feet all the time. Look forward to them coming home. We have all the ups and downs of the teenage years. On the downs can’t wait for them to move out ha only joking :bigsmile: . Think about the fact that one day they will have partner and yes have children of their own. All part of being a parent, one thing I look forward to about my kids having their own children is payback, :bigsmile: for the time they were ratbags :p . And spoil them rotten, buy them all the noisy toys, hype them up, give them red cordial and lots of lollies and send them home. 😀 😀 😀 Drats I feel cheated that I miss out of that with Mr Summit, have to work out someone other way. :p

What I’m saying is there is no need for guilt, you are entitled to your thoughts and feelings as much as anyone.

Keep up the great work Helen; I really pray that you and Harold have a much better rest of the year.

God Bless

Joined in 2010
October 15, 2011, 18:38

🙂 Hi David, Ann Maree and Mother Hen

Thank you all soooo much for your wonderful words of encouragement and love. Life for us has settled down and is good at present. Harold’s sister (his only sibling) is now waiting for a bone marrow transplant and a donor has been found overseas somewhere. She is home for a few weeks waiting for the call to head back up to Brisbane. She is being very positive and it was a big decision for her but without the transplant, she would not be here by Christmas. Please pray for her that all goes well.

I also have had my mum (who was 82 yesterday) staying with us for a month. She had a big thing cut off her leg but is well enough now to be going home tomorrow. I will miss her but as she lives nearby, I see her every day.

@ Mother Hen, would be great if you march in Mardi Gras next year with us and I look forward to meeting you very much. The more parents we can get, the merrier and of course, show a more united front for the parents marching with their kids.

Your “clubbing” comments were really funny. I just love dancing and as you said, just spending any time with Sam in Sydney is very precious to me as we are very close. We did quite a few nights dancing into the weeee small hours (and outstaying the young ones) lol.

God bless you all and thank you again

Helen xx

Joined in 2011
October 16, 2011, 16:24

Hi there grebo5454 it is great to see that you have both come to a place

Of acceptance toward your son thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

Joined in 2010
October 16, 2011, 19:44

🙂 Thank you FreeinChrist88

You have probably read all my posts on the forum. We have always accepted Sam as a gay young man after he told us. As his parents, we just wish he had told us much sooner and he would have known (and should already have known) all along that he had our support and unconditional love and would not have had to “go it alone” moving to a city and knowing no one. However, that was the past and we now only live for today as life is too short and you don’t know what is around the corner as our family has found out this year. We did not dream that we would lose 2 precious family members only months apart this year so you just have to live for now and keep your faith strong.

God Bless

Joined in 2011
October 26, 2011, 13:00


Helen, thank you so much for sharing your history with us.

You gave me hope!



Joined in 2010
November 1, 2011, 07:08

Hi Filipe

Lovely to hear from you. I believe that parents also go through journeys that are very similar to yours in that we have to have understanding, feel comfortable with where we are at and acceptance and love from others around us too. It took me 12 months to tell some of my family members and also some of my work colleagues about Sam (and these people are like my extended family). I was very nervous telling my work colleagues but worried for nothing. I also found out that some of them also had gay siblings and family members too.

Just remember that God created you in his image and loves you no matter what.,,,you are never alone while ever you have him in your heart and life.

I’m sure your parents will come around eventually as it is a lot to comprehend initially but they do love you and sometimes parents feel embarrassed…..not of you or that you are gay, but just the thought of what others might think.

Please feel free to chat anytime (either private message or through the forum). I am always here.

Bless you heaps

Helen xx

Mother Hen
Joined in 2011
December 22, 2011, 13:41

Hi Helen,

Just want to wish you and your family and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We have really missed you on the forum lately. I know this year hasn't been the best year, with family health etc. I pray that next year will be wonderful, lots of good health all the way around.

I'm sure next year we will meet, I look forward to it.

God Bless

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