Aussie dad escaped twenty years of self-destructive habits
Former male prostitute Thomas Wedge has travelled the world telling people there is everlasting hope freely available to those trapped by harmful addictions.
The American-born married father-of-one now living in Perth says his decade-long addictions to drugs and sex were sparked by a lack of love.
As a young teen Thom felt unloved by his wealthy father, yet he recalls a 27-year-old man "told me he loved me, and I had to give him my body for that love."
This childhood sexual abuse became a lifestyle choice upon adulthood as Thom told himself, "This is what I am going to be."
During his theatrical studies at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, Thom was miraculously and instantly healed of bronchitis and pneumonia.
Thom recalls, "I knew the healing was Jesus' doing," and he enquired what Jesus could do about his lifestyle until a church minister declined to help.
He found success as a TV and theatre actor in the Hollywood entertainment industry and embraced his homosexual attractions, as he felt more accepted in them than he had at the minister's church.
After attending sex clubs he became addicted to crystal meth and recalls having a "long string of boyfriends", which he says was emotionally painful.
"I disappeared into Hollywood sex clubs for up to five days. On meth I wouldn't eat or drink, and had very little water."
Thom sold his body for money and was about to enter adult films, but an audible voice saying "Don't" prevented him from visiting the film set.
It was when his friends began disappearing Thom realised his life had to change.
"Some were dead, diagnosed with HIV followed by AIDS, or in prison for drug crimes," he sadly recalls.
"I never completely trusted people around me in this lifestyle, but I found Christians were very nice to me. I was often choosing between a sex club or going bowling with a Christian young adults group."
He listened quietly to sermons at the back of a church.
But Thom was still consumed by his addiction. He felt miserable after numerous failed attempts at sexual addiction recovery programs, and tried overdosing on drugs.
Before he could overdose Thom says God inaudibly warned him: "Thom, I love you, but you reap what you sow."
A devastating HIV diagnosis motivated him to finally give Jesus control of his life.
Outside the clinic he went to the Bible in his car glovebox and happened to read God's offer of life and death to the people of Israel, recorded in Deuteronomy chapter 30: "Today, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life that both you and your descendants may live."
Immediately Thom prayed, "God, I want to live, but I don't know how I am going to do it."
As Jesus took control of his life Thom began reading the Bible systematically.
Weyman and Susan Howard, a Christian couple he had met three weeks earlier, warmly invited him to eat and stay at their house even as he continued attending sex clubs.
"Weyman and Susan won over my heart," Thomas explains. "I had a picture of Jesus and life outside of the sex clubs, and a place of peace with them."
One of many Christian men who prayed for him told Thom, "God says you are a worshipper, a brother, a man of God. You are gifted, you have skills and intelligence.'"
Thom then prayed, "Okay God, I don't identify with this new man they're describing, but that's the one with life and who I want to be. I am going to live as that because I know that is Your vision and I'm going to need your help."
Thom says surrendering his identity to God changed everything: "Jesus became Lord of my destiny."
He saw his mother change after forgiving his father. As he forgave his dad, Thom found freedom.
He began travelling the world with Weyman and Susan "to share God's love".
Thom met his Perth-born wife Misty at an English church in 2008 and today he mentors young men and runs his own men's skincare business.
He quotes Jesus' promise, "If you can believe [in Jesus], all things are possible for him who believes."
"Now you have heard my story, will you choose life? Choose Jesus!" Thom exhorts.
"G.K. Chesterton said the good news of Jesus has not been found wanting; instead, 'It has been found difficult and not tried.'"•