My name is Jon Bean and I along with Steve Neyman make up the staff of the MST Project – Stateside. My journey toward the MST Project began early in life when I encountered pornography for the first time. I really had no idea what it was, just that I liked it. Oh, and I felt very, very ashamed.
This cycle of pleasure followed by shame became a constant habit for me. It took on many different forms but that cycle was always there. I heard a lot of judgment directed at me as well as others that shared my struggle as I went through life and that just succeeded in driving me further into myself, which was a bad place to be.
I tried accountability which I still do to this day but that only worked as long as I had the commitment to be completely honest and too many times my need for secrecy as well as a newly blossoming need to feel affirmed by others usually derailed those efforts. As I spiraled down, I started to feel like it was hopeless, that there was no chance that I would ever see freedom. This led me down paths of anger, apathy, isolation, fear, even suicidal thoughts.
I tried to lead this double life of addiction in private, while still balancing a healthy seeming life in public. One of the most destructive things about sex addiction is that there are no outward symptoms that people can look at and see that something isn’t right. If you can lie, you can hide.
A combination of things has contributed to my path to freedom including the forgiveness of my family and others that I hurt. An intellectual understanding of Gods grace, combined with a direct and personal experience of that grace in my life. I have seen that grace demonstrated by my wife and friends and I have seen it demonstrated by men who understood and cared about my healing and restoration.
It wasn’t an overnight process and it wasn’t just one man. It was a series of honest and open relationships based on compassion, honesty, and hope for what my heart could be when I allowed God to change it.
The men and women that make up the staff of the MST project come to this from different perspectives. We don’t have identical life experiences but what we do share is a compassion for men and a desire that will have a chance to experience the change that only God can make to their hearts.
We have heard some say that there isn’t really a point to this, that men don’t want to change and we should just leave them alone. We don’t agree. We have all experienced on a personal level the restoration and redemption that only God can give. We see this as a responsibility to take this message of love and redemption to men, one by one, and meet them where they are. We don’t wait. The love of God brought to them in a place and in a way that they don’t expect can have a powerful effect. We know that God’s love is available to all people in all places and we don’t have any other option but to put that into practice.
We know that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. That includes broken and hurting men in red light districts, men looking at porn or visiting strip clubs or however they try to medicate this brokenness. This is why we choose to take that message of God’s hope, healing, grace, and love to them.
Jon Bean is on staff with The MST Project – Stateside along with Steve Neyman. You can find them online at www.mstproject.com, on Twitter at @jonmstp and @stevemstp or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/MST-Project-Stateside