|So, how am I going to start telling you about my testimony?
My relationship with God was very conflictual, due to the family I was raised by, so I used to consider myself an atheist. Well, I might start this testimony off by telling you how He wanted us to meet.
When I was 16, I got engaged to a girl who now is my wife. She had a very strict dad, so we had to use every little opportunity to stay a little bit together. We also happened to have a friend in common, i.e. Miria Carchedi, who had just given her heart to Jesus. She invited us both to go with her to an evangelistic tent named “Christ is the Answer”, here in Rome. My fiance’ accepted, and so did I (mostly to be with her). After that evening, we decided to attend that tent again, till one day the preacher called people forward to the altar. I remember I said to God: “Hey you, great mustachio (that was the way I used to call Him), if you do exist, just touch my heart!”. That evening nothing happened and I spent another twenty-one years in a secular way in this world. I used to smoke cigarettes and joints, and at times I also sniffed cocaine, but no one knew -everybody thought I was a good dude who worked a lot etc. I got married when I was 23, and after one year I became the father of a very beautiful girl called Martina. Still, I was addicted to all those things I’ve listed up here. From 1993 through 2002 I lived in my parents-in-law’s apartment, and during all those years, my Evangelical mother-in-law kept telling me to repent because the end is near, but I just didn’t understand what she meant by that. Actually I used to ironicaly say “yes” to her, but in my heart of hearts I knew that was the real faith.
In 1996 my second child was born, and we named him Matteo. Then in 2002 we managed to buy ourselves an apartment. My wife and I were very happy because that dream did come true, but that happiness was about to finish. In July 2003 my father-in-law got really sick and after a few months he left us. Before dying he accepted Jesus as His personal Lord and Savior. Afterwards, even my brother-in-law got really sick, and he began with a strong chemotherapy which caused him a heart attack too.
During the summer, Pastor Gianluca, whose church my mother-in-law attended, visited him at the hospital along with his wife Miria. I remember asking rev. Gianluca if it wasn’t better for my brother-in-law to die straight away rather than suffering that much. His answer was it wasn’t his time yet, and mine was: “If God saves him then I’ll repent and accept Jesus too”. In his final days, my brother-in-law got saved! I remember that during his last days on earth, he used to greet his mom with “peace” instead of “hi”, and his face was serene. On January 20, 2005 he went to be with the Lord, and for us down here it was real sad. My wife was totally depressed, in about 18 months she lost her two heros.
After the funeral, Pastor Gianluca and Miria invited us for dinner at their place. It was February 11 and I remember I said this sentence as a joke: “Gianluca is my pastor, I shall not want”. Before leaving, rev. Gianluca invited me to his church the next day. He had invited me lots of times before, and I had always declined. This time I decided to go. That service definitely marked my life. I remember I sat on a chair near the entrance, ready to go away as soon as it was all finished. An American Pastor from Israel, named Rev. Santoro, preached that night. Brother Angelo Greco was his interpreter. The sermon was all about God’s calling to Moses, and I already knew that story as I had previously watched the movie “The Ten Commandments”. But I discovered Moses was actually an 80-year-old shy and stammering guy. After that overwhelming preaching, a blond lad walked toward me and invited me to go altar as the preacher wanted to pray for me. I wanted to be polite and I accepted that invitation, so that pastor began to pray for me in a strange way, then laid his hand on my head and I felt like electricity all over my body. I was shocked, I didn’t really know what was going on, and brother Greco whispered that Jesus wanted me to surrender my life to Him. In addition to this, he gave me a little New Testament book and told me to write my name in it. Something pushed me to do it, so I wrote my name in there, and went back home completely overwhelmed. My wife noticed something different in me, but she kept quite. The next morning I felt the need to go back to that church and understand what was happening in me, I kind of felt hungry for Him.
After a few Sunday mornings spent in church, my wife said to me: “What am I going to do all by myself?”, so I invited her to go with me, and that was when Jesus entered our home and changed all our life. His Word says: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). This verse has become my verse, for Jesus has started a restructuring work in me, he removed all the bad habits I once had and He still works in me like a perfect sculptor.