As a child, whenever something went wrong, I remember hearing my mother asking God for help. Sometimes, before going to sleep, she prayed, and that’s how I ended up memorizing some things. Just like I memorized the multiplication table at school, I also memorized the “Our Father” prayer. It was my obligation.
As a teenager, I took it upon myself to find answers to the questions and curiosities that come naturally during those years. My father and mother were always present, I had a house to live in, food to eat, a school to learn, money to spend; however, all these things weren’t enough for me. This was when cigarettes, alcohol and drugs played an important role in my life.
A profound emptiness deep within my being, plus an immense need to understand who I was, where I came from and where I was going, lead me on an endless search. I delved deep into to the study of various doctrines, sects and beliefs.
I can list a few: Sufism (Rajneesh), Shamanism (Carlos Castaneda), Spiritualism (Allan Kardec), Umbanda, Candomblé, Rosa Cruz, Projectiology (Waldo Vieira), Thelema (Papus, Aleister Crowley) etc.
There was a room in my own house reserved for prayers, sacrifices and the worship of “gods”.
Nothing changed in my life. The void was still immense. In fact, things always seemed to get worse, and as the days passed, I kept losing the control to change my life.
Curiously enough, when everything seemed to be lost the first prayer that came to mind was the one I memorized as a child. The One God that I felt was really present in my life was the One God who spoke to me during the “Our Father” prayer.
From cigarettes to alcohol, from alcohol to cocaine and, finally, I ended up using crack. My love life was in ruins and my finances were always unstable. This was all that happened in my life for as long as I dedicated myself to those “gods”, who insisted on convincing me that they would help and heal me. I became a slave to thoughts that did not belong to me.
However, I can say that this path taught me the only thing I’m completely certain about today: my God has always been faithful and fair, even when I pushed Him into the background. My God is infinitely merciful, even when I only sought Him during times of despair.
Today I’m sure that as long as I was looking for answers in lost places, I was never going to get the result and the transformation I really want in my life. I never imagined that my life would be transformed in the Universal Church.
I can say that when I set foot inside the UCKG I was an emotionally and financially destroyed drug addict. Almost lifeless. I had nowhere to go and had no strength. That’s why I had to humble myself and take back all the times I called Bishop Macedo a thief! I had to have courage and go ask for help.
I went to the UCKG after watching a TV program, where a man said: “It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’re religion is. Come as you are: a smoker, drug user… If you need help, I know how to help you… I am going to hold your hand and show you the way out of this maze!” I knew it was God speaking to me at that moment.
And that’s how it happened! Today I am healed. I attend meetings at the UCKG because I have peace and feel at home here. Now, it’s just me and my God – in the struggles, the victories, at all times.