May God bless you even more and give us the joy of celebrating many more birthdays with you, together serving God.
I came to the Universal Church at the age of 12. I joined the youth group and in time became an assistant, but, because of pride, I became weak in the faith and fell away from God. This is when everything started to go wrong.
It took seven years of suffering, away from God, until I hit rock bottom. I tried to return several times, but never remained firm enough to truly surrender my life. Then, my marriage, which was my safe haven, came to an end. I lost everything.
I had two motorcycle accidents in two months, and almost died in the second one. I found myself alone, without strength and without the will to live. I wanted to put an end to everything, so I tried to commit suicide but was unsuccessful. I came to think that I wasn’t even good enough to die. I prayed to God every night not to wake up the next morning.
Everyone thought I was dealing with things quite well, but inside I wanted to die, even though I knew this meant going to hell, since I didn’t have the strength or courage to ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong things I did. I tried going out to parties and having fleeting romances, but nothing filled the void. It was like a black hole and everything I did to try to improve my situation seemed to disappear into the immensity of all the sorrow and sadness.
Until, I decided to return. For a long time I did things my way but nothing worked, so now I wanted it to be different. I said a prayer for help, because if God was seeing my suffering and everything that I had done, every time I wanted to die and, yet He protected my soul, then He could also make something happen. So I decided to surrender all my weaknesses, all my sins and all my life.
On New Years I decided to return. On that same day I was baptized in water and began to live differently. I had a real encounter with God. He healed me of all my sorrows, gave me direction, and I repented from all the wrong things I was doing. Then came the Fast of Daniel, and I saw the opportunity of having an encounter with the God I had often preached but did not know.
I endured 21 days of war against thoughts and situations. I set fire to everything that reminded me of the past; I went to Church every day; I confessed my hidden sins and asked everyone I may have offended to forgive me. There were days when I was bombarded by doubts, but on these days I ran to Church to evangelize, clean… Yesterday, on the last day of the Fast, things went awfully wrong at home, everything that happened irritated me, there were words of defeat but I was faithful and, on the last day, the last hours, the last meeting of the day and during the last minutes of seeking His presence, the answer came, I was overcome by the Holy Spirit.
An immense joy, a true peace within me… I didn’t even have any more tears and it was nothing like what I thought I had experienced in the past, crying and a feeling of well-being. It was just an assurance that I could hear the Holy Spirit say, “You’re my daughter and I never gave up on you. From now on you no longer need to cry. Just smile.”
At that moment I spoke in tongues, only a few words, but with conviction. It was the best experience of my life, nothing can compare and there is no longer room for doubts. Now I can look within myself and see that the void has been filled by the presence of God. Hallelujah!
Bishop, thank you for overcoming every battle in the ministry to bring Salvation. If you had given up, I would not be here today.
With great joy and gratitude, one more child was born.