MY LIFESTORY

CHAPTER 1

 

I was born in the southern part of Angola. My father is Portuguese; my mother is a descendent of the South African settlers who moved into Angola about two hundred years ago. Being born catholic, I’ve never been a practicing one, although I feared all things Catholics normally do fear. I feared any supernatural thing – and God happened to be a supernatural being to me – and just the knowledge of anything supernatural would make me tremble. I couldn’t yet figure out the difference between spiritism and God, witchcraft and holiness, or any other evil practice and the things of God. For me, it amounted to the same thing, and because I did not know anything about the things the Lord would do for me, I would mix them all up in my little mind simply because of the fear of them.

As a child I was very much alive, naturally born naughty and had a special passion for soccer to the point of becoming outstanding in it. At school I was naturally successful, not caring that much about being responsible because I was never taught to be so. I used to live pretty wild, just as a wild mountain goat, even though I had the most loving father and mother who managed to do their best in raising me up. I lived as if the whole world had just been created for me, wild in African style, careless about life or any thing else, and as happy as can be. 

My father contributed a whole lot to that kind of free, enterprising spirit. He was the one trying always to make me feel handsome and free. We were given our presents as rewards always for some thing achieved, like passing school and such like things. I can recall many happy moments spend on my father’s lap driving as well, and even feeling like a handsome driver, though my mother was always alert showing out some concern on her beautiful face because of these driving sessions. So, up to when I was about ten years old, I have been a normal, happy and healthy child. From that time on though, I started to experience some of the many, sudden big changes my life would suffer in years to come.  

In a sad Saturday morning, I was run over by a bicycle on my way to the school soccer field. This first warning that my life was on the verge of changing forever, took me to hospital, and ever since, I kept visiting hospitals or witchdoctors, spiritists or whomever my parents would manage to take me to. Even so, I can trace a powerful Hand in all things happening to me ever since, both good and bad things, which left their unmistakable stamp on my life forever. Even when in sin I was kept living for the very purpose of meeting Him one day, just as would be possible to happen to anyone really. But allow me to tell my story to you. 

A few weeks after being run over, I started to feel sick about something. I was taken to hospital by my parents and was diagnosed to carry pneumonia. The young female doctor, who happened to diagnose that horrible sickness on me, was doing her first year in hospital as the practical year of her course. We were all surprised that she did go consult some of her many books so she could be able to carry out the whole consultation. That is how she managed to prescribe whatever she thought and read would grant me a speedy recovery from coughing and bad spitting! The biggest surprise however, was when we were given, at the nearest pharmacy, all the things she had prescribed: it was close to a ton of injections and medicine boxes. My poor mother almost fainted when she saw all the pharmaceutical stuff I was to be treated with. A few moments of silent reflection and of counseling between mom and mom, from self to self, was enough to decide I was to be taken to a different doctor all together. It had been clearly decided also that I would never stay at the hospital, because my father did not trust them.  

My mother has always possessed this natural gift of knowing a ‘lot’ about medication herself, and that made her give a good suspicious look at what she bought at the pharmacy. The amount of it shocked her. So being, she hid half of it and the other half she took to show the new doctor we were to see near our home. But surprise of all surprises: this new doctor cut off half of the remaining half of the initial purchase - I was commanded to be treated with less than a quarter of the original prescription; the prescription was good the amount bad; but it still happened to be too many injections in my own point of view. Yet, as doctors and moms do always carry our best interest at heart, soon therefore, I would be resigned to my poor luck. From there on my only concern would be that each box of that medication meant a hole in my skin, and judging from the amount of it, I could suppose I would just look like a fishing net as soon as they had finished with me! To my best idea, the solution to all my mom’s concerns would be so easy, if that would only depend on me: I would just throw all that stuff away! I wouldn’t mind to cough as I did for a while! I never thought something bad would ever happen to me! The whole world belonged to me, and it would be just a question of time to get well and not of injections and medicine! That’s how I would have looked upon the whole matter, but I was left with no other option but to be fiercely made full of holes all over my lower back!  

For more than one month I did go to be injected twice a day, as far as I can recall. I was so sore I could hardly touch my waste. I felt miserable and had such impatience in recovery that I could hardly wait to see the day dawn that I was to be allowed to go and play with my schoolmates again, especially in the soccer field! I looked forward so much to that day I was to kick a ball again, and to be given back a normal life at last, I even started to think myself well and healthy so I could be taken back to my old normal living. But my mom and family would never believe me, nor allow me to go and run. I did what people do with doctrines and things they wish for intensely: they start to believe a lie because of some desired truth. Unfortunately, the normal life I desired after would never make it my way again.  

It was a Sunday afternoon and I happened to be playing outside with my cousins. Slowly, I felt a rising pain on one of the spots where I had been given those unwanted injections. It got worse as time went by, and soon my complaint was expressed to my grandmother, in whose home I had been staying because my parents were absent four hundred kilometers south in a cattle farm we owned at the time. Things got worse, so much so that towards the end of the day I was experiencing such unbearable pain that none seemed to be able to know what do to help me out of it. Have you ever seen a pig being slaughtered? That’s just how I would scream for relief from the unbearable hell which happened to visit me in such an unexpected manner. The pain was feasting on me, and soon it took a grip on both sides of my heaps. I had to be taken to hospital, and, as if such indescribable pain was not enough to be killed through, imagine who did I see there to consult me! It was the very doctor who prescribed four times more injections than those which I thought had put me in the hell I then found myself in! Oh my, I thought, ‘that is the end now’.  

I saw her going to consult her books again even though that should not be that surprising at all. To me she a perfect portrait of a bad witch consulting some wizard books to find the best way she could use to exterminate me speedily and to make me scream. My parents being away in that cattle farm in the Namibian border of Angola, left me alone to convince a grandma she should not allow that doctor to consult again and decide anything concerning my welfare – but there was none to believe me when trying to tell them this was not a good doctor. I was risking and asking to be slapped in my face if I said anything bad about the doctor! And there came the expected bad news: I was to be injected on the hot painful spots at my back right there! She called upon a male nurse as the chief commander in charge she was trying to be, and ordered him to do his job on me. She disliked me, I thought, that’s why she called upon a stronger helper from her magical pit. How could she kill pain injecting into the very sore spots? I screamed and screamed but to no avail. Surely, that could not be that good a doctor, injecting on pain to kill pain away! 

Afterwards I was taken home and put to sleep upon my dear mom’s bed so I would feel better! At least there I would think about mom, and nurture some closeness to her by crying on her pillow. I fell asleep. After a while, though, I did wake up in terrible agony again. Once more I was raced to the hospital where my worst nightmare ever was to consult me again. The books said something once more and I saw two more injections coming, one on each side. It was morphine and it did bring a whole lot of mischief. But that would not be all, the worst was still to come: the order came, which admitted me into hospital. My parents were not there, so my poor grandmother and uncle would just consent to it afraid of being the responsible ones to take me home as I was. I reminded them my father did not allow me to stay in that hospital when I was taken ill by pneumonia, but that would be a useless effort – the doctor’s word was made to prevail. 

They took me in and I was just waiting for the first slack moment in them, while filling all forms for admittance, so I could run away from whoever was trying to imprison me there. The male nurse held and put me on hospital trolley, because there were no vacant beds in hospital - one more reason for them to let me go, I thought, but they would just not listen! Not even Grandma! As soon as they left me unguarded, I jumped off and aimed right to the nearest door, to run away as fast as I could! But to worsen my nightmares, suddenly there was something wrong with my legs for they would just not correspond to the command of my already running mind. I did get to give a few steps forward though, but could go no further than those because I was slowly going down. I found myself struggling to be up on my feet again, but there was no way I would manage to run away at all. The bad witch’s nurses lifted me up and put me on bed once more.  

I fell asleep at once. So deeply into sleep was I carried that it seemed to me I was taken to the worst, most far away place in the whole world. Late at night I woke up and could not get loose from the grip of the leather belts I had been bound with to prevent a new escape in case I woke up unnoticeably. I called for someone to help me out. The bad witch’s male nurse emerged from darkness and lingered silently through the half dark door and asked what I wanted. I think I lied to him when I said I wanted to go to the toilet, because I believe I woke up thinking to run away from there. He got me out of bed grumbling at me because it seemed I could not move by myself. After a while he managed to sit me up, took me out of bed and to put me on my feet. But, to the amazement of all, an abyss sucked me in as if it were a black hole under my feet. I fell to the ground and the nurse stood there looking at me, bewildered in amazement and very shocked. He couldn’t believe what he saw happening right in front of his eyes. After the shock was over, some people came in I think, and they tried to put me up on my feet again but to no avail - there was no way they could obligate my legs to correspond to their best wishes. I was lame and nobody could figure out why.  

There was I left to sleep, thinking I was only having a kind of nightmare, which had been of a more real kind than usual and which would pass away as soon as I woke up. Early the next morning though, for each eye I opened up from that deep sleep which I thought was giving me a terrible nightmare, two white-robed people would appear. I called the attention of many people, so maybe I would be walking home now, I thought. But no, surprisingly somebody came in with a huge needle in his hand – it was more or less ten centimeters long. That thing was to be stubbed in between my vertebra so that they could extract some liquid to be taken in for analysis so they would be able to find out what was wrong with me. The following days granted me no peace whatsoever, and I was forced to feel over flooded with continuing bad happenings. Blood samples were taken day after day; my whole body was searched and stubbed for a conclusive cause for whatever had happened to me. No doctor would, however, be able to find out what kind of thing or sickness did come over me so suddenly. For the following years, even in South Africa, nobody was ever conclusive in stating what had happened to me. Years later some doctor who did operate on me in a South African hospital, did mention something about there being some slight after signs of poliomyelitis, but no certainties were ever put forward. Whatever it was, I was never to walk normally again, so whether these would find out what had happened to me or not, all I wanted to do was I to be able to walk normally again.  

This is where a fight for inner survival started off and to live on with me wherever I would be thrown to sojourn. I started to live as if I had to “strengthen what remains” so my useless crown would not be taken away from me somehow. The concern the face of all grown ups around me showed off, which I was able to sense fiercely, granted me the reasons I would use to face things as if nothing real bad happened around me and that there was nothing but the unknown future ahead of me! I started to fight unconsciously for a survival which seemed certain yet so impossibly far away, not only in time but especially in achievement. I was dragged down into a search of all soul resources I never thought I possessed, to obligate them to serve me anyhow, somehow, because I granted myself no time to think that I would not be able to attain to life as a victor only. It was as if I knew instinctively I would be turned into a salt pillar if I dared to look back towards something I had lost. Yet, I was just too blinded by effort not to look to anything else but to survival-masked effort alone. I never saw too far away ahead of me anyway – I was blind and lost and knew not why. 

One day my mother lifted up my bed’s sheets, in hospital, and she was suddenly angry: I was full of bleeding sores all over my back because nobody did turn me over so now and then. All kinds of uninvited guests were there to torment a hopelessly bed stricken body who was now trying to figure a way out of a nightmare, a bad dream, by taking refuge in flourishing imaginations. I thought I was to wake up soon from some reality I never could fight off me. I was a soul bound to a suddenly unmoving body, which could not correspond to my wishes any longer.

I was taken home, and nobody dared to withstand my mom’s anger, seeing she was raging like a wild bear. There are times a mother’s anger makes us happy. That anger backed me up and made my desire to go home fulfilled. “I told you, Grandmother – I should have never stayed here!”

Back to my room I could not even sit up in bed. One day I fell down because of trying to sit up on my own. My whole family tried to cheer me up though, but everybody could not but show off that feeling of a sudden sadness concerning the whole event. I was paralyzed. Their sadness would just glow out of all of them, no matter how much they would try to cheer me up. But there was something which started to glitter out of the eyes of my uncles, nephews and parents, once they would not be able to hide sadness from their way of dealing with me. Everybody started believing somewhere in this wide world there must be someone who could make me well again. That’s how my father felt about it too, even though he thought about doctors while all others thought about spiritism and witchcraft. He started to spend a fortune in taking me everywhere he would hear of somebody who might be able to heal me. And as soon as the hope in doctors faded away, he started to take to African and white witchdoctors and spiritists against his own beliefs, actually to anyone who was thought to be able to enhance some kind of miracle upon my non-walking body. My father and mother would spend so much time believing that at any time someone would somehow show up to achieve the impossible – however contradicting, hope abounded somehow. My parents were so amazing I cannot describe all they did for my sake at this point of my changed life. But life was to be disgraced only outside my imagination, for within it, I would still be running very fast. I simply refused (up to this very day) to see myself as not being normal – even in my dreams I was always either walking or running, it just would not be any other way. 

I slowly recovered all sensibility in my legs, and soon I was walking on crutches. This was not what I desired to have though, but the sudden freedom from bed these crutches granted me, would take me to extreme efforts to recover my normal life back again. Soon I would even try to play soccer in crutches and my nephews and some friends would always have to consent to it so everybody would feel happily comforted: me because I was a partner in their games, and them because there would be a kind of compulsion to take me into their playing sessions. But these uncared, unleaded efforts in such conditions to be back to normality, damaged my whole body - some muscles developed more than others and my back started to bow to the right side and to become somewhat twisted. I would climb trees only with the efforts of my arms, jump walls - actually anything my friends would do. There would be nothing my friends would do that I would not try at, with the exception of the obvious impossibilities like running and walking normally. I made it an obligatorily must to imitate everybody, but most things would only be working out in my own mind alone! This attitude of trying to surmount any kind of difficulty would carry me for years and years to come. My whole life was a sudden challenge, it had been turned into a daring adversary and there was no way I was to be defeated ever – so I thought and hoped! 

This is also where my unconscious search for God started off, I think. There was a huge set backing disappointment on all my hopes because no matter how hard I tried, life would just not return to its normal way, the one I knew of any way. My parents would take me to spiritists and witchdoctors, fake miracles bubblers, even to a priest who did cause such an impression on me and on my poor father who did never like to believe anything else besides the normal human side of things. I recall how we did go to this priest who did claim to be an amazing miracle worker. Everybody did mention things about him all over the country at the time, saying he could perform great miracles in the name of Jesus. Even though my father has never been a believer openly, he consented to go there together with some other people who did turn to be our friends because they, like me, were looking for some kind of cure for their individual maladies.  

I do recall that we did ride in three different cars: my father and I and a teacher of mine’s husband in his newly bought car, and all the women in my father’s car, we all obeying some kind of apartheid system which my father implemented jokingly. There was another couple driving in a separate car, the man having lost his memory for some reason I slightly recall had been some kind of accident somewhere. I was now about twelve years old. The car my father and me were in was a recent acquisition of its proud owner who manifested continually his contentment with his newly bought car. We were to drive more or less 500 km to this amazing priest. On our way, the proud owner of that Datsun 212 (I think!), ‘conceded’ my father the honor of trying out his newly acquired vehicle. But as soon as my father had his grip on the steering wheel, something strange happened which shocked its owner: my father said there was something wrong with his new car! The poor man could not believe it, for my father said that there was some kind of problem with one of the wheels of the motive of his pride and contentment, or some other steering problem he could not account for. He could guarantee that the car was so now and then willing to go off the road. The man made it a point to see for himself whether this amazing thing my father was saying about his new car was true or not, seeing he had been driving for so long without noticing anything specially wrong with it at all. The man gripped firmly on the steering wheel and nothing happened – it was such a sight just to see the relief on his face as soon as he concluded that the pressure moved to whom criticized his automobile. My father was now the one to be shocked at his remark that there was nothing wrong with it, and that there was no other reason for these statements he made. Another change of seats took place upon the request of my father and the people in the other cars were left to guess what was happening between them. And to the amazement of all there was this sudden pull upon the steering of the car forcing it out of the road. “I told you”, my father said somehow relieved, seeing he did not seem that happy about having people think he had been inventing – and there was this man convinced at last that there was a slight problem with the new toy of his. But, we came to find out later that it was no mechanical defect at all, and that to the relief of that poor owner! 

We arrived at this town of which I cannot recall its name now, just in time to attend one of this priest’s spiritism performances. There was a strange man outside who, I suppose, was attracting people to the site by turning his eyes so that we would see only the white part of them while he was having them wide open and lying on the ground of the courts which were used to bring about some of the so-called miracles of this priest. He would fall in the green grass of the porch of that house, and lied down on strange positions having his feet under him while lying down on his back. My father and I went in against my father’s will, seeing he disliked these kinds of supernatural things. But because he was to carry me in, he could do nothing else but obey mom.  

The two of us sat down on the floor right in front of the priest who had been installed on a long bench, having two women on each side of him. They were facing us and there was an open space in between. I recall thinking I was looking into the very eyes of someone who I guessed was a saint of some kind, by the fame we heard of about this small man dressed in the traditional black costume of a Roman Catholic priest. As he started to mention some kind of prayers I’m not able to recall at all, suddenly one of these medium women fell down in the open space between us and the bench they sat upon. She was fierce and red eyed, spiting anger all over. The priest put one foot on her body and she lay down respecting the authority of that foot on her. The demon, which possessed this poor woman, was real and shocking: there was no lying about it, as was the case of the man outside, maybe. The priest called upon the spirit and commanded him to tell all why he’d come there and what was his business all about. He answered in screaming anger that he would love to be able to kill the little boy and his father who were sitting there in front of him. I think she did not look our way at all, seeing she was only looking submissively to this amazingly calm priest – I suppose her hands were not allowed to move either. Somehow I guessed this demon was talking about my father and me and the directions of her raging, red eyes took once she was given permission to do so, confirmed my fears and my heart started to beat faster. But I thought I shouldn’t fear at all, seeing I was in the presence of a holy man! But, there was I, amazed at this thing that somebody who had died long ago, wished to kill me since birth for a reason I would never know! This is what I believed at the time, seeing I did not know anything truthful concerning these occurrences. I know today from the Bible there is no such thing as people coming back to this living world from where they are for sure, after they die. These were fallen angels alright, trying to impersonate some dead person somewhere.  

The priest lifted up his foot from on her and commanded the spirit to show out whom he was referring to. This possessed woman got up so rapidly and went straight to me and my father. My heart jumped up into my mouth and I started to fear for my life. She beat my father so hard on his face, with such rage glittering from her, that my poor father wouldn’t even dare to slightly react to this. He was stoned and surprised. The priest yelled at the demon so he would go back under his foot. Then an amazing statement was done through the mouth of the poor unconscious woman with a man’s voice. The demon laughed with screeches from hell, mocking at my father for the happenings on the way there. It said my father was so foolish as to think there had been something wrong with the car, it being he trying to kill us on the way there, so we would not get ‘where we could be helped’. (Mark just how this demon was trying to make people believe in this evil priest to bind them altogether! This was a way of making people believe in his devilish powers as being good – this had been a handsome piece of marketing done for the devil and his ways, granting credibility to this priest’s work by the words ‘coming there to be helped’. The demon was playing the role of the bad guy here, so the priest could go on entangling people with evil practices by playing the role of the powerful one, thus robbing people from their peace forever by spiritism). It said it tried also to kill me time and time again but unsuccessfully. I’m not trying to grant credibly to these devilish statements, because the devil loves to lie, either it be through truth or not – all I’m trying is, as far as I can recall, to state faithfully from my recollections, all those things which happened right there in front of me. I know now these demoniac powers are real and that they are there to deceive only, either through truth or through any amount of blunt lies, whether they do good things or not! So, whether these statements were true or not, it remains evil and will surely bring hell into people’s lives now, and the lives of people into hell, later, after death – all about it smells as sulfuric as the very smoke of hell. 

Afterwards my mom took me to see this strange priest, seeing my father refused to get himself more involved with things he had always been refusing to believe to be there, it is, life beyond our sight; he did not want to involve himself any further into something he would not be able to explain ever, without going against his beliefs and misconceptions about life. We went into the local church where the priest was ‘counseling’ whoever would go there to be seen by him. He took a huge key out his pocket and said some kind of silent prayer upon me while using it by crossing it (up and down, left and right) over my body, just as Catholics do their things. He said he was closing my body against bad spirits or something like that. We were also counseled to buy a bottle of some liquid the priest prayed upon so I would drink from it so now and then, when at home. I never came to taste it! Back home and for a long time, we did not talk about anything else but this occurrence, my father being quiet enough about it so he would not have to talk himself into something he resented knowing about, especially after having been beaten by a woman against whom, he said, he could not respond in the same way! I think he thought these people used this kind of cover up so a woman would beat a defenseless man for once!  

Besides this, I was taken all over to visit strange people at strange sites but never do I recall having my father go with us but only to traditional doctors and healers again. My mother though, would be taking me everywhere she thought there could be somebody able to heal me, doctor or not – especially when my father was not around. But the hope of seeing me walking again would be fading away like a cloud does in a desert during a hot sunny day. At a certain point, as hope was slowly taking shapes of resignation at my fate, only my parents would still believe some miracle would still be possible. But, within me, I developed this strange way of fighting for survival, now accepting realities as enemies and not so much as unreal things anymore, now imagining myself out of unwished nightmares, and sometimes fighting my way out of them. For me, it did not matter just how hard it would be to carry out something – I would try all I could to survive within the realm of a new view of normality. I lived each of my days dreaming my limitations away by facing them with a strange confidence of being able to overcome them all somehow, but mostly by disregarding them as impossible obstacles – I would try anything out which would make me be better than others, or even just feel better by lying to evidence. I hoped within there would be nothing that I would not attempt at to allow me to look at myself as somebody normal and healthy again, as confident as I have always been. As I’ve said before, I recall that even in dreaming at night I never saw myself as a non-walking person. I would always be running faster than all, jump higher than all and even fly away from enemies who would run faster than me and from whom I would not be able to run away – I would just fly away from them all and pass over them and mock them. I always managed to escape from any kind of enemy my dreams would bring about. I remember that even from my nightmares I did flirt a way out, so much so that I would laugh at myself while waking up from them. However amazing this might sound, this dreaming way of mine has been reality searching all the time. I came to the point of sorting out things for myself and sorted out that even nightmares were unreal mind imaginations which should never scare me away, so much so that I found a way out of them forever. I have never had one single nightmare ever again Because I would tell myself (while having them) “Oh, they are just dreams – nothing much, really”! That’s how I would not even be afraid of them anymore.  

This kind of life searching through deep hope and non optional deep dumpings and baptisms of myself into life realities and truths concerning the things I did not love to look at from an aware point of view, was bringing me unaware to the track of searching for reality within, for truth above, something which eventually drove me to Jesus in such a real manner I will try to describe ahead as accurately as I possibly can. I feel I am given grace to be truthful concerning life issues, so much so that the verse in the Bible that says “thou desireth truth from within, oh Lord” was never optional to me – it became a daring demand to look at truth as it is and not as me and people around would like to make me believe it to be. I can say with my chest full of strength and truth that a crumbling heart not denying truth concerning life matters, is never to be denied salvation unto by this most amazing Lord I did manage to meet face to face in a invisible way, but which left no doubts as to Whom came to stay within and without wherever I would go, for “lo, I am with you always”, He said. 

I was attending school normally and the classes I loved most were mathematics and moral and religion. I used to love the religion classes because there was a man behind the cloak of a Roman Catholic priest telling us some Bible stories I loved to hear. (I did feel awkward though, attending church, seeing I never felt at home in that environment which would never satisfy my inward, now inborn, thirst for and after truthful things – what did happen here within a Roman Catholic religion, did also manifest itself in the protestant churches I started to attend later in South Africa, even though I would always agree to what these latter ones would mention about the Bible). I could hardly wait for the appointed day these Bible stories would be brought to us. I would spend much time to calm myself down the night before I was to attend these classes of Bible stories. I lived them inwardly, and ate them with such gladness of mind that all minutes before these classes were always too long. I recall the one about David and Goliath - I wouldn’t loose one single thing out of it, and this one specifically I would always remember: even the details of how this priest brought this amazing story to my hungry soul, his ways of telling it, his arm movements of how David threw that fatal stone into the forehead of the enemies of God, actually all of it I perceived and ate so as to hunger for more the week after. I would go home wishing for that class again and again. I loved this black man so much, I could hardly wait to talk personally to him so he could tell me more and more of these stories and maybe about the God of them. I thought that man would be so holy. Even though I lived these stories within pretty much like children do with nowadays stories, still I was so moved with the possibility of God being real and amazingly good, seeing God Himself was the good guy in all of them – this was hope in fact. But it did not last long because I found the priest smoking a cigarette in his office.  

He was sitting upon his table dragging smoke in with such pleasure that it crushed down my heart to the dust! I don’t know why I felt that way at all, seeing I did not regard sin as sin yet – but I had such hope that this was to be the man who could tell me something about God, that my heart broke with a strange kind of disappointment. I would hardly recover from that fatal blow. For some strange reason I felt alone in this world again, there being none to help me. I hoped God was real after all, and there all my hopes in a living God crumbled down into a mountain of degenerating disappointment.  All my hopes were set upon this priest and I felt he had betrayed me somehow. All of a sudden life stopped making sense again and I was left to the idea that the God Who helped David against Goliath was become a normal story after all, instead of a real one. I had God in my mind close to a real being, and now He seemed to have withdrawn to a far away fairyland I did not desire to reach anymore. I eventually found God when I was over twenty years old but the reality I did slip into from these stories would make me so unsatisfied with religious worship and unless I could come to find God in a real manner, I would not be able to bear to hear a lie again, nor would I consent to be lied to ever again. From then on I always refused to believe any lie concerning God, and unless God would become real to me I would just not give in to any given religious ways. I found Him eventually, and this is why I am telling my story to you, so you may know God is real. Maybe the Lord looked towards me because of these kind of crushes and truthful disappointments of soul – did you ever imagine God not leading, someone, anyone, into life eventually, taking such anywhere in the world so one is to find Him? Even towards children the word goes out like this: “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards Him”. There was none though, to tell me “be strong, therefore, and let your hands not be weak”, and because of that I struggled for many years to find Him and to know Him properly, as He is and not as He is made to look like through the fainting, fading lives and ‘lights’ in church benches nowadays! I struggled either believing it was possible or many times just refusing to believe any kind of lies again. I believed and believed not at the same time, how that was possible I do not know. Even if you are a pastor in any church, remember that there is still time. Make haste to find God and stop arguing doctrinally while there is still hope.

 

CHAPTER 2

THE WAR IN ANGOLA AND HOW I EVENTUALLY FOUND GOD

 

The war in Angola was just on the verge of hitting the southern part of it, just where I lived. This was one more reason why my world was to be evermore limited to my own imagination: there was very little in life I would like to face openly. But even so, I managed to live through by regarding at reality hoping to find a life somehow I knew nothing about. But, anything coming my way, which did not fit into my capacities was turned into a enormous Goliath I was to beat at any cost by imagining myself out of it – that was never mistaking realities for what they are not; no, not at all. Actually, I could not see life but as a continual challenge, which would kill me eventually, unless I did fight a way out through it using all I could calmly. Just as I always tried to find some manner to slip out of my most stubborn nightmares, I also gripped upon life with such honor that I could never explain just how it did happen. And now that the hopes in finding a real God had been put down, I was becoming somewhat bitter in my fight for survival. Everything turned to be a huge dispute between life and death in my imagination, where I was trying to submerge as nothing else but the only victor ever. I would go to school also thinking I would have a daily challenge ahead and not a normal school day at all. All I did was most times taken out of proportion and into an imaginary fight that was only challenged to eventually become real somehow. I could not think I would be a David seeing that pained my heart and hopes to think about a God who possibly did not exist. But, even so, I have always been in a perfectly normal world as far as my imagination is concerned. 

But imaginations do also glance at reality to find its counterfeiting, proportional feedings. So, soon I was to be taken out to the real world with a mind full of solutions and surmounting capacities created and forged only within fire and conceiving grips of the furnace of unreality. I somehow started off to live abruptly believing all was normal just as it were. This is what usually happens to children who are to adapt to a newly forced lifestyle. My imagination was there only to make it beautiful though, to give color to this most black and white picture I was never able to escape from – and soon it turned to be a bloody picture because of the tales of war I would hear from adult people. I often would overhear people expounding how people would slay and shoot others out of revenge and later for some kind of pleasure I would not be able to understand. 

In the beginning of 1976 that we headed towards the Namibian border to prevent our death. But, as soon as we arrived at the border, we were taken captive by the South African Army under the suspicion of being spies seeing we were so late in fleeing from our homeland. We tried to tell them that we waited till then just so we could see whether things would be irreversible or not. But our fate seemed to be stamped with no turning back possibility. The Lord was gracious to us though, and some of my mom’s family members, who lived in Namibia being South African citizens, came to our help. They proved we were South African descendants trying to flee from the war into Namibia, and that we had family and blood bonds to the South African settlers who moved into Angola more than one century before. With some degree of difficulty, we managed to escape either from a turning back to Angola or from being shot as spies – I can’t affirm firmly those were the options, but I overheard grownups talking about it and mentioning having to be killed for spying, and that, if we were lucky, we would only be sent back to the bullets of stupid guns fired by devilish men. Eventually, all worked out well and from there on to be considered worthy to staying in the country was but a small step. Soon all of us were given permanent residence papers with which we could go and live freely anywhere within South African rule. After three years I applied for SA citizenship and it was granted to me, and this citizenship I keep close to my heart and bear with joy. If I were not a pilgrim heading to heaven, the next thing I would cherish would be my being a grand grandchild of a South African settler, besides being part of a nation who challenged a world to find out what stayed overseas to which Vasco da Gama belonged to also. But I love to be a single pilgrim heading Home, and because of that I rest not until I’ve accomplished all for which I was called to do for my Lord. 

The first people to try to convert us to their beliefs in Namibia were Jehovah witnesses, though. It is interesting to notice that as soon as someone intends to set his heart to find some truth about God, biblical tourists manage to arrive and appear at our doorstep from every possible corner somehow. But I could not see fault in any person who talked about God. My intentions were to find out all things about the Lord, because I would love to meet Him face to face just to ask Him a few things. I thought it strange therefore, that some Dutch Reformed Christians despised them openly for their wrong teachings, they would say. My small mind could not understand how a believer could despise somebody who was talking about God. We were not used to that in Angola, and to have somebody talk about God was amazing to me, unless they would be as that priest who crumbled my hopes to naught.  

Since the last person who said something about God to me, even though I was part of a huge class, had been that poor sinning priest who broke to pieces all hopes I had in an existing of God, I amused the impression that this country that took us in with such great hospitality, was a great country because they talked a lot about God in the streets! Even though it had been strange to me to hear that, I started to regain all my lost hopes that God would be real after all, and that maybe that priest said the truth about David and Goliath and that there must have been some mistake about my interpretation about it all. After all, it was just smoking, I thought, only something for which my father, up to a point, would beat me up if he would catch me doing it. These countries like Angola, actually all Roman Catholic countries, are crying out to find out about God, but it seemed necessary that I had to move into a country I could not understand the language of, to hear about my Lord! Christians, please mark this because the Lord of the harvest might not forgive you because of it! There are people everywhere in this wide world of ours who would love to have someone to pray with them and find God for sure, just while you and many others sit back comfortably spending your God given time on earth to discuss football results, worldly movies and such like things, and maybe spending your money on beer while thousands would love to have a single Bible which they cannot afford! 

I was taken straight away to the best doctors we could find. The only good thing about all this though, was that I never again consulted witchdoctors and spiritists. It was decided that I was to go to a special school in Kimberley (the most famous city of the last century because of its diamonds and now because of its big hole all that digging left behind), deeper into the heart of South Africa, about 3000 kilometers away from my family. I was about fourteen years old, and it came as a huge blow to my heart. This was to be the next irreversible life change which surprised me, and like the others, I did not like its mood at all. My heart fell into such degradable sadness, that I was never to be the same happy child again. I felt abandoned somehow, but could never figure out by whom.  

I picked up the habit of smoking when I was about six. I went to this school full of hidden anger and sadness and there the teachers and school directors warned me I was not allowed to smoke since I was but a little boy. I rebelled and said my father felt sad about me smoking, but since he had allowed me to do so, why would they try to impose something on me? I became a mixture of sadness, anger, revolt and handicapped limitations. The reason why my father consented me to smoke was that I had always been strong-minded about it, (and I was fourteen years old already!). Besides, my uncles talked my father into allowing me this vice because they would argue that that was the only enjoyment I could take out of life. He agreed I could smoke but that he wished so much I did not and that I would grant him such a huge joy if I came to quit it one day. 

In the beginning of 1977, I started school in Kimberley. That year I quit smoking because I was so far away from home and I would like so much to have my father feel happy about something he strongly desired. It had been a way, to a certain extend, to be pleasant to a far away father and so my own mind would find some rest by doing something I knew would be good and well done at last. This is where I started to attend church. (I recall having gone once or twice to the Roman Catholic church in Angola and being so disappointed about the cathequese classes, for all they did was painting Bible stories on books and collecting pictures about diseased saints, and consequently no real God had ever been presented to me!) All students were asked what church they belonged to, and seeing I was Roman Catholic, somehow I pressed that upon all because it helped me not to have to feel to be denying home and a tradition I actually never thought anything about up until now. I felt homesick, so keeping my roots would perhaps ease up my heart bursting feelings. Soon, though, I started to attend the Dutch Reformed Church at the school grounds with my new mates, and especially because to attend the Roman Catholic services I was taken by bus, alone, into town. Everybody had to go to church on Sundays, those were the orders from the school principal whom everybody obeyed. I thought that going into town to attend services was too much trouble having a church so near. Still, I could not yet design what the difference was between all denominations and until very later on I did not come to conclude why there were so many churches seeing there was only one almighty God I still had not been able to find and talk to. I did not realize that the amount of churches there are resembles actually just how many people are wrong instead of right, because the more churches there are, the more wrong people there is. 

For me, everything amounted to God searching eventually, and all image worship, like spiritism and the like announced me the same message up to then. My heart was far away from God though, and I so thirsted for Him unknowingly, that I was confused about all my feelings. I started off by thinking I had to know as much as I could about the Bible, and seeing we were obligated by internal school laws to have personal time for praying and Bible reading in our rooms twice a day, where none was to attempt to make as much as a single sound, I managed to stand out and do better than all by reading it properly. The more I read though, the more turmoil there was in my devilish soul. The most stupid thing I tried at was to think that knowledge was it, and that that would be the way to find God. I was carrying it out as I did school work. Since I attended church regularly, none inquired me about my soul’s welfare, so I was made to think everything was all right with me and consequently I started thinking there must be something else these people knew nothing about, for “they are as I am”, I thought. Maybe this is what led me to God, after all, because I found out that those who preached to me did not have more of God than me. The doubt that there was something wrong with all the religious life I so fiercely attempted at, dawned upon me because of the course of things, and especially because I had become so aware of other’s religious life (which reflected only my own!) that there was no ground for accepting things as dead as they have been put before me. And this was a most trying time for all my inner resources. I tried harder at Bible reading, but even if it had been to no avail, somehow it managed to bring about a conception and stubbornness about finding all about truth, that I was soon restlessly discussing with anyone about all I read and understood from the Bible. Anybody in sin though, dreams about things he cannot achieve, except when trying to fall asleep. I imagined myself away from all, into a beauty and rich world where I could afford to buy all. That’s how I decided to go and study computer science after school.            

I applied for scholarship funds and entered a university some 250 km away from there, at Bloemfontein. During vacations, even when still at school, I was to be operated on my back, heaps and knees for the purpose of correcting all that I had deformed in my body because of the careless recovering of muscles. I spent all my free time in hospital, and managed to visit my family only so now and then. It was difficult to recover from all surgeries, so I had to be kept within school so physiotherapists could carry on the work doctors thought best to undertake on me. This is where I started to compete in swimming because we were obligated by school rules to have some kind of sport as a part of our development, they said. I loved swimming, so from there to sail in water like a seal was but a small step. I recovered a whole lot of my physical capacities through that though, but did not manage to walk unless with the help of crutches. At university everybody talked about me because of the simplicity I undertook to sail forth through life also. Most people either started regarding me as a normal person in spite of my handicaps, or felt unwarily constrained to feel awkward when with me because life was a natural thing to me as I was. Soon people started to call upon me to motivate and care about those who happened to need encouragement. But the enormous weight of their problems upon my already packed shoulders brought about some undisguised heaviness of spirit within that I thought I must look for God and find Him somehow. By now I knew a whole lot about the Bible already and even taught in church meetings about all I learned. I never read my Bible on my knees though, for I carried it out as normal school work as if I was competing to know all. I never had God Himself to teach me His ways. I was therefore carried into a tempest within, which I could not still up. The confusion grew when I realized my pastors did have the same turmoil within, and if less it would only be so because they had made up their minds concerning Bible truths or just things they took up as truths, and not because they had found God as they were trying to put forth to others. 

Because it is easy to be convinced by truth, people promptly accept the gospel without finding the Jesus of the gospel ever, because they are made to believe they are sinners and that there is a God somewhere that forgives them anyhow. I was never made to see I was on my way to hell and that the lack of peace within was to testify against me as soon as I was to meet God in judgment day. In so being I never looked for the Lord as a personal Savior from all rubbish I gathered within for so long, but and in accordance with all I had been taught doctrinally, as someone who would forgive me even without being changed from deep within. I was made to feel secure within sin and that is why I never met the One I desperately longed after. I sensed and came to know there was something wrong with all those who preached the gospel to me because they never met my needs as to relate myself with God. I was told to believe and go on praying and attending church and work as hard as I could, study and even preach what I learned from the word of God, and that it was it. I was so confused within that I could never talk properly without arguing against my pastors upon those Biblical truths I could not understand. I always sensed their lack of real life was the very cause for them preaching so accurately about it, and that they did not have life in themselves, somehow. I was not satisfied with any of this. Besides, I could never point out what the wrong issue was and the more I grew, the more I struggled to have inner peace. I never confessed my sins one by one; I would only confess them generally just as the people in church did. It would be enough to state we were sinners enough to be looked upon by a saving God, they would say, as if God was obliged to love us and accept us anyhow, anyway. To realize we were sinners would kind of obligate God to look unto us. All things I believed were a mockery to the genuine gospel of our Lord Jesus and the only things proving that was my lack of peace, my lack of satisfaction within, unbelief and never able to agree with whomever I knew did not live the life out which God promised. I knew not what it was and how it looked like, but I sensed none around me had it either. 

 The preachers I knew were very learned men, whom I came to regard as of the Phariseen kind, who somehow always preached something and proved another. I was so anxious about inquiring at truth that I withstood most of them with any elementary truth of the Bible. None of those I knew, found joy and peace at the Bible. These only grasped at it because they knew it was truth all right, and unless truth is able to lead us to God Himself, Jesus died for no reason at all, I would say. There was such a gap between what I looked for and that which I was given to understand and commanded to accept, that I was looked upon as a handsome rebel who they could not shun off because all things I would have to say were facts indeed, which they could never withstand and show out as wrong. To all who would answer me through theology, I would point out normal living truths I could never see in them. But, the only thing I needed was to realize I was the one who was wrong here, even though I met with Pharisees everyday. I did not realize I had been rebelling against the lack of life I saw in them and not against the plain explanation of it. I’m just trying to summarize the turmoil that broke out from within which had to be leading me to God eventually, or else it would just destroy the rest of my life instead, surely. 

I happened to share a room at university with a theology student who cared very much about girls and many sorts of sinning that he often said to me was not proper for him to do. But he even so did it because God would forgive him anyhow, he would argue. He carried on sinning his way out through life and I could be no more lost myself because of that. Somehow I was made to believe that living for God was to be like my roommate and that there was no peace left for all those who attempted to find Jesus. There was my conscience rebelling at what I saw, and the spirit of flattering pushing me into pleasing friendship up as a means to cultivate faith. I mean that I was to cultivate man given love and worship because all I saw at the time was about it. I recall one day turning my back on my roommate eventually, because he had been bragging about playing around with his girlfriend’s underwear and such like things. It was there that I concluded that these people were godless and a real mockery to God. Besides, I knew some other theology students who were smokers and lived with their girlfriends without being married at all. I was forced to feel so displeased and disappointed with all that which surrounded me, so much so that my normal problems were seen only under a magnifying lens because they became so insignificant to me in the light of the despair of my soul. I was bitter and conceived lies of my own to fight life through. I could not hold on for much longer. And by the grace of the Lord I felt the Lord was calling me to preach the Gospel. I didn’t fight back against it because I was given some soul rest by easing up the strain that had been put up within me. I gave up computer science and went to Pretoria to study theology there, at the Dutch Reformed theological school. It would have been a seven-year course and the sight of it being so long broke my spirit. Right at birth this was meant to die. 

Eventually, I had made up my mind already that there was something wrong with the people who clamed to preach about God and not with God at all. So, it was decided and settled within that I would attempt to do it, to find God, without looking at those who I concluded knew not the Lord. I myself did not know Him, but I wasn’t considering it as a problem at the time seeing I knew I would meet Him eventually. But as a habit forged in the furnace of bitterness and pride, I would only point out other people’s faults and never glance at my own unless it would fit into my discussions. I was taken into preaching the gospel to the Portuguese community in South Africa, and somehow met with Portuguese Christians in Pretoria for the first time. I recall just how happy I was to read for the first time out of the Portuguese Bible, my mother language. In my mind I thought there wasn’t a Portuguese person who knew the Lord at all. I rejoiced so much at the sight of this that for days on a row I felt as if in heaven. The love for the salvation of souls drove me to that kind of joy, but I wasn’t aware of it. 

At this point my parents had left to Portugal for a while already, leaving me to feel all alone and lost among emotional realities I could not cope with, nor cut through at the time, seeing that the word of God could not yet separate between soul and spirit within me. The virtues that we are to find in God were so mixed up with the suffering of my soul that for a long time I could not but deny I was unhappy, and that I did never find Jesus at all. Soon however, I realized I knew Him only from hearing, even though many people attempted to make me believe that it was not so. Besides, the joy of having people close by who claimed to have found God, made me mistake soul with spirit, emotion with spiritual joy or sadness. I found out I was outside God’s kingdom and reign and could not find out why. It dawned upon me that I was lacking in grace and it made me all the unhappier. Somehow I was sinking into a miry pit of which I could hardly save myself.       

I felt so unhappy in the theology school I couldn’t but quit. I knew it was not God’s will at that point that I would study there to prepare myself for His work. So, there was a calm relief as soon as quit and went on to wait and see how God would do with my soul. For the first time I was learning to wait upon the Lord I was so looking for. I longed to meet Him face to face so I could deal with Whom I knew was greater and different from what I had been made to believe. I was very much involved in Christian activities in different churches and could not find any peace within any kind of work whatsoever. The Lord was not in the fire, nor in the wind, nor in the noises my soul’s breakout made to burst into my face. I was in such a state spiritually that I could not grasp the truth, and could not reject it either. I knew what truth was but knew not how it was. I never did experience any kind of godliness within as the Bible promised, so there must have been something very wrong somewhere. The more I looked after the missing link though, the more tiring the search would turn to be. I fought at life, lived in silent agony and could not cope with all I was lacking within. I did not know what I did lack, nor if it were possible to have. Therefore I took longer to find it than I should, but eventually I got hold of my Lord and He took such a hold upon me that I could never get away from His love again.  

I cannot recall how many years I yearned for the Lord and how much I studied and learned to try and get hold of Him. Even the Greek and Hebrew I learned at the Bible School seemed so empty to me, I could not do anything else but feel unhappily against it. I was not able to understand at the time why was it made so difficult to attain at simple things, why had it been so hard to know the whereabouts of whom created heaven and the earth. So, in this tiring and exhausting emotional state, I decided I would not look for much longer without collapsing under a yoke of unbearable heaviness. I met people who stated they had been filled with the Spirit of God (in some cases it was true, but in some it was not, and unfortunately so). The changes in the lives of those who found peace and joy for their souls had been so remarkable that my heart yearned even more for the lord Jesus with unquenchable thirst. On the other hand, the fake experiences I saw happening for reasons I could never figure out, were also threatening to my soul, therefore I was always cautious about all things. But nevertheless, I was to trust the Lord in the midst of fire and fears, truths and lies.  

I was selling door to door to sustain myself at university, seeing that it was quiet expensive to study there. I could see the Lord helping me in this because I did come across living people in such strange manners which I regarded as miracles at the time, that filled my heart with new hope. Through this I met people in whose door I knocked to sell, who were living for the Lord at different spiritual levels. Some of these people are still burning for the Lord and to them I owe some of what happened to me in future years. One day, as I was going home in my old Mazda I bought through prayer which the Lord had answered upon, I felt somehow constrained to cry out unto the Lord as if it was the last time I would have the strength to cry out. My heart melted with emotion and tears. I prayed, maybe for the first time for the purpose of my salvation, inspired and effectively. I could not go on living as I did, I thought. I stopped my car in the entrance to the highway, crying and prayed unto the Lord of hosts. I said something like this: “Lord I cannot go on like this, I’m at the end. Whatever you have for my soul, to quench this thirst, give it to me now or there will remain nothing of me to judge in your day. I cannot go on believing against my own conscience I have you, lying to myself and hurting my soul to death as is happening now. Grant me whatever you have for me – I don’t care how it is and in what form it comes, as long as it is truthful and from you. But tomorrow will surely be too late to grant it to me, because I cannot go on one single moment without you within and without and all over me”. 

As I was praying thus, I felt my need would be granted to me by a wonderful Lord who would come to meet. I cannot express in words how I sensed and knew to have been heard, but I can assure you I was listened to above and my soul could testify to that without any measure of doubt. For the first time I saw when was doubt sin – not when we were lost, because there it would be good to doubt, but sin would be to doubt then as we would have had no reason whatsoever to do so. That’s how sure I was of having been heard. There I was before my Lord being listened to and it was impossible to deny at that – this is where doubt would be sin, nowhere else. I could not even slightly think the Lord had not been there for I found I could not doubt - I knew I had been heard, surely. Deep within there was such a holy hope I cannot state in words and therefore I stopped crying, reluctantly though, and moved on to the pension where I was boarding at the time. Once I went to my room and took a shower, I wondered at the sudden lightness my soul was going through. I found I could not go to sleep, though. I had to insist and pray unto the Lord and settle this matter right there once and for all! I somehow thought this was not settled at all, so I fell upon my feeble knees and cried again unto the Lord. My wheelchair was on one side, and on the left there was all my music tapes and hi-fi system; I was unconscious of all surrounding me, actually I did not care about anything in the whole. I sank into prayer and broke down all of a sudden. I prayed like this: “Lord I cannot wait any longer for what you have for me. Come meet my need now or I’ll die, surely”. I felt my soul breaking down for good and feeling worthless in strength. As I sank my forehead in my bed, the Lord Jesus filled me with such power and life I could not expect ever. 

His life went through me over and over. Heaven had come down upon me. I felt I was in the heart of heaven, in the presence of the most powerful being in the whole universe. He was within, and at the same time filled my whole room. I could talk to Him, praise Him and commune with Him in such a sweet manner I could not believe – I couldn’t believe one could ever experience to be so happy. I felt I could not live with such love – but I did not care to die either. He went through me, over and over waving and fanning His most wonderful love through my deepest being. I was alive, but what made me feel so happy was that He lived too. What I went through here was so wonderful I could never express in words. My Lord was there and I experienced, lived and beheld Him in such an unconceivable manner I could not describe.  

Before I met Him, I feared there was a chance I would be consumed or something the like. I was calling upon the Lord to come as He thought best, His way, so I did not know what to expect. His holiness brought fear within me, but just before I broke down, I said I would not care what happened if I met this most Holy God. I was recalling the words in Mat. 3:10: “and now the axe is laid unto the root of the trees; therefore, every tree which bringeth not fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water, but the one who is come after me is mightier than I and shall baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. I came to a point as to realize that if I was to die I would, but at least I knew there was nothing else on earth I could live for any longer – there was nothing worth living for anymore, unless the Lord would come and meet my deepest need: salvation from deep within. This fear I experienced shows just how much I believed the Lord would come and meet my hungry, desperate soul’s need. But once He arrived and filled me, and nothing the like happened, and there seemed to be a little rebuke to have thought what I thought about Him – there He was and being like nothing I had ever expected. His love was so real and so wonderful, I did not have to feign it any longer, I did not have to talk about it anymore – I had it for sure, within and without. It went so deep into that well of living waters as well as shallow – all parts of me were in God and God in me! That love rent through me and I was so aware of all things around me I could not recall any other time in my life my mind caught up all about and around me so vividly. I was to feel and see the love that was taking hold of me, of my soul and of my deepest being. The Lord was there and I was part of Him forever. I realized I was in and in front of the most powerful being in the universe, and still I was happy and as alive as I could not possibly be. Oh, that God would meet you so, and then you would surely know what it means to meet the most high God. Never again will you guess and make yourself believe you are saved, believing things you know only as truths and not having them as living truths! The words of Jesus only thus make sense, which say “I came so you can have life, and abundantly”, “rivers of living water” flowing out from within! I experienced that!    

At this point I realized I could ask for anything and I would be heard. My Lord was there, and even though I could not see Him, still I could experience Him with such awareness that sight would never be able to grant any better view of Him ever. He was more real than what eyes could see. The Lord Jesus lives, I realized, and this is the very Lord Who said I could ask Him anything and He would grant it to me on the spot. So I thought to ask Him to make me walk, by healing me right there. I felt I met the same Jesus who walked and healed in Galilee in ancient times, whom the blind and the lepers would request and receive healing at free cost. I was still speaking and a strong arm lifted me up upon my feet with such tenderness I could not imagine.  

I was standing upon my two feet, having been lifted up without knowing how, really. I was aware of putting my hands upon my bed and lifting myself up, but I cannot say why I went on my feet like that, with such promptness and speed. As soon as I was up, I feared I would fall. I was sanding but was afraid to walk; actually I found I would not move, I would not walk at all. I thought the Lord must be saying something to me. And as fast as I went up, I was put down again. Gently, I was put down on my knees. The Lord was so sweet in putting me down, that I did not care I could not walk. Somehow the massage went through me at this point: the Lord was showing me He could heal me, only if it were His will. But for now I was to go and testify happiness while in a wheelchair. This is the massage I understood from it all. I did not care the less about it now that I had finally met this wonderful Emanuel. For the first time the word Emanuel made sense to me: God with was. There is no way this can pass through us without being reality. There is no sermon that will ever supplant and substitute any of this. Believing at it will never do: besides, having Him needs no description because it is not possible to put in words what a hungry soul is fed with in moments like these. 

I could never say how long a time I spent on my knees. For the very first time I was praying without having to think to be praying. I needed not to think about it. I believe I spent several hours praying thus and experiencing floods of love in and out. Time came that I had to stop praying and go to bed, but I felt I was unwilling to let go, until I realized that Lord came to stay. I was filled with the knowledge that He had come to stay. That calmed me down and I thought it would do just as good to go to bed, for He would never leave again. But just before I went to sleep, I looked at the music tapes I kept near my bed. I recall thinking I would never need any of those again. I stormed at it and broke all tapes in pieces and pulled the bands out and destroyed it. I thought that if it were not good enough for me, it would not be any good giving it away to anyone. There was a whole pile of rubbish I put outside the door of my room. The next morning everybody who passed by wondered what happened there, and I recall saying things like, “well, the devil will not have any hold on me again. No more adulterous music, no more rubbish into my ears; it is not good for me, so it would not do any good giving this to anyone else”. At breakfast I tried to explain to a Portuguese Christian friend what had happened to me, but I found out I couldn’t. I mentioned about the cleansing I did in my musical tastes, and he seemed to agree and support what I did. Never was I able to love any kind of music again but good, sound gospel music, and even so I am fond only of such as is not noisy and sings about things which happen to be truthful and which makes sense and means something to me and Jesus. No more adultery in the form of music was to separate me from my Lord again. I know I did all this so instinctively I cannot say why I charged at it. I know now why, and why it is sin to sing about sex and hatred and jealousy dormantly and through unconscious beatings, but at that point I could not say why I did that. All I realized was that seeing that it was so wonderful to have my Lord nearby, as the main guest in the deepest heart of my being, I should do away with all things that would and could displease Him somehow. May God be blessed and praised for all this, and that He did not try me by having me keeping sin within my walls so it would cause me to stumble and fall in the near future. I did the same to all kinds of known sin, within and without, in the following days of the new heaven I started to live in from then on!             

 

CHAPTER 3

LEARNING TO WALK

 

I happened to be called to preach the Gospel. Now I had found God, as I knew He was and guessed He would be. What else could go wrong? A whole lot! I started to walk a way nobody could tell me something about. I never thought it was needed to nourish it with privileged holiness, the kind one is to get from above. My heart burned for the Lord, yet I thought I was not in need to do things as God intended them to be carried out. Soon I started to mix up things in my soul and mind that sometimes would cause me either to stumble or to be risen up again and again, depending on what way and mood I carried them out. I knew I was not to touch sin ever again, and if I did then I should do away with it on the spot. At this point I started writing to people whom I recalled having done harm and wrong to, confessing all to them and pleading them to forgive me. I used to use from my mom’s purse when I wanted to furnish some funds for my appetites as a little boy, so I ask my mom and daddy to forgive me all that stealing. To my sisters I wrote asking them to forgive me because I used to beat them up often, and quarreled with them. All people I could think of and of whom I could get hold of, I would contact and plead for forgiveness. Even a girlfriend I had while at school whom I purposed not to have sex with ever unless we came to get married, I called upon and drove about 500 miles to see her. I asked her to forgive me for all the lusting and desiring after her even if we never came to do sex, but I found she had not a clue what I was talking about. The life I found was precious to me, so I dared not hold anything back which might come to hurt it ever again. In my mind, and thank God that it was so, my heart had to be set heavenward and I was not able to take it for granted that I was to believe everything was all right and I would go to heaven anyway. And, if that kind of happiness was possible right here on earth, imagine how heaven would be! The words “where your heart is, will your treasure be”, made sense to me for the first time. The word of God opened up to my heart and mind and I knew very well what the meaning of Mat.5: 20,23,24 were also, and that unless my justice exceeded the one of the Pharisees I knew, I would never make it to the fullness of God. So, I put behind my back all I came to know in church and had been taught by them, so much so that sometimes I was somewhat loveless and unconsidering towards them. I am pleading such to forgive me now, for I may never see them again until we come to meet in front of the judging throne of God where our books will be opened and say something about us and our relationships. 

The most remarkable miracle happened to me though: I started to have such understandings of the word of God that I would just know why Paul wrote as he did and not only what he wrote. My understanding upon God’s word was remarkable and profound and I would tremble at what I was given to understand from it. I was overshadowed with wisdom from above and even though I felt like David in Saul’s armor, or as if I was attempting to use a sword too big for my capacities, still wisdom kept coming, rather flooding, into my heart and mind. I experienced the truth of the words of Jesus Who said, “When that Spirit comes He shall teach you all things”. I learned so much, so differently from the school type of learning I had done upon God’s word earlier, that it would take hold of my soul for good. I started to fear the Lord with such holy fear and nowadays understand why it is said to be the beginning of wisdom. It would cease upon my heart, the word would become so crystal clear to me, so powerful, and I received with such joy that my soul would just be revived and nourished with the Manna from above everyday – yet I could not share it with anyone. It also burned my heart to be able to share it with somebody, but the Lord would just not want it that way, and as soon as I attempted to do so, I would be crashed down with disappointment and sadness, having my peace gone. I could not understand why it so happened. Not only would I not understand it, I would not accept such goings of things and I soon found I was disappointing the Lord without knowing why. Things would just go wrong and the more I would strive to do the ‘proper’ thing as best as I thought, the more it would burst in my face and humble me, so much so that most of my words would fall to the ground and I was started to be used by the devil himself with the consent of God so He would pick me up again somewhat ahead. All things seemed to be working out against my doings: but not wisdom though, the wisdom concerning the very word of God. Therefore I could not understand why I was to keep quiet about it rather than preach it out to the whole world. I know now, but then it had been a struggling issue to me and a very trying matter to my soul.  

This is where I understood the book of Romans, something even which many theologians always have difficulty understanding. It was so crystal clear to me that I marveled at it. I recall how I rejoiced about it, just how wonderful it was for me to understand about justification, (to be made just and not only justified in sinning), to be able to be dead to sin and alive to God! The words “dead to sin” would mean so much to me I wondered why I never heard anything about it in the thousands of sermons I listened to during my whole life! I thought these must have been the most precious words I ever understood from the Bible! I would exclaim with joy “dead to sin!” over and over again and the more I would think and say it, the more wonderful a revelation it would turn to my heart and mind. I feared so much I would sin myself out of the Lord that this revelation came to me as sweet as honey from above. It went so deep and had been such a revelation to my soul that my mind found so great a difficulty to grasp all its compounds and implications. I could not believe everything I heard for so many times about being justified (made just and holy) never came to mean anything to me at all!  

I was the only one who knew about this I thought, and there the devil came in again to humble me to the dust. Any given truth would make pride erupt into sin, and I would keep the truth but could do nothing with it – the Lord would just not have it so! There was always a mixture of gold and clay that would surrender to naught any attempts to proclaim the things that burned life into my soul and heart so dearly. But the common truth about this issue of being dead to sin while in Christ, meant so much to me I lived and digested in this truth for days and years on a row. It was marvelous to me what the meaning of that word dead meant. It wasn’t just dead, it was more then dead. It meant dead for good! In Christ I had to accept sin as dead within and live victoriously forever after! Sin will never able to claim my soul, “sin will not had power over my soul because I’m in Christ indeed”, and now that I had been put in Him through that baptism of fire, I could not resist the knowledge that it was so forever, that my death to sin had been declared and that in Him it would always be dead to me and I alive to Christ. For the very first time I grasped the joy of the outbursting remarks of Paul in Rom 7:24,25: “Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I understood what it meant that sin would kill Christ within us, so sin was declared to die within. I had been saved from sin, from ungodliness and corruption within as long as I stayed in Him! The word about the vine flamed alive in my mind and heart, that if I were to abide in Him and He in me I would bear fruit. “I was crucified with Christ”, these words flamed life into me. I grasped now for the first time what the words meant “everyone who confesses that Christ came in the flesh”. If the Son would make me free I would be free indeed! Salvation was revealed to me, I knew from then on what salvation was all about: it was salvation from sin! To be crucified with Him so we could be raised to His glory in us! How wonderful and free making a revelation that was to me! Freedom from accusation would prevail at last, because there was no way the devil would point a sin out to His Holy ones because they were put out of dungeons of hellish grips of temptation, the captives were to be free as they were indeed in Christ! I can’t express in words what went through me in these days and months ahead. I lived, I rejoiced at this truth and revelation – it had just been too wonderful to my soul to express in words! 

Allow me to state something more about this issue of Romans 6,7 and 8. I knew from the word of God that I was to do away with all kinds of sin, and instinctively I grasped that the Lord I met was a most Holy God and therefore started to fear Him with a holy fear, so much so that I would tremble just to look at sin even. In so being, I was found fighting temptation, not only temptation, but also sin itself within. It turned up to me to be always a matter and issue of life and death, and I knew the only thing which would be able to deprive me from such life as I found after searching so hard after it and finding it gracefully and with so great a struggle, was sin. Any sin no matter how small it was, it became a huge natural enemy of my soul’s life. I knew it was so, for it would nail that Lord whom I so hardly found to the new cross within me. I instinctively knew that the Lord would die within me all over again if I was to as much as look unto sin to live, and the idea prevailed that if I was ever do as much as glancing to sin, the Lord of my only hopes would be nailed to a cross of my own anew, and that that cross would be the work of my very hands and not of the Romans or Pharisees of old – I would be the only one responsible for His new death within and for my own consequently. So, that’s how I understood things from then on, and I was taught by the Lord Himself that the crap I have allowed so now and then into my ears which would try through most convincing, flattering words say that I was not to loose my soul even if I sinned, was part of the “doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1Tim.4: 1). From then on I was put before a struggle of which this opening up of the book of Romans was to put an end to by the freedom from sinning it opened up to me in such a marvelous way. I suffered within to know how I was to be clean and have a most shining heart constantly before the Lord. I could not but know that “narrow is the way that leads to life and broad the way which leads to death and destruction”. I was put before this most amazing thing that with sin still breeding within, none was to be considered as saved. 

This kind of struggle went on and, as it is said in the book of Hebrews 12:4, I was only to feel safe as long as I learned to resist sin unto the point of bleeding, and if not so I would go to hell just as would any Pharisee or killer in this wide world. But now a newly given hope dawned upon me. As I learned from then on, this was the second best alternative I ever had, to fight sin to the point of bleeding, for the Lord Himself said “if your eyes makes you stumble pluck it off, for it is better to go through life with eye than to be thrown in hell fire with both eyes where its worm will not die”. But now it dawned to my mind that to be a victor over sin, it would not mean that we would slack our guard against it, but that we were to use heavenly weapons forged at the cross of Jesus especially for us. The words of Paul “I’m crucified with Christ” meant so much to my now living heart that I praised God for every moment on a row until it sounded as normal thing to live with and through. It was at this point that the books of that glorious writer Andrew Murray meant so much to my heart. For the first time maybe I started to understand what the relationship with Christ was to be and to mean. So, when I came to marvel at this that the Lord came to save us from sin and that was why there was no more accusation against His holy children rebuilt in Christ into His image, (and not from accusations because we lived in sin somehow), I bewildered myself into a heaven of my own. It was just too marvelous to see that the Lord Jesus was there to do within me: to put an end to the struggle as described in Romans 7. The words “for there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit” and “consider yourselves dead unto sin but alive unto Christ” became so flamingly alive with meaning to me, that I thought I was in heaven from then on. 

I knew sin would make me go to hell, so I could not know how to account for the promises of God as to live as being sure of heaven, until I was made to see that the Lord came to guarantee holiness within if we had the Spirit for real, and that the ones “separating themselves were the sensual, having not the Spirit” (Jude 19) and that the ones having the Spirit did not have to separate themselves because they were separate in themselves through the Spirit which they received. Why should one who is separate from sin attempt to separate himself once again? Did Christ’s death not mean anything more than that kind of acting? I grasped also why it was so that “whosoever transgresseth… hath not God” (2 John 9,10), and that I could be certain of heaven in Christ for He was able to keep me from falling (Jude 24) and that unless I believed that He was the way to life, and not in spite of sin ever, I would die in my sins as would all Pharisees! I marked how it was that we were to be presented “spotless before (this marvelous) God in this present age” with “the life that now is” and it was revealed to my soul that from then on no power in hell or in heaven would be able to separate me from the Love of God ever again because “greater his He that is in me than He that is in the world”. I grasped what it meant. My holiness was so secure as long as I remained in Christ, that there would be no way to loose sight of heaven as long as the Life I found was to abide in my soul. It had just been too marvelous to see that, to behold it that way. Why was I to believe a lie, believe I was clean feeling the dirt all over my heart? I saw that the work within unto holiness was a real work, a real achievement, and that I could say “made clean” with some other meaning to it which I had never grasped before!  

Salvation started to make sense now. I could so easily and so accurately perceive and withhold the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection that I would be marveled at God’s victorious grace. For the first time the cross of Jesus made sense to me. I knew from then on that Christ died so I could die with Him in the cross, and if I so died I would also live with Him forever more! I could see myself dead, as dead a Christ had been in the cross, and I stopped believing those words just as words: they were so real I wondered why never have these been forth that way! How could I have not understood and seen it so? It was so marvelous a salvation indeed that I felt in heaven, lived as if I was arriving there at any moment from then on! For the very first time I would profess Him to have come in the flesh. That death was a real death, so why would Paul say “consider yourselves as dead” unless it was so indeed? Was I to believe that without it being true to my reality indeed? How wonderful a revelation that was to my soul. To behold it was so great a thing to me I couldn’t have words to praise the Lord about it. I was dead with Him and alive with Him! Praise His name, because heaven was no more a faraway land which I would attain to perhaps if I remained holy: no, I was given holiness through His death and resurrection, such as would guarantee eternal life within me, such as was the same as I would have it in Him forever and for His glory. Having it now so abundantly, why should I think I could not have it later? I cannot express in words what these texts meant to me at this point of my life, so it would be good if all people would see and behold this truth, because unless someone grasps it, faith is not to become a perfect way to salvation ever. Mat 1:21 was so opened up to me and I couldn’t but give glory to God: I was to be saved from all sinning. That is marvelous and that’s how captives are set free at the word and life of the Lord Jesus. That is what is all so wonderful about salvation in the name of Jesus. “what is impossible for men, is possible for God”. 

At this point I met people who were living in the midst of a powerful revival in South Africa. Even though I was caught up in the midst of it, I availed very little at it. I lived there for more than a year and used the time to read my Bible through, up and down, and get acquainted with truths from God, revaluing all I learned from it up to now. These revelations of the word of God were so marvelous that I had to revalue the whole of the word within me; so, I thought and rightly so, I should allow the word I had in me from times of earlier learning to be revealed anew to my understanding and mind and heart, having revalued all I knew and learned before, allowing my all the more thirsty soul to have a new, pretty good view on the genuiness of the cream of the word of God I had already read in times before. I spent days and months on a row reading and praying, enjoying my Lord. I understood why I had to feel but unhappy in those days of all that forced labor in times of theology school – it had always been because the Lord had so much more to give and teach than I could conceive. I also read some books on Andrew Murray, Charles Finney, Wesley and so many others as to get acquainted with different kinds of genuine workings of God in different ages and people. The book on the revival in Indonesia by Dr. Kurt Koch impressed me very much. I was pressed from all over about wonderful workings of God, which magnified His name above measure that my heart burned and I was so overwhelmed with things that I could not grasp that my time was still to come and I cried before the Lord so He would hasten times. My heart’s desire was to go to Portugal and preach the Gospel in the same way I was given to see where I stayed and as I read. I couldn’t help but becoming somewhat over anxious about things and started to do things on my own way. I could but only be defeated by the devil as to be humbled to the dust of hell when trying things on my own. I was made a laughing stock of all devilish powers, and the Lord would somehow use it to bring my heart down from its anxiety and from the throne it was trying at for such a long a time. 

I was preached God should lead me into doing things, and I misunderstood it somehow. I did not understand that the life is to lead us but that we should be listening to voices speaking to us. Occasionally I would hear the voice of the Lord, though, and would do things properly. But most of the time I was taken out of my post because I was found listening to some imitations (good ones though!) of the voice of the Lord I was trying to follow into what I most desired. I was trying to charge at God’s will for my life and couldn’t rest in it, waiting upon whom has all power still to give. I was so now and then shaken to the very foundations of life and the grace of the Lord would then just pull me back up again. I could not understand it properly though, and did not look for guidance concerning this. It would have been so easy if I just thought of humbling myself and seek help among the many wonderful Christians I came to meet in that genuine revival. But no, I thought I should find out things for myself, and the preaching I was listening to was cutting and made me undergo terrible heart searchings that the devil would try to bless himself! I was afraid to be deceived once again and there I found the devil using truth against me. I found I was honest at heart but proud and at loss at doing because of fears to go wrong. I could understand to a degree what the words “to frame my doings to turn unto God” (Hos.5:4), but would be humbled in most terrible manners which would take away all my peace and joy. This trying time was there to purify also, but it could have been somewhat different if I would just understand it that way. I thought I was informed enough to proclaim that the Lord lived and tried it in the proper way sometimes, but most of the time I would carry out things wrongly. And when at loss I would just find out I was being used by the devil to destroy what I had been trying to accomplish. I could state a lot about this most trying season, but what matters most is that it lasted for more than ten years and I was taken to and fro, to Namibia, afterwards to Portugal and to Spain, until the Lord decided it was enough trying times and restored my health back, just as He had done with Nebuchadnezzar related to in the Book of Daniel. Of this I will try to synthesize ahead. I felt like Moses living in the desert while having the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with him, and being so trimmed up through that desert drying experience so he would be made able to carry out God’s will once he had come to a point as to regard himself as not being a man of words any longer. The meekest man on earth must have been very proud once, thinking highly of his eloquence in the wisdom of Egypt, being a Jew but not as his brothers – that was the accusation upon him. It cost God forty years to have Moses just where he should be. 

But there have been blessed times in my ministry which God blessed very much, of which I will give a single account. Once I was taken to Namibia to visit my uncles and aunts who lived near the border of Angola. At this stage the Lord was using me with some might, which I was not acknowledging at the time. I endeavored to preach the Gospel to a Portuguese community that lived there. I invited people to come to listen to the word of God and was given the local Dutch Reformed church facilities to do so. They had various churches there and I used the smallest one seeing people would not be that many. I would find that only a few would be willing to attend church, though, and of those none would really be converted but would remain gospel flatterers. The word was not sinking down into their hearts to change them from deep within. I was so sore at this and so burdened that the Lord was found to have to listen to a most burdened caller upon His might. I knocked so hard and spend part of that night crying and praying unto the Lord.  I was so sure the Lord could do it I cried. Somehow I heard the Lord say “enough, I heard you; just wait and see the salvation of the Lord coming!” I knew I had been heard. 

For more than a week nothing happened. I remained waiting with great expectancy. At last we heard that there had been a bomb explosion in a near township more towards the border of Angola. A woman died who happened to be a sister to one of the woman who attended my preaching regularly. Because the Portuguese communities are so close together when outside Portugal, the whole of Portuguese speaking Namibia was moved because of this incident. It had been so strange that everybody talked about it. The woman who was killed in the blast was a cashier in a supermarket. A few days before she caught some people steeling a van full of goods from that supermarket, and of these thieves some were her colleagues, I think. She denounced them and they were caught. Out of vengeance I suppose, they planted a bomb near her so she would be killed and so that revenge would also hurt the owners of the supermarket. It was so strange because the moment the bomb exploded there had been a soldier paying something at this young woman’s post, and nobody, not even the soldier was hurt but she only. The soldier did not even have as much as a scratch on him – the girl died filled with broken bits of glass in her body. She was married to a man who I met a this occasion and left a little girl of six behind. At this point I was not so sure this was the way to reach these people through the gospel. Somehow they needed someone to hold a funeral service and couldn’t find a pastor or priest to do so. I offered to do it. They said they would accept it, and there I found having to ask the ministers at the town where I preached the gospel if they would not allow me to have the bigger church seeing that many people would attend to the service. They agreed and there I was playing the funeral pastor and giving the sermon to a broken hearted, packed church. It was decided on my request that I would not do the ceremony in the cemetery, and that I would confine myself to the preaching only. 

I could not get to the pulpit with a wheelchair, so I got some crutches somewhere and went up to the pulpit and talked my heart out to them, seeing I was so fierce upon them all, not knowing what to say about all this really, and almost cried on the pulpit with emotion at their former refusals to come to God. I told them that it had been necessary for God to bring them to church by someone else’s death. People were so moved through by the preaching that some were converted and the husband and family of the diseased is still living for the Lord to this day and it has been more than fifteen years ago! The husband is preaching the Gospel occasionally because he is a car electrician during the week. Some people there, though, were so hurt by my words that they promised to kill me if they would happen to find me outside somewhere. A bunch of bad remarks were also present by some godless and careless opposers whom threatened to kill me if they got the opportunity. I wasn’t aware of it until  it was reported few days later that there had been another bomb blast at a post office and that these who threatened my life were injured in it but did not die. The rest of the people and my family saw that this had been a warning to them and saw the hand of God in it all. Later the husband and family of the diseased woman went to Pretoria where I undertook to help them and where they joined the local Portuguese church and later the revival movement which still burns in South Africa. I don’t know how many people have been converted at this point, but I thanked the Lord that He had undertaken to work through such means. 

From there I moved to an Afrikaans church and worked for a while under the supervision of a wonderful minister of the Dutch Reformed Church who had been converted through the winds of the revival. I had the chance to testify in two different churches and people would break out in tears, I was told. From there I attempted to reach the small Portuguese community that settled there also and was able to bring some holy hope to a few who were not Portuguese also. From there on I set off to Pretoria knowing time had come for me to come to Portugal. I was living and preaching on my own, so I had no means to sustain myself but those the Lord would grant. I told nobody of my needs and I managed to live like this my whole life up to now. Sometimes by working as the Lord would grant it; sometimes by people who would approach me and give for the work of the Lord. I never asked a thing, as far as I can recall, and nobody would even slightly guess I was in need, if that happened to be the case. I had an old car which I gave away to a young convert seeing the Lord had provided for me to reach Pretoria and I needed not the money for which I would sell the car, even though it would not be that much. The man who kept it was a young, wonderful convert who was so eager to buy it and didn’t have the money to do so, so I said that seeing the Lord provided for me I was giving him the car and set off to Pretoria. When I arrived in Pretoria, it dawned upon me that I did not have the money to go to Portugal. Yet I was confident that the Lord would provide, seeing that it was His will that I should sail into the darkest continent in the whole wide world, as far as it concerns the Gospel. I had been shown I would now go.

It was then that a man approached me who heard that I was coming to Portugal. He asked if I would bring him a huge amount of money to bank it in Portugal, seeing I was allowed to bring a certain amount of it because I was going away. He offered to pay all my tickets fees if I would do that for him. I agreed and saw that as the providing of the Lord. On the 18th of December 1986 I flew to Portugal. From there I went to Spain for a while to promote light there. And ever since I have been sailing in the winds God has been providing for me. Nevertheless, I did go through a terrible nightmare for a few years and was thrown out into darkness because I couldn’t cope with the most trying time that came my way. About that I will talk in the next chapter and relate how this wonderful Lord of mine managed to call me back to His light, showing me just how far away from Him we can derive if we do not keep looking for the star which shone since His birth and even before, and which lead even most wise men so they would be able to come from the east to a simple crip – it wouldn’t just work out otherwise.

 

CHAPTER 3

PORTUGAL

 

 As soon as I arrived in Portugal I was shocked with surprise and astonishment. The idolatry was shocking, but the ways people looked to sin, flirting at it, loving it and striving after it was worst. I new people lived in sin and were idolatrous, but I did not expect that to be so bad in the light of God. People would just do anything, pay any price, even put forth their life as a ransom to be able to be entangled in sin’s grip. They would pay to be living in sin’s courts continually. They would curse for no reason as if it was a joking must for all. It looked nice to curse and mock on God! The children would live the Latin way, doing as they wished, and parents would have them to do as they wish seeing the parents would consent to anything, which would allow them to have time to watch filth on TV. I was so shocked I choked with the burden of it all. I tried to preach the gospel right away and gathered a few children to read the Bible for them and get them converted. But the burden was so great I couldn’t hold on for long, I felt like dying and could but whisper a prayer up. Without faith the Lord would not bless the work, besides God would that I be humbled with some desert living before I was to go out and preach to the lost His Gospel in the proper way. I could hardly understand that course of things. I went back to South Africa to do a few things which remained unsettled there yet, and as soon as I got back to Portugal, I made it to Spain where I joined a church for a while which had their own views on how to save people and the work there did not prosper as it should have.  

Back in Portugal the burden and despair began to weigh more heavily upon my feeble shoulders. I was working on my own, having no church supporting me at all. I suppose that was no easy thing to do, but the Lord was the one who would undertake according to His will, I thought. I carried on for a whole while, maybe more than a year, and found out I was fainting under the weight of despair and under the yoke of distrusting the Lord. At this point I recall the Lord doing a few things to try to bring up my believing in Him, like the healing of lady who suffered some severe arm pains because of back problems. But the more the Lord did to bring me to believing, the more I would become bitter and despairing under the yoke of other’s sins, which slowly and somehow started to become mine also. I thought I must go somewhere else to regain confidence and it was here that the Lord took all support from me so I would stay where He thought I should stay to believe Him. “Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against Me. They return but not to the Most High… and consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness, now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face” (Hos. 7:15, 2). I should believe Him anywhere in the world as I had promised Him before, because God is unchangeable and does not swift according to circumstances. Here I had a dream which I don’t know if it came from the Lord or the devil, and which stated I would become so evil as to go into the world. I think that was from the devil, but I’m not that sure about it, so I was startled with fear and trembled at the mere sight of it turning to be so. The word of God says that if we come to fear all the things the nations fear the Lord will handle us over to them. In the Prophets we read, “don’t fear what they fear”, but I could not unburden myself from it. There is a verse in Psalms 32:9 that confirms us to sin if we come to fear it. The words “lest they come near unto thee” are remarkable and objective. It goes as follows: “I will instruct thee and teach thee the way which thou shalt go; I will guide with mine eye. (And now what matters!) Be not like the horse or like the mule that have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”  I found out that the more I would struggle, the easier target I would turn to be for the darts of the enemy. The words of Jesus that state “let it be given you according to your faith” did easily become confirmed.    

My life began to sink into deep sin and I soon found out I could not keep my mind, my soul and heart from sinning. One year passed by and another and another and I was so deep in sin I could not call back unto the Lord. Every single day though, I could hear the Lord reason within me as I was going against that feeble voice. At a point I started resisting it because I could not stand to hear it and found I was so sore against the Lord I tried to shut my ears and later started to storm against a Stephan of my own mind. I started hating the fact that He had left me to rotten in the world. I could not find out what had happened to me, and like Joseph, I felt I had been sold into slavery and knew not why. I started to misconceive things against the Lord and thought He was to blame for the thousands of things that befell me. Slowly there started to develop a certain grudge against the love of God and everybody I had been preaching the Gospel to wondered why I never showed up again to build them in the faith and in the word of God, as I was accustomed to do. I thought as long as I was in agony I would not touch the word of God again, not even by reading it. This is where the devil had his way freely on and in me. Soon I found I would cry in rage against the Lord who I once upon a time loved so much. I reasoned against the Lord and argued I had come to Portugal to save all these people and all I got was a blowing up of my faith. I could not understand why that was so, just as Joseph would not understand why he had been sold to Egypt. But contrary to him I started to hate the Lord and lift my heart against Him. I developed such a tenderness for the salvation of souls in the years before I would not forgive the Lord for not opening the doors for the salvation of all these people around me, and slowly that grudge built up into a kind of rage which I cannot describe of what sort it had been. It became such a mixture of both love and hatred and soreness, that I hardly thought to try to define it. I just would not look in, and refused to look up either. I could say at the time that the doors of heaven had been closed for me, and the Lord would argue my eyes were voluntarily closed up to His grace. 

As time went by, I started to love sin seeing I couldn’t resist it any longer. I thought the Lord was giving me over to it, and to this day I cannot say if it was so or not. I suppose it was, but I can’t say that much about it. I was taken into slavery and soon I found I hated the Bible and could not look upon it without having a huge grudge against the Lord. But for a long time I would never stop hearing the Lord calling me back to Him. I could hardly mistake that voice and knew it meant to bring me to the Love I started to hate from then on. The more that voice would call me, the more I would beg it would leave me alone. It is here where I started to try and show the Lord He should give up on me because I could not stand that kind of love. I dared not throw my many Bibles away, but just to make a point I threw a huge concordance away I was given by the Lord years before with Greek and Hebrew alphabet in it from which I used to study the Bible with a huge application and fondness. But as soon as I did that I couldn’t help but having a full review from hence I had fallen. I cried deep, but still refused to go back to the Lord, blaming Him for all that sadness and mischief which had befallen me and crushed my soul  so deep downwards to such a pit of bitterness and revolt. I could do no more than blame Him innocently, even though I affirmed He was the guilty One here. I was kind of beseeching Him to leave me once and for all, so I could go and flow with these people He was refusing to save, I recall saying. If they would not go to heaven then I would just refuse to enter it myself, and the way to do so was to go on sinning. But I found out that the more I sinned, the more displeased I would be with myself, and remember thinking that I should take care not to go overboard because of stupidity.  

I calmed myself down as best as I could, and started to try to ignore the Lord instead of going against Him. But that was never a way out either, for the Lord remained the same and would call upon me incessantly, and I could not have the smallest thought of humbling myself to do so. The idea of going back to the Lord worked such shame on me that I thought it would render itself impossible to go back to Him; hell would be an easier way out, I started to believe. I don’t know what befell me really, because I found I hated the devil more. I could not stand the devil, and thought always he was a monster I would not even dare think of. The Lord says one loves one master above the other, but I found I could not stand the thought of the devil even though I could not love the Lord any longer – I opposed two masters. For this reason I started slowing down on sin, because I hated the devil. I do not know how it was possible because as for the Lord, I could not have pleasant, ungrudging thoughts towards Him. I am not describing all I did to get rid of my God because of grudges, a whole lot of them, and I hope my fellow reader will try and imagine what went through a small heart which was able of such great sins. This kind of sinning went on for a long time and I started to mix up with girls and have sex with some. There, I thought, now the Lord will surely leave me and will stop calling me back! But no, I started to feel awkward and found I could hardly sin and carry out sex and having pleasure out of it. I would even render impotent sometimes. I then tried out going to casinos and make some money for the Lord had taken all sustenance from me. I said maybe there is no God, so I might be lucky and win something. But every time I was entering that kind of devilish webs, which I hated really, I would hear God calling me back to Him. I hated to hear from Him also and sometimes I thought the Lord was unpleasant and nasty, and there he was being the opposite of what I thought of Him. I hope nobody will mistake what I am stating here, but I know this was so and therefore can freely bring glory to the Lord of my soul by stating all this. When I was thinking the Lord would curse me because of this gambling, He would just do the opposite and I would resent it more than if He had cursed me forever.  

I carried on like this for a long, long time because I would have no more reasons to go back to Him. I started to flatter the idea that God did not exist so I would not think of Him. I recall now someone who I heard of that would do anything just not to hear the gospel. Every corner he attempted at, there was someone preaching Jesus to him. He would change places and go to another town and there he would find somebody bring him the good news. He decided he would go on a boat and sail somewhere and thought there, at last, nobody would be able to preach to him. As the boat set off, there came someone with a Bible in his hand to bring him the gospel, and from whom he could not get rid of until the boat would stop somewhere. This is how I felt about things: there was no sin where the Lord would not attempt to call upon me, where His arm would not attempt to reach me. In my mind I nurtured the delusion that some sinning might kindle His voice away, but to no avail and I found out I was mistaken. I went on like this until the Lord got fed up with my stubbornness and started to be harsh on me. I was told I was on my way to hell and there I would still hear Him and would not stand it for one eternity to another. What way would I choose? For years I lived in a hell of which I can hardly make a full account of! This hell was in my soul, in my heart and in my mind, and it gave no rest to me not by day not by night. Every morning when I woke up, the first thought I would always have was to resist God because I knew He would be there calling upon me – without noticing the first thought I always had to have was towards God and that’s how my days started off for years on a row! This went on only within me, because outwardly nobody would take notice nor have a single hint about the struggle that was taking place within me. There was a cold war going on within me with the menace of eternal dooming, but none would do as much as sense it. I would just be too ashamed to have to explain it, so I kept it as far away from the eyes of the world as I could. I recall someone asking me once what my views were on religion and I just kept quiet and could not answer back so I would not have to think about God!  I made friends and met people at this stage that never guessed anything about my past and about all that was consequently happening in me. Later when I came back to the Lord and told them my life belonged to the most high God, they were so surprised they were shocked (even if it made them happy for my sake because of the way I put it to all of them, for I made it a point to reach all people with whom I dealt with, just to tell them about the Lord Jesus and that my life belonged to Him forever so none would ever mistake anything concerning me and myself, and to Whom I did belong and why I had been called to live His life for: to save them, and so they would have it understood!)  

I hope you will understand that I cannot mention all things I’ve done while in such gross stupidity, agony and sin. The reason is that I find it useless to fill up endless pages with rubbish. All I am trying to put forth here is a state of mind through some idea of what coldness there built up within my soul, so the grace of my beloved Lord will shine all the more. I felt like Jonah, who could not go away from the Lord. There is no sin from which the Lord will not call on someone to salvation, and I found that the He would just calmly and caringly look at me as if there should be no reason for me to do as I did – His love would just overlook my hatred and call upon my redemption constantly, which I resented so much. I can state thousands of situations of how the Lord would call on me to come back to Him, because every single moment of all the years I lived, had been a struggle and fight against the Him. His voice would be there calling and calling without ceasing! I cannot recall one single hour or maybe minute without hearing from him. Well, actually His voice would be a kind of permanent asset within of which I would not be able to get rid of! I suppose this is more than I think of grace, but I find there are no words that will ever match or be able to engage to describe what and how far His grace will be reaching, and that for eternity. I know He has called me to bring His good news to thousands of people, so I must do it. Therefore He hasn’t given up on me and He will surely accomplish all He intends through and with my life. Was I worse than Paul? Unmistakably yes. Wore than Jonah? I can’t say, but I pray and hope I will be able to do just half of what they did for the Lord, even though I will not limit the Lord to that with my feeble views. I feel the Lord is able even to save the devil if he just comes to abide within His promises, but I cannot rely on that because of the devil’s heart!  

 

CHAPTER 4

HOW THE LORD FOUND ME

 

As I went on living so, I came to a point where I could resist no more, and could not help but stumble at grace. The only thing, which I could not surmount at this point, was the shame I would have to bear upon me, if I was to go back to the Lord, I wrongly thought. I had stated I would never go back to Him, but in my heart I would unconsciously and without being able to stop this kind of thoughts, think of coming back to God and how it would feel like. I was amusing the thought of going back even when saying no to it. It looked to me the shame I would be forced to bear was a greater mountain than I would be able to climb. But, I was not thinking of how strong and able the Lord Jesus is and will always be. He is so sure about carrying out His work within – He moves like a most reliable clock which does not step and click faster nor slower than time: it goes on always in its own proper timing and unmistakably certain and sure of its beatings. There is no way the Lord will ever stay behind or advance upon what He has to do for us: His timing is accordingly defined to what He can do towards certain moments of which we cannot think ourselves away from. I would find myself getting fed up with my own sinning, seeing I did most of it on purpose and not because I loved sin. There had been a time when I even amused myself in it, but I could never have such a heart that would be able to make me feel part of it. I would share in sin with many people, but would just not be part of it within – people would sense that, and would think it was just a kind of personality they could not ascribe for. This is a most strange situation to describe on paper, but I hope the idea is put forth well enough, for I find I cannot do it any better than this. I find this has been the reason why Jonah himself had been forgiven – he resented sinning and accusing the Lord for feeble reasons! 

At this point I found myself having to conclude that I hated sin even if I forced myself into unwillingness against the Lord. (Let me just state here and now that all this may be a stumbling block to whoever would love to carry on sinning at the cost of their life, having my experience as an excuse for their continual love towards sin. I found that at least one person tried to do so on hearing about my story, and got eternally lost as far as I know. This person thought he could attempt the same thing for different reasons because he heard about my testimony as would fit his interests, believing he could stay a while longer drifting in sin, but was lost. I hated sin, people think they can do the same by loving sin and such should not be surprised to find themselves in hell sooner than they expect! Let the warning find your heart and there will no more be a stumbling block in my words, which mean only to have Jesus’ throne of grace be as high up as it can be. I suppose very few will ever find their way back to the Lord if they ever attempt to do as I did for the love of sin).  

Somehow I found out (and could not but resent it) that I could not get away from the Lord no matter how far away I would attempt to think my way from Him. In this I started giving up my resisting and thought it would be useless to carry on in such doings, for the Lord would remain ringing my bell even if I would go to hell. It would be unbearable to spend eternity without being able to solve this huge problem. Here at this point I received a newsletter from the revival site in South Africa, for they kept my address somehow. I cannot recall what Uncle Erlo Stegen (the main preacher there) quoted from the Bible in that newsletter, but it was something concerning the work of God and how lovingly faithful He would always be. I read it for the first time in years, and it was the first of the word of God that I read in those years. It broke me down so that I cannot describe what went through my desperate soul. The Lord said to me then, I could come back to Him right away, because I have been spending my time worthlessly in resisting stupidity. I cried like a baby and could not see anything else but my sinning in the light of the love of God. It was as if I marked my sin more and ahead of me there was such light that could not but show out how stupid sinning was in the light of in the common sense of that light. There was me looking to light and seeing my sin in between as shameful as would be, and darker because of the light which shone on it. The Lord called me and I thought I might just as well go back to Him now and start all over again. But I couldn’t! 

As soon as I started looking into all things I must go through to retain those sudden fresh waters from above that were surely making provision also to come soon, I thought it to be an impossible task to carry out. I felt constrained and ashamed of all, especially of telling people I was going to live for God from then on. Besides I started to look back again and saw how the Lord did not answer my prayers upon saving people from dooming and marked that it was the main reason in my mind why I had fallen back and so far away from truth and from loving holiness. I started feeling bitter again and said there was so much I would have to forgive the Lord for; I thought He had been in debt towards me. I could not see why I was to blame for all I had done. I could see I’d sinned terribly, but I knew it had been because I did not accomplish through prayer and striving the very promises of the Lord. I had gone into sin without loving it, and to a certain extend it had been true. Can you see how Moses was blaming the Lord for having to flee into the desert having such a powerful God? Afterwards though, the Lord showed Himself more powerful in his behalf than he had ever done with any man on earth! 

For a few days on I could not feel to go back to the Lord again. I thought there was too much pain in between for which the Lord was not giving any explanation about, and I thought our relationship would never be a normal one again since it was me who had to forgive. I’m not saying it was so, I’m saying that I felt as if so. But my God was moved towards me and my reasoning, and even by not answering any of my remarks as if there was no more time to loose with feeble reasoning which seemed quite important only to me, He came so near my heart and soul that I felt His love and presence melting all ice within, as if I had been at the door of heaven without entering it for reasons of my own. God was there and filled the place where I had been. My heart trembled and the for so long unquenched thirst made the rest for I longed so much for His love that there was but one thing to compete with it: the love for the salvation of lost people around me. My mind could not go away from that and I thought I would go back to Him if it were for the sake of all these millions surrounding me. I cannot say why I felt so, but I know this has been a great issue to me all my life long, and I could not stand the fact that Paul and Peter of old would so easily carry the gospel powerfully to thousands and there was me being conquered by the world instead, and being so easily swallowed up into powerlessness! 

A while later I thought it would render itself impossible to go all the way back, again. The Lord thought otherwise though, and I sensed Him trying to say that I was loosing precious time with fictioned reasoning. I cried so deeply and could not withhold my heart from breaking down in despair. I said, “Lord, if I cannot go back to you, I beg you, at least save all these thousands of people on their way to hell”. I wept just like Joseph had wept when he had seen his brothers. I cried out so loud I think it passed through heaven and broke into the books of the Lord Jesus and it became a written prayer in them. God’s presence was so powerfully there embracing me I sensed there was a possibility I would still live for the Lord if I only could see my way open to heaven after so much resentment and paining grudging against the Lord. It may seem insignificant now, but at the time I could not see my way through, for I felt terribly guilty and indebted towards heaven and people. Besides, all my sinning was great issues to the Lord Himself, and I knew I had to go back on all I did to restore the glory of the Lord to its proper place.  I thought my way back would be so painful I did not resist falling backwards again. The Lord argued with a loving no, and it was as if I could see Him crying with pain for my lostness!   

For the next few days I thought I would not go back to Him. I thought I had been hearing strange voices and my heart fell back to its normal fallen state all over again. I could not, I just would not. There was a state of light fighting its way through darkness and I was in the dark part. So now and then I would see light to be pleasant and sense it would be powerful enough to withhold and keep me unto eternity, but I would fall back again. I thought also the Lord would most surely save all these people I had prayed for, so I did not care any longer if I would go to hell. But I had been senseless concerning this issue, for the Lord showed me later how hell would be like, except for the fire. I will try and recount the whole thing, but allow me to precede that with the exposition of a most stupid state of heart that was a real stumbling block for the Lord to get a full hold upon my heart and full life. Things were so serious now I thought the Lord would be angry forever at this point. But I did not care because I thought the way back to Him would be as hard as hell itself. So, I cared little if hell was what I would get for my not going back to Him. I did not know just how foolishly I was talking and tried my way into unconsciousness and looking into the future emptiness that awaited me ahead. The voice of the Lord was more urgent as if He Himself was sensing the danger in which I was putting myself into. I could never figure out what the unpardonable sin was to this point, so I sensed that His more urgent callings and the urgency of His loving voice meant something. But the devil was helped by me to hold my heart from the only source of life there is and I was convinced to choose the hell of fire rather, because the one I would have to walk back upon to have my life fully restored to heaven, would seem just too unbearable to me. 

One night I went home and tried to go to sleep so that I would not have to think about these things anymore. Then I heard a powerful voice within my own soul, which I could not mistake any longer. Somehow and up to now, I still supposed that the Lord’s grace would still be there if there were a way to go back to Him, but this voice put an end to all that kind of thinkings. It said, “tonight it will be your last day upon the earth, and if you don’t come back to Me I will leave you for good”. I was so quiet within I could not even answer back to that majestic voice. Moments passed by and all I heard further was such silence that I thought I must be hearing strange voices. And then something happen which, as long as I live, I will not be able to wipe out of my own mind and memory ever. I can’t describe in words how it felt, just how terrible this sensation was which went through me. But before going on to describe that allow me to state something that will enable me to explain it even better. 

It is known how the Lord blew His life into the nostrils of Adam. It is also known that the Lord said that from henceforth man would be a living soul and even if life would abandon him he would still remain aware and fully conscious of all from one eternity to another, for God created man eternal. Now, what happened to me at this point was something like the lifting up of that life away from me. I sensed that the life that had been blown into the nostrils of living beings had left me. But before it left me I heard the Lord saying, “Now I will show you how it feels to be in the hell you so desire to be instead”. As I said, it is so difficult to describe this that I will surely not be able to come even close to it. I lived in a 7th floor and had a window in my room. I felt literally life leaving my soul, and the breath of God going away. That breath, which had been considered by me as mine, as part of me, was being taken back to Whom it belonged all the time. I felt so dead, so dead and so conscious of it at the same time that I believe the feeling and awareness of that death is a whole lot worse than all the pains of hellfire. I thought the fire in hell would be terrible, but now I grasped for the first time what eternal death is all about. Hell is just the place where we will spend it, but is not the eternal death itself at all. To be eternally dying without coming to die at all, that is a terrible nightmare! I was so conscious of all things around my lifeless me that even the amount of its awareness surprised me. I felt dead, but not only did I feel dead, I sensed and lived within a death which had me aware of its deadness. And all of a sudden eternity doomed upon me, and I thought that was it, I would have this thing in me for millions and millions of years without being able to bring it to an end ever! 

The words of God which said that eternal death was the reward for the one who would reject eternal life, an eye for an eye, stayed in my mind. I think I felt a little of what Judas Iscariot felt when he killed himself. He could not bear the awareness of the death that befell on him after going back to the Pharisees to give back those silver coins he sold the Lord with. I know why he killed himself. I thought myself to jump out of the window of my room so terrible was that awful feeling of being dying without dying at all! I never had a single suicidal thought in my whole life. But that awareness of death, of eternal state of being dying without dying at all, was the reason why I made it to the window. For a moment I thought to seek relief from it through physical death. There were no barriers in my mind, I could think so fast and was so aware of what I was thinking that I felt startled unto death by that also! The awareness of it all! I would touch my body and I felt it myself, and could feel it shivering in that pain of lostness. I could not cry, I could do nothing else but blame myself for my lostness, thinking that it was all over and that I had been such a fool as to put myself into this eternity without God! The fire of hell would be the easy part of it all! The awareness of this death was the worst part of it! And to think this dying would be eternal and without ceasing would bring such unpleasantness within my whole being that I thought that there would be nothing I could do to change it ever, something which would surrender it more bearable. I cannot describe in words what I went through in these awful moments and therefore will hope I have been able to picture it out to you somehow, for I find that I am not describing even up to half of its awfulness and unbearableness! These were small moments which flooded like unbearable eternities. 

It was here then, just before I made it to the window to throw myself out to try some kind of relief from that awareness of such pitch blackness, that I thought I had to stop and think. “Stop and think”, I told myself, “maybe there is slight a chance because I’m not in hell yet”. I turned to the Lord and said “Lord, let’s talk about it! I don’t care if I can’t see my way back to you, because I’m pretty sure I will come to you somehow”. The death I experienced was so silent I thought it was no use, but I had to take my chance. And there it was: the promises of God! And then I said “oh no, Lord, there is a way out of this, even if I were in hellfire I would call upon you and you would be bound through your own promises to hear my prayer”. I recalled how the word of God stated that Jesus had been preaching to the dead during the three days of His death, and thought if there had been hope for those, surely there would be even for me! I did not feel faith, but sensed that I thought faith and that faith in the Lord was a logical conclusion and thinking of truthful things about all the promises with which He binds Himself to in words. I had the faith of a giant in me and would not let go. I believe if I had been in hell the Lord would go there for me. I cannot say how I did it, but I would change the whole world and replace mountains and worlds today if I would just be able to experience such faith here and now. It was a remarkable attempt to eternal life and I knew the Lord had bound Himself to His own promises eternally: “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!” It does not state where, so it could be heard anywhere! That piece of promise was life to me, and it brought me back to life again. I can say that I brought myself out of death, a worse death than the one Lazarus has been in, because at that point all life I lost came back to me and I felt such a relief I sighed so hard with joy that I will remember that feeling forever and ever. I will not be able to tell in words just how thankful I was at that point for the life God breathed back into me. I could thank God for that life that has never been mine, and which will surely be His own asset forever and ever, even if I’m to be the eternal bearer of it. This normal life everybody has even sinners who don’t think God exists at all. It came back to me and it felt like heaven. I sighed with such relief from those pains of death, this normal life felt like paradise. For how long I stayed enjoying this, I do not know, but it felt so good to have life again, I would thank God for it even if I knew Him not! 

But that was not all, for the Lord would move fast, because He thought and knew if the eternal life, the rivers of living waters would not take hold of my life right there, I would get lost, surely. So, not only did my life return to me, but also the love of the Lord Jesus was there knocking at the door of my heart once again. I just said, “Lord, just come in please and make my heart your eternal home. Stay there as you want for eternity and never leave me again. I will not stand to live without you. I have been such a fool to throw away such life as I could have been enjoying up to now”. I sensed that even that awful living in sin and deceit was a far better life than the death I was taken out of. And surprise of all surprises He came in with such life as I have never experience before, as if He wanted to blow away and blot out all remains of that awareness of the death which I have gone through, and of all my past life. He wiped my mind so clean I was in such a state as maybe are beings in heaven. His love went through my soul and mind in such proportions that it was not to be compared to the first experience of my real encounter with Him in Pretoria. It flooded in and I rejoiced and tried not to cry out of thankfulness. I confessed all my sins, as far as I could recall them at that point. I think I remained for hours in that state of mind and the awareness of the eternal life He brought in anew into the emptiness of that black hole in me, was so wonderful that I felt I had been taken from one extreme of death to the other extreme point of life, from a extreme point of hell to the most beautiful place in paradise. I had such thankfulness for life within, that ever since I cannot but feel deeply thankful for it eternally. I was so humbled, so deeply subjected to my Lord, I couldn’t be but thankful to Him for what he gave me, besides what He had given back. This was grace indeed and maybe for the very first time the word ‘grace’ made sense to me. Isn’t the Lord great?   

As I said, I went back on all my sinning and brought them out to the forgiving light of God. As I would confess this sin and that one, a whole load would be literally thrown far away from me. I would feel forgiven, know to be forgiven, and experienced peace, eternal peace. I felt and experienced what those words meant which say, “as far as the east is from the west”; so far away did He put my sins from me. I could not believe how that would happen to me in such a loving manner. And because of that I thought I should not take it for granted that the Lord went through so much trouble to come and forgive me of all my sins: I must do a complete cleansing of my soul, I thought, I should leave it spotless at His feet.  For hours I remained thus on my knees cleansing my heart and soul, confessing and crying, having such joy and such thankfulness as to bind me to the vine once again, that my mind would feel so relieved and forgiven I would go from one glory to another. I marked that all my prayers were answered on the spot and that the Lord was so gracious to me, as if He had haste in getting me cleansed. And I would wonder, “what all those things meant”, just as Mary did about her son Jesus. 

The most amazing thing that I became aware of at that point was a sudden storm of God’s word flooding into me. It was as the fowls which fell in the camp of Israel in the desert – uncountable Bible verses stormed into my hungry mind like abounding life and with such opportunity as had been needed. For every situation and thing my mind brought up to the Lord (for I decided to solve all things right there without leaving one single doubt or problem to hinder me from finding my way back to salvation without effort!), and I found the Holy Spirit answering through these verses, which I had long forgotten. I did never think of those Bible verses for years, and all of a sudden they were balking within my mind, flaming life into my soul, decapitating every single doubt no matter how small these looked like. I found that a small doubt would soon become a huge stumbling block because of the feebleness of my heart and grounds. I recalled the earlier experiences of trying to make it back to the Lord without being able to do so, and thought I should not risk my life here again by leaving one single matter untouched of which I was aware of, and guessed it to be a possible fountain to a serious problem in the near future. I searched under every rock that felt heavy and which brought deadness to the life I restarted to have within, deeply within, should I say. That life was the very source of all, and from there on I understood what it meant that Jesus is the life, the way and all truth also. It was truly so, I stamped that truth forever in me and I thought I would preach it out for as long as I had strength in me to do so. And the Lord thought it better that I should go about it as wisely as He could make me to be so. 

After all this I slowly but surely turned my attention to the second love of my heart, for which I thought I would exchange my life for at any moment if it would help to attain to it: the salvation of lost people around. That issue had been so precious to me that it turned to be a stumbling block for my soul and I could not leave that untouched. I asked the Lord if He would work as he did with Paul and Peter of old, because I felt that if it were not so all would stop making sense to me again. The Lord said yes, but that I should take care not to desire it so as to drive me to unbelief and to hell again. Right there I started praying for people who were in great danger of getting lost soon. I could see how they would be dammed forever and for whom I should intervene for, putting things before the most powerful God for whom nothing is impossible. I cannot say just how wonderful it felt to realize and know how the Lord would answer my prayers – not by immediate results but through such assurance within that I knew I needed not take any more thought towards it from then on. I can relate one case as to illustrate what I mean with this. 

My brother started to have serious problems, (he thought because he did not yet come close to death as passed through my door!), concerning his work and little daughter. He quit working with my father for they would disagree on many things concerning the work of the firm my father owned at the time. His whole life started to move rapidly backwards and usually people who are not able to trust the Lord, are taken further into the imaginary blackness of their problems than anyone who slightly knows that whatever happens there remains still the Almighty God above to help them. In this state of mind he started to search for advice by consulting witches and black powers of which kind I never inquired him about. The five different devilish women whom he consulted told him the same thing concerning his problems and said with unwavering certainty that the origin of his problem was my mother who had gone to other white or black magic powers to put his life upside down. Of course this was an orchestrated lie from the bottomless pit and intended to destroy all those who once upon a time had heard the gospel in a most saving manner and stumbled because the one who brought it to them (me) did not manage to stay alive and living in it. 

My mother thought it strange that every time she went to visit my brother there was such kind of heaviness of spirit against her in the air and in people that stayed at my brother’s, that she could not stand it for much longer without inquiring what had been going on. She decided that enough was enough, and so she asked my brother why everybody, even my brother’s in-laws, were so set to be deadly cold against her. That people would dislike her, she would accept, she said, but that he would support them in such doings she thought strange and unacceptable. This is where my brother told his mom with his heart full of harming and killing bitterness what the story had been behind all that coldness. She was so shocked she could not believe her own ears and she thought she must be having some terrible nightmare, a really bad dream. My brother talked to her as if he gave full credit to what the five different witches had told him, saying that those things would be impossible not to be true seeing so many different people told him the same thing. My poor mom was deeply hurt through this and could hardly recover from the pain and blow of it, and she would do nothing else in future but cry her days out in bed filled with such hopelessness and sadness within. She loved my brother so that she often said he had always been her favorite son, and now she thought all these happenings would just bring her soul to the gave. Her life started meaning close to nothing in her own view of things, and her reasoning with my brother to try to impress her innocence upon his mind, telling him about how many times she had come to aid him with money and other things when he had been in great need for, accomplished nothing but a cold response from him. There was a worse response from all my brother’s in-laws, for they chased my mom away from their sights. 

This was one of the problems I brought to the Lord that night where I did not only got at the doors of heaven, but had entered it for good. I asked the Lord to bind those powers of hell and undo that whole thing. But that would not be enough, I thought, so I asked that all people whom this matter concerned would one by one humble themselves so as to come and ask for forgiveness to my dear mother. And the Lord answered right there and said it was granted. “But”, He said, “Tomorrow you must go to your mom and tell her wisely everything will be alright so she might regain hope”. At this point my mom did not know that I had come back to the Lord at all, and upon inquiring, the Lord told me to tell nobody yet about my change of soul and spirit, so He could use it that way to bring people to Him in a way I was not to understand at the time. Besides, the Lord had a few unsettled matters to fix with my father, for he had been boasting against me and my faith and God, and therefore the Lord would love to deal with him personally, seeing that if I went to confess my faults to them at that point it would bring about a hardness within my father which surrender it difficult for him to be saved at last. I agreed to that, when I saw the wisdom of this reasoning, and without difficulty believed the Lord on something I could not understand at the time. So, it was decided I would go to my mom only and tell her she should not worry any longer, that all would come out all right and that al of them would come and plead she should forgive them. 

The next morning, this was the first thing I did. As I got to my mother’s house, she complained her heart out to me and I could see she had been crying a lot. She would just not have any kind of motivation to withstand against such murdering lies. I said, “Mom, do not worry about all this. They will all come back to you and plead for your forgiveness – they will come one by one”. I don’t know what happened to her at that moment, but I could see her faced glowing with hope as she went on believing my words. The power of God in form of conviction went through her, for those words cut through all that sadness she lived with for so long and somehow brought her back to life again. Those words were so powerful she was brought back to life once more. When I saw that happen before my own eyes, I knew the Lord had spoken and that glow of hope was confirming to me that He had spoken indeed. I think she never cried about that again. I saw life and hope coming into her, I cannot say how I saw it, but it was there – so much so that there was an immediate response from her heart to it. She was not glad I encouraged her, no; she lived and was resurrected from death through what I said. She marked the words so, that she got on with her normal life immediately, and for the first time in that month maybe. 

A week later it started to happen. My brother arrived and asked my mother if he could say something to her in private. He burst in tears and asked my mom to forgive him for having believed witches instead of common sense. The next day his wife came, and the next his mother in law. And all the other in-laws but one woman, came to see my mom one by one asking her for forgiveness in the same line of spirit. Isn’t the Lord amazing and wonderful? I guess there is nothing impossible for Him indeed! And this is one example of how the Lord would answer all my requests that night. Some of them are still to come, but I have no reason to think they will not come to happen soon, seeing all of them without exception are asked according to the wonderful will of my beloved Lord?    

Definite lines and lineouts were given to me as to how I should handle all the things that seemed to be enormous mountains of painful climbing towards my goal and the Lord’s also, so as to have my life spotless once again, without blemish before this marvelous throne of holiness and graceful achievements for mankind. I was given to know how to handle my going back on putting right of all the damages I had caused to the worked of God and to the souls of people. Just as David had received from the Lord that pattern to build the temple, which he handed over to Salomon, I was given a plain picture of how I would go about in rebuilding the walls of the temple I had broken down in past years. I asked the Lord to grant me the privilege to reach all the woman I have been messing with so I would bring them the gospel and lead them to full salvation. It was granted. I asked Him to lead me into such wisdom as not to be lost at what I should have to do concerning life issues. It was granted and heard from above. Concerning new friends I had made during my careless times, whom knew not I used to live for God once upon a time, I asked and inquired the Lord about. I was shown how I was to handle those matters as soon as I the Lord would grant me to do so, that I should have no haste in trying to do all at once but rather do it properly in such a way as would guarantee their salvation, and most of them were not ripe enough to be brought to the kingdom of God, even though they would to listen to my confessions and testimony. (All these things have been confirmed in practice just as the Lord has shown it to me – so, that’s the best part of it all, for the Lord always confirms His words).  I was shown I was not ripe enough at that point, either to give them a proper account of truth in the very spirit the genuine gospel requires, and that careless, hasty doings would not guarantee their safety from being burdened in conviction without a light to lead them into proper salvation. I was made bound to save myself from all sin first and above all. It was shown to me that the gospel I had within me was too real and shocking for any mind that did not fancy having a real God around knocking at their doors, for only an imaginary God would do to most of them unless they would be prepared to have such life as the Lord would be willing to give. I could mention hundreds of things maybe, which were given me to know on how to fix all wrong I have done in the years that have passed. One thing had been settled though, and that would be that nothing would stay undone and unfixed and the Lord’s promises, both the one’s I recollected from the Bible like flaming life and those the Lord Himself would breath into my soul, would settle every matter I would bring up to Him. 

I will mention one more thing concerning an issue I think I ought to pass on to you. My father had been very godless concerning the issues of God in times when I came from South Africa. It had been years before, but the Lord remembers sin forever. He even went as far as boasting against the truths of the Gospel, stating, because of the disappointment my kind of new life worked in his mind, that he would do nothing to help me out for he said, he would like to see how my God would be helping me in the midst of this desert called Portugal! I cannot say it was a kind of persecution, but at the time it helped me down for I had great expectancy upon his salvation and I have not been cute enough as to find the Lord’s opinion concerning those boasting words which meant only to do harm to the Lord Himself. At this point my father could be considered well off and needed nothing else but to feel secure in riches and money. But, the Lord showed me I should not even tell him as much as a single word concerning the gospel and his sin, for the Lord would do it Himself face to face. I believed Him, because the way the Lord had put it to me left me no margin for doubts as to what the Lord would want to do and how He was to accomplish it. 

At this point the Lord Jesus not only started to bless my life, but would open up the eyes of all people I knew which were many, to see how blessed my life was and how light my spirit began to be. I did not think it possible at times earlier that the Lord could use as much as normal living to show people around that He lives, and I started understanding what the Lord did through Israel to the rest of the world and why the queen of Sheba would have such trouble as to travel so far to inquire for herself about the rumors she heard concerning Salomon and his God in Israel. Everybody started to move their eyes towards what the Lord as doing in me, not always knowing it was the Lord Jesus doing all this Himself. Concerning my father, I had started before to help him out in the office work of his company that happened to be the apple of his money greedy eyes. I said I would not work for a salary, with the same spirit as Abraham did refuse to have the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah to think they had made him rich. He refused to accept from the spoil Abraham got back from robbers who spoiled their goods. This same spirit I was implementing upon my life and work, knowing that it was the Lord who lifts up the needy and brings always down the proud, and not our own doings. At this point I started to see things about my fathers’ company that were issues of great concern. My father was careless about the way he handled money, for pride and deceit left him no option but feel safe at nothing but the deceitfulness of self-reliance and deceitfulness itself. 

I warned my all family about all this and to the course that they should take to ensure a more proper working of the company. My whole family, two sisters and respective brothers in law were working for huge salaries doing half of the work I had been doing. They all resented I dared to call their attention upon their mistakes, having me thinking I was not doing the right thing to them all. But I could not understand their opposition to my views, seeing they were so clear and logical. I could not see that the Lord was undermining all their work through their careless unthinking acting. Soon it worked that none of them would have as much as talk to me about anything, and so I kept silent and out of all company affairs.  

One day there was a meeting between all family members of which I have not been told about so I would not have to participate in it. But I came to know about it and thought they were taking it for granted I would know about the meeting and that that might just be the reason for not telling me about it. But as I sat down around the meeting table and tried to say something, I was cut off even before I could say something. I was being sold out to Egypt again and knew not why. I went to pray in my closet and cried my heart to God, feeling sad. I tried to read something out of the Bible and there the Lord came my way and explained to me what had been happening. The psalm I read talked so sharply to my heart I could not mistake it for anything else but the very voice of God. It said the Lord was throwing them into dry lands where later they would all come back to plead for salvation at my table which by chance the Lord Himself would set before them, and unless they would eat from it they would not be saved. So, I had to be careful not to hinder God’s work by unbelief and things started to struck them. Further I should not feel grudgy against anybody because this was forged by the Lord for the purpose of the salvation of their souls from deceit, and that unless the Lord would have me cooperate with Him wisely and believingly it would surrender itself impossible to carry it out properly. From then on I had no option but being wise about all the doings from the furnace of God Himself. 

I believed crying in pain at heart, and as the Lord would show me, so I would do. I did not say a single word more concerning all of it because I knew all was meant to die. I showed no resentment concerning anything, for sin would not do. The Lord said also I should remember the story of Joseph, and know I would make it my own. I recall in years before crying out my whole heart with emotion at the reading of the story of Joseph in Egypt, and now there was I understanding why. I know that it did talk to my deepest heart, but could never understand why. There is a whole lot more to it than my family problems, for the Lord saved the whole region through Joseph, but that is something I would not like to mention here, seeing I intend to write a separate book on that within a few years, God willing.

Things worked out so as to lead me the South of Portugal, to Algarve, where I was to carry out the will of God about certain people I did not come to know at all yet. I knew nothing about it at that point, but allow me to skip this part of my story, so I should carry on unhindered to tell about my father. More or less at that stage, he was given a huge amount of work there in the place where I had gone to, and found out he could not cope with all its problems. I stood him by having the Lord leading as things would move on, and started to be asked to carry out things for him he could not handle himself any longer, and for which nobody in the family was willing to stand him by. I drove thousands of miles in the car the Lord has given me to buy at a stage I had no money to show at all. (I told I would buy it even before I could guess how, and the Lord so granted it to be done seeing it had been His own doing and leading that achieved all that – and everybody saw that and were perplexed at the achievement).   

At this point my father even became sick for a while and I was there just to be near him supporting and assisting him, seeing he was in a pretty bad shape emotionally and physically. The Lord would me to stay because he would need such support soon as none would ever be able to grant but the Lord through me; he should know I was there instead of the Lord Jesus and that would be both humbling and comforting to him. I could not guess what was about to happen a while later. A few clients my father had done work for, went into bankruptcy and owned him a whole lot of money. He could not cope with all of it and as I learned he cried as a baby because he could see there was no more hope left for all his company. Slowly he started reducing workers and slipped down into working only with two people and unable to pay any of his debts. That psalm came true up to now, and there is still a part of it to be done yet, where I will have to be his Joseph seeing he had boasted against God’s help. My whole family went down with these problems and ever since I have been the one to aid them in many ways, even financially, they knowing or just guessing sometimes, that my money is given me by the Lord Himself, either if it be through work He leads me into, or some other kind of thing I am to undertake to provide. Up to now I dared not do anything but God’s will concerning work: I cannot move where the Lord does not lead things my way or me into the way of things. The word of a psalmist goes “my soul follows my Lord close by”, and “Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until He has mercy on us”.  

I could mention a few more things concerning all the things Jesus is doing to undertake and convince, and just how His words are becoming confirmed according to obedience, silence and faith in Him, but I will stick to these for now. I hope and pray I’ll be able to relate more about God’s work and the gospel in Portugal. As soon as the Lord allows me to do so, I’ll surely write some more things about it all. May God bless you richly.

José Mateus
zemateus@msn.com