I was born in Brazil, and my parents and grandma were all Christians, but they did not always follow Jesus fully. I grew up going to church most days not just on Sundays. When I was 11 years old I began surfing and found I wasgood at it, and I was part of the Christian surfers in Brazil.
As I grew older I realised I would have to either be one of the ‘bad boys’ or risk being bullied. I quickly decided to be one of the ‘bad boys’. From the age of 13, I left the church and joined one of the many violent gangs which were in our area.
I spent a lot of time looking at the way that the people who went to church were not living as Jesus wanted us to, and I excused myself from going to church because I did not want to be false like I saw that they were. My father was a heavy drinker and violent when he had had a lot to drink. He would punch my mum and this made me very angry.
My life continued with studying, surfing, driving around in the car I had bought through the profits I made in bad living. In the gangs we would drive around, take over people’s cars and make them give us money to let them go. I quickly became rich, and feared by others in the gang as I did the dangerous things I did without having to take drugs to do so.
I was a proud and arrogant young man, and the devil was setting me up to, pull the carpet from under me and, make me fall. One day I heard that one of the professional killers, who was my bodyguard, had been killed by another gang. At this point my life changed. I shouted my mouth off saying I would get revenge for him. The other gang heard what I was saying and decided they would kill me before I got chance to kill one of them!
For 3 or 4 days they searched for me. They looked for me in the place where I should have been, but thankfully I had not gone there. I went back home to think about what I needed to do. Either I needed to kill them or they would kill me. As I walked away from my auntie’s house a man came to find me. All the people who were supposed to be my friends had left me alone.
I went across to one man who I thought was my friend. He took me into the house, and then phoned the rival gang to tell them where I was. Three men surrounded the house ready to kill me. They called me to come out or they said they would burn the house down and throw a grenade into the house.
I realised I had three choices, 1. Kill, 2. Be killed or 3. Give my life to Jesus. I chose to give my life to Jesus. I told God I was sorry for all the wrong I had done and asked for His forgiveness.
Jesus heard my prayer and a light covered me, and Jesus told me to go out of the door. I did so and jumped over the wall in front of me and ran off into the forest.
The three men who had come for me could not believe that I had managed to leave the house without being shot. Jesus had got me out.
There had been so much trouble because I had been proud and stupid, but now I had decided to go back to church and look to Jesus instead of looking at other Christians.
When I was 18 years old I heard from a cousin who was a football player in Portugal. I decided to visit him. I found Portugal very beautiful and it was there that I might the lady who was to become my wife. With life now much safer; with sun, sea and surf, I began to forget what Jesus had done for me and I began to forget Him. I became half-hearted as a Christian, but God has some good ways of getting our attention. One night as I was working as a night watchman in a holiday complex there was an amazing tornado which tore into the buildings where I was working. I called out again to Jesus and He rescued me.
Now I want to walk with God and I don’t want to ever go away again.
Jesus called my wife and I to come to England to learn more about Him. He has helped us to work with Him in Indonesia, and then in the summer to go back to Brazil to do some more training. Jesus has been so good to me and I just want to surrender my whole life to Him and do whatever He wants me to do.