Photo - Kaka

Kaka

I need Jesus every day of my life. Jesus tells me in the Bible that without Him I cant do anything. I have the gift and capacity today to play soccer because God gave it to me.

Photo - Ivona Škvorcová

Ivona Škvorcová

I noticed a little lump on my neck and it changed my plans and my life. We will have to remove it, exclaimed my doctor. It is just a simple operation… I spent three days in the hospital and I waited three weeks for biopsy results. I wasn’t worried at all. I was a 22-year old university student, full of energy and vitality. I didn’t expect it could be something serious. On 22 February 2006 the doctor told me: “It is positive“. I didn’t even understand what it means. Everybody in my family was shocked – I had CANCER. I was confused. I had lots of questions and fears.

Photo - Augustín Ugróczy

Augustín Ugróczy

Hi everybody, whoever you are and wherever you are – YOU ARE DISCIPLES. That’s the way I call my boys and invite them at our regular PAJTA meetings.

Photo - James Manjackal

James Manjackal

He prayed: "Father in Heaven, send your Son Jesus now to this priest suffering from kidney T.B., kidney stones and infections and restore him complete health of body and soul". Then I thought in my mind that he might have seen the hospital chart where my sicknesses were reported!

Photo - Róbert Slamka

Róbert Slamka

I am 52 years old and I am a lawyer. I have a beautiful beloved wife, Helena, and 5 beautiful children, Róbert, Jakub, Andrej, Annamária-Rút, and Lukáš.

Photo - Mudr. Silvester Krčméry CSc.

Mudr. Silvester Krčméry CSc.

If I have to be punished for what I did – i.e. for the goodness, truth, and Christ – I wouldn’t choose the smallest punishment, but the most terrible one; I would be so happy if I could die for Christ, although I know that I am not worthy of such a great grace.

Photo - MUDr. Emília Vlčková

MUDr. Emília Vlčková

I healed my daughter who had bronchitis, after antibiotics showed no effect. I had a wart and it disappeared on the following day after I had used my homoeopathic drugs.

Photo - Vlado Žák

Vlado Žák

I knew about God, but I didn't know Him. I saw God only as a strict judge. One of the predominant feelings when I thought about God was a sort of fear. Today, I know I was completely wrong.

Photo - Dominik Dobrovodský

Dominik Dobrovodský

Yes, bones were my life issue. I was born with a fracture. Since then I had several fractures during all my childhood, every time I fell down. I spent a lot of time in hospitals. I suffered a lot. But I also saw other people suffering. It was for me great life experience, great learning experience. During this experience I understood that God is always with me and He never abandons me. This attitude of praise became (and it is continuously becoming) my expression of love towards God.

Photo - Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic

I am thankful to have been born 31 years ago with no arms and no legs. I won’t pretend my life is easy, but through the love of my parents, loved ones, and faith in God, I have overcome my adversity and my life is now filled with joy and purpose.

Photo - Jozef Demjan

Jozef Demjan

When I was a child I was sexually abused by an older boy. We lived in poverty. I experienced occult practices, depression, homosexuality, and suicide attempts. Only faith in Jesus Christ brought light to my life.

Photo - Marek Nikolov

Marek Nikolov

The aim of the “Jesus Heals” prayer gatherings is experiencing the fact that God is Love. He is Love that wants to give itself to other people. God wants to show us His mercy even through healing, signs, wonders, and miracles.

Photo - Rick Warren

Rick Warren

People ask me: What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

Photo - Renáta Ocilková

Renáta Ocilková

During chemotherapy I lost my menstrual cycle. After about half-a-year I asked my gynaecologist – oncologist about that. I was afraid I was going to badly react to his answer. He told me:
“It’s normal. Your menstrual cycles will never return.”

Photo - Anton Srholec

Anton Srholec

Faith and love for Jesus and for his cause filled all my heart and I was ready to offer my life for this.

Photo - Denis Blaho

Denis Blaho

I started to do fortune-telling and I said things that resulted to be truthful. I used to predict things that really happened in near future. Sometimes I read people’s thoughts. I disdained Christian religion. I had a bad opinion about believers and acquaintances who were not profound believers.

Photo - Bohuš Živčák

Bohuš Živčák

Despite persecution during the Communist era (or actually because of Communist persecution) my search of God became a continuous adventure. Pilgrimage and travelling rather than studying. When I studied at high school God came dramatically closer to me.

Photo - Veronika Barátová

Veronika Barátová

I always have wonderful memories of my return to God; still today they are pretty important. Everything happened during my university studies at times of normalizing Communism.

Photo - Oto Mádr

Oto Mádr

This epoch is not easy at all for Christians; but for big-format Christians it is a great and marvelous epoch. “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.“ In such glorious moments the Church sings to the Lord a heroic song of love and faithfulness. It is a privilege and a gift: to live just now, to love, and to fight.

Photo - Lucia Tužinská

Lucia Tužinská

My core problem was – how can I trust God again?! How can I understand Him? What has happened? What we believed in before suddenly became not valid. We needed to reevaluate our faith from the foundation.

Photo - Martin Hunčár

Martin Hunčár

My conversion does not fall under the category “extraordinary”. I know you would like to hear about the miraculous conversion of a former drug-addicted or alcohol-addicted. I was neither drug-addicted nor alcohol-addicted. Maybe this is the reason why my conversion was even more miraculous.

Photo - Dan Baumann

Dan Baumann

The beatings would start and they would be slapping in the face, hitting in the stomach, sometimes kicking. “I struggled with faith, ‘Was God with me? Did He love me? If God is good why would He allow me to go through this situation?

Photo - Dária Miezgová

Dária Miezgová

But I was also interested very much in the communist ideals as in something that surpassed the ordinary life. So I became a member of a communist party – because I was convinced and I wanted it. And in spite of the fact I went to church and believed in God. I did not feel it as a contradiction

Photo - Matúš Demko

Matúš Demko

Then I directly felt that God is a living being, close to us. Back then, God, our Lord, clearly and expressly intervened into my life. He completely changed it. I became another person.

Photo - Richard Vašečka

Richard Vašečka

My grandfather from my mother’s side had a great influence on my life. Besides that he loved me very much and spent much time with me, he became my ideal and inspiration in a faith, but also in a male character.

Photo - Branislav Škripek

Branislav Škripek

I was born and brought up as an atheist and I can confirm that I had never been told me anything about God during my first 20 years of life. It was something that was an unknown concept for me.

Photo - Sasa Patalakh

Sasa Patalakh

Drugs, sex, Ukrainian mafia, and prison…
“…the story of a young man from Ukraine freed by God…”

Photo - Ondrej Tarana OFM cap.

Ondrej Tarana OFM cap.

I was indeed horrified that I don’t know God and His Love although I was ministering in the church.

Photo - Dominic McDermott

Dominic McDermott

Hearing from God through dreams. Biblical basis, Why God would use dreams, The process ...

Photo - Štefan Esztergályos

Štefan Esztergályos

I got more and more entangled in different occult practices. I applied myself to astrology, healing (reiki) and I practiced martial arts. Instead of prayer I meditated in solitude, which pulled me many times away from the life’s reality.

Photo - Geoff and Gina Poulter

Geoff and Gina Poulter

We had decided with a great sadness that we had to go where we were being fed and leave the Catholic Church. Just as we were about to make this public statement Geoff had an open vision which simultaneously was confirmed to Gina through a word from the Lord.

Photo - P. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap

P. Raniero Cantalamessa, ofmcap

Something of the kind must happen once in our lives for us to be true, convinced Christians, and overjoyed to be so.

Story - David Payne
Chasing the Dragon

small_payne.bmp

David Payne is now director of Catholic Evangelisation Services - faithcafe.org

Nice upbringing
I grew up as a good Catholic kid in a middle class family in Hertfordshire a nice upbringing. Mum, dad, brother and sister were all very lovely. I went to a good school and did well. At the age of 12 I won prizes for being a bright pupil, played in the orchestra and all those creepy things that good kids do. The future looked great!

Teenage Rebel
But at the age of 14 somehow everything started to change - it's a vulnerable time in many people's lives. I began to go off the rails. I think, looking back - it was whilst growing through puberty and all that stuff - that I started to experience a sense of emptiness. It was like a deep insecurity came into my life. I was trying to find something that would make me feel bigger, better or give me some sense of impotence. I looked around and started to get involved with the wrong guys at school. It began with just smoking behind the bike sheds, doing some shop-lifting and vandalism - I pushed myself into dangerous situations, starting to, walk on the edge a bit, looking for kicks and thrills. I regularly got horribly drunk with the guys in the village. Then I discovered women! This was a major event. At the age of 15 I threw away my virginity very casually and started to sleep around. There was a lot of sex. I changed schools, having got into trouble at the last place, which was a comprehensive, where I got involved in fights and that sort of stuff, not normally beating people up because I was kind of skinny, but I certainly mouthed it off enough. One day this guy came in with a carving knife and said, "Now it's your turn". He was serious, a real psychopath. I went to the headmaster and said, "You've gotta get me out of this school. This is a crazy place." Instead of receiving the compassion that I thought I deserved, I got into a terrible lot of trouble. My parents were brought in and the teachers reeled out all these things I'd been doing - shoplifting, smoking and bunking off. I didn’t even know these people had a clue that I was doing these things.

Public School
Anyway my parents quite angrily took me out of that place and put me in a Catholic public school. All of a sudden here I was at the age of 15 among all these brainy people who played rugby and who were extremely confident. I felt desperately insecure; I needed identity so I looked around anxiously. I hated rugby, I'd seen someone get quite badly hurt, I certainly didn't have their brain capacity, and I wasn't a kind of boffin, so where the heck was I going to fit in? In the middle of my O-level year. I checked around and saw that some of the guys were a bit different only a few of them, mind you. They had longer hair and kind of just seemed to be ... unusual. I followed them one day into a basement underneath the swimming pool where they kept the suitcases in the boarding school. I opened the door and I was hit by strange music and a green fog. All these guys were listening to Jimmy Hendrix and smoking dope. Wham, I had suddenly found what I was looking for. Here I found an identity. I became Dave the "druggie", grew my hair and staffed to listen to The Doors and all that kind of music. It was a whole new territory for me and it was something I could do very well. I didn't have to be super fit. I didn't have to be very intelligent. I just had to have a little bit of: a death wish I guess.

Dave the Druggie
For a 15 year old kid I began to take a lot of drugs. I'd go to London at weekends, having stolen some money, and hang out at a place called the Roundhouse which was like a drug supermarket in those days with Sunday afternoon gigs. People lined up all around this hall, selling you anything and everything, cheaply. And so I was doing a lot of speed, loads of acid, smoking a lot of dope and messing around with all these different drugs with much older guys in London - really very dangerous. That went on for I guess about a year. I crawled through my O-levels - didn't do very well. I began to hate school, hate work, hate parents, hate authority -l just wanted to hang out and be a hippy, do drugs and listen to Lou Reed and all that sort of stuff.

Parents go mad
In the sixth form I went totally stoned one weekend on a drug called mandrax ("mandies") - (They don't make them anymore, but they just blew you out). I stumbled home. My parents sussed I was taking drugs and there was major hassle. They locked me away but my friends carried on sending me gear through the post. Then I went to college, to start again. I'd convinced my parents I had changed, that lIwould get my exams and sort my life out. I went to a local college and of course got straight in with the guys smoking dope and doing speed. I became social secretary and had to organise the rock concerts. All very exciting. And then something very major happened - it was in '76 which was a very significant year for young people in this country. Suddenly there was a guy called Johnny Rotten and "Anarchy in the UK". Punk Rock hit and it was just a rush of adrenaline and excitement. My hair got shorter, the music got Iouder, and the drugs got harder. I had a great time for about another year. My parents were not impressed - there were a lot of arguments. They said, "You've blown it. You've wasted your life. You've wasted your education, you've got demotivated about everythincj. You're aggressive. And look, what kind of a life are you going to have, how are you even going to earn a living?" I began to listen and to think, "Yes, they are probably right. But so what." I couldn't see a clear path at all.

Romantic Love
And then in the middle of it all a young women appeared called Ruth and she was very beautiful the sister of a friend of mine at school who everybody fancied. And to my surprise, she seemed to fancy me. Well, you could have knocked me over. A love came pounding into my lib; it seemed to be the real thing, and it just blew me off my feet. We got involved in a very deep, passionate sexual relationship. I really wanted to keep this girl. This was the girl. I idolised her. Of course she didn't want a stoned, punk rocker for a boyfriend. So gradually I came off the dope, off the drugs, and I had to take a good look at my life how was I going to keep her? I needed an identity again, needed to do something to impress her, so I tried working in the theatre. I'd always thought I'd make a tremendously good film director or actor. Sadly my claim to fame after six months was to become the assistant, assistant, assistant tea maker to Tommy Steele, which really wasn't very good! I threw that in, reckoning that they'd wasted my talent.

Worldly Success
I know I had one other gift that I was good at, playing poker - you know, being a bit of a conman. So the obvious place to go with that kind of skill is into the business world. That's where crooks go right? And so I started working hard, and by the age of 21 I'd built my empire. I was a very rich young man, having my own firm in the city of London. I drove a very fast, very red Italian sports car and was living with this beautiful girl in a posh Hampstead flat. I had money, Ihad power, I had influence. I had parties where famous people would come. So here lwas, a very successful man. I felt very proud. My friends were very respectful, even jealous. My parents seemed to think, "Well, he's done alright for himself. It was just a "phase" he'd gone through, thank God, he's OK now." I iust wanted to walk back to my school to impress the teachers. I felt very good about myself.

The Empire Crumbles
But like all empires, they don't last very long. Mine lasted probably a year, maybe 18 months. The relationship with Ruth was very difficult. It was a steamy, stormy, very passionate affair. We were immature, jealous and possessive, loving each other and hating each other at the same time. She was in art school, growing in her own lib. She had been very young when we first started going out and I was building my life in a very different way. We weren't married. We thought that was just something for our parents' generation and they hadn't done a great job of it; looking at the world, we felt we didn't need that bond or contract, so it was a highly insecure time. And business was difficult. My partner and I were spending cash very immaturely on sports cars and stuff, whilst making money by hook or mostly by crook. It was a very dangerous way of doing things. Maggie Thatcher was getting her claws into the economy so we began to go into big debt. I was under a tremendous amount of pressure for a 22 year old; under the strain oF a bad marriage when I wasn't even married, and under the pressure oF bankruptcy in the business. To make matters worse, that emptiness was still there. The emptiness I had experienced as a kid and had tried to fill with drugs, punk rock, sex, theatre, and now business (sometimes it seemed to be numb or filled), here it was coming back with a vengeance.

...and Falls
One day the inevitable happened. The empire crashed. I came home from a trip abroad and found that my girlfriend had begun a relationship with one of my Friends. She was being unfaithful to me. I can't blame her now. We really weren't getting on too well. But it was six years of my life, and it was my whole life. I had built everything around this woman - it was the driving force of my life, and suddenly it was smashed, taken away. Utterly betrayed and crushed is how I felt. I tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills. I didn't do a good job. I think I bottled out half way through, but I remember waking up after two days, and I couldn't think of one reason to get out of bed. Maybe you know that feeling? I couldn't think of one motivation to take the next breath. I'd tried money. I'd tried romance. I'd been betrayed. I'd tried everything. Nothing had worked.

Back on the drugs
Eventually I managed to kick myself out of bed. I sold my shares in the business. Ruth and I finally split up after some months of disaster and heartache. I moved into a bed-sit, a basement flat in north London. With the money I had from the business I turned back to drugs. You see, that "phase" I'd just been through as a kid was a very dangerous thing because in the back of my mind I knew there was a way out from pain. And I was in intense pain: physical, emotional, mental torment. I knew that through chemicals I could numb it all, could change the perception of my life and surroundings. And so with a vengeance and a death wish, I turned back, this time to hard stuff called methadone, a heroin substitute, a very clever drug! It makes you feel alive, like a hero, which is where the word heroin comes from. It's even full of nutrients; the government give it to junkies. I got this stuff and it numbed the pain real good and made life bearable, but after three months I discovered that I was totally addicted to a green fluid. I couldn't get up, I couldn't go around without it. I had to go to doctors who said I'd need to be in hospital. Eventually I tried coming off the stuff on my own with medication they'd given me and it was living hell. I experienced something of "cold turkey": stomach cramps and crippling depression. The only way I could get of methadone was to turn to speed, the chemical I'd taken as a kid. This got me out of the depression and got me off the floor, so I became a "speed freak". I took the stuff every day of my life, pumping myself full of rotten, cut, impure amphetamine sulphate. It was like my staple diet. And on top of that I would smoke dope all day long, just to keep the lid on. At the end of the night, usually 4 in the morning, I'd run away from the come-down of reality, the pain and the rejection by taking very strong sleeping pills with whisky. For entertainment I'd do LSD with my mates; we just lived a crazy life style. Some of you maybe know exactly what I'm talking about. It was exciting. This was a life of kicks. We were doing weird things, pushing the limit every day, just to Find a reason to live. There were thousands of us in London who'd "dropped out", who just couldn't hack it, didn't want to hack it, had been huff, been abused, or felt crushed by the system. Thousands and thousands of young people, living this life of darkness living for kicks. We were playing gigs in warehouses at night, smuggling drugs to Paris, dealing, driving cars out of our brains, dodging the police. I was sleeping around with women and I didn't even know their names. I caught diseases and there was just darkness in my life.

Addiction
This went on for a year or two and soon I began to realise that I really was totally addicted to these things, that I couldn't go a day, without numerous chemicals in my body or I would be in crippling depression and physical pain, so I just had to keep pumping more and more drugs into the system. I became separated from normality and from the world. At the age of 25 I inherited some money which was just a wicked thing. I bought an old sports car and spent the rest on cocaine. I was a dangerous man to know. The speed was starting to cripple my body; I was extremely thin. My mind was in pieces with the LSD and my kidneys would be screaming after a couple of nights of sulphate, which made me turn to pain killers. I went back to heroin and morphine which would just numb the searing pain from the amphetamines. At the age of 25 things were looking very, very bleak indeed. This young man who had been brought up in a lovely Christian family with everything going for him was dying in north London, in squalor, anger, pain and resentment. Things were not looking good . I knew that I'd either end up in prison or in a psychiatric hospital. I had no hope, or reason for hope in any other life.

Praying Mother
During this time my mother, who was a Catholic, had been through a kind of weird religious experience. She'd always gone to church and I didn't quite understand what this new thing was. Whenever I phoned her up she would tell me that somehow she had experienced the "power" of God. Very odd. Then she started all the talk about Jesus - about Jesus Christ and how he could set me flee from the prison that I was living in. I thought she was utterly crazy, wacky! The idea of going down to St. Alfonso's parish church as a drug addict, walking in and saying, "I need help", seemed mad. I thought people would have screamed and run away. The church I'd left at the age of 15 I had thought was boring and totally hypocritical. God, it He existed, and I thought He did in a superstitious kind of way, was utterly irrelevant. He was out. there somewhere, but what had He done for me? My Mother kept telling me about Jesus being alive and I thought that she was doing my LSD, it was so ... outlandish. Every time I'd go home to borrow money or have some food, she'd give me yet another Christian book or tape. I amassed the biggest religious library in north London and never read any of them. My Friends had a laugh -we used to tear up the covers to make roaches For our joints.

Run Baby Run
Then one day, it was a wet day I remember, I'd run out of dope and had nothing to do. I just grabbed one of these books. The front cover had a flick knife on it, and I used to carry a knife (in my paranoia). It was a book called, Run Baby, Run, by an American bloke called Nicky Cruz. I began to read and to my amazement, actually enjoyed it. This was a true story of New York street gangs. I loved New York, you see, that's where my music came from, the Velvet Underground especially. These guys were into worse stuff than I was: they were doing harder drugs, were more violent, and into much more crime. In the middle of them all, in 1967, came this skinny preacher called David Wilkerson, saying, "Jesus Christ can set you Free." The guys went spare and they were going to cut him up into pieces and throw him in the Hudson River, which is kind of what they do out there. Shaking with fear, he said, "You can kill me all you want, but God's love is going to get you." Amazingly, one by one these guys became religious. This is what the book said anyway; it started with the gang leader who experienced the "power" of God come into his life, just set him free from drugs, turned him around and gave him a fresh start in life. I'm reading this thing and hope begins to tingle somewhere deep down inside of me. Maybe there is a God. Maybe there is a way out of this tortuous life that I'm trapped in. I get to the end of the book but then realise where I am. That's New York and nothing like this ever happens in East Finchley!

Chasing the Dragon
I Read a book called, Chasing the Dragon, which means smoking heroin, which is what I was doing by this time. It was a true story, of a young Christian woman, a Scottish girl who went to Hong Kong to be a missionary. She started working with the drug addicts who live in the opium dens of the wailed city. These guys had been smoking opium since the age of 10 and now in their 50's, were complete vegetables. Smoking opium was all they lived for. She, with some other Christians, would pray over these people in the power of God and they would come off their addiction overnight, with no cold turkey and no withdrawal symptoms, or so it said in the book. No cold turkey! No withdrawal symptoms! This was amazing! I knew something of that hell. 'Again I felt that tingling of hope in my stomach. Then I got to the end of the book; that's Hong Kong, and I'm in East Finchley. But somehow something was stirring, and what’s more, my mother and my sister kept telling me about Jesus and God's love For me. I was trapped; yet sometimes I would think about these things. Maybe there was a way out I thought, but I couldn't find it. So more drugs, more parties, more darkness.

The Big Valium
Now I wasn't sure if I believed in the devil, or evil, but I was sure experiencing something bad and it frightened the crap out of me! It was almost as if during that weekend I kind of had a "revelation", like an LSD perspective on life. You see, up until this point I had flirted with death. Death for me was going to be the big Valium, the big sleep. My pain, my anger, my hatred, my fear, and my disappointment would just finish. When I died that would be the end, and I was going to die soon for sure. I would go out in style, so I thought, you know like James Dean. David Bowie was singing, "who wants to be alive when you're 25", I was just going to fizzle out somewhere. My parents would be upset, but that would be the end of it. Over this weekend and during this time it was as if I saw very deeply. You know when you see something deep inside and you know it's reality; you can't understand it, but you just know it's true. I suddenly saw that death was not the end, and all that kind of stuff I had been taught at church, which I had never really believed, came flooding back. I realised that death was not going to be a release. If I died at that point, at the age of 25, the misery, the pain and the torture that I was in was not going to end. In fact it was going to carry on forever. This hell that I was living was going to continue after death and get worse. That frightened me more than anything had ever frightened me in my whole life.

"Where is this God?"
At the end of the weekend I crawled out of my flat, went home to my mother and said, "Listen, you've been telling me about this God of power. Where is He? I need to try him out." I was desperate and I was ready to try anything, even the most uncool thing I could think of, which was to try God. I'd tried everything else - sex, drugs, rock & roll, crime. I said, "Where is this God?” I wasn't full of faith, I didn't really know, but I was desperate. She was very relieved and said, "It just so happens that next week in the next town an ex-Hell's Angel from America is coming to give a talk. Would I go to that'. It sounded OK, not as bad as church, so I nervously agreed.

The Hell's Angel
I didn't want to go alone, but of all the hundreds of people I was dealing drugs with, none of them were Christians. Most of them were into the occult and Satanism, many of them good ex-Catholic bays. I did know of one guy. The younger brother of an old friend of mine who was involved in some kind of church group, getting into a lot of trouble himself. He lived in this same town, so I phoned him up and said, "Do you remember me? You're gonna think I'm crazy, but there's this religious thing happening, will you come?" He agreed. We went for a beer and then sneaked into the meeting. It was a businessmen's meeting, of all things. There were about a hundred blokes in suits with their wives. Terrible. We sneaked in the back in our old tatty clothes, spiky hair, and eyes kind of hanging out. Anyway, there was this horrible music and stuff. Things were not looking good when suddenly the ex-Hell's Angel stood up at the front. Now I was expecting this guy to be wearing sandals, carrying a big Bible, cleanly shaven and would say, "I used to be a bad person, but now I'm a Christian." That is what I really expected. But suddenly to my amazement here was a giant of a guy. He was about 6'8" tail and seemed 6' wide, had a huge beard, was wearing an old bearskin rug and had a hook For a left hand- he had lost it in a gang fight. I mean, he was a real sight! We were trying to act cool at the back as he began to tell his story; simply, honestly, with a soft American accent, and no hype. I kind of settled back to listen.

Conversion
He said that he grew up in a good Christian family in the Midwest. Things had gone wrong as a teenager - he got involved with a girl but she had betrayed him - I had heard that before somewhere. He had turned to drugs to numb the pain. I thought, wow, this is like my life. He got involved with gangs which were very violent, and his mother who was a Christian, began telling him about "Jesus". I was sitting there thinking, "This is too close for comfort, almost a set-up job." He carried on talking about how he thought she was crazy, but the violence and the drugs got worse and worse. One day he was driving along Route 55 in his old Cadillac, he was at the end of himself, reckoned he was going to commit suicide very soon. People were after him, he was addicted to drugs and he was in big debt. His whole life was a mess. In desperation he just flicked in a cassette that his mother had given him, thinking, "Why not, I've tried everything else," and he heard a preacher talk about Christ, talk about Jesus" Christ coming as man, coming 2000 years ago to this planet. He came in order to die for mankind, so the preacher said. The guy thought, "Well, big deal, what’s that got to do with me?" Then the preacher began to say that 2000 years later through the power of God, our lives could be affected now. Whatever your problem is, whether it is drug addiction, depression or despair, this violent crucifixion, this murder of the man who was God 2000 years ago could change our lives powerfully, wherever we are, even now! At this the Hell's Angel pulled over. He got out of his car and knelt down on the road and cried out, "God, I don't know if You exist, but I'm at the end of my tether. If you're real, come now and show Yourself." God came into his life there and then - on the side of the road. He just experienced the power and forgiveness of God, came off drugs, the addiction was broken, the depression lifted and his life changed. He now spends his time just going around the world, telling people about this "Jesus".

The most courageous thing I have ever done
I was transfixed. Can you imagine? I'm at the end of my own tether and here's a man in flesh and blood, a cool looking guy, telling me that God is real and moved in his life. This was not distant or in a book. This was not at the other side of the world. Here he was in this room. That hope was beginning to stir in me again. I was sweating and it was like my life was at a cross-roads. Then he said, "There are 3 people in this hall who need to meet with God - tonight. Don't leave it, because it could be too late." He had said that if we reject this message and our own way to .destruction, that place is called hell. It could be too late! I knew he was talking about me. I knew that this was it. I had to - God tonight. If He did not exist or would not come to me, fair dues, I would go and die somewhere. But I had to try. I had that much fight in me to survive. Then, to my horror he said, "Those three people, you've gotta stand up, now" Can you imagine? There was a hundred businessmen, my mother was there, I am desperate, I am sweating, and he is saying, "You've got to stand up in front of all these people." I gripped my chair. "No way!" But he seemed to wait for an eternity and then I found myself standing to my feet. It was probably the most courageous thing I have ever done, and I had done some stupid things, some criminal things, things that took guts in the eyes of my friends, but here I was, standing in front of God, and I was saying, "I NEED YOU." I was saying to a God that was not even sure existed that I had blown it, that I cannot make it in this world on my own - I don't want to make it on my own. It doesn't work, there is nothing to live for, and I need help. He led me through a prayer, which as I think back all those years now, went something like this: "God, I ask that You forgive me for my sin." You know, sin is not a word that people use much and I didn’t use it, but I knew what sin was; I did enough of it! Listen, I knew about my life, about the drugs, the dealing, the abusing women and being abused. I knew all that stuff was wrong. But I also knew that in my heart, inside of me, things were wrong too - hatred, resentment, me. I have done wrong things. I am doing wrong things. I am sorry. I want to change." And then he said, "Now pray that you will believe in Jesus. Pray and say that Jesus is the Son of God, and I believe in you." It was as ill had a little speck of faith inside me, somewhere deep inside, enough to say, "Jesus, I think I believe in you and that the cross you died on was for me, and that you rose from the dead which is enough to free me now." Then I begged him to come into my life, to forgive me. It was as if something lifted me there and then. I stood here and hope burst into life. I felt weight lift off my shoulders, a heaviness of guilt and despair. The meeting came to an end and I rushed out down the pub with my mate Tim, drank lots of beer and nervously smoked cigarettes; something crazy was happening inside of me.

There has got to be more
But I was still addicted to drugs. I was still addicted to this lifestyle of darkness, yet now I was beginning to believe in God and feel hope. It was a strange kind of time. I was sitting on a fence and I know I needed more. I had read in the books that these people had experienced "power". That night I had not experienced power, I had experienced something like love and forgiveness, but I needed physical change in my body. I went back to my mother and said, “Listen, there has got to be more. This is not enough!" She said, "You need to go to a prayer meeting." Boy, that sounded deadly, but I was desperate. We were desperate. She told us there was one happening next week and that if we went we would meet God' s power.

A Terribly Embarrassing Situation
So we went off to this town. It was a wet night in February. We had convinced ourselves that we would find young people with guitars and pretty girls, that it would be all right, God's power would be there! So we walked up the drive and rang the bell of the old convent. The door opened and to our horror, instead of being greeted by pretty girls with guitars, there were about 40 middle aged Irish ladies and 3 nuns. Before we could turn and run down to the pub, which was our instant reaction, they kind of grabbed us, hugged us and took us in. They sat us down in the front row of the room where there were loads of people and put hymn books in our hands. It was almost as if the nuns blocked the doorway. 50 here we were, trapped in this place. It was very hot. Anyway, they began to sing - oh, it was terrible. These were out of tune 1960's folk songs, bearing in mind I was a Lou Reed fan! Anyway, we began to take the piss, and my friend - he was a very big guy - couldn't hold his laughter and it got very embarrassing. We reckoned they would kick us out, but they wouldn't even let us go. It seemed to last forever, this terribly embarrassing situation, and I was thinking, "This is a horrible mistake; I just want to go smoke a joint and get out of my head quickly." Then something suddenly changed. These old Irish ladies who couldn't sing to save their lives began to sound like angels. It was as if they began to sing in a new language, all of them at once. It was harmonising and beautiful, and we looked at their faces which were glowing. They seemed to just know that God was there, and suddenly the atmosphere changed in that hall; we could begin to sense God's presence, a power and a love all around us. Only weeks before I had tangibly experienced a presence of evil and here I was now, experiencing God. We stopped laughing and listened in awe. This strange language is called singing in tongues. I had read about it; when they prayed with the junkies in Hong Kong, they used it. Apparently, if you remember, 2000 years ago Jesus said, "I will send the Holy Spirit who will give you the power to do the things I did." When the Spirit came to this place called the upper room at Pentecost, 120 disciples - that's all that was left after Jesus' death - they just suddenly got zapped and spoke in new tongues; then they went out and healed the sick and raised the dead. I had read about it and here I was, surrounded by this noise. They soon stopped and carried on singing their folk songs and we started laughing again. On the way out they grabbed us and said, "Listen, God can change your life." We nervously laughed and left. But the next week we went: back. See, I was still taking drugs and was still trapped. I knew it would not be long until I had to go back to London and dive back into the same despairing life-style. There was something here, something I needed.

God can set you free
We went back and on the third week they grabbed my friend Tim and said, "You don't have to smoke anymore. God can set you free." Now Tim was a 40-a-day man. He was only 19, had been smoking since his early teens. He had tried to come off and had chewed his fingernails until they bled. These old dears said, "Jesus Christ can set you free from smoking," and he laughed, but they said, "Come on, give it a go." So he said, "Hurry up, I'm dying 'for a fag," and they took him away to a little room. Five minutes later he burst out with a huge grin on his face and seemed to be glowing. He had definitely experienced something and when he went outside he said, "I don't need to smoke anymore." I sceptically replied, '"Yeah, yeah, yeah," but he threw away his cigarettes, which took ages because he always carries so many packets! We filled a bin with these things then went down to the pub and had a couple of pints - no cigarettes! Next day, I phoned him up, no cigarettes! Third day, no cigarettes! A miracle! Tim had been set free from an addiction to nicotine and hope welled up inside me.

"God give me everything"
The next week it was my turn! They were going to pray with me for the drugs and to experience this power for myself. I went very nervously, almost not going to be honest with you, because if God didn't show up, there was nothing left for me. I would have to return to emptiness. And, I felt unworthy maybe God wouldn't come because of all the bad things I'd done and said. I felt terribly confused - yet I went. Well these old ladies laid their hands on me and began to pray in the strange language. It was as if God just started to flow into me, as if somebody was just pouring precious warm liquid. I felt the insides of me warm up, and it was as if the emptiness - that hole that had been inside of me since the age of 14 - just filled up. What is more, I began to speak in tongues too. I began to thank God, praying inside, saying "God, give me everything. I am desperate. I want it all I want to be powerful. I want to be free. Fill me up. Come Holy Spirit, do your stuff." I began to lust speak and my words changed into a language that I had never spoken before. And I felt … set free. At last!

No Cold Turkey
Then they prayed with Tim. The same thing happened to him, and he couldn't even speak French, let along anything "angelic". We just left that place buzzing, floating out. I knew that I was free. Free from drug addictions, free from the Other crap, the sleeping around and all that stuff that I didn't want to do any more. It was true: on the 18th of February 1985 I had been released. I didn't need to take drugs again - no cold turkey; I had no withdrawal symptoms. I threw away my drugs and I was free. It was a miracle. I couldn't do that on my own I would have been on the floor weeping after two days! But now, it was as if I was trapped no more, on the inside.

Friendship with Jesus
More than that, I really met Jesus. I suddenly knew that Jesus Christ is real. I began a relationship, a deep friendship with him, began to talk to him, experience him and heard his voice in me, speaking, encouraging and gently leading me. That emptiness and loneliness that I had always experienced had gone. You see, for years, at the end of every day, whether I was at a party, at home with my family, stoned out of my brain, or in bed next to a beautiful woman, I knew that I was all alone. When my head hit the pillow it was just me, I had to face my life and all of the struggles alone. Suddenly that had changed. No longer was I lonely on the inside. I have been a Christian for 12 years now and I have never felt empty like before. I have had tough times, but ultimately, deep down inside, I know God is with me and His Spirit, His power, is flowing through me.

A Brand New Start
We just kept going back to the meetings and experiencing more power, more 'healing. and more freedom. God had given me a brand new start. Like I had screwed up the first chance. I had screwed it up big time, but I had turned to Him, and instead of Him burning me out, as you would think a god would do, He came with forgiveness and mercy and said, "Here is a new life. Start again. But this time, do it with me, and it will work." And that was 12 years ago and it is still working. I am still a Christian, and I am seeing amazing things happen to my life. I do face trials and struggles like everybody else, but I have never been so satisfied. Everything has slowly fallen back into place in my lib. I might not have the flashy car anymore, but I do have a beautiful Italian wife! [You see, when you give your life to God, He will always look after you.] He knows what we really need better than we know ourselves. I have never been so joyful, free and peaceful as I am now. This is an amazing truth. This really happened to me and it can happen to anybody!

Six Guys and one Girl
We began to meet with a few other guys, and they experienced the same thing.,-Seven of us, lapsed Catholics, six guys and one girl. We just started to meet and God's power would come. Other young peaple turned up with problems some heroin addicts, some depressed, .some normal kids, pissed off with life, no meaning, no hope, fearful, insecure, hating themselves, and depressed. We would pray with them and the Spirit of God would come. We would fall about laughing half the *time, but God didn't care. He would come and they would start speaking in tongues and be amazingly set free. We soon had a group of loads of young people. It has ,grown to hundreds now, meeting in St. Alban's. Some of us live together, sharing this life and having a real laugh. We go into schools and just talk to young kids. We have a big meeting with a rock band and just praise God, in a lively way - Catholics and Protestants. You see, when the Spirit of God comes, there is no division. Young people, old people, meeting together, experiencing God, experiencing real life, hope and a future. What freedom.

Free from Fear & Guilt
In the Bible - I read the Bible now which I can even understand! - this bloke called St. Paul wrote a letter to a church in a place called Colossae. This is what he said abut them: "You were once alienated from God. You were once hostile in your thinking. You were once wicked in your behaviour." That is how I was and that is maybe how you are now. You see you don't have to be a drug addict, you don't have to be a "bad" person on the outside to be hostile, to be separated from God, to be wicked, to be sinful. Sin is everything that opposes God. Sin is selfishness. You can be, I was going to say a member of Parliament, but at the moment they're getting hammered, aren't they? But you could be a "good" person, a nurse, a doctor or whatever it is, but on the inside there is a hostility in you to God. You want to go your own way, do your own thing. We experience what this guy Paul talked about: "Why is it that I do the things that I don't want to do, but I seem unable to do the things that I want to do?" I know why: because he was TRAPPED, trapped in sin, and failure. This is what this guy was saying in his letter, this is how mankind really is. But God loves us too much for that, so He sent Jesus, He sent His son to come to free us. The way He did it was on the cross. He died in our place. You see, we deserve to die, I deserved to die for the things I did because sin has a consequence of death. Selfishness is the most obscene thing. It kills people. Just look around. It really hurts people, doesn't it? So God sent Jesus, and in his body on that cross, somehow he absorbed miraculously the results of our sin. He died in our place, rose again with new life, and he offers it now to everybody, even 2000 years later. He says that those who receive this, even now, suddenly can become clean, become free, become faultless in the eyes of God. We can approach Him, God almighty, free from fear and guilt. This happened to me. And it can happen to you too.

He will be my Strength
Whatever your circumstances, this can happen. And it does not mean that you have to wear sandals. You see, I was so frightened of becoming a Christian. I thought it was going to be boring and dull and I would have to be square - that's just garbage. But certain things had to change in my life. I had to stop doing some things, going to some places, and hanging around with certain people. Now I want to walk with God. I want to walk in His power. I want to be humble. I want to be loving and kind. I want to be real and true. I want to be pure. I don't want to be an idiot like I used to be. And God says I can walk like Christ. But to do that, I need to rely on Him. I need to trust Him. You see, God knows that you and I can't be good people. Much of religion is so off-putting, isn't it? Because it comes as laws and regulations. "Do this, do that. Be this, be that. Don't do this, don't do that." That is not Christianity. Christianity is about freedom and joy. It is not regulations and a boring, hard life of failure and guilt. Much of religion, much of church even, is sold in that way, and it is a complete lie. God knows that you and I can't be like Jesus. We cannot be good, clean holy people. He doesn't expect us to be, in our own strength. He died for us and through this miraculous power somehow He exchanged lives, taking my old wicked, selfish lustful criminal life. He killed it, in advance of me even living, and offered me a brand new one. So all those years later at that meeting, when I said yes and those people prayed over me, I felt filled with this new life, like having a new heart, a new power pack in me. I literally felt it happen. From that day onwards I have had in me the power and the help to live a different way.

The Challenge of Each Day
Now when lam faced with the challenge of each day - and there are so many - if I cry out to the Jesus who lives in me through His Spirit and say, "Listen, I am going to meet this guy and I know that I am going to blow it, I am going to get angry, I am going to get hostile, but you are in me and you are never hostile, You are gentle and kind, help me, I need you to live your life in me. If I do that, if I have that altitude, he is there. I mean, it is miraculous. I can go to that meeting or whatever it is and not lose my temper. And I can get into situations where normally I would be frightened, and I won't be frightened because he will be my strength and my courage. I can go into situations that are beyond me and I will have the wisdom and understanding I need or the compassion and love beyond my normal sell: which is so very limited.

This is the Good News
You see, this is the message of Jesus. This is the good news, that Jesus comes into us to give us the power to live. And the good news goes even beyond that: when I die I know I am going to live forever because there is something eternal in me already, and I am no longer frightened of death. I am more frightened of the dentist than lam of dying because I know when I die I am going to be in eternity with God. I am going to live forever in heaven. That is real freedom. Millions of people live in fear of death, millions of people live captive to addictions, tied up in terrible relationships, in fear, insecurity, anger, addicted to pornography, alcohol, whatever it is. People are trapped all over the place - trapped to greed, not having money just kills them. Whatever it is, all this has been dealt with in Jesus Christ.

He Chooses the Weak
This is truth. And it is for you, and it is for your family, for your friends, for the whole world, for those who would only believe, who would simply and honestly pray i the prayer that I prayed 12 years ago - a humbling prayer, a surrendering kind of prayer, say, "I have blown it. You are God, forgive me. Come into my life, Jesus. Come and lead the way." And if you pray that prayer from your heart and get in touch with other Christians (you see you can't really be a Christian on your own), get in touch with me or I somebody, and say, "Listen, I want to make this decision in my life, to be a Christian." Or maybe it is to try again if you have turned away from God. "I want to walk in God's power," then you will get the support you need. You can do it - you can walk free. Yes, you will I stumble and you will fall, but it doesn't matter. Forgiveness flows, time after time. I do some terrible things, say some terrible things, and I turn back to God and say, "Forgive me," then guilt lifts and I am free again. He is teaching me like a child. I am growing up. I am growing up to be a man of power. Not that I boast because I am nothing. God says in the Bible that He chooses the weak things. He chooses the broken. We are in the right place because He chooses the weak things and the broken things to shame the wise.

Destiny, Purpose & the Reason to Live
God has got a plan for your life, whether you are married or single, male or female, young or old, clever or not clever, God has got a powerful plan for you. You have not been put on this planet just to live 20 or 70 years, scrounging around looking for food, work, sleep and shelter. That alone is not why you are here. You are not here for yourself. You are not even here for your family. You are here for the broken world around you. You are here to help people. It is in you. You know it is. Somewhere inside there is a part of you that just wants to help other people but you probably feel impotent. That is howl felt. How could I, Dave Payne, help anybody? I have no qualifications, an ex-drughead, and now God uses me, quite amazingly at times, to help other people, and He will use you too. What a destiny. What a purpose. What a reason to live. It's for you and its absolutely FREE!

 

Story overtaken with permission of: Good News


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Good news

  • Raniero Cantalamessa
    he Baptism in the Spirit's effectiveness in reactivating baptism consists in this: finally man contributes his part -- namely, he makes a choice of faith, prepared in repentance, that allows the that allows the work of God to set itself free and to emanate all its strength. It is as if the plug is pulled and the light is switched on. The gift of God is finally "untied" and the Spirit is allowed to flow like a ftragrance in the Christian life.
    2017-08-24
  • Peter Hocken
    During the night between Friday and Saturday, in the early morning hours of 10 June 2017, the Lord called back to Him a great man, Father Peter Hocken. He died at the age of almost 85. He was a servant of God, a friend, a priest who loyally served the Body of Christ until his last breath, all the world round. The Lord gave him an extraordinary intellect and wisdom, together with the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit. He also received from God the talent and ability to provide specific and comprehensible theological explanations and descriptions of spiritual experiences that are taking place within the Church, notably after the Second Vatican Council.
    2017-06-11
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    "I have a dream," he began, "that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. "I have a dream my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
    2017-03-08
  • Peter Dufka SJ
    We all know, based on our personal experience, that the cooperation with most intelligent people is not often easy. These people usually do not establish friendship easily. It is interesting also that university graduates with an honour degree usually do not fit in to the working environment in the best way and that their high intellect is of a little help in overcoming personal or marriage crises.
    2015-09-30
  • Marek Nikolov
    The aim of the “Jesus Heals” prayer gatherings is experiencing the fact that God is Love. He is Love that wants to give itself to other people. God wants to show us His mercy even through healing, signs, wonders, and miracles.
    2015-09-10

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