I was born and raised in a Catholic family that I would describe as "normal". We were not particularly attached to the things of God, but made the effort to go to church occasionally and especially during the major celebrations, such as Christmas. In my childhood, I was already questioning myself about God. I sometimes wondered where God was or about who created Him. Of course I did not have any answer to my questions, but that did not prevent me from moving forward in my daily life. Very early on, therefore, I was drawn to God and wanted to have a life that would please Him. But I felt limited as to the means that I could implement so that the desire of my heart would get materialized.
During my secondary school studies, I had the privilege of joining one of the best educational institution in my country of origin. The latter was managed by Lassallian Catholic brothers and of course put forward the intellectual and spiritual development of the students. Therefore, it was recommended to start each class day with at least five minutes of prayer or with a reflection on a spiritual subject. I spent all of my (Junior and Senior) high school, i.e. seven years in total, at this school. In parallel, from the beginning of my secondary school, thanks to an encounter that my parents experienced with the movement of charismatic renewal, I was also put in contact with the power of God. During this phase of my life, prayer meetings were held regularly in our family home.
At this stage of my journey, I would say that I watched with amusement what was happening around me, the prayers for the sick and even the times of deliverance. Admittedly, I was delighted with God's action (with a bit of fear at the same time), but I did not feel called to get more involved. In my mistaken understanding, the life of a child of God was only limited to spiritual warfare. And I absolutely did not understand why I had to engage in what seemed to me to be only a fight that did not concern me at all, and which took place between God on one side and the devil on the other. In the years that followed, this prayer movement in which my parents were involved grew, so much so that more than a hundred people probably gathered in our house for these prayers which became more and more popular. Due to the lack of space to contain the crowd, this movement was relocated to a Catholic church not too far away. To this day, and to my knowledge, this prayer group continues to exist. With this relocation of the group, my already moderate fervor and interest in certain spiritual things began to fade away.
When I reached my fifth year of high school (i.e. first year of Senior high school), I got in contact with a quite special teacher who, by his exhortations, stimulated my curiosity and pushed me to seek to know more about the Bible. In the same period, I had the opportunity to receive a “Gideon” type New Testament Book that some people had distributed at my school. Since I had always loved reading, I seized this as an opportunity to explore the Bible further. I began to read, every night before sleeping, at least or about one chapter from my New Testament Book. I always started of course with the gospels which I enjoyed reading. But as soon as I reached the Acts of the Apostles, then the letter to the Romans, my reading became sporadic because I had the impression of not understanding what I was reading. And despite my persistence, I rarely managed to get past the letters to the Corinthians, which seemed to me to be written in a foreign language. Then after weeks of struggles, I would decide to restart reading again. During this period too, I must admit that I retained almost nothing from what I read. So, for about three years, I tried to read and re-read the New Testament. But even during this period, it was out of the question for me to commit myself any further than the minimum in my relationship with God.
It was during my stay in Morocco, in a small town, that I decided to reconsider my personal position concerning God. I then choose to walk with the Lord. I was particularly touched by the following passage:
Revelation 12: 12
« Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" »
That very day I chose to walk with the Lord, we planned to go to a party in town. It was the first time that I was outside my country and far from my parents for the New Year celebration. So I wanted to mark it, but a rain which lasted three days kept us in our rooms and made our initial plans literally ‘dead in the water’. That night, when I was chatting with two other friends who shared the same fate as me, I realized that someone had to stand up so that the men would not be destroyed. In this period of my life, I felt that I personally understood how to get out of challenges and face adversity, since I already knew that Jesus loves me and takes care of me. But I realized that not everyone had the privilege of being exposed to Jesus, as I had been. Did I have the right to enjoy my benefits without sharing them with those around me? Was I going to let the devil continue to destroy humanity as he planned? That night, I decided to allow God to go through my channel in order to overcome the devil's plans.
Since that day, over twenty years ago, I have never left the Lord. I certainly knew phases where I was somewhat lost, but I never left his hand and at the same time He too stood faithfully by my side. When this encounter happened, I was starting my first year of university. I have since successfully completed my training as a process engineer, to which I later added a master's and then a doctorate in the same field.