Thursday, 17 September 2009

Ironies of Life

I’m going to be sincere with you guys: I used to be one of those people that absolutely hated the Universal Church. 

I found it all to be absurd- the pastors, the members and above all Bishop Macedo.

The newspapers were my allies, my sole source of information given that I had never even step foot in the church.

Today, 18 years later here I am- married to a pastor of the Universal Church and working in Africa! How ironic!

Old friends and family members still can’t manage to understand.

My parents dreamed of me having an entirely different life. Little do they know that if it weren’t for God, whom I found in the Universal Church, they would be visiting me once a year at the cemetery, but I will go into more depth about that later.

I’m on the other side of the coin now and I know through my own experience, what grand work the church does. 

I know about the daily sacrifices not limited to the Campaigns of Israel; the constant revolt against the devil and what he does in people’s lives; the incessant prayers; the ardent desire and struggle to save souls; the constant struggle against physical tiredness, whilst the Spirit wants to do more; the pain of seeing such a vast wheat field and so few workers; and of course the social work aimed to help those suffering in poverty.

We are in Namibia. Few are those who know this country. When we were in London and my husband told me that we would be coming here (he informed me on Wednesday and we were to travel that same Sunday,) I ran for the computer to find out where it was… it is in Africa. It is not the poorest country on the African continent, nonetheless, there is lots of misery and poverty here…

Therefore, in my future posts, I am going to be sharing with you some of my experiences here during these months and I will give you a chance to learn a bit more about Namibia…

Don’t miss out!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

At first I was going to church only to please my “Aunt Eliana” (at the time she was just my boyfriend’s mom, now she’s my lovely mother-in-law.)

She constantly invited me to the meetings; most of the time I didn’t want to go but I did so anyway just to stay on her good side.

Nonetheless, my going to church seemed pointless because the pastor’s words were coming in through one ear and out the other.

I was sure that sooner or later she’d get tired of inviting me, but boy was I wrong! Each day she would come up with a better reason…

"Nanda, today is a special day and I would really like it if you accompanied me,”

"Nanda, there’s a very special purpose taking place today. We can’t miss out on it!”

"Nanda, why don’t you join me? I don’t want to go all by myself. I thought that one was a low blow, but of course, I didn’t want to displease her… lol

Despite all of my apparent indifference, there was always a message that stayed with me after the meeting.

Then one day…

“Speak to God… Tell him how much you love him… Tell him that you love him more than anything in your life… more than your friends, more than your dad…”

“No way!” I answered.

Clearly, the pastor that was leading the prayer didn’t hear me.

I remember that was the first time I really spoke to God without repeating or reciting empty words; instead, speaking from within, sincerely.

“God, I can’t say that I love you more than my dad because it isn’t true!

My Dad is my darling, my love! I know who my dad is but I don’t know you Lord!

But you know something God: someday I want to be able to tell you I love you more than anything in my life.

I want to get to know you!”

I never forgot that day or those words.

It was the day I finally decided to take God seriously, it was the day my life really began to change. It was also the last day that Aunt Eliana had to insist on inviting me to church because I decided to do my part in getting to know God.

Shortly thereafter- a day that I will never forget, the day that I remember being able to finally say “My Lord, I love you more than anything in this world, even my dad!”

It was the day of my encounter with God, it was wonderful!

From that moment on I realized how important sincerity is for God.

That is why I am extra careful with my words, especially in church, when we go before the altar to seek His presence.

How many times have you found yourself repeating the pastor’s words without thinking if what you are saying is actually what you feel/believe?

How many are the times that while you are seeking God’s presence, you walk to the front, raise your hands and begin to say lots of words, but your mind is somewhere else: at home, with your kids, your long to-do list, and so your words are completely empty.

Don’t be embarrassed to admit and face reality, for when I am not vigilant I find myself doing this as well!

That’s right, the devil is astute and he doesn’t want us to praise God.

That is why he brings forth the most varied thoughts into our head while we are in prayer. When this happens if you do not resist him, then you end up returning to your seat feeling empty and far from God.

There are times in which we are all in the front seeking God’s presence but I feel troubled or worried about something, so, I open up to God first and let go of what is troubling me. Sometimes, everyone around is already speaking in tongues and I am still there unburdening myself…

Next time you are in the front seeking God’s presence, remember these words and above all, be sincere. Without a doubt you will attract God’s attention.

Look through the Darkness

I arrived to the church full of prejudices because I had heard so many negative things about it. Even without ever having set foot in there, I believed everything that came out in the newspapers.

If it weren’t for my mother-in-law (at the time, my boyfriend’s mother) I would never have gone.

It seems incredible but at the time I really believed I had no problems. How could that be? Not have problems and still be unhappy?

The list of problems was enormous, but they were all inside of me and I couldn’t see them. They were hidden in the darkness…

  • ·       Grudges, anger, sorrows. People I couldn’t and didn’t want to forgive.
  • ·       Anger towards my mother, I hated her.
  • ·       Fear of the future, much insecurity. I only wanted to think about the here and now.
  • ·       “I am never getting married!” I would say because I didn’t want to live in “hell.”
  • ·       “Faithful men don’t exist; therefore, before he betrays me, I’ll do it to him.”

Due to these thoughts none of my relationships succeeded.

But these were not apparent problems.

I wasn’t going hungry. I wasn’t sick in a hospital bed. Nonetheless, I was as miserable and ill as all those who were…

It took many meetings and lots of prayers until I could see all of this and understand the reason for not being happy.

Today I know the meaning of happiness.

  • ·       I have no sorrow in my heart.
  • ·       I learned to love, respect and value my mother.
  • ·       I do not fear the future because I am sure of where I am heading.
  • ·       I got married! I don’t live in hell; Instead, I enjoy a harmonious and love filled relationship.
  • ·       Faithful men really do exist, those that fear God. If there is fear of the Lord then there is fidelity.

For that reason my life is on the altar. That is why we gave up everything. 

Wherever God sends us we shall go.

My reason to live is to do exactly that: guide people to see their problems, teach them the path that I found in order to overcome them and to be as happy as I am.

How about you, do you want to be happy? Begin by learning to see through the darkness. 

Thursday, 10 September 2009


After my conversion, I became accustomed to hearing old friends and family members saying how I had suffered a brainwash. 

As a matter of fact I can imagine how many people have heard and continue to hear similar comments.

But do you know what?

They were all right!

Before my encounter with Jesus I used to do, think and say the most awful things!

I was very unhappy, not on the outside, but inside of me.

On the outside I was always smiling, inside always crying.

There were many sorrows and grudges, people that I couldn’t get myself to forgive. There was much sadness, much guilt and nastiness.

After I was converted, baptized and experienced an encounter with my God…

All of the horrible things I used to say and feel disappeared, it was all erased!

The sorrows and grudges vanished. I forgave!

The old Nanda was washed and put out! She gave way to a new Nanda that was better and truly happy.

They are right guys! 

It was indeed a true washing but not limited just to the brain. It was a general wash!

And do you know what else?!

There is nothing better!

Well then, how about a brainwash?

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Be Drastic!

“Nanda, let’s go, it will be fun!”

“Renata, I am not up to it, maybe some other time…” was my initial response, not at all assertive in an effort to please her and ease myself out of the situation.

“It’s going to be an amazing night; you’ve always loved this place. We are going to dance the night away!” She insisted. She couldn’t believe that after all this time apart I was not going to go out with her on a Saturday night.

“Listen, I am sorry but I’m not going.”

“Girl, I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Look, I wanted to surprise you but I guess I’m going to have to tell you… Nanda, everyone is gonna be there! I contacted all of our friends; they all miss you like crazy! You have to go!”

“I can’t believe it! Why did you do that?” I asked, hoping it was a joke.

“Nanda we all miss you, it was supposed to be a surprise!”

At that moment I began to despair. "My Lord! What should I do?! If I join my friends for a night out on the town, I will be going against my recently discovered faith! However, if I don’t go, I can kiss goodbye to all of my friends whom I haven’t seen in such a long time. Not to mention that Renata will most certainly hate me… and I really wanted to talk about Jesus to her, show her how different I am now…"

“Ah, you can go…there’s no problem at all! All you have to do is keep to yourself… after all you also miss them. It’s going to be fun and best of all: you won’t disappoint your friends. Do you really think God is going to mind? Where’s the harm in reuniting with some old friends?” It was a voice speaking within me so loudly that it seemed that even Renata could hear it…

“No, no and no!”  I answered with revolt, not knowing if I was talking to Renata or the voice in my head!

“Renata, forgive me but it’s decided. Call them and tell them it’s canceled because I am not going!” Now there was definitely firmness in my voice.

“I know where this is all coming from; it’s that church that brainwashed you! I will never go to that place!” She turned around and left….

Renata was my best friend when I left Brazil in 1995 to live in the United States, where I began to attend the Universal Church and where I converted. The day of this episode was one of the last times I saw her… I was still in the process of converting and had gone to Brazil to visit my parents. It was one of the most difficult moments I had to face, it wasn’t the first or the last and it definitely wasn’t easy.

After she left I felt a tremendous peace. I didn’t feel sad about disappointing my friends. I knew I had made the right choice, but man, only I know how close I was to giving in. That loud “voice” inside my head almost convinced me.

The other day I was watching a movie in which a young guy was being so tempted by pornography on his computer, that he too made a choice… he broke the entire computer into pieces…

There are moments in life in which you must make a drastic move! It doesn’t help to try to go around the situation!

Either you are, or you aren’t!

It is, or it isn’t!

You want it or you don’t!

You go or you stay!

It’s either light or darkness!

There’s no way around it; There’s no middle ground!

Think about this and if you find yourself being tempted... be drastic!

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