YEAR BORN: 1971
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: FRANCE
HISTORY: INVOLVED WITH VIOLENT CRIME, IMMORALITY, AND DRUGS
My family lived in Tellancourt, a village in northeastern France. My father was French, and my mother is Italian. When I was eight years old, we moved to a poor working-class suburb of Rome, Italy. There, home life became difficult. My parents argued violently because of their financial problems.
When I was 15 years old, my mother encouraged me to get out of the house and make some friends. So I began to leave home for longer and longer periods of time. Soon I fell into bad company. One day a man, who seemed friendly, approached me. He offered me drugs, which I took because I wanted to appear grown-up. I was quickly drawn into an underworld of drugs and immorality. On many occasions, I was violated sexually. Life became unimportant to me; I did not care if I lived or died. I was desperately lonely. At age 16, I attempted suicide by drinking a bottle of whiskey and jumping into a lake. I wound up in a coma for three days.
I began to appreciate life, but I also became violent and devious. I would offer people sex, drug them in their home, and then steal anything they had that was valuable. Large crime syndicates used me to traffic drugs around Italy. I was frequently in trouble with the police. My life seemed pointless and out of control. However, I did believe that there had to be a reason for my existence. I prayed to God, asking him to give me just one year of peace and happiness.
HOW THE BIBLE CHANGED MY LIFE:
When I was 24 years old, I decided to move to England. Because of my activities with drug dealers, my life was in danger. Before I left, I visited my mother and was surprised to see a man named Annunziato Lugarà talking to her about the Bible. * Knowing his criminal history, I became afraid and asked him why he was there. He told me about the major changes he had made in his life in order to become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and he made me promise to speak to the Witnesses when I arrived in England. I agreed to do so. However, once I arrived there, I quickly reverted to my previous lifestyle.
One day, I met a Witness who was offering the Watchtower and Awake! magazines on a busy London street. Remembering my promise to Annunziato, I asked the Witness if I could have a Bible study.
What I learned from the Bible truly amazed me. For example, I was moved by the passage recorded at 1 John 1:9, which says concerning God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so as to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us.” That verse had a dramatic effect on me because I felt very dirty on account of my lifestyle. I immediately started to attend meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Witnesses welcomed me warmly. When I saw the closeness of their friendships—something I had always longed for—I wanted to be a part of their familylike congregation.
Although I did not have a lot of difficulty quitting drugs and leaving my immoral lifestyle, I found it much harder to refine my personality. I saw that I needed to treat people with respect and consideration. In fact, I am still fighting some bad traits. But with Jehovah’s help, I have made progress. Within six months of beginning to study the Bible, I was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That was in 1997.
HOW I HAVE BENEFITED:
After baptism, I married a young woman named Barbara who had also recently become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When one of my old friends saw how much I had changed, he started to study the Bible. In time, he became a Witness, and so did his sister. Then my grandmother’s sister, who was over 80 years of age, began to study and was baptized before she died.
I now serve as an elder in a local congregation, and my wife and I are full-time ministers, helping to teach the Bible to Italian-speaking people in London. At times, I get depressed about my former lifestyle, but Barbara is an enormous support to me. At last, I have the stable family life that I always craved, and I have the loving Father that I always wanted. I asked God for one year of peace and happiness, but he has given me so much more!
At last, I have the stable family life that I always craved, and I have the loving Father that I always wanted
^ par. 10 See the article “The Bible Changes Lives—I Never Went Anywhere Without My Gun,” as told by Annunziato Lugarà, in the July 1, 2014, issue of The Watchtower, pages 8-9.