by Cristiano Paternoster, Italy
I am an Italian, now 59. I was born in a Catholic family in the beautiful city Naples. At the age of 10, I received the sacrament for the first time and became a formal member of the Catholic Church. My duty then in the church was assisting the celebrant during Mass. After I became an adult, I gained in confidence continuously by pursuing hard. Meanwhile, I gained some progress in spiritual life. I had been waiting for God to come to earth and establish His kingdom.
After 1986, I bore the responsibilities of being a husband, father as well as worker that God had assigned to me, and continued to . I constantly read and a variety of theological materials but this could not satisfy my spiritual needs. I thought my spiritual life grew too slowly and I needed much more truth to support me. Therefore, I combed all the spiritual books yet gained nothing. Afterward, I saw that the believers in the church were full of pride, worshiped material things and money, and clung to the lust, not much different from the world. Sins in the church multiplied daily, which made me think of the words of the Bible, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever” (1 John 2:15-17). (This verse comes from the Catholic Bible, Studium Biblicum Version, SiGaoShengJing) The path which the Catholicism took had gone against these holy words and no one followed God’s will, completely being captured by Satan. The church had lost God’s presence. Looking at this kind of situation, I lost hope and became very discouraged. When I had no God, I lived in pain without any hope and this kind of life was meaningless. And I could only beg for God, “O God, I see that the church hasn’t been like Your church. The sins spread constantly. My life can’t receive any supply. I will be devoured by sin one day under these circumstances. God! You know my heart. I yearn for the light and detest darkness. May You lead me to a place of light.”
Not long after my prayer, I tried to find a true church, a place where had God’s presence. I went to visit many Protestant evangelical churches, but only to find other denominations were also desolate and dark. In 1991, I came across the books of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee by chance. Their knowledge of the Bible was different from that of other denominations. Besides, Witness Lee talked about building the kingdom which somewhat accorded with my knowledge and could help me know . I seemed to find the work of the Holy Spirit. Then I began to read their books and the Christian Bible, no longer going to the Catholic church for gatherings. However, soon after that, I gradually found that these books couldn’t help me gain a closer relationship to God or increase my faith, but could merely help me understand more doctrines.
In 1996, I suddenly lost my job. In order to get a new one, I moved to Brescia. This painful experience cooled my faith and made me not as religious as before, just going to church outwardly. From 2000, I only gave myself to my family, job and religious traditions. In 2015, because of the demand of my work, I moved from Brescia to Mantova. At that time, I just gave myself to my family and job. I broke with my religious traditions, seldom going to the church and even not liking reading the Bible. The choice of life made me get further and further from God. I felt that I lost myself, losing all the hopes of God’s kingdom of righteousness, losing the meaning of my life. “Where did I come from? Who am I? Where am I going to?” These questions always occurred to me, but I couldn’t find the answers, only muddling along from day to day.
Fortunately, in November of 2016, I saw some good videos of English hymns and pictures of the Church of the Mystery of Godliness. From the film, I knew that the Lord has come back and He is in China. I could hardly believe that the Lord has come back, that I could welcome the Lord’s second coming while I’m alive. I eagerly asked her, “What’s the Lord’s name now?” “Almighty God. He is the one ‘which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty’, as prophesied in Revelation.” She said. I felt very excited to see that the prophecies of Revelation began to be fulfilled. on Facebook of my friend, a young sister. These videos and pictures interested me greatly. I seemed to be attracted by a strength and wanted to know the Church of Almighty God. I felt this church is extraordinary. When I chatted with her online, she sent me an article “The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age.” After reading, I was shocked, saying excitedly, “Tell me all that the Holy Spirit has told you.” Because I saw the voice of the Holy Spirit from these words, I hurried to ask her concerning the Church of Almighty God and for the address of the Church of Almighty God in Brescia. I wanted to go to the Church of Almighty God. Then she said she only knew Chinese Church yet didn’t know the Italian-speaking Church of Almighty God. I said to her eagerly, “Please send me the website of the Church of Almighty God in Brescia or their Facebook page.” Due to the language barrier, it was kind of difficult for us to communicate. She had to use the translation software and communicated with me in broken Italian; she sent me several videos of English hymn and the Italian promo of the gospel movie
In the following days, the sister successively sent me several pieces of God’s words, such as “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” and “The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Gospel of the Kingdom Shall Spread Throughout the Universe”, which had just been translated into Italian. At that time, I didn’t know they were God’s words. I asked her, “Are the articles from God or the prophets of God?” She said, “These words are expressed by God incarnate in the last days.” I said to her, “I have been waiting for God to come on earth to establish His kingdom. And by 2018 it will be 70 years since Israel was restored. I hope I can give God my love while I’m alive. Thank God! The news you bring to me is like the lightning and thunderbolt in the East which wake me up.” At the weekend, I carefully read these God’s words given by the sister and pondered them with my heart. These words moistened my heart, and watered my thirsty spirit. I felt my heart was changing, was rejuvenated gradually and was getting closer to God, as if I had returned before God. I sensed God was with me, and felt as if I was to be reborn. I knew the reason why these words could have these effects was because they were the word of life, the word of the truth. For only God’s words could have this kind of ability and authority to change my heart. I thus developed more of a thirst for His words.