My name is Gianluca and I am thirty-four years old. Above all I want to thank the Community for having welcomed and loved me, because today I can testimony my resurrection and the infinite love of Jesus and Maria.
I grew up in a family that strove to direct me in the way of Christianity, I remember my mom and dad always took me to Mass, a thing I did up until Confirmation, trying to listen to that which they were telling me. Already in that moment, though, they left me a lot of “liberty”, and little by little I began to take advantage of this. My father was really closed in his work and in his free moments he was always at the bar, like this between us there was never dialogue and when I got myself into messes succeeded in “manipulating” the truth telling them a pile of lies. I was fifteen when my brother died due to drugs, but instead of understanding that that life brought only death, I began to do the same things, blaming God for his death and losing myself in evil.
At home I was double crossing, taking advantage of the fragility of my parents after the tragedy of my brother; they, seeing that I was working, thought that I was a good guy. But in the evening I transformed myself, going in search of a “wild” life, in the falseness and the idols of drugs, sex and money. This world of evil much attracted me and like this I passed from joints to other types of drugs: cocaine and ecstasy… I was only sixteen years old but I was already confusing bad with good, and even if deep down I knew that I was destroying myself, I wasn’t able to come out of it; by then I was a prisoner and slave of it.
The more time passed, the more mixed up things became, and the more I needed drugs. The money that I was making working wasn’t enough for me and I found myself with quite a few debts. The first times my parents, to whom I told unfailingly the usual story that I would quit, thought about covering up for me. One day, though, I found myself in jail accused of robbery. But not even prison was enough for me to change my life, I still deceived my parents saying that I had finally understood and promising them that I would change my life. Coming out of prison I found a good girl who loved me and I placed my trust in her, thinking that it would be enough to make me change my mentality, but it lasted shortly because I was a slave of evil and I lost myself in the illusion of money. In that journey I quickly found myself alone and abandoned, with all of my projects gone up in smoke and nobody that would believe in me anymore. Today I can say that I bless that moment of total failure, because for me it was good: touching the bottom forced me, after fifteen years in evil, to lift up the telephone receiver and truly ask for help of a family friend that knew the Community. By then I was a destroyed person, I had even tried to take my life, but that day was the Sunday of Pentecost! I think that the Holy Spirit saved me thanks to the prayers of my mother and grandmother, who many times implored that grace of Our Lady reciting the Rosary.
When I entered in Community, notwithstanding the difficulty of the first months, I felt enthusiastic. In those times the biggest problem was that I was false, above all in telling the “stories” of my past: I thought that “blowing them up” the guys would have respected and thought more highly of me.
Then I realized they weren’t interested in what I had done but what I was living today, and they loved me for that which I am, even with all of my fears and my limits. One day I gathered together all of my courage and I said to everybody that I was telling a pile of lies, finding the strength to make this gesture of freedom and truth by staying on my knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I discovered that the prayer life interested and attracted me; I didn’t understand well what it was that “called me”, but I felt that something once again was being born inside of me.
And like this, going forward in my walk, I discovered that God had given me many gifts that I had buried underground or that I used to hurt myself and those around me. I understood as well that the death of my brother wasn’t Gods fault, and for many years I had made my family, whom I had refused, exploited and wounded, “pay” for this.
Today I have found again my life and family, on the contrary I have two families: the natural one, with my father, mother and sister, and that of the sons of God, that for me is the Community, in which Jesus is helping me day after day to better myself and to strengthen myself in the choices of Christian life, notwithstanding all of my poverties.
The Community taught me to never stop in the face of problems, but to put myself on my knees and ask God for help: there I discovered that the poor person isn’t he who has no money, it’s me, poor of heart, every time I think only of myself. For this the brothers taught me to give myself without expecting anything in exchange, aware that doing good fortifies my spirit and heals many of my wounds. Today I am happy because I am learning to carry my cross and thanks to it I got to know the love of God.
I thank Mother Elvira and all of the guys that stayed close to me for the faith that they had in me. I want to give back, however much I can, at least a little of all that which I have received continuing to live in Community, searching to give the love with which God has filled my heart, to those who God entrusts to me.