As a little girl I remember when my family started to attend a Protestant church in our small town in Brazil. I was around 7 years old when my parents accepted Jesus into their lives, and they started to take us to church every week.
I must confess… I enjoyed it! We played a lot (the playground was great) and the kid’s songs were always so catchy – I can still sing them all now! But it wasn’t just the playing and singing that hooked me, I remember the Sunday school teachers sharing so many stories from the bible. I remember hearing the stories of Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, and Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, and I was just fascinated by them. Looking back, I truly believe that every time that I listened to one of these bible stories, God was prompting me to make my own decision to follow him. Every song and game, every bit of fun, every bible verse and craft activity were seeds being planted in my heart by faithful people who were willing to give their time and use their gifts so that we could be taught.
My parents kept taking me to church with my brother and sisters until, at the age of 13, I was invited to go to a Christian youth retreat. Whilst I was there, during one campfire night, I made the decision to fully give my life to Jesus and I accepted him as my Lord and Saviour. I cannot really explain how I felt that night – it was so powerful – but I left there knowing that I had encountered God and that the God from those songs and bible stories that I had heard as a child, was real to me.
On that night I understood that I wasn’t called only to read those wonderful stories, but that God had called me to live out a unique and powerful story with him that reveals how great he is and how abundant my life can be because I have him.
Written by Dani Cardoso, preacher and administrator at The Message Trust.