Raphael Pfister

Switzerland

God never gave up on me

Hello together

My name is Raphael Pfister and I grew up in a Christian family. My father was a pastor, my mother a nurse and both served the Lord with full commitment. They were missionaries in Africa, which allowed me to spend four years of my carefree childhood life in Guinea (West Africa).

I always went to church with them until I was 16, played guitar in a worship band, had Christian friends and even a christian girlfriend. However, since I personally never invested much in my relationship with God, other things became more interesting than the Christian faith. The sinful nature gained more and more space in my life. To me, the life of a Christian seemed boring and I had the feeling that God wanted to forbid me everything that I enjoyed. Moreover, the Christian faith seemed to me to be more of a religion than something that was alive.

Since I knew that my idea of a pleasurable life was not compatible with the Christian faith, I left the church after compulsory schooling, ended my relationship with my girlfriend at the time and started an apprenticeship in the car trade.

During my apprenticeship, which was then quite challenging for me, I started to develop depressive traits and also played with suicidal thoughts over and over again, as I saw no meaning in this life. I tried to fill the emptiness and frustration in my heart with nice cars, a great flat, parties, alcohol, drugs and women.

I worked every day just for the after-work beer and always looked forward to the next party weekend with friends.

I would like to emphasise here that God was really very gracious with me during this time, because I always had great jobs, was able to perform at my best and he saved me from many things like HIV, grossly negligent accidents, etc. He could have let me down so many times, but he kept his protective hand over me, which I am sure was due to many prayers from my friends and family.

About 10 years later, however, I noticed that my drinking and drug escapades were slowly leaving their mark. I sometimes had delirium-like states, trembling hands and heavy sweating. But since I was already too deep in the addiction and could hardly sleep without my minimum two litres of beer, I continued to live like this until one day a miracle happened:

My sister had stored her banana boxes in my cellar. This was because she didn’t have much space in her flat in Zurich. One day I went to the cellar to get something and a book caught my eye, which was on top of one of the banana boxes.

It was the auto-biography of Brian Head Welch, the lead guitarist of the metal band Korn, who came to know Jesus Christ personally and radically changed his life afterwards. Funnily enough, my sister didn’t remember being in possession of this book at the time. But anyway.

I took the book up to my flat and started reading it. Within a few hours I had read the whole book and was deeply touched by the story of this man. I realised how much Jesus loves me and how I must have hurt God and many people around me with the lifestyle I lived. I also saw how I was in danger of being lost forever.

At the end of this book, the author wrote a prayer of surrender that could be prayed and I had the impression that it was the last chance for me to turn back from my wrong ways before my life really went downhill.

So, out of full conviction and repentance, I prayed this prayer of surrender and told Jesus that I was now handing over the steering wheel of my life to Him. When I finished the prayer, something happened that I can hardly put into words. I suddenly felt a warmth go through my body from head to toe and a love that I had never experienced before. I lay paralysed on the sofa for a long time and cried continuously. However, it was not a crying of pain, but a cleansing crying that released my soul of all the ballast.

After this personal encounter with the Holy Spirit, I knew what I really wanted and radically changed my life. I was baptised two weeks later in the nearest church and began my exciting life with Jesus Christ.

Now, five years later, I can testify that Jesus Christ set me free from smoking, pornography, masturbation, alcohol consumption and drug use. He has truly given me a new life in abundance and a good two years ago even a wife who also loves Jesus with all her heart. We now try to live together every day for His glory and are thankful for all the miracles He has done in our lives. To Him alone be the glory, hallelujah=)

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