Cristiane’s path to the Lord has been difficult, full of trials and tests that would probably cause most people to give up on God.
She was brought up by a single mother in a city in the far west of the Amazon basin in Brazil. Cristiane was raised in the Catholic Church. When she was 16, a friend invited her to an evangelical church where she prayed to receive Christ.
But soon after her act of faith, Cristiane began experiencing terrifying dreams and visions of demons and spirits. She even started feeling a special sense of premonition. Cristiane was frightened by what was happening to her and didn’t know where to turn for help. She left the evangelical church after attending for just eight months, and the strange episodes stopped.
Cristiane thought the demonic dreams and visions were gone forever. But at the age of 23, she emigrated to Portugal, where she was introduced to Tarot cards. She became adept at interpreting the cards and soon had many people coming to her for counsel. As she got deeper into the occult practice, the nightmares and hallucinations returned.
The breaking point came when Cristiane was pregnant. Urged by a friend, she consulted the Tarot cards to see whether she was having a boy or girl. The message of the cards was so terrifying that Cristiane ran out of the room and cried out to God.
“If You will free me, I will never again search for anything in the occult or anywhere else!” Cristiane said. “I will love and serve You alone God!” In that moment, Cristiane suddenly felt a sense of peace. God freed her! And, much to her relief, Cristiane’s baby was born healthy and is now a happy and normal seven-year-old girl.
Still, Cristiane faced more obstacles on her path to the Lord. She began praying and searching for an evangelical church, but to no avail. “It was like all of the churches were hidden from me,” she said. Finally, in 2011, she discovered O Caminho Church, a TEAM ministry initiative now led by a national pastor located in Ermesinde, Portugal. Cristiane became a regular attender.
That’s when the demonic visions and manifestations returned in force.
Cristiane attended a church retreat, actively searching for answers to her questions. “How can I really know God?” Cristiane asked church leaders. “What do I do when I get these terrifying dreams and visions?” They were able to counsel her, pray with her, and read encouraging Bible passages with her. Cristiane rededicated her life to God and was baptized at O Caminho Church in 2012, a testimony of victory and the faithfulness of the Lord. Now Cristiane is learning to study the Bible on her own and walk in the confidence of a loved daughter of God.
Cristiane is a highly persuasive woman with a passion to bring others to know Jesus. She joined a social services group at the church, where she shows the love of Jesus to needy people in a practical manner. Cristiane also recently brought her husband, her older son, and her nieces and nephews to a 13-week discipleship course so that they, too, could experience what it means to know and serve God in freedom and without fear.
-Written by Yvonne Malone, TEAM missionary in Portugal
-Photo provided by Yvonne Malone