The Little Sister Who Wouldn’t Quit

Mathieu Thomann

Turning the page, starting from scratch, building on a new, stronger and healthier foundation, that’s what I experienced in 2003. At that time, I was breaking with my family, school and the institutions of my country.

One of my sisters, Rachel, encouraged me to get out of it, to leave the delinquency and drug addiction, which had been my daily life for several years.

Her solution? Call on Jesus. I clearly did not want this. I proudly defined myself as without God, faith or law. I saw neither the utility nor the need of them. While respecting people who “have faith”—the culture and education of my home, Reunion Island demanded as much–for me Christians, and believers in general were people who needed a crutch to make it in life. “They were weak.”

During the month of October 2003, Rachel announced with a big smile that she and my mother had signed me up for a week-end gathering of young Christians, called “Hope & Life” at Saint-Pierre (Reunion Island).

Not Happy!

I was upset … But I had to accept because my mother, divorced and with the care of 6 children, worked two jobs to support us and I had to respect this financial effort on her part. I still made it a point to make them understand that I was not motivated to participate in this event.

Far from being dismayed, my little sister even managed to convince me to participate in a public meeting held outdoors on the eve of the youth rally.

That night, under the influence of drugs, I did not quite understand what had been said but I was irresistibly attracted by this appeal to the crowd: “To all those who wish to start from scratch , to be free of drugs and alcohol, Jesus can do something for you. Come forward so that we can pray for you and with you.”

That’s what I did after much hesitation, not wanting to be recognized by my fellow street people. Someone prayed for me. A miracle took place! For the first time in years, I went home without going to the night club and using drugs and alcohol.

The next day, the miracle continued: I was fasting!

Powerful Challenge

That morning, with more than 300 young people present, Greg Beggs, an American missionary invited for the occasion, told us about what motivated the Apostle Paul to follow Jesus. Following his intervention, a time of prayer was proposed to us. Convicted, I realized that Jesus was present, I realized that he really existed.

There, in my place, I realized that there was a gap between the life and eternity that God proposed to me and my present life. For the first time in years, I spoke to Jesus. I asked him to forgive my indifference to him, my life as a drug addict, my selfishness … I asked him to come and break my hardened heart, to save, to change the course of my life.

He did it. I was relieved, relieved of an inner burden. Several weeks after this spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ, my mother pointed out to me that I hadn’t been under the influence of drugs for a long time. In the same period, being in full rediscovery of the Bible, I read a passage that says that he who is in Christ is a new creation, old things are past, everything is new.
This is exactly what was happening in my daily life.

Being instantly released from drugs, alcohol and delinquency can seem incredible, miraculous, even powerful. I was “immersed” by the presence of God until I spoke a language I did not know, and this only 5 minutes after my conversion. We can say to ourselves: “Wow, powerful!” But in reality, my testimony, my deliverance, “being filled with the Spirit” are only the tip of the iceberg.

Many People Helped

My conversion is actually the result of the consecration and obedience of many disciples who were the links of a chain to lead me to become a follower of Jesus. My conversion is the fruit of the courage of a 17-year-old girl who was not afraid to tell me about Jesus while I was making fun of her.

My return to Jesus is also due to the consecration of disciples who each Wednesday took the time to tell me about Jesus when I was still a child. Their love, those moments spent with them, the Holy Spirit, the day of my conversion reminded me of them.

My conversion is also the result of years of prayer of my grandmother, my mother and many other disciples who gathered faithfully every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 7:00 to pray for lost, drug-addicted young people.

This encounter with Christ was also made possible by a Christian who, with others, testified to a man, Henri Picavet, by offering him a Bible. Henri became a pastor and was among those who encouraged a certain Aimé Cizeron to go announce the full Gospel on the Island of Reunion.

A church was born, it developed, and 40 years later, I was able to participate in one of the meetings there. This meeting gave me the opportunity for a divine meeting during which Jesus saved me and delivered me.

After three years of training at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels and six years of pastoral training working in Strasbourg, France, today I serve God with my family in the CEP Auxerre church. It was in this local church that I met Eli Martichon, one of the disciples who testified to Mr Picavet. I am still benefiting from his faith and his courage to speak of Jesus!

That’s why I love the Church that Jesus is building. Although still imperfect, it is through the disciples who compose it that God has offered me a new beginning in Jesus Christ.

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