Gaining the Victory
My name is Wellington Costa Coutinho. I was born in a Christian home, but due to life circumstances and my own choices, I strayed when I was only 12 years old and became involved with drugs. As is usual, I started with alcohol and milder drugs, but along the way I got to know cocaine and other synthetics.
At age 15 I began frequenting places in Rio de Janeiro where there was loud music, prostitution, and a high consumption of alcohol and drugs—everything a worldly young man my age was looking for. I became accustomed to an idle and slovenly life, quit school, and left my job. As the years went by and I became increasingly involved with drugs, I started selling in order to sustain my own addiction. Since I now had the drugs in my possession all the time, I had free access to their use.
In 2008, I discovered crack cocaine, and began using it exclusively. It was a powerful drug and I couldn’t beat it using my own strength. All my money earned doing odd jobs was destined for crack. I spent sleepless nights using with my “friends.” Eventually they all left, yet I still remained: insatiable. I was unhappy because I had spent all my money on crack but when I wasn’t using all I could think about was using.
My conscience weighed heavily on me. I lived in the same neighborhood as my mother and brothers and when I saw them I felt ashamed and sometimes hid from them. But the drug had its hold over me. Even after sleepless nights using, even with all the guilt, shame, and depression, the next day I was always ready for one more session.
Right there in the midst of the world, away from the church, with broken family relationships, I was aware that I was rebelling against God. I was not ignorant of the truth found in the Scriptures. But even though I knew only God could help me, I couldn’t find the strength to get out of the situation. I spent 12 years of my life in the drug world. Only the Holy Spirit could convince me that what I was doing would lead to my own destruction. Even with all the pain and suffering I had brought my mother, I was the worst off. That’s when, for two nights in a row, and still under the influence of drugs, I cried and started talking to God. I had been away from spiritual things for so long that I no longer knew how to pray, like I did before. Then, a Bible verse came to my mind. “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. I leaned on this verse with all my might and cried desperately to God to rid me of this situation of shame, suffering, and pain.
The next day, I went out to meet with other drug users to get the same routine daily high. I ran into a friend who had been delivered from drugs and asked if he knew any rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. He asked if I was truly willing and determined to quit drugs and change my life. I answered that if need be, I would go then and there, with just the clothes on my back, in order to rid myself of this situation as soon as possible. He wouldn’t be able to take me for three more days, and I fought hard for those three days, but did not go back on my decision. I knew this was the only way to get away from that cycle of influence and misfortune in my life—the things I had sought out by my own choices. I went to the BELIEVE Center for Recovery and Revival Education, where I was treated for a year and a half. I attended the spiritual exercises of praying, fasting, and worship services performed by the staff. I finally became in communion with Christ and I began to have the will to live again.
Eventually, I gained the confidence of the center’s staff, and I was asked to assist them in the organization. The center is partnered with First Fruits Ministry, where the Bible workers Clayton Silva and his wife Priscilla lectured on vegetarian cooking and Bible studies. I began developing more and more of an interest in God’s Word, and delving deeper into present truth.
The staff made an exception for me and I was allowed to work outside of the facility, as long as I did not work on Sabbath. Soon after, I started getting requests from my job to work on Saturdays, and I was put to the test. I could transgress the Holy Sabbath of the Lord and stay in my secure job. But I would lose the blessings that come to those who keep Sabbath holy. It was not an easy decision, and I needed confirmation from God. I asked Him to enlighten me, so that I would know if the keeping the Sabbath was actually required in this case. Immediately after, I opened the Bible to Isaiah 58:13, 14, and God gave me the answer. It was then that I decided to obey God, rather than pleasing men.
From that point, I decided to apply myself more to the biblical studies at First Fruits. All of my dedication and interest made Clayton Silva invite me to study at a missionary school. So I applied and we prayed that I would be able to meet the demands for tuition. After several weeks, I got the answer: I was to become part of the student body at ICEVES (Evangelistic Training Institute of the Holy Spirit).
In my current studies at the Institute, I am learning even more about present truth. This will enable me to take this knowledge to others who so desperately need to hear it. I thank God that this message opened my mind to understand Bible truths. We can search the Scriptures and compare them, and understand what truth is, versus man made doctrines.
I also thank God for my recovery, the motivations, and new outlook on life that He put in my heart, because I now have a new vision for my future. I stand at God’s disposal, to do His work. Before, I was in great need of God to save me from a life of suffering. Today, to the glory and honor of Jesus Christ, I can offer help to others in need, and point to the One who freed me from the world of drugs, from the clutches of the enemy, and who delivered me from sin and gave me my new life. Amen!
By Wellington Costa Coutinho. For more information about First Fruits Ministry, contact Clayton Silva. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. ICEVES website: www.iceves.org.