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Eric—Madrid, Spain

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“I was sure there wasn’t a God,” says 19-year-old Eric, a Peruvian immigrant to Spain, “because no one was putting a stop to the horrible things happening in the world.” Eric viewed the world as meaningless and was convinced his personal life didn’t have any purpose either. “I didn’t believe in hell,” he says. “I thought I already lived in it.”

Desperately searching for something solid to believe in, Eric studied the writings of philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. But the teachings of man that offered no hope only caused Eric to plunge deeper into misery and despair. “To me, the world was just a machine that would eventually lose its power when its batteries ran out,” he says.

Then Eric accepted an invitation to a youth event at the Life and Family Alliance Church in Madrid. Two years ago the church had its first service in a small restaurant with only eight people present. Today, the church is bursting at the seams, with more than 200 attending services regularly.

As Eric listened to the speakers and interacted with the youth, he noticed something different in their lives. Throughout the evening, the teens and leaders spent time talking with Eric and showed great interest in his life. “I realized that they sincerely cared about me,” he says.

Eric listened intently as a pastor told his life story. The speaker had come to know Christ after wallowing in the same trap of human reasoning that Eric found himself caught in. “I thought if God could change that man, then He could change me too,” Eric says. “So I decided to believe in Christ.”

It’s been less than a year since Eric surrendered to Jesus. God has breathed new life into his heart, soul and mind, and he has become one of the most dedicated young men in the church. He is a member of a Christian rap group, exalting Christ with his lyrics and his life. “I want to dedicate myself to helping teenagers avoid making the same mistakes that I made,” he says. “Thanks to the Lord, I feel totally alive.”

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