Belmiro de Jesus

My name is Belmiro de Jesus. I was born on the Portuguese island of Madeira, in 1975, shortly

after my parents return from Mozambique after the Portuguese revolution that ended 50

years of dictatorship. My mother was from Mozambique and my father was from Madeira.

At the age of eight, after my father’s death, we – my mother, my three brothers and I came to live on the Portuguese mainland. My father’s family had always been against the relationship of my father with a black woman, so after his death my mother decided to leave Madeira since, she was not accepted by his family. This big change started the downfall of my family. Without my father’s authority around, I got involved with drugs and all kind of crime. Meanwhile, in a span of four years, my mother and three brothers all passed away.

Due to the fact I got involved with drugs and crime, I ended up being arrested and I thought it was the end. Imprisoned, alone and without any family, I could not imagine any kind of future. While in prison I met people from Teen Challenge and the work they did with inmates. I noticed there was something different about these people. They knew my past and they accepted me all the same – this captured my attention. I started attending their meetings, learning the Word of God; I learn that God loves me to the point of sending His only son to die in my place, and one day I decided to give Him my life.

My life was gradually changed. Miracles happened and I entered the Teen Challenge center in Cucujães, a village in the north of Portugal, where I spent 14 months doing the rehabilitation program. Later, I moved to the reinsertion center in Fanhões, close to Lisbon. Afterwards, I got my first job. I wanted to become an autonomous person and to be seen by society as useful and worthy. However, after a while God reminded me of a commitment I earlier had made to him: to SERVE Him!

So, I left my job and joined the Teen Challenge volunteer street team – Operation Joshua,

where I served for several years. I also was part of the prison work team, where I was privileged to go back to the prison I once was in to encourage the inmates and tell them my story.

My newfound life in Christ was not without obstacles, problems, pain and some bad decisions, but knowing that I was unconditionally accepted and loved by God made all the difference.

Though I had lost all my family, I now belonged to a much bigger one – I had brothers, sisters,

fathers and mothers that loved me, cared for me, cried with me, counseled and scolded me, and held me when I needed to be held.

Today, I have my own family I am married and I’m the father of a beautiful girl – God has fulfilled his promises in my life – one of them is being a father. God is faithful! His love and acceptance can heal the pain, the rejection, and the scars of a sinful life. I believe that what He has done in me, he will do in the life of anyone who’s willing to give Him his whole heart.