I was born and grew up in a missionary family in Italy, where I still live now. I am very grateful to my parents for the way they taught me Biblical truths and for their example of faith. However, like in many conservative Christian homes, sex was a taboo subject, and therefore, I was not taught anything about it.
Right after I turned 12, I was sent to a missionary kids’ boarding school in Germany, and remained there until I finished high school. Even though I always convinced myself that it was good for me to be sent at that school because it helped me mature, I have come to realize that I felt somewhat “abandoned” by my parents because they sent me away from home. In that moment of abandonment God comforted me with this verse in Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The school had very strict rules in which there was to be no physical contact between boys and girls. This reinforced what I had been taught by my parents: that my sexuality was to be repressed, rather than understood as a gift from God and lived out according to His standards.
Up until my late teen years, I pretty much “repressed” my sexuality; but at a certain point, my curiosity aroused more and more in me, and unfortunately I started learning about sex through porn magazines and x-rated movies at the theater.
On March 10th, 1996 my mom died of bone cancer. I was only 25 years old at the time. In August of that same year, my dad went to stay with my sister’s family, and left me alone in the home where my parents had lived. At that time I once again felt really, really abandoned. And unfortunately this time around, I chose to soothe the pain by having sex with prostitutes. In those days I even started doubting about my faith in God.
Thankfully to God, within a couple of years I chose to stop soothing my pain through sexual promiscuity. However, when I discovered that porn was freely available on the internet, I soon became addicted to it. As many young men, I thought that marriage would solve the problem since I would have had the opportunity to satisfy my sexual desires with my wife. However when I got married in June 2000, this did not happen at all, instead, my porn and masturbation habit quenched my desire for healthy sexual relations with my wife. After a few years my wife caught me while I was watching porn on TV; this was devastating to her! Through the help of a couple who counseled us, our marriage was saved. However, I continued to be trapped in porn addiction for various years because I used various “human” methods to quit my habit such as reading books about the issue, trying to not be at home alone, etc. I also lived a double life, especially as a Christian; I was an elder in my church and often preached. I felt like a true hypocrite!
It was in the beginning of 2012 that through a humiliating experience in church, God grabbed my attention; initially, I reacted by not being involved in public functions in church, and reading very little of the Bible. Then, after a couple of months, a deep thirst arose in me for God in a way that had never taken place before; even though I grew up in a missionary home, went to a missionary kids’ boarding school, went to Bible college, I had never experienced the type of intimacy with God that I started having in the Spring of 2012. God started becoming something real to me! Then in the Fall of 2012, He made me realize that I still was not being satisfied by Him completely because I was continuing to turn to porn for “consolation”. In that moment, by God’s grace, He gave me the strength to relinquish porn for good, and to satisfy my deep thirsts only in Him. I also was helped by a good accountability relationship with another brother in Christ.
Since then, my life has a new purpose! God gave me a strong calling to help people here in Italy who are struggling with porn and sex addiction; and so at the beginning of 2013 I established the ministry Liberati in Cristo (“freed in Christ”), dedicated to help those who are trapped by porn and sex addiction. By the grace of God, my wife Angela forgave me for all the harm that I had done to her, and now we are serving together in this ministry, sharing in churches and conferences throughout Italy about how God has redeemed our lives and our marriage.