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Carlo Riva

Hello everybody, my name is Carlo Riva. I was born in Calalzo di Cadore (Italy). My father used to work as a driver and my mother was an housewife. During my childhood my parents moved to Germany to work as  ice cream sellers, and it hadn't been easy for me. I was alone because my parents used to work the whole day. In a year, we used to live for six months in Italy, in winter time, and six months in Germany, in summer. Most of all I had no more contacts with my friends. In Italy I had become a "cruco" while in Germany I was a "Spaghettifresser". The situation for us foreigners was not the best; it was pretty hard. When I was ten, I had my first contact with the Catholic Church in Germany. A german friend of mine gave me a New Testament. Must say that during that time the Great chief of the Chinese Comunist Union, Mao Tse Tung, became very popular. So I decided to follow him and his doctrine. One day I met some evangelical Christians. they talked about a God and a  Jesus I did not know. At that point I wanted to know whether a God truly existed. My first experience was God answering my prayers. Getting close to Him, He made me understand that He could make me free from all my disappointments, my heart's wounds, my illnesses. I began to go to Church, but not for long. I had began to work as a male nurse in Worm's Hospital, but soon I was forced to leave that job because of my rebellion. I have been unemployed for almost a year. Later, I began to work cleaning the toilets of the American Army for a salary of 5 Marks an hour. After a while, I was offered a job in an office as a bookkeeper, because my school degree was good. I was keen on motorcycles and this could have been my hobby. It did not take much time, I was asked to be a member in a motorcycle club. What I did not know was that these people were hooligans, able to commit violences and brutalities. During the following years I always prayed less, wasting the most of my time with my first motorbike, a Guzzi, and with my "friends". But I couldn't realize I was in danger. The criminality in these clubs it's at its highest level. Among the fights with other clans, I decided to buy myself a weapon in order to protect myself against other clans' members. We did not spend our time talking about motorbikes then, but rather we talked about fights among clans , drug traffic and home stations. Must say that I have always been lucky, because during the road inspections, the police never found my weapon. But one day, during  a fight, I was on the point to kill a member of another club. Then the police took me in arrest with the accuse of attempted murder. In the Court I was freed, even though I was under observation. During the following years I have risked many times to be killed. Then I realized that this life spent among war and fear was not the life I wanted. So, one night, I couldn't stop myself from making a decision. My club was shocked about my decision to follow Jesus and leave the club, but I knew I had made the right thing. Even if I hada a crazy fear, I remember I prayed and than went to the Church meeting to leave forever this club and this lifestyle. I came back to the Evangelical Church. I got baptized, the step forward when you have given your life to God. I met a French woman, she became "christian", we married and had two kids: Fabio and Anthony. Unluckly 10 years later she met another man and thinking that he loved her more than I,she asked me a divorce. In the middle of my mom's death, the divorce, and many other problems, I have always found God helping me through it all. Without Him I probably would not be alive...I would not have made it.

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