I was born and raised in a deeply religious family, and I became an ardent Christian at age 12. By the age of 15, I had already served as founder of one of the largest Pentecostal Churches in my hometown.
Like many who were born and raised in Africa, my childhood was challenging. When I came to the UK more than twenty years ago, life did not become any easier. As a self-funding student with a restricted work permit, I struggled to sustain my young family. Finding decent accommodation was particularly difficult; we ended up living in a room without heating in a house deemed to be uninhabitable by the city council.
A few years later, I experienced significant emotional traumas, including several near-death experiences.
My family and marriage of more than twenty years fell apart. My children suffered depression and were on the verge of being taken into care. This experience was terrible for my pride and my career as a Minister.
Within a right-wing Christian circle (the extreme branch of religious faith that I had been part of), there had been a strong emphasis on achieving and maintaining a happy marriage.
Divorce was perceived as a spiritual inadequacy and a cause for disqualification from the Christian Ministry.
Indeed, I lost my Ministry, and I was jobless, homeless, and survived on meals from food banks.
I struggled to understand why a loving God would allow such a tragedy to occur to me, His faithful servant. I was angry with God, and I was suicidal.
By the grace of God and through other caring people, my life did not fall off the cliff. As a way of coping with my emotional trauma, I devoted myself to fasting, praying, meditation, and learning from others who had been through tough times.
My transcendent moment happened on a particular night when the emotional trauma was almost unbearable. In an instant, the feelings of pain and anguish were replaced by peace beyond measure. My perception of life took a complete turnaround. Everything around me seemed terrific. Life seemed and felt beautiful like never before.
As I wondered what had just happened to me, I heard a small calm voice from God saying, “today I have baptized you in my love.” On that night, my spiritual eyes were opened. My life was filled with gratitude, humility, and concern for others. Beneath the wreckage of my broken life, I found something precious and eternally true. I found the love of God!
The lessons I learned during my hard times have become my ethos – my core value that provides me with the reason, guidance and the drive to live my purpose on earth.
I have since gained a Master of Science in psychology. I am currently on a PhD program studying to become a psychotherapist.
My mission now is to help others experience God’s love, enhance their mental wellbeing and enjoy their fulfilled life.
Rev. Noel Maturlu
Founder and Executive Director