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Testimony of Rocco Natoli
Saved 1975

Let's begin with my family background. My father was in the Second World War as a policeman. After the war, in 1951, he came to Canada, to work as a road pave man and later, as a garbage man. Then in 1953 our whole family came over. My mother and three of the four children became ill and were hospitalized. My father later put all four children into a foster home for some time, while he worked and visited my mother in the hospital in the hope that we would all get back together soon.

At the age of seven I got hurt in a baseball net area by a thrown bat. My face swelled and I became sick and easily upset. My parents took me to the doctor who told me that I had a brain tumor that was non-cancerous. I spent two months in the hospital having radiation treatments.

Nothing was easy for my parents; they provided us with food, clothing, and shelter. Anything extra I had to work for it.

At the age of twelve I started delivering newspapers, prescriptions for a drug store, and helping my father clean a barbershop. Then I went to an all boy school where boys played tough. I was not for that; I wanted to learn. So I told my parents about it. They told the principal, and yet the problem was not solved. So I left the school.

At the age of sixteen I worked at what I could get: a dishwasher, warehouse boy, and parking lot attendant. I would visit my friends who were going the wrong way. A few years later my friends and I were stopped by the law. I felt bad and stopped seeing my friends. This hardened and depressed me.

At the age of twenty I wanted a career and I was trained to make pine furniture. After a few years my life became routine. I was waiting for my life to end. I feared what would happen. Later, I was told that when a person dies, "That's it!" I said to myself, "Why am I here on earth if that's it?" I was reminded of grade school where I was told, "If we're bad, we will go to hell, (which is not pleasant) and if we're good, we will go to heaven (which is simple and peaceful)." This stopped me. I told myself I wanted to be good, so I helped my parents and made a living. However, this was not easy.

After some time the furniture company went bankrupt, but they got another job for me as a security guard. In this new job, I worked with another person who was simple, yet with an air of authority. For example: there were some truckers who cursed the Lord's name and used other bad words yet they were subdued without a fight. They said, "Sorry" to him. Seeing this, I asked him, "What makes you what you are?" He looked at me, smiled and said, "Jesus!" I said, "Jesus?" He said, "Yes, Jesus!" Hearing this, I was cautious, thinking he was a religious person.

Six months later he still stood out. I asked again and he quoted to me from the Bible -

Romans 10:9, 13: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. ?For whosoever shall call upon the name of Lord shall be saved."

I was not clear, but I said to myself, "Nothing to lose!" So as I delivered parcels, in an elevator from floor to floor, I began to call "Lord Jesus!" several times within my heart - with no one around. Something got into me: my person was different, I felt sober, and all the old concepts lifted off. I realized that I was saved.

After I delivered the parcels, I told my colleague that I had been saved. He was happy and introduced me to others with the same experience. This was really wonderful! I saw, here on earth, each day I need to ask the Lord Jesus into my heart and meet together with those who do the same.

When I was going home I was so excited. I told my parents what had happened. Then came a spiritual warfare. They would say in broken English, "We hearda tis in catechism." I said, "The Lord Jesus is my Savior."

The next day at work I explained to my colleague what had happened. He said that I needed to stay with saved ones. I realized that it was not easy; I would hurt my mother's feelings, but my father was either way. My colleague then said, "Let's pray together." We prayed that the Lord would lead me in His grace. On my way home after work, I prayed again for the Lord to lead me as to how to handle this matter.

After a few months I was clear to let my mother know that I needed to leave within one month. She said, with broken English: "Why you wanta to go?" I said that I wanted to follow the Lord. She said, "Tella mea anyting, buta nota dat." I said, "I am sorry, but I get life following Him." She said nothing.

One day, as the month-end was drawing nearer, I was up early going to work. She came to me and started to cry, and I cried inwardly. I said, "I am sorry Mom. I do not know how to explain to you what happened to me. I only know when I called on the Lord Jesus and asked Him into my heart, I was changed. Now I need others that have the same experience." She was silent.

Meanwhile, I told the rest of my family about it. They said, "Oh this will blow over!" My friends said, "So you seen the light eh!" My neighbours were happy because they knew my past, yet they did not understand. My prayer is, "Lord Jesus, my family! My friends! And the people I meet each day! If they do not know You as I do, Lord Jesus, help them to know your salvation for themselves."

Then at a meeting I heard, Mark 16:16, "He (Rocco) that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Hearing this, I wanted to be baptized. The Lord Jesus was in me, but also I needed to be in Him. Baptism shows all that I belong to God and I want to be for God. To this day, by the Lord's mercy and grace, I hope that I may run "...for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14) with those who have run and those who are running, to enjoy Him for eternity.


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