I was born on the 20th of April 1978 in Montreal, Canada, to Portuguese immigrated parents. They raised my siblings and I in the teachings of Roman Catholicism, and they did their best to instill in us a proper moral compass. Like most young people, I had so many questions: Why am I here? Why am I alive? Where am I going? What happens to me when I die? Will God let me into heaven, even if I sin? By the time I reached
adolescence, I knew that religion (all of them) had too many flaws, and had provided more confusion than peace. I thought to myself on many occasions: Didn't God want me to understand without any doubt, where I would go when I die? I didn't want to go to Hell, and looking back, I thank God my heart was tender toward Him. I remember as a child asking my father question after question, about JESUS CHRIST (having watched "Jesus of Nazareth" on TV). I wanted to know HIM – the LORD. I wanted to understand HIM – be sure if I was...or could go to Heaven. As I got older, the lack of answers to all my questions caused me to grow bitter, and rebellious. Growing up in the world, and in the public school system didn't help either, it just added to my frustrations and anger about my lack of purpose in this world. By the age of 17, I had a bad attitude about life, and didn't really care to think of consequences: I would skip school, disobey my parents constantly – I was the king of MY world, I would do as I
pleased – I was definitely heading for disaster. My disdain for authority and lack of respect for my parents and elders didn't help either. Things at home were not good, and my siblings along with my folks and I were always fighting. There was no peace at home: days would pass where we wouldn't talk and unfortunately, my parents were doing the best they could with four kids to feed; a mortgage to pay; a business to run.
After I graduated from high school, I didn't know what to do with myself or with my life, so instead of going to University, I opted to pursue a dream of mine: I began making contacts in the music business in and around Montreal, and worked with different bands and music producers. By the year 2001, I was a member of a music group called "U.N.I": we had a lot of talent; we could write and sing very well; and by April of that year, we won
a Canadian song writing competition held by the Mix 96 (95.9 fm). They played our song for three months on their regular playlist from spring into summer, and our song even made it on the radio in Toronto and Miami. It seemed as though my dreams were coming true and I started to achieve goals I had set for myself; and though I was enjoying the "pleasures of sin for a season", I quickly learned the glory portrayed by media of the music
industry wasn't at all what I thought it would be. By September of 2001, after a trip to Florida, I realized the so-called glamourous lifestyle would satisfy the emptiness I felt within. Though I began to find the real world all very discouraging, I continued to push through disappointment in hopes of reaching some new height and glory of success. In this perplexing situation, I began to ponder certain questions: How could I be a good father to my children; how could I be a good husband; and how would I live with all the guilt which came about on account of the different experiences I had with music industry parties and personnel alike? I decided to leave the business and dream behind, which was hard to do; but it was right.
A few years passed from May 2002 to June of 2004, and I grew miserable; I was completely unhappy, and the only thing that brought any joy to my heart was my girlfriend at the time. Although I enjoyed her company and thought marrying her would complete the puzzle I called a life, even she could not help me. I said to myself, "things needed to change – I needed to change". At this point in my life, I had a criminal record, was struggling with addiction and I became more unsatisfied with life; all my sin and error of my ways, along with a guilty conscience began to weigh heavily on me. I searched high and low for something – anything! Finally, in the early morning hours of June 20th, 2004, in the middle of the night, things were about to change: I was driving home with the blackness of night to accompany my thoughts, and while I pondered leaving the world and taking my life to be an answer to my discontent, I began to curse God and cry out loud with tears flooding my eyes. Every unanswered question I had from the time I was a child was coming to mind. Ididn't want to go to Hell; I knew at that moment that's where I was likely going. Feeling hopeless, I wailed out to God and cried even more: "I WANT THE TRUTH; SHOW ME THE TRUTH! Am I to live like a dog, and then die like one with no hope?!" I went to sleep that night to find NO rest for my soul, and when I woke later that same day, the guilt continued to weigh on me. I busied myself with the 2004 Euro Cup soccer games being played that day, trying not to fixate on my sinful condition, and while I weighed my predicament, a divine appointment was being scheduled for the ransom of my soul. The Lord had indeed heard my cry the night before, and had fully intended to "SHOW ME" the truth no doubt, because I was now willing to listen. It started with a phone call and invitation from my cousin Mark who had been attending Bible Baptist Church with his brother Brendan for a few months; and while I was reluctant to oblige, something was drawing – even tugging – at my heart, and I decided to swing by for a visit. When I got there, I was surprised to find that Brendan had some visitors staying over from the States – his future wife Elizabeth, and mother-in-law Patty. I was a little uncomfortable as I was the odd man out: they were all Christians from what I understood, and I immediately had my guards up. I wasn't in the mood for much conversation about what they "believe". My suspicions were confirmed when Patty (Brendan's future family) started by asking me if I would go to church with them, to which I replied that I didn't care for religion much; they were just man made organizations. I went further to explain how I believe in God, but had NO confidence in any religious institution. Patty then asked me (which seemed to me very bold), "Do you know for sure if you're going to heaven when you die?" I turned to her being somewhat insulted, "Who can know?". As she tried to explain how the bible says a man can know for sure, I coldly shrugged her off, making it clear I wasn't going to talk to her about this any further. I told her that I would speak to my cousins about it later if I felt up to it. Strangely, deep inside, my heart was ringing a bell that I could NOT silence; conviction from the night before was now weighing on me; I didn't want those feelings to resurface but it was too late, someone had hit the repeat button on my heart's door, yet still I was trying with all my strength to bury those thoughts. Later in the evening, Patty, Brendan, and Elizabeth went out for a bite to eat, and it wasn't long before I turned to my cousin and asked him, "What does it mean to be born again? Does the bible say I can know for sure how to get to heaven?" Quickly, Mark pulled out his bible and read John chapter 3 verses 1-7; and took me through the Romans road. When he finally read Romans 10:9 and 10, I had no fighting spirit left in me and the word of God quickly worked over me. I knew it to be true the moment I heard it. Later the same evening, I bowed my head, just as I parked my car, and I confessed every sin I could ever remember. I asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save my soul and before I was done praying, I felt a flushing feeling: the weight and burden of sin was lifted, and my guilty conscience was clear. I knew in that moment, I would never be the same! I returned later that night to talk to Mark about my conversion and how I felt – I now knew I was saved! I knew I was going to Heaven. My cousin gave me a bible and without hesitation I began to read that bible every day and as much as I could. Though Mark pleaded with me to go to church with him, it wasn't until September 5th 2004, that I finally decided I would visit the Bible Baptist Church on Sunday morning. I never felt so satisfied and at peace within like that day – the first time I heard preaching. I had fallen in love with Jesus Christ. I witnessed to everyone, especially my family, whom were now questioning my sanity.
As I grew in the Lord things at home grew worse, and by May of 2005 the friction with my folks and my schedule at work had me so fatigued and wearied that I began to miss church. Now that I had found the TRUTH, the Lord didn't let me get to far off track before reminding me that I was going back the way I came; and Saturday June 11th, 2005, was that pivotal moment: when on my way to a wedding, I had a very bad car accident. The car was totalled, and I was lucky to be alive. As I stared at my car – a banana – now good for scrap metal, I remember telling myself, "God did this". I knew I had to get serious about God and get back to church. Because things grew so bad at home the Lord showed me it was time to move out. I left home and began to grow more in the Lord and surrounded myself with brothers and sisters from church. I began to attend the preachers course, bible studies, prayer night, etc. and God began to deal with me about many things. I had been of a long time working as a waiter and one night in 2005, while I was sitting up on my bed reading my bible, the Lord convicted my heart when I read in Acts 6:2, it says, "...It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables." I knew from that moment God had called me to do something else. I knew wouldn't be serving tables for the rest of my life, and while I thought I should go back to school, I was confident that God wanted me to focus on serving in the church – Bible Baptist Church.
The Lord continued to deal with me about preaching and serving him, but I had yet a great battle to face. As I grew closer to Jesus Christ, my girlfriend did not have the same desires I had. I believed God was calling me to be in missions but my love for her clouded my judgment. I prayed for some miraculous thing to take place in her life; and that her faith would grow and she would fall in love with the Savior as much as I did. I started to realize though I did not want to be without her, and though she did not want to lose me, my love and faith for the Savior must be first in my heart. In late 2007, it finally occurred to me that I might be asking the Lord the wrong question. I went to prayer and said, "Lord if she's not the one you want me to marry - you know what's best - make it easy for us to go our separate ways? You know I'm unable to just let go." I prayed for a whole month, and by December of 2007, after almost 9 years, we went our separate ways. As time passed, my heart was still grieving, but I remained faithful to my Savior as best I could; I continued to help my pastor, and serve my church. I determined to keep my mind on the Lord and continued to seek his leading in my life. It was a difficult time, but I knew God would bring me the wife that would help me serve Jesus Christ better.
I finally met my wife Stephanie at work in August of 2008, when asked to train her in the restaurant in's and out's. Unbeknownst to me, she was led there by God's design, and we became good friends. After a month of wearying her with the gospel, Stephanie asked me if she could come to church. That she did on November 19th 2008, though still unsaved, she enjoyed the services and respected my love for Jesus Christ. I continued to pray for her salvation, and on Dec.9th 2008, she received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. We continued to court each other and in September of 2009, I asked Stephanie for her hand in marriage. We quickly planned a wedding, and were officially married on November 21st, 2009. I thank and praise God for
answering that prayer. God has since added to our number three wonderful children: Tianna Eve, Teah Rachel, and Tiago John. We greatly thank the Lord for his blessings and constant providing for all our needs.
The Lord has called my family and I to the city of Brockville, Ontario, to start LIBERTY BIBLE BAPTIST CHURCH. Our mission to Brockville has been somewhat a collective prayer of the Montreal Bible Baptist Church long before I or my wife Stephanie were saved. I can still recall our Wednesday
prayer night, how we would pray for the city of Brockville as some of the elders of the church felt the Lord had a desire to start a bible-believing work here. I knew God was calling me to "islands", and in 2013, it became clear that God was moving us out of the church to start a work in the City of the Thousand Islands. With counsel from our pastor and by the leading of the Holy Spirit, we moved to Brockville in March of 2014. It is our desire and hope by the grace of God alone, to see a bible-believing church planted, established, and even flourish in the love of Christ for the glory of God.
Pastor Dean De Lima
"Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24