Joaquim Fernandes (Johny) was born on the 27th April 1972 in Goa (India). I graduated at the Goa University in the year 1993 and joined the Merchant Navy as a Junior Officer. My sailing jobs gave me the exposure and in preparation a heart for global missionary work.
My roots, Goa being a Portuguese colony meant that I was brought up as a Catholic in the knowledge of God’s existence and fearing him in a way most religious people do. I had really enjoyed my days as a child till the age of 12 when things started going wrong in my family. During this period of my life the name Jesus was not of much importance to me. Though I had a Catholic upbringing, the things I did for God were just out of traditional values and not really as a matter of love and relationship.
Just then came the big surprise that at this age, my father all of a sudden started heavily drinking alcohol. Prior to this, my father was a well respected person, had a very good reputation, and was a good husband and a good father. He started coming home drunk, beating my mother up and making a mess in the house. He started developing mental problems at this time. Being the only breadwinner for us, it was difficult for us to make ends meet. My mother was helpless and almost became suicidal but was wise to think about me, my brother and sister and did not have the courage to do it.
On reading and pondering deeply on the Bible, I was convicted of the truth that Jesus was the only way, the truth and life. It was during these crucial days of the year 1985 that I had no doubt that I had discovered the solution to my father’s problem and to for my eternal salvation. I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Lord. Not very long after I became a Christian, the Lord revealed to us that my father was under the influence of a curse and as a result had started drinking and that would have led him to the grave. But God in His mercy had his hand upon my family and saved us from earthly troubles and eternal damnation. He has made a great impact on my father by setting him free in many ways. I found the Lord in a situation where I was without hope. There is a saying that says that when you hit the bottom, the only way is is to come up – and that is exactly what Christ did for me in rescuing me: He lifted me up from the miry clay and set my feet upon the rock today. He translated us from a living hell to heaven.
He is EXCEEDINGLY GOOD!