Antonio D’Agostino from Italy grew up feeling rejected by his environment, which led him to a lifestyle of dealing drugs and partying. When eventually he was at the “edge of the cliff” and almost lost his life, God encountered him and he surrendered his life to Jesus. Now he serves as a missionary in Greece together with his wife Rosanna. He wrote a book in Italian called Manifesto about his faith journey with God, which has been spread all over the country. A testimony of the goodness of our heavenly Father, Whose arm is never too short to save.
“I come from a middle class family and am the oldest of two brothers”, Antonio shares. “There are many territorial differences in Italy and my parents were considered immigrants in the region where we lived, just because they came from another part of the country. Because of that I felt different from all of my friends, I felt rejected.
I wanted to prove that I was better than they were, so I decided to go after girls and started partying a lot. It became an addictive lifestyle; I only lived for the weekends and also started using drugs. I was excelling in the wrong things to the point where I got a career in drugs dealing. It wasn’t huge, there was a small network in my region, but it was big enough to get the attention of the police. One time a friend of mine got arrested.
I was a nonbeliever and, in fact, was antireligious, but I did have an interest in the supernatural. One of the people I sold drugs to, was a medium. When he came to my house, we played spiritual games together. At the time I thought it was fun, but now I realize I messed with my spirit and my soul.”
Edge of the cliff
“My interest in parties, drugs, the entrepreneur network and the spiritual world led me to the edge of the cliff, when I started having a mix of a schizophrenia and demon possession. My brain became like a double screen; I had two realities unfolding in my life at the same time. If you would tell me in this world: ‘Let’s go for a coffee’, in the other world it could mean: ‘Be careful, the person next to you is about to stab you’. So I would respond to people in a weird way because of that. I was increasingly losing control over my life.
I was registered at the university in Torino, but I didn’t attend classes anymore. I used and sold drugs all the time and developed the habit of walking around and entering random churches, just because I found it interesting.
One day I entered a Greek Orthodox church in Torino; it was different from other churches I had seen. (Most churches in Italy are Catholic churches.) I was barefoot, without a document, had long hair and was dressed like a hippy. When I entered the church, the priest talked to me and gave me a New Testament. It was my first New Testament in Italian. I went back home and started reading one of the gospels, but I could not understand the resurrection, because there was a veil over my mind.
A little later, one day I felt really weak physically, as if I was going to die, and I had this thought in my mind: this day you will die, what are you going to do now? I was reminded of movies in which people make a covenant with the devil. I thought to myself: if it is possible to make a covenant with the devil, maybe it’s also possible to make a covenant with God.
So I said: ‘God, I know I am about to die today, but if You give me a second chance and let me stay alive, then when I die, You can use my body to resurrect Jesus’. You see, I didn’t get the gospel at all. Yet somehow it almost seemed like a prophetic declaration: I’m going to die to self and Jesus is going to live in me.
I told Him: ‘I surrender to You, You can do what You want’.”
I went back to the church and it was Easter. In the Greek Orthodox culture, Easter is the most important celebration of the year. So when I came in, everyone was talking about the resurrection of Jesus. I was a mess, walking around purposeless and a demon was about to manifest through me. I had little strength in my body left, I almost fainted.
I was in such bad shape, that the priest didn’t know what to do with me. He was afraid that if he’d send me out of the church, I would die, but that if he would let me stay in the church, I might disturb the congregation. In the end he decided to take me to the Holy of Holies in the church where usually only the priest is allowed to go. He put me on a chair, hoping that I would keep quiet and went back to the service.
Meanwhile I started to hallucinate and thought: why is everybody talking about the resurrection of Jesus? I was reminded of the covenant I made with God, that He could use my body to resurrect Jesus and so when I heard the people speak about His resurrection, I thought: they are going to kill me and then will use my body to resurrect Jesus.
I decided to leave the church, but when I got out, I collapsed and the priest called the ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance, a Greek woman held my hand. Her name was Anastasia, which means resurrection.”
‘God is Love’
“I was struggling in my mind as I heard two voices at the same time. One told me to give my true identity to the people of the ambulance, the other told me not to trust them. At the same time Anastasia told me three words that changed my life: ‘God is Love’. It was a seed that was planted in my life, that later on has been of huge importance to me.
The ambulance took me to the hospital and my parents were called. In the hospital they gave me medication to calm me down. That was the moment I surrendered my life to Jesus. I told Him: ‘I surrender to You, You can do what You want’. My father witnessed that.
I spent three days in the psychiatric area of the hospital. The second day I shared with another patient about what I had been dealing with in my life: attacks from the enemy and voices in my head.
I pointed at her and said: ‘Demon, in the Name of Jesus, get out of this woman’.”
She said she had also experienced attacks from demons and then told me: ‘I’m being attacked even now’. At that moment a demon manifested through her. Her eyes turned black and were filled with pure hate. Her voice changed into a male voice and she stood up in front of me.
That same moment I felt the Holy Spirit rise in me and I stood up as well. One week before I had just read how the disciples cast out demons, so I pointed at her and said: ‘Demon, in the Name of Jesus, get out of this woman’. She fell straight on the floor in front of the doctors and all the nurses came to see what happened.
They refused to acknowledge that it was something spiritual and rationalized it away, saying it must have been something emotional. I quickly understood that if I would keep talking about demons, they would keep me there forever, so I stopped doing that. After three days they let me go and I went to stay at my parents’ home.”
“It was a hard journey to recover. One day at the market I found a book with the title: ‘The man looking for God’. It resonated with me, so I read it and prayed the prayer that was written at the end of the book to receive Jesus. From then on I felt different, something inside of me had changed. I still faced attacks from the enemy, but now Jesus or angels would show up in my nightmares to defend me and fight for me.
I saw Jesus next to my bed, reading the Bible.”
One day I asked God to help me fall asleep peacefully and when I fell asleep, I saw Jesus next to my bed, reading the Bible. It made me realize I needed to read the Bible to hear what God wants to speak to me. I joined a protestant community, that was strong in the Bible, which helped me.
I managed to finish three years of university, took a month-long break to walk the road of Santiago de Compostela to have time with God alone, and then finished the last two years of university. God restored my mind. I learned three languages, studied in France, found a job there and lived there for five years.”
Extraordinary life with God
“I went to a charismatic church in France and became part of a youth ministry. During my time there I learned more about the gifts of the Spirit. God gave me the gift of discerning of spirits, so now I have a double screen in my mind again, but in a good way. I see the demonic as well as the angelic and have no fear of the enemy anymore. There is this holy anger in me now to see people healed and delivered.
I did a Missionary School at YWAM which led me to Greece where I am a missionary now. I have served with a refugee ministry in Lesvos, helped kickstart the Lighthouse 24/7 House of Prayer in Athens, evangelized Gipsy communities and served Hellenic Ministries with a church plant at the island of Crete. Now I focus on strengthening the prayer community in Thessaloniki, together with my wife Rosanna whom I married two years ago. This is the next chapter of my life, to live an extraordinary life with God.”
Click here to read more about the ministry of Antonio and Rosanna.