Hi, everyone, my name is Johnny Atys, I am one of the lead singers of We Want More. Welcome to God Today. Before I get my message, you might be wondering, “Where does that accent come from?” Well, I am from France – born and raised in Paris. So, if I make any mistakes, please excuse my French. But, I am French!
What I want to talk about today is how God’s plan sometimes comes in a way, an unexpected way, but what we think is a painful road is actually a blessing in disguise. I came here on a tourist visa. My father is American, my mother is French, born and raised in Paris. I came here just for the intention of getting some paperwork done, for a dual-citizenship. When I came here, I was supposed to stay for just three weeks and what happened is that I was staying in Orlando and I got involved in a car accident. It was like something you see in a movie. Literally, a stolen car, chased by the police of Orlando, ran through a red light, and I was sitting in the front passenger seat in a big SUV. At that time, I literally saw my life flash before my eyes. Literally, like in a movie. I thought, “Gosh! I am going to die.” But, no. God had another plan.
What happened during that time? I couldn’t fly back to France because of my physical condition. I had several broken ribs, I was skinless in my entire right part, hip dislocated, and you name it. What happened during that time, I overstayed my visa. For those who know, if you apply for an American visa and you overstay, you cannot – I will say – it has the opposite effect. The immigration department told me, “If you leave the country right now, you will be facing a ban of 10 years from coming back to the USA.” But I really wanted to come back because I felt like I was called to come here. And what happened during that time, I had to wait. When you have to wait during that time when it was really confusing for me because I always heard, “Okay, the paper will come very fast. Very fast.” I would be praying and praying.
And fast forward to an 8-year process. During that 8-year process, I realized if someone had told me, “It will take you 8 years to get your papers,” I would say, “No.” But God always equips you during your journey. He put amazing people in my life, with a new purpose. Different perspectives on the way that you saw life, and now looking back, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I just want to encourage you guys. Sometimes you might be on a path that you felt like God is punishing you or God is putting you through something. But what you feel like you are on the floor, you have to understand one thing. God knows what He is doing. He went before you and He loves you so much.
I hope this helped. And now I am so glad and happy to be a part of this amazing country. What God is doing in my life, I pray that you guys feel encouraged and that you guys know that God will give you beauty from your ashes.