Matti Natri Finland

My Testimony

I was born in Finland. My parents had four children in our family and I was the oldest. My father painted houses and pictures, but when he got his salary, he spent it on alcohol. He was at times very aggressive when he got drunk. We moved many times from town and apartment to another. Mom tried to earn living, and she was a good cook, but our home was not a loving, peaceful, environment. She also taught me a prayer. But I often went to sleep with fear in my heart.

My first love – Bikes

I could not concentrate at school. I liked sports and motorbikes. I delivered newspapers to earn money for my first motorbike, Jawa, which became my great love at the age of 13. I practiced outside the roads until I turned 16 and got my driving licence. I also started lifting weights and practising motocross. When riding fast I could suppress for a moment my troubles. I competed in motocross.

I became friends with fatherless boys. We were rebellious. We stole to get money for our motorbikes. We didn’t respect the speed limits or the police. I graduated from school, but didn’t care for a normal life.

Prison

After some time the police found out about our thefts, and I was sentenced to prison as a juvenile delinquent at the age of 18. I felt horrible. But after a while I got adjusted to the daily routines and made friends there with other boys who liked lifting weights.

Speed

When I got out I continued my lifestyle, speeding it up even more, if possible, although my aunts and uncle reminded me of God and going to church. But I was busy with racing my bikes and making money for it in a lawless way. Riding and racing the bikes was the only thing I knew how to enjoy, and I was good at in life.

Later I was sentenced to prison for the second time. This was a gloomy place in the middle of mire.

But soon I managed to fill my days dreaming of a biker club and lifting weights to keep fit.

Biker Club JMK

When I got out I started a motorbike club. We got a club house and we had lots of activities. I raced motocross in the summer and raced on the ice in the winter. I started a gym business with a bodybuilder friend. We sold Kawasaki bikes too. I yearned for true acceptance and love but I didn’t dare to commit myself to a deep relationship as a marriage would have required. In the gang I forgot my loneliness as I had people around me all the time. It felt good to be a businessman.

Then one day the police came in, and since I had earlier done some dishonest work, I got sentenced to prison, once again.

Broken Heart

This time I got really depressed. All I had was broken dreams. I was 29 and I realized that I was in a vicious circle; crimes, prison, freedom, crimes… My father had died and my mom was ill. My little brother was still at home. I had no idea how to change my life but I felt terrible, and I really wanted a change. As I was thinking of my past and my possible future I felt desperate. Then I remembered my relatives who had talked to me about Jesus. I got a Bible and started to read it in my cell.

I went to a Christian meeting that was held in the prison and listened to the songs about the love and forgiveness of God, and a man share about how he found peace with God through Jesus. I got some cassettes with a Christian message, and started to listen to them in my cell. I wondered if God could help me?

One Sunday there was another meeting. The speaker asked if someone would like to accept the forgiveness of sins that Jesus Christ offers to everyone who believes in him. He explained that Jesus died on the cross, as an innocent, holy sacrifice, willingly took upon himself the punishment that belonged to us all, since all people have sinned. Jesus rose from the dead, is alive and offers salvation as a free gift to us, but we need to receive it to have eternal life in Heaven.

I was touched, but still too proud to publicly admit that I needed God’s help.

Meeting God

That night when I went to bed, I listened to a tape with a Christian message. I began to think how long time is eternity. I couldn’t sleep. I felt God was asking me where I would spend the eternity if I should die tonight. I knew I would go to hell. The battle in my heart kept me awake although my roommate was already deep asleep. Finally I broke into tears, gave up my pride, and asked God to forgive me my sins and give me a new life. After that I fell peacefully asleep.

The following days I read the Bible, and was surprised that I didn’t swear like I used to when we played volleyball.

New Life

I began to attend the meetings regularly, and some christians visited me and encouraged me by reading the Bible with me and praying with me. As I read the Bible and I told the other inmates that I had accepted Jesus as my saviour, I was strengthened in my faith.  I felt great peace and relief although I had to stay in the prison for two more years. The love of God started to change my attitudes. I learned bit by bit to accept myself, forgive others, and respect authorities.

When I was released, I joined a church and found new friends there. Some old friends tested me and didn’t first believe I had changed.  I had to clear my relationships with different people. I wanted to learn to live honestly, and I could see how God started to bless my life. 

Riding for Jesus

Later I went to a Bible school.  I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 25 years now. I still like bikes, but now I ride with Jesus and for Him. I’ve been in the Christian biker club in Finland.

Together with my dear wife Taru, we’ve been married for 20 years. We have been given three lovely children. We serve the Lord as a family in Albania, and where ever Jesus leads us. My desire is to reach out to the bikers in Balkan with the love of Christ.

“Jesus said: I’m the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except by me.”
He is the way to heaven,
Welcome to His way,

Matti Natri, biker evangelist
mnatri(at)gmail.com
+355 68 298 5314  
http://www.gospelriders.fi
http://www.bikerchurch.nu
http://www.cmausa.org