As a teenager, Michael was heavily addicted to heroin. Just days before his 20th birthday, while on drugs and in a sleep-deprived state, he crashed his car into an oncoming vehicle. The result was a displaced cervical vertebrae, a broken jaw and a forked tongue. But this was not the last piece of bad news; the doctors also discovered that he had developed AIDS and gave him a life expectancy of only 2-3 years.
That was the all-critical moment when Michael put his life in God's hands and decided to follow God's plans for his life. On this day a great adventure began and has continued for the last 28 years.
Michael met Gabriela and the two married on July 1st, 1989. They both have invested many years in working with those which seem to have no hope, mostly heavily drug-dependent people. They hosted these people in their home and accompanied them as they sought God's help for a new future.
Due to the Michael's AIDS infection, they did not expect to have their own children. But God blessed them over the years with 4 beautiful and healthy children: Simeon (January 1999), Anna (June 2000) and the twins, Salome & Tabea (February 2002).
In addition to his work as a Software Developer, Michael, along with Gabriela, continued to dedicate their lives to working with people who had been marginalized by society. Suddenly, they felt that God had bold, new plans for them. A new calling was born in their hearts to help the forgotten children on the streets of Brazil and to bring hope to their lives.
So in October of 2009, they said goodbye to Switzerland and traveled with the whole family to Recife, Brazil. It was a difficult start to learn the culture and language and to adapt as a family, but their passion for the hopeless children on the street and the faithfulness of God drove them forward. In the following 6 years, they launched several projects, both in the areas of prevention and restoration. It was a calling for the entire family, as their children fulfilled an immensely important role in the projects, which could not be filled by adults.
But as they had often experienced before on their adventurous journey, God surprised them once again: "Start a new Restoration Center." This would be a place where new shelters and projects could be started, where unwelcomed, wounded and rejected children could be healed and strengthened and could find a new home where they would be accepted unconditionally and received "With Open Arms."