I was born into a family who, although they identified as Christian, were not followers of Jesus in any noticeable way. In our household there was a lot of violence, physical emotional and verbal, mostly towards my siblings and I – at a time when nobody intervened.
My brother and I became rebels, in trouble all the time and eventually running away. I ran to the big city where I was a street kid in the seventies, eventually getting involved in the drug scene and drifting around Australia, ending up in Perth where I continued use drugs, graduating to heroin and also began to delve into witchcraft. I saw witchcraft as a very meaty sort of religion with spells, festivals, use of herbs, communing with the gods. It appeared to be a very wrap around belief with the ability to effect change in mine and other’s lives.
Eventually I realised that if I continued the way I was going I would end up dead in a gutter of an overdose or something much worse and I came to NZ to get away from the drugs. I came here and ended up on one of the offshore islands. That was where I grew into someone socially and environmentally aware, still involved in Wicca and moving into New Age things, aura reading, healing and other things of like nature.
I always saw myself as a seeker after truth and Christianity didn’t fit the bill. I saw it as a shallow religion with no depth and no mystery. I looked at traditional churches and saw the flaws and what I considered posturing and ritual that had no power. I had never heard of a Pentecostal church but had many a conversation with ministers of traditional churches.
Eventually I moved to the South Island, started martial arts and began to delve into Buddhism whilst still maintaining all my other interests. I woke up one day and decided to leave karate and got back into drugs and alcohol. At that time speed was my drug of choice and it fitted quite well with my lifestyle and the friends I made were basically into the same things. Two of these people moved to Australia and later rang me and asked if I wanted to go over there. They were starting a business and thought I could work well with them in it. When I got there the whole idea had never got up and running and I was in Australia with a thirteen year old son, and little else.
Along the way I ended up in a country town where I was very lonely and bored, using drugs, getting into methamphetamines with a man I met who became my partner. I laugh about it now and say I was so bored that I went to church, but in reality I was very lonely and not able to find anything that i felt i could relate to. I made no friends there, in fact I hated the town with a passion but events always conspired to keep me there.
My partner’s sister and her husband ran one of the Pentecostal churches in the same town. They invited us to their grandchild’s dedication and people there were very friendly. I enjoyed being there but didn’t go again until the sister invited me to hear a speaker from Answers in Genesis. I went to that and one of the women I had met the first time invited me to church again. l went and was touched by something said, put my hand up, said the sinner’s prayer but never went up the front as at that time they never called people up. The date was 9th September 2001
I felt set apart after that, but felt really strongly that I was to go up the front and confess the sinner’s prayer in public. I talked to the Pastor who called me up at the next service.
From that day I wanted to live for God’s glory. I went home and told my partner we had to end the relationship or get married. Thank God he took exception to that and I moved out. The next time I was offered drugs I prayed and asked God to take the desire away and He did.
Then it was as though God opened the doors and told me I could go now. I wasted no time. I moved to one of the big Australian cities. Two days after I arrived I found a house and a job in a factory down the road. I found I was near a similar type of church and started going there. I made wonderful friends through the church, started doing all the courses that churches run.
Life became a journey with God in control. There was nothing gentle about the pace, it was at breakneck speed initially and was about restoration, God began to restore what the locusts had eaten. I never finished school – but in the third year after being saved I went to university for six years. In the first four years I gained bachelors of theology and social science. In the next two years I went on to do a jump up bachelor of social work and while I was doing that I completed a Master of theology. Since leaving university four years ago I have gained a grad cert of human services.
My relationships were about scrabbling to stay on top. They were abusive and denigrating and i was too damaged to realise I deserved anything more. I am now in my eighth year of marriage to a god fearing man who loves and cherishes me. My relationships with my brother and sister have been restored.
In my mind’s eye all my adult life there was a battered little child in the corner of my spirit that was always in black, in pain, weeping, abandoned and despised. I couldn’t conceive that i might have some value or deserve anything good. When I search for that child she is no longer there.
I, the truth seeker who thought Christianity was shallow and ineffectual, have found the truth. God is the author of creation and his son has set me free. I am redeemed. I know I am ‘the favoured child of the most high God, that I operate under his authority and that my chains have been broken and I have been set free. God has put in me a burning desire to see others receive the same gift of freedom that I have been given. I now work with people just like I was.