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1 April 2020
I was born in Devonport, Tasmania. My mum brought me up as my dad was into bikes and was just never around.
I left home at 14 and moved between Melbourne and Sydney. I was into gangs, drugs and crime and spent time, first in boys’ homes, and then prisons, on and off for years. I was an addict and my life was a mess.
A judge first sent me to a Salvos rehabilitation centre when I was 28. I knew something there was different — God was definitely planting a seed in my mind. I started going to the Salvos corps (church) in Bonnells Bay. It didn’t last though as I relapsed and went back to jail.
That was the cycle of my life for the next 10 years — drugs and jail. I then started avoiding jail by admitting myself to rehab. It became part of my institutionalisation. My life cycle changed to using drugs, rehab, and relapse. I didn’t feel that I belonged, or fitted in, anywhere.
I ended up flying from Queensland to Canberra, as it was the only rehab that had a bed for me. I was doing well for four months, but then I relapsed and moved in with my girlfriend and she fell pregnant.
She told me soon afterwards that she had lost the baby, so I went back to Sydney, and then Tasmania, in a very bad state. I then found out that she hadn’t lost the baby and that was a changing point for me.
I went back to rehab in Canberra, and the Salvos there. I thought I’d experienced God before but, for the first time, I really surrendered to him and my life changed.
My daughter was born and we called her Yindi, which means ‘the sun in the sky’ in a Northern Territory Aboriginal language.
A close mate of mine took his own life and, while it really hit me hard, I knew that, with God and Yindi in my life, I had no need to return to drugs to cope. Instead, my burning desire to help others, especially the ones society rejects, just increased.
I had completed rehab but soon afterwards Yindi came into my care full-time — so I am a now a single dad. The Salvos helped us get housed and we are living in our own place.
There are many challenges to being a single dad, but I am learning so much from Yindi and being a dad is the best thing I have ever done in my life.
I miss my family in Brisbane, but the Canberra City Salvos is an amazing church and they have become my family too. I am a member there, Yindi was dedicated (christened) there and everyone has been so loving and supportive.
I have never experienced support like this before and I am blessed to be part of this close and caring community.
In the future, I would like to work with vulnerable people, especially youth on the streets. This is my long-term goal. I already have some opportunities to work with others, and with the street talks our corps is doing, which is great.
I am pressing in, praying, that God will help me to be who I really am in him. Yindi was a driving factor behind my recovery, but it’s for me too. God helped me to see that, because of who I am in him, I am worthy in myself.
I am grateful for the Salvos and all they have done for me. I don’t know where we would be without them.