Johnny Belmont had to travel far and wide before he returned to Jesus.
I’m from a small New Zealand town called Wairoa. I lived with many families while growing up. I wouldn’t say I was a perfect son or great kid; in fact, I was trouble and plagued with sickness most of my life, through speech and asthma. I used to stutter.
At the time, my faith in God was also up and down.
I went to boarding school, where the priests and brothers knew I had issues and problems.
Once I got to manhood I made my way to Sydney and fell in love with an Irish woman.
We had a lovely son, Hoani. We lived in Ireland for 8–10 years. It was there that our marriage fell through and my faith was tested again.
I decided to come back to Australia, which was the hardest decision of my life. I’ve never forgotten having to say goodbye to my son. When I arrived back in Australia, I went to work in Karratha, WA, and was on good money in the mining town, working in a scrapyard recovery for railway iron for Rio Tinto at Tom Price in the Pilbara Network.
I worked there for five years and everything was good until I lost my job.
I thought I would get another job soon, but soon never came. I had little money to fall back on as I had given money to family and friends along the way. For three months I lived on the streets of Karratha. Running drugs around became my only income.
From there I got a lift from a friend to Perth and I found myself roaming the streets, day in, day out.
Night was dangerous so I’d spend the days seeking food and rest. I spent the nights being on guard, because there were many out there who wanted to rob, beat or even kill you.
With only the clothes on my back I found a small corner of a building to rest and hopefully find some peace. I hadn’t realised it, but it was The Salvation Army’s Doorways program. The Salvos’ worker, Ben, found me on the steps.
I still think about that encounter every day—that one moment in time changed my life forever. Up until then I felt I was worth nothing, and was close to attempting suicide.
I had no money, no job, no food and no clothes. Even my friends stopped seeing me and I was too ashamed to contact my family back home. I had got myself there, and I believed that only I could get myself out, but there were more setbacks and bad times than good ones.
Ben told me that Jesus was looking after me, and he prayed for me, and I was inspired by his actions. Now, while I only have the clothes on my back and God in my heart, I give my testimony for all to hear. Something happened that night. God came to me.
Now I’m a volunteer at The Salvation Army, Ruah Community Services, in Perth. My faith in God is great.