Jodi and Chris had lost their way until they found the way forward with God.
Jodi: We were living in Wagga (NSW) and struggling, and wanted to move to Raymond Terrace, where I had originally come from. I finally found a house and I was trying to get some assistance to help with petrol and move my family down here, so I went to the Salvos at Raymond Terrace and met corps leader Tracy.
In 2014 my partner and I had issues with drugs, and while it was more of a struggle for Chris, I also used drugs as well. But I didn’t like it because it was interfering with my life. We put ourselves more and more into the Salvo church to distance ourselves from drugs. My kids went to the Red Shield camp and I started volunteering to do the kids club before a youth minister was appointed.
I got more and more involved in church. First it was the Tuesday lunches, then Tracy started giving Chris and I counselling and it’s completely changed our lives. We started coming to church for something to do, but it changed our lives, and we got clean from drugs.
Chris: Nothing would have changed without the love and support of Tracy and the people who come to the church. There are people who have experienced drug addiction and alcoholism and gambling and they’ve overcome them all. Having people who support and understand us and don’t look down on us has been great. The people here have been so supportive and non-judgmental.
Jodi: Chris went to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings through someone he met here.
Chris has just received his Salvation Army shirt and we are both planning on becoming adherents of the church. I can’t wait for that, and I am planning on becoming a soldier. We have also put our names down for training for The Salvation Army Emergency Services because we want to give back everything that we have received.
Our whole family life has changed in big and little ways. We have dinner sitting at the table now, not in front of the TV. My nine-year-old son says grace every night and a prayer every week at church and my daughter will pray at kids’ time at church. It’s just changed the whole dynamic of our family—of our whole lives.
The kids are 100 per cent more settled. My mum passed away and Chris was brought up in refuges from the age of 13, so he doesn’t really have a family, and our kids never had grandparents, but they now have a lady from the church who is ‘Nan’ to them. She is also a student mentor for my daughter and just one of so many people from church who have loved us and supported us.
I went to church when I was a child with my Nan, but it was something for the kids, so they could have beliefs and somewhere to turn to during hard times. But it wasn’t a belief of ours when we started—we just liked the idea and the people, but we now both have our own faith 100 per cent!
Chris: I’ve handed myself over to God, and he has really changed our lives. There is now so much happiness. We just feel better getting up in the morning.
Jodi: Chris would often sleep in until the afternoon. Now he gets up early and he’s so annoying! He’s up, bouncing around. He’s in a good mood every morning.
Last year was our first Christmas clean from drugs. We went to church for the Christmas dinner and on Christmas morning for the service to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Our kids are really involved in the church. My brother was in the army and my son has been saying he wants to become a soldier, but now I wonder if that will be a ‘soldier’ in The Salvation Army? I’m starting to see how God works!