Josh has left heartache and homelessness behind to find a new purpose in his life.
About seven or eight years ago my younger brother, sister, me and Mum got kicked out of the place we were living in and had nowhere to go.
We moved around and stayed in families’ and friends’ places and that was really tough, because home was the place where we celebrated birthdays and had Christmas and where family and friends came over.
We moved around for weeks and I was worried because I didn’t know where I was going to put my head down the next night. I’d lost my home and thought I might lose my family as well. We reached out for the government’s help and they pointed us in the direction of The Salvation Army.
They came through in incredible ways. They moved us into crisis accommodation and we connected with the Mitcham Salvation Army Corps (church). Things were looking good but it still wasn’t quite the same. It wasn’t home.
We moved to another temporary living space while we were still attending Mitcham Salvos and it was at this point that I started going to church and kids’ church on Sundays and Fridays where I learned about this person who loved people unconditionally and was always there for them.
Things took a turn for the worse while we were living at this house. Mum was unwell and for the first time in my life I felt alone and trapped in darkness. I thought I was going to lose everything, I thought that I wouldn’t have a mum to call my own and hold me when I needed her.
For the first time I prayed to this God I’d heard about who loved us unconditionally and would never leave us. I wanted so hard to believe that there was someone there who could help me.
When family and friends weren’t there for us, The Salvation Army was. By some miracle, Mum called the Salvos that night and the Mitcham Corps (church) officers (ministers) came out and spoke to her. It was at that point that I knew there was someone there for us who loved us—the person I’d been learning about was real.
I attended my first Salvation Army youth camp—Rev Camp—and I was excited. I’d found a faith and I wanted to learn more about this God I’d been learning about in church. On the last night of camp I gave my life to God and then I found Jesus. Luke Inglis (Salvation Army youth and young adults pastor) was out the front with his worship band playing and he read out Jeremiah 29:11: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
It was at that point I fell to my knees and started crying and I had no idea why. I had my first vision of Jesus; he was calling my name and telling me to come home. He had his arms open wide and I just started running to him. When I got to him, that embrace I felt was something I had never felt before in my life, and the love and the feeling of peace is something I will never forget.
It was there that I gave my life to God and promised to follow whatever plan he had for me and I knew from that day that he had a special calling for my life.
Last year I left school because I felt God had a bigger plan for my life and I didn’t want to be part of an environment that completely cut God out of the picture. I couldn’t have that—my passion to follow what he had planned for me was too great.
I left school and prayed hard for the whole year that something would open up for me. I was starting to get worried, but during this time I learned to put every bit of my faith in him and to trust him to provide something for me.
So here I am now—The Salvation Army has again come through for me. I’m doing a youth ministry placement with Luke at Ringwood Salvation Army Corps (church) and I’m studying Christian studies at VCE level at Youth Dimension. I feel that God has called me to work with youth. That is something I want to do and I want to full-heartedly follow him and carry out the call he has on my life.