When I was three, my dad and my brother passed away in a motorbike accident. So mum worked really hard to provide for us. All throughout my life, I had very little affirmation.
I think God allowed me to bump my head really hard, because I can see other people want God. I need Him, right? So, on that note, I get quite emotional because I've had no affirmation through my life. When things get serious or when I can feel quite loved, I get tearful. When somebody goes up to the pulpit in church and they give their life to the Lord, I'm like, yeah man, and the tears just come. So, I think God has waited a long time for me, and now I can feel that love, which is difficult to comprehend at times because I've never felt this way. It's difficult to explain.
After high school once I started earning my own salary, you know, that's when you think you're on top of the world. I started experimenting with drugs, and it was quite heavy stuff. I got onto cocaine, which when you use it for the first time, it's like your wow moment. Then when you use it the second, third, fourth time, you're always chasing that first experience.
Once I met my wife, she was a pretty good girl, I met her at a nightclub called 'Tramps', of all places. She was never a drinker. She was just there for the party and the dance. She invited me to go to church and I decided I was going to give this church thing a go. She said to me that if we want to be together, then, you basically have to change, which I did.
I was going to church, but there was never really that "wow" moment, until about a year ago. Coming to New Zealand, I came in the clothes on my back with no job. I had a couple of interviews lined up, but I left my job, left all that behind, and came here in a big panic state.
That's when I really started getting down. As an immigrant, I was bullied at work. Then just before lockdown, I said to one of our pastors, "Well, you know, I've been through all this stuff as a Christian but I don't feel like a Christian. I'm sick of the mediocre stuff. Now I want to really find out what's real, dig into the scriptures, find out what has God got planned for me."
As I said, lockdown happened, and that's when things started shifting in our life. I don't know what it was. I can't tell you exactly because it wasn't one specific thing. I started seeing God in lots of different places, recognising Him.
I've had quite a weak self-esteem for many years. I felt like a real sissy, because I always back out when things get serious. Just in this last six months I wondered where God was the rest of my life. But He was there. He was waiting for me.
I don't care what people think of me anymore. I don't care what they think of the Christian life and the way that I do my life. I speak out. We've got Spotify at work and you know, every now and then, for a couple of hours, you can put your own music on. So I blast my Christian music, just the way the other guys would blast their rock music. I'm just done with being ashamed of who I am and being ashamed of who He is within me.