AndrewAndrew

Age 43

Background: Born in Darlinghurst, NSW, where his father, a typesetter and printer, originally from Perth, met and married his mother in Sydney. His father then worked in Canberra printing Hansard for the Federal Parliament. When Andrew turned five, his parents returned to Perth to work in the family printing business with his uncle. He had a good, caring relationship with his parents, but they were always busy working. Andrew didn’t like that he was an only child – it was lonely and boring. He would have loved to have had another brother or sister to play with. As a result, Andrew determined to have three children of his own. Andrew struggled to succeed at school, forced to repeat Year 3, but eventually learned to read and write. At age 14 he first started on marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol, mainly due to boredom and the need for something to do.  

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NigelNigel

Age 44

The son of a bikie gang-member, Nigel was an uncontrollable child, becoming a Ward of the State from age 13. His first year was spent at the Sir Leslie Wilson Detention Centre, Windsor, Queensland. He was then transferred to Boys Town, Beaudesert, south west of Brisbane, established for high school age students. However Nigel was forced to leave within six months, due to his uncontrollable behaviour. From age 16 to 17, Nigel became an inmate at the Westbrook Correctional Facility at Toowoomba. All three institutions were so tough, each was eventually closed. Nigel then went straight into the Boggo Road Prison, Brisbane, from age 17 to 18. After turning 19, Nigel was finally released, able to join his mother and step-father in Karratha, WA. At this point he tried to change his life, working as a yardie at the Mercure Inn. He then started work in a meat works in Geraldton at age 20, but messed up, getting blind drunk.

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Karlee

Hi my names Karlee and this is my testimony 
I was born in Sydney NSW than moved to Newcastle a few years later. After be13254374_1716060055336377_3839037753315360576_ning in Newcastle for only a few months my parents separated and my 2 sisters, my brother and I all stayed with our mum. We went to catholic schools even though we couldn’t afford it the schools let us go there anyway.

Mum was a heavy drinker after loosing my nan which than lead her to going out with alcoholic and abusive men. Each day i would worry about wether I’d have to help my mum up off the floor after she had supposeably fallen over or wether Id have to lock my little brother and sister in our room because things were getting out of hand. We didn’t really see much of our dad we started off visiting him every second weekend but as the years went on I have seen less and less of him. As things got worse at home I started to withdraw from school and would just stay home if I didn’t feel like going which lead to me not really knowing how to read and spell properly. After finishing year 10 my mum gave me the choice I either had to go back to school or go to tafe. I ended up going to tafe for 2 years to do business administration.

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MattMatthew C

Age 36

When the one person Matt looked up to, his father, was suddenly taken from his life, Matt’s life totally fell apart through drug addiction. Now 18 months into the program at Shalom House, the change witnessed in Matt’s life, would make his dad proud. Born in Subiaco, Perth, from 6 months of age Matt spent his early childhood in the remote far north of South Australia. His father, a respected and hard-working builder, worked for the Housing Association in the indigenous community of Ernabella. His parents then moved to Darwin for their children’s education. Matt’s father spent the next 11 years working at the Bagot Aboriginal Community. Matt revered his father, but always felt like that he had to earn his approval and respect. He always wanted to please his father and to see him happy. Curiously, due in part to his father’s hardworking ethic and selfless life, Matt thought that he would never be good enough. His father seemed to live a perfect life, and Matt struggled to see how he could match him. Matt’s father loved his cricket, and encouraged his son to play, often making time to watch Matt’s games. Matt desire to please his father saw him develop a competitive passion for cricket throughout his school years.

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Joel’s Testimony13139152_1707448009530915_104549850230378668_n

My name is Joel. I grew up in a small country town in the north of England called Alnwick. Alnwick is a sleepy town with picturesque rolling hills, trickling streams and medieval architecture. It had it’s fair share of problems, however, unemployment and a pervasive binge drinking culture gave the town’s beauty a shadow of brokenness. I was lucky enough to be born into a loving home with selfless and hardworking parents. We didn’t have much in the way of money back then but we always had what we needed.    I remember as a young kid seeing some of the desperate and lost people living around me and thinking to myself, my parents were different. Early on at school I did quite well and had a close group of mates that I played football with every day. I was happy go lucky and generally had a happy childhood. This began to change as I neared my teenage years when I started to be bullied for my red hair. Picking on the ginger kid became the new cool thing to do, a rite of passage for those that didn’t know me. I couldn’t walk to school without being taunted and multiple times a day I was mocked, occasionally I was beat up. I quickly learned to defend myself and gave it back as good as I got.

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Phil’s Testimony 

I was born in England 1979.  My parents and I and my 2 sisters emigrated to Australia in 1985.

I grew up in a good Christian home and attended a good Christian school but had my struggles.  From an early age school was challenging due to learning difficulties and dyslexia and I often felt that it was all too hard.  I had two bright sisters who did well at school and that made it even more difficult. When I became a teenager my rebellious ways were beginning to lead me down the wrong paths.  However, the one thing I loved and really excelled at was my music and playing the drums.  In fact, my year ten teacher convinced my parents that my intention was to leave school and start a rock band.  My thoughts were, why didn’t I think of that? My parents believed that staying at school for another two years would give me enough education to help me on my way in life.  They were concerned to keep me safe a little longer.  All I wanted to do was play music.  At that stage I had no other plans other than to play music and party with my friends. I had been smoking since the age of sixteen and was hanging out with like minded people.  This led to the drinking and partying scene of my late teens.

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Brodie C12705743_1672900192985697_1732079109356582068_n

Howzit going, my name is
Brodie Conlan.

I’m twenty years old and currently a resident at Shalom House, located in the Swan Valley
. I have been in the programme now for approximately 6 months. I’ve been making bad decisions for about the last 7 years. I came from a good home and have a good upbringing. I have a younger brother and sister, and my family mean the world to me.

Growing up, I was pretty normal, raised in Bullsbrook until around grade 6.  Dad got a job in Broome driving trucks and so we shifted up there. I was never the cleverest kid in school and didn’t think I was real smart either. I used to play up a fair bit but compensated by being a smart aleck in the playground. I felt I’d fit in by being one of the cool kids, and got a fair bit of attention for all the wrong reasons.

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Gail & Dave (Brodies parents) Testimony 13321845_1710339295882192_2390793592199549230_n

Hi my name is Gail, and this is my husband Dave. We have 3 beautiful children; Brodie is 20 yrs the oldest, Jacob is 17 and Sophie is 13. Brodie is a resident at Shalom house has been since the 16th December 2015.

Brodie as a small child growing up was mostly caring and loving, however when he started school life started to become increasingly difficult for him as he didn’t fit into the “normal” structure of schooling, he was diagnosed with learning difficulties at a very early age and although we tried desperately to help him and encourage him through these tough times, he always felt left behind, frustrated and at time extremely angry.  He had tried suicide on a number of occasions and had a stint in hospital to be monitored. He was already under psychiatric care and monitoring.  My mum has bipolar disorder so I have not been a stranger to dealing with mental health issues, however at times this had been extremely tiring and trying for me.

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Matthew D Testimony

Hey There, How’s it going? My names Matthew. I’ve been a resident at Shalom House for 10 weeks now. Before coming into Shalom, I had been a meth addict for close to 12 years. The last of those I had anger issues as well.13240561_1718405058435210_2068071450885116830_n

Have you ever been that angry that you just can’t calm yourself down? I’ve lived like that for the last 3 years or so. It wasn’t the nicest way of living life but I’m getting ahead of myself.  I came from a broken home, my parents split when I was four. My Mum got custody of me andmy brother, but my Dad took me and gave me to my Nanna and grandpa to drive around Australia for a few years. Mum says she looked for me to no avail, I wasn’t to be found. My Nanna was a full blown Christian, church every couple of days, reading the bible for hours every morning. Kinda scared me off it, when given the chance by my Dad. I turned my back on the church until I came into Shalom.  I started smoking pot as a kid around 13 like everyone else my age where I grew up in SA. Soon grew out of it until I started working as a tree lopper. Where I found myself smoking it every day. Just to ease the aches and pains I told myself. I got offered a job on the mines through my cousins. Quitting pot cold turkey was easy for me. Worked on the mines for ten years and put 90% of it up my arm. More money meant more drugs. I started smoking meth.

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Rodney V

I’m the second oldest child of a family of seven kids. I grew up in the free reformed church and went to John Calvin school until year 10. After I left school I got an apprenticeship as a Gyprocker down in Albany. Not long after I left school and began working I left the church as I felt I didn’t really fit in any more. This is when I started drinking and smoking and getting involved in low level crime as well as anti social behaviour. The more I misbehaved it seemed the more people began to like me. This was the time in my life when I first started shooting up drugs. It wasn’t long until I started getting in trouble with the police and my work so I decided to skip town and moved to Rockingham, or aka the Swinging Pig. After moving to Rockingham I began a job as a bricky’s laborer.

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Colby D Testimony

Hi everyone my name is Colby and I am the wife of a Shalom House resident.12472569_1699099927032390_6722267680323869520_n

Now if you’d have asked me 4 months ago, if I was happily married, I’d have said No. In actual fact 4 months ago I was a single mum after leaving my husband, who at the time was a fully functional drug addict. In March, life took a few undesirable turns and decisions needed to be made for our family. My daughter and I needed a new place to live. Without realising it then, God had answered our prayers through a man named Peter. Wayne and I were set up in a house with our beautiful daughter, and went on to become the first S
halom Couple. We found our regular family church to attend nice and close to our new home and things were looking up.

Coming from little to no religious background, this was all new to me, and truth be told, it was very daunting and confronting. Our first family visit to a church, since being in our new home, was to a church in Toodyay. At this church, I heard the testimony’s of a few of the Shalom fella’s for the first time. It was during these testimony’s and watching the struggle these guys went through to read them, and the strength they had to hold their heads high, that I realised, this was the power of God working through them. I cried, I sobbed and I cheered and praised them for their efforts. My heart felt open and I was filled with a feeling that was so strong, it actually scared me.

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Wayne D12553029_1661553080787075_2635011021420947394_n

(Colbys husband)

Hi, my name is Wayne and this is my testimony. I guess you could say I was blessed, born as oldest of four brothers, and we all know that has its good side and bad side. Growing up as four brothers together would have been hard for my parents, and I can never thank them enough and love them enough for bringing us up the way they have. Getting brought up in the Free Reformed Church from a young age, looking back was a blessing. It was hard for me at school. I really hated it besides the wood work part, which I still love now. I used to rebel a lot of the time, wag school, and smoke cigarettes behind the wood work shed, and sneaking the odd drink in here and there.

Moving backwards and forwards from Albany and Perth for most of my younger life, we finally settled in Perth, where I met a girl in church. I fell in love. We got engaged, and then one day she fell pregnant. I was so excited.

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Bradley S Testimony 13096261_1707440972864952_8423825429972528205_n

I was born in Perth, grew up as an only child to a single mother, I have never met my dad and I have a half-sister that I know about. Lived in Rivervale and went to Carlisle primary school till I was 12. it was in about year 3 or 4 that I started going down to Rockingham for the holidays and stay with one of mums friends from when she was at school and hang with her kids, that went on for about six years.

At the end of year 7 we moved to Willetton and I went to Willetton Senior High School, I graduated in 2010. At 14 I got into skateboarding and was hanging around the skate park most days after school and started smoking cigarettes and pot and wagging school a lot with the people I met down there. At the same time, I was going to Riverview youth on Friday nights, went there for pretty much all of high school but didn’t pay attention or believe much of what they were telling me.

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Rory Testimony

Howdy, my name is Rory Culhane1509650_1686474691628247_8522452176736252837_n

I am 27 years old, single and currently a resident at Shalom House men’s rehabilitation centre. I have been in th
e programme now for 9 weeks.

This is no doubt one of the most testing things I have had to do in my life. I guess no testimonial is easy, they tend to get a bit emotional. Especially now I’m this sensitive new age guy. So please excuse me if my nerves get to me. I’ll do my best to give you an insight on the hand God has given me so far. Since coming to Shalom I have met 37 men with 37 different stories. This rehab is unique because we run the show and we are like one big family. When things get tough we see them as a chance to grow and transform our lives. I hope today the blood of the lamb washes over people going through the same issues I have endured. If my testimonial gives hope to somebody then it has been worthwhile.

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Joy B      (Residents Mum)

“It’s all over, it’s all about to begin” 999453_1675743912701325_1114271100752014049_n

This is a line from a play I once studied. It came to my mind on January 5th last year when my son chose to enter Shalom House. Given his circumstances this was a reason for rejoicing but on that day I felt the opposite. However I felt that if Paul was prepared to take a leap of faith, I had better dry my eyes and join him. I was not leaving my son in a prison, nor a hospital, nor a coffin, all of which had been entirely possible scenarios.

My relationship with my son had been a roller coaster over the past 15 years. He lied to us, stole from us and most difficult of all, often did not communicate, sometimes for extended periods, my son had become a stranger. Friends would tell me, “It’s a phase” or “he’s young. Give him time,” or “Look at your other 3. Paul will turn out ok too.” I wanted to believe my well-intentioned friends, while deep down knowing this was not how it was. Emotionally I was in turmoil and felt completely overwhelmed as to what to do.

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Aaron F

 

G’day, my name is Aaron Fry.

I am 41 years old, a father of 3 beautiful children and currently a resident at Shalom House, Men’s Rehabilitation Centre.

I have been asked today to share with you, a brief testimony of my life, thus far. Please excuse me for reading from a prepared speech, but as many of you who have shared before would know, testimonies can get emotional at times and I didn’t want to stand up here, in front of you all and bore you with my ‘ums and aahs’. I was a little apprehensive at first when asked to speak. Nervous perhaps, embarrassed? I’ve never really had a drama with public speaking, though standing in front of a couple of hundred people sharing my faults and flaws are something I never envisioned myself doing.

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Jay B 12814181_1682443235364726_3249797906819232815_n

Hey, I am Jay Blakers and I am here to share my testimony about how it was when I grew up and what my life was like living in addiction. I had no hope for my life but now I have a whole new life in Jesus. A month and a half ago my life was fuelled with anger, hate, rage, jealousy, regret, shame and so much pain. It was pure evil. It tore me apart living this way with all these feelings. My behav
iour and actions impacted, destroyed and tore my whole family apart. I am so ashamed for dragging my two brothers into my world of drugs and crime.

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Daniel B13001056_1699439706998412_223982614068084932_n

Hi, my name is Daniel and I would like to please share with you a brief insight on my life.

I was once a lost man, constantly depressed and drowning in self-pity with a bad attitude towards the things of God witch caused me lots of trouble at times…

Things for me growing up as a child were amazing, I am the 2nd eldest of 10 siblings in my family of 5 boys and 5 beautif
ul sisters. I was home schooled most of the way through to high school, in transition of going from home schooling to high school was when things in my life changed rapidly. Within 2 years I had experienced bullying witch then started to affect me in ways that I couldn’t handle. My walk with GOD soon started to crumble before my feet whilst I started blaming him for things in my life I didn’t understand or had an answer for. I just wanted to be popular and fit in… It didn’t take long before peer pressure got the better of me which resulted into soon developing an out of control life style of partying nearly every night of the week for a number of years…

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Nathan L Testimony

I am the oldest of three children. I come from a normal atheist family. Dad worked hard to provide and Mum looked after the kids.. about as normal as it comes!

I am not really sure where it all went so wrong for me. I had an experience as a five or six year old that made me bitter and resentful towards women. It was my first memory of humiliation and little did I know that would come to play a big part in my string of dysfunctional relationships. My next major childhood memory was my Year 6 teacher asking me to differentiate the words, which and witch, which upon failing that he picked me up by the ankles and shook me above the bin. . . I feel that that was a detrimental event that impacted upon my school years to come.

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Melisa J Testimony  (Shalom Mum)12670165_1668141910128192_6477869036704742770_n

Hi everyone, thank you for letting us share our families story.

Joel is 19 and he is the eldest of our 4 boys aged 8, 14 and 16 and it was in September last year that Joel came into Shalom house. In the lead up to that day, we were bringing up our family the best way we knew how. Sending them to good schools, bringing them up within the Christian faith, we enrolled and coached them in numerous sports and music act
ivities and we were busy just being a “normal “family. Things started to change for our family over the last few years. Joel finished school and his friendship circles started to change. He was becoming more distant, unreasonable, disconnected and angry. We seemed to go about in this fog, not really sure what or why things were happening but never the less, hoping things would turn around.

As time went on, he seemed to be losing his way more and we were unable to control any of it. We also didn’t realize Joel was experimenting with different sorts of drugs. A pattern began to present itself. Home for a couple of days and then his moods would drastically change and he would be gone again for another couple of weeks.

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Kathy W ( Shalom Mum)

My name is Kathy! I am the mother of four children and the grandmother of one. Joel, the second eldest has not lived under the same roof as his siblings since he was about 15

After a 19 year marriage that appeared on the surface as a modest but happy Christian family, my husband and I separated. This was  sad but releasing for me as in reality, our marriage and family had been controlling, dysfunctional and abusive. The separation came not long after we found out that Joel had been abused by another trusted family member. At 14 my sensitive, caring and bright boy turned to alcohol and marijuana to ease the hurt and confusion in his life. Meanwhile I struggled with court procedures, identity loss  and rejection while I tried to work and provide for 4 children on my own. It was a time of chaos for the whole family.

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Stephen H Testimony

AGE 53

Hi people, I’m Steve, the 53 year old resident of “Shalom House” and this is my testimony. It’s taken 2 months and 50 pages of drafts to compile, it’s nowhere near finished but this will have to do for now…..It must be a phobia. It’s been difficult to write, remembering and analysing some of the most awful parts of my life. 2 months of this has been a depressing but maybe also therapeutic job. Something else that has taken a lot of time, and prayer, is reasoning. There are reasons for everything. Some reasons are convincing arguments, others are “cop-outs”.

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Jack G Testimony

AGE 18

Hi my name is Jack. I’m 18 years old I have one brother and 4 sisters. I’m the middle child. When I was 3 years old, a man and my mum were in a physical fight. That was the most terrifying thing of that age. At that moment a lot of anger built up inside my heart. This was the beginning of a very angry boy. I felt incredibly vulnerable and unable to protect my mum. At 9 years old my mate asked me to steal cigarettes from my mum. Smoking cigarettes gave me a sense of control over my life which opened the door to feelings of worthlessness. Which took me down the road of overdosing on Panadol at 11 years of age. This was the first stage of black depression. 6 months later I fell into utmost despair and attempted to take my life again This time I tried to hang myself, my sister cut the rope and my mum rang the ambulance.

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