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Mario experiences a ‘miracle’ at Miranda Salvos

Mario and Lieutenant-Colonel David Godkin, Mission Leader at Shire Salvos Miranda.

When Mario came to the Salvos, he was broken and without hope. Now he’s thriving. He shared his story of redemption with Salvos Online reporter LAUREN MARTIN


I came here broken two years ago [to Shire Salvos Miranda Food Relief and Assistance Centre in southern Sydney.] I was heavily drinking and heavily using drugs. I was in a lot of depression, anxiety and stress. I was having suicidal thoughts.

I found Shire Salvos Miranda because I rang Lifeline. I was so broken, I was in tears, I had given up on life. I had recently separated from my partner, who had found out that I was using drugs, so she didn’t want a bar of that.

I was also in the process of being evicted, so I was very close to being homeless.

I came from a good, hardworking family, but I had broken all bridges with my father and brother because I had abused them so much. I was blaming everyone else [for my problems].

I remember being in line [for a Salvation Army food hamper] when a Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor came and spoke to me. She said, “I haven’t seen you here before”, and I just broke down in tears. She brought me inside [to the office] and said, “It’s going to be OK”, and she introduced me to some staff members. They made me feel really welcome and made me feel safe.

There was either death or change for me. I was that broken.

I always knew I was a better person. I knew I was a good person and had a good heart, but I was obsessed with depression and stress. I got exhausted from that lifestyle and didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted a better life.

I then met with a Salvos AOD [Alcohol and Others Drugs] worker and pretty much surrendered in her office. I told her everything.

She mentioned going to rehab [Recovery Services] and spoke to me about a couple of them. The Salvation Army’s William Booth House was the first one she mentioned, but I didn’t want to be around that area in the city. I explained that I’m a Cancerian – I like parks, rivers, and the outdoors. She told me about a place at Callum Park in Sydney called WHOs (We Help Ourselves). I got a place and was there for three and a half months.

I didn’t know what to expect. What I did know was that I needed help and guidance. It took a while for me to become teachable because I had all that ego and addiction. Slowly, I started becoming vulnerable. And listening – shutting up and listening. Then I could learn.

I’m now 16 months sober. My life is amazing right now. I am discovering the person I’m meant to be. I feel that God’s called me ... he’s grabbed me and said, “I need you to help others.” I’m at peace now. I’m not in my head anymore. The fog has lifted, and I’m clearer. I hold myself responsible for my actions, and I do the next right thing. I don’t associate with anyone I knew prior to rehab. I have made great new friends. I walk every morning and go to an AA meeting every night.

I’ve set some goals. My plans are to do service and help anyone I can. I decided to do a community services certificate at TAFE, and they said you have to do some work placement. And I thought, “Why not Shire Salvos Miranda?”. I’ll never forget this place – this is where the miracle started for me.

I’ve made amends with my mum and my father. I now have the best relationship ever with my brother and my mum and father. I owe my life to the people here at The Salvation Army who gave me hope. This is where I came when I was broken. You have to be broken in order to be healed.

Mario says God has called him to “now help others” through The Salvation Army at Miranda in southern Sydney, “where the miracle started for me”.


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