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Nicole finds welcome and acceptance at the Salvos

Nicole is grateful that the Salvos did not judge her but walked alongside her when she needed them.

I volunteer at Brisbane City Temple (BCT) every Wednesday and Friday morning, helping to distribute emergency relief cards through Doorways, the Salvos emergency relief and case management team. I also help with Open House and the community meal at BCT.

I came through Moonyah (Salvos Brisbane Recovery Services), and at the end of one of my programs, I was asked if I’d like to volunteer at Open House.

The programs at Moonyah were wonderful. The first time I didn’t want to be there, but my parents decided that was where I was going. The second time I knew I had to be there. The third time I knew it was a sanctuary and a safe place. By then I was coming out of a lot of domestic violence and knew Moonyah was a safe place to go.

I had an alcohol addiction, and by the time I entered Moonyah for the third time, I was also addicted to marijuana and crack (ICE).

Rock bottom

By the time I went back the third time, I had broken ribs and a broken jaw. At the end of the day, I thanked God for my broken jaw because after the surgery I still went back to the perpetrator. I flushed his drugs down the toilet, and when he found out about that he was white with rage, but because of my surgery he didn’t kill me.

Nicole now helps others coming into the Salvos for emergency relief.

One of the plates in my jaw got an infection, and I had to have extra surgery to get it removed. I broke down when I got out of hospital. I went to one of the counsellors at Moonyah and let everything out. I didn’t understand why I was in so much pain and that the person who hurt me was out living his life.

I came back to Brisbane and knew I had to go somewhere safe to heal myself. I phoned Moonyah, and they took me straight away. The counsellor prayed for me and prayed for me to sleep. I went back to my room, saw nothing but black, and it worked.

I always knew there was God, but never paid much attention to him. When I was at Moonyah I went to church and chapel, then I did the Alpha program that explores the Christian faith, and that moved me quite a bit.

A newfound peace

My relationship with God eventually brought such a feeling of peace which I had never felt before. I wondered what was going on and could hardly believe what was happening.

“Non-judging is incredibly important – we don’t all come from a perfect life.”

I have found that the Salvos I have come into contact with over the years have not judged or forced anything on me but have always been willing to be there if I needed them. Non-judging is incredibly important – we don’t all come from a perfect life.

Now, I would tell a person in a situation similar to mine to seek help, get in touch with the Salvos and come in for emergency relief cards. So many say they are ashamed. I tell them to get rid of the shame, leave it at the door – you’re not judged when you come through these doors. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t feel better walking out than they did walking in.

It even overflows to my workplace – I’m a checkout chick at a supermarket. Sometimes people who are bowed with shame come in for a chat, ask for help, and I tell them about the Salvos. It’s amazing, it’s my ministry.

My life is wonderful – and there is more to come.


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