The testimonies of Staff are as follows:
I am a child of God.
I am a recovered addict. My life began as a mistake: I was conceived out of wedlock. It was in a small village in old Germany. My unwed mother probably did not look down at her bulging belly and say how much she loved or wanted me. She was abandoned by her parents because of getting pregnant with me. Eventually they came back in her life when I was a baby. We lived with my Oma and Opa until we left Germany...for Canada.
When I was five years old we moved to Ontario, Canada where my mother married a man. He molested me one night and we fled. I now had a baby sister. We fled to Surrey B.C. and moved in with my step dad who became my Dad. He had two older daughters and he and Mom had three more daughters of their own
At this time, I was unaware of skeletons that were in our family closets. The eldest daughter was never really ever there. She never would come for any occasions. I never knew her. The next sister was three or four years older then me. She didn't like us being there. She left suddenly when she was 14 years old. Later...I found out why... Growing up my Mom was very hard to live with at times. She would "punish" me by hitting me. Sometimes she would really hurt me. Sometimes she'd get so angry with me for stuff I didn't do. I was 10 or 11 years old. We all still went to church during this time...but...we were leading "double lives". We were very well behaved to the outside world but behind our closed doors - terrible things happened.
Grandpa began touching me. It was a secret I couldn't tell. He told me I would get blamed—- that everyone would hate me. It would be my fault. No one would believe me. Actually he was right in many things he said...Then he would sneak into my bedroom and have intercourse with me. I was scared, confused. Confused, because I liked the attention. Mom just hit me and called me names. Still he said NEVER tell. Over the years the molestations got fewer as I was getting older and realizing it was wrong. I carried lots of guilt and shame. I started stealing. This was something I could control.
Then he started to move towards my younger sister as I began to refuse his advances. Oh my gosh! He came to me one more time and he was forceful because I had said NO. He had really hurt me. I was bleeding. I told my Mom that night. She heard me crying in the bathroom I found out then that he had done it to my older sister but no one believed her that's why she'd left to go to foster care. I thought by coming forward - he wouldn't be around anymore. That my parents will protect us. But this was not so...I indeed had shamed the family name. Grandpa STILL came over to be with the family. I on the other hand - could not be seen when the grandparents visited. I ate alone in my room. i was not allowed out of my room while they were there. Grandma "could not stand the sight of me". There were no more Christmas, Easter, Thanksgivings, Birthdays, vacations with my grandparents. I was dead to them. All my family relationships, including extended family relationships "changed". I was/I am the outcast.
As I grew up I was known as "shame" - I was beaten and called humiliating names like slut and whore, and that by my own mother. No one dared to stop her. I was blamed for the molestations even after he died. Totally abandoned by my family.
I moved out at 17 and got into witchcraft and satanism. My boyfriend was 29 years old and a warlock. I went to meetings in New Westminster and Burnaby. It was hidden well. After one night of rape, I left my boyfriend and soon after hitched up with the father of my son. We got married in 1982 and I had our son in 1984.
Drugs and alcohol were very present and along with that came heartache and sorrows which I cannot disclose. Our marriage was over. It spiraled out of control. I fled. I then got into the biker scene. I knew many of them. They would save me, I thought. It didn't happen. I was used basically (I allowed it) as a prostitute. I slept with whoever I was told to. Of course there was so much booze and drugs, I was never really "there" anyways. I was using booze, pot, MDA, snorting and smoking cocaine, also T3's and demurral Doctor prescribed.
I met my daughters father next. He hit me when I was pregnant. It got very brutal then. He left us nine years later for my best friend.
Then I met Richard. He was a lot different. I fell in love. We moved in together almost a year later. We had lot of struggles with our addictions.
After my stroke in 1999, I pretty well quit. I was so scared I 'd have another. When Rich first gave his heart to Christ, I quit for good. I was done. I absorbed as much of recovery as I could. It took me a year and a half to come to Christ.
We finally got married in 2003, a glorious day because Christ was there! I worked for the Salvation Army and I too became a soldier.
Our marriage still had to overcome my husbands relapse in 2011. We were apart for a year because of it. My support team surrounded me and the Lord carried me during this time. I went through every emotion of a family member of an addict. I was the wife of an actively using addict. The wife of a very public figure in our community. I knew we were of one flesh so I too felt the pains and sufferings of addiction. The night our grandson was born - Richard went to detox. His clean day is our grandson's birthday. Praise God!
I've worked hard on putting my past behind me. I forgave my family especially my Mom for all the wrongs she had done. Recognizing the good parts of my childhood, even though I am still very much estranged from the family - only seeing them at funerals. My parents are both gone now but I hope to see them in heaven one day.
I worked hard on our marriage to the man I love. Not everyday was easy. It was along road back for both of us.
My wish is my testimony can help someone else with forgiveness and transformation that only the power of Christ can do!
Joshua House incorporated under the Society Act registered as a Non Profit Organization.
We have a Board of Directors which meet monthly to discuss issues concerning Joshua House. These people, or as we like call them our mentors, have each something to offer Joshua House. We enlist their help, wisdom, guidance and prayer for this Ministry.
We praise God our Father for giving us His vision and continuing guidance to direct our paths.
Thank you Jesus … you are worthy of all praise! Amen.
I am a Child of God.
I am a recovered addict. I grew up in dysfunction and chaos. I witnessed brutal abuse on my mother from a man who was my stepfather. I witnessed more abuse on my little brother and I became a victim myself at his hand. I watched him murder a man (a family friend), I watched my Mom have miscarriage after miscarriage after his attacks. He was pure evil. I ran away after a violent fight. I was only 15 yrs old. I was selling drugs, stealing cars and doing drugs. My short life had become insane. I was addicted to booze, pot, crack cocaine and anything else I could obsess over.
Whether it was a substance, a life style, women or work. I was out of control. I wanted to fill my emptiness, avoid the pain with " something". It worked for a while or so I thought. I met my future wife, Angie, in 1996. We hit it off because she too was abused and hiding all her pain. We enjoyed being together, we liked to get high together, and eventually we fell in love. We moved in together in 1997 and then our journey began. In May 1999 my world fell apart. Angie had suffered a stroke. I turned to a friend for comfort and he handed me a crack pipe instead. Then I was "off to the races", so to speak. My life had become a nightmare, a living hell. I was now spiraling out of control. My addiction, the monster, had been released. Angie recovered, however I could not; not on my own anyways. I was in and out of treatment prior to meeting Angie (which I hid from Angie) and now I needed something different. I robbed my employers and I robbed my family numerous times. I carried tremendous guilt and shame over all I had done. I needed help fast. I went to Miracle Valley Treatment Centre for three months. There, I found God. My life seemed to be changing once I asked him into my heart. I had been diagnosed with Hep-C - I got infected the one and only time I got injected with a needle. We cleaned it with bleach that did not stop the virus. I was devastated. My girlfriend and daughter used my razors and combs! I might have killed them! I thought it was like aids or something. I was so scared. That's when I asked Jesus for help. You have to understand to that I'm native (part Cree) and I was searching out my heritage. I had smudged, participated in sweat lodges and carried my bag of herb mix in my car. The officers of the Salvation army told me I couldn't practice there. I started reading my Bible getting to know Jesus. We joined the Salvation Army Church. I was a Christian now. I got out of the valley. I got a job and really started to once again put God on the back burner and money first. I relapsed again after 10 months of clean living. I went to familiar territory, Main and Hastings in Vancouver, the war zone. I went through our savings of $18,000.00 in almost three weeks. Finally when I had nothing left, I went home to Angie. But Angie had moved out. Everything was gone. Everything. I didn't know where she was. I hadn't paid the rent. What a loser I was. I could always come back. She would love me. Gone. I then just stayed at crack shacks and got high. Next I ran into someone who knew us from church and she told me where Angie was. I went to her falling through her downstairs window. Our daughter called her Mom and the police. Angie rushed home and was met by police. She didn't charge me, but she said treatment or nothing. She was tough now and I guess she needed to be. She took time off work, detoxed me and drove me up five days later. I really wanted "it" this time and when I saw people using, I called her to get me out. She of course thought it was a ploy again. She made some calls and got me a bed at Samaritan house. She took me there. My life had totally changed. I had matured in my relationship with God. I love Jesus with all my heart. I became a Salvation Army soldier. I eventually came on staff at Set Free Ministries. I lived there until I was 18 months clean and I moved home the night Angie and I were wed. I continued working for Set Free Ministries until May of 2004, when I was laid off, and the opportunity for Joshua House came to be. I was over five years clean now. I thought I had the beast called addiction beat - not so. A year or so later I once again was in my own "hell". I went out again briefly - revisiting "her" - crack cocaine. I don't to this day understand "why" I choose to use. I let my guard down. I felt tremendous shame. I feared telling anyone and I (we as a family) kept it secret. I continued on at Joshua House not knowing if had any wisdom to give the men. We as a family had to go through the deaths of Angie's father in 2006, her Mom in 2007 and my Mom in 2009 on my brothers birthday. These were very hard years on each member of our family and as a unit together. We were all at different stages of grieving at different times. The next years were also busy ones. The city was gearing towards all recovery homes to be licensed and to shut down the flop houses. We moved out of old homes into different homes losing Blue jay and Lonsdale. Now we had Springhill, Hopedale and the farm. The farm - the farm was the heart of the ministry. We had calves that were meant for mink farms that we needed to house in a run down barn. Chickens. Pigs. And eventually goats. This was a way to feed the men but more importantly to give them farming skills, constructions skills - and the ministry a new direction. We all felt God's peace out there. It was a beautiful place. We thought it would be a part of Joshua House Ministries forever. For Angie and I it was a time of excitement as well. We just purchased a truck and trailer out of her inheritance money in 2011. We were planning a much needed holiday - an entire month of travel to Terrace to lay my mothers ashes, visiting our son in PG and to end up in Merritt - one of our favorite places to camp. We did end up in Merritt as planned but it was not a joyous time for us as a couple. It was so stormy we had to just stay in our trailer for alot of the time. Nobody else was camping...We started asking each other difficult questions about ourselves, our marriage and the ministry. It was definitely spiritual warfare at its best. This went on for days and days. Finally we packed up and headed to Chilliwack Lake to finish off our final weekend. Angie's sister joined us. I felt a heaviness that I had not felt in along time.
In hindsight, I can see that I allowed to build up inside of me the pressures of leading the ministry, the stress of losing my mother, lack of transparency and some resentments. I did not see the relapse coming. I was enjoying our holidays but three days before they were to end, I went to town to buy gas, and found myself making a sudden decision to buy drugs. Looking back, I think that I was avoiding the pressure of returning to work.
Almost immediately after using I felt an incredible sense of shame. Now that I had relapsed, after being clean for many years and founding and leading a Christian recovery ministry, how could I return? How could I face my wife? the guys in the ministry? the church?
Even though I didn’t fall to the same depths as many years ago, the shame kept me from reaching out to people who could help me. In my sense of shame, I didn’t think that anyone would care enough to accept me back again.
I saw how really bad life is on the streets, especially in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I think that it is far worse than it was years ago and there are far more addicts there than before. It seems that all of the “harm reduction” strategies have removed the need for people to ‘clean up.’ They are given housing, clean needles, crack pipes, new shoes , clothes and toiletries but I saw many people simply turn around and sell those things to feed their habit. I observed that “harm reduction” has created an industry that is not geared to recovery but to keeping people addicted. Addicts are becoming accustomed to being given all of their daily needs and their drugs (Methadone) and get angry if anyone says ‘no’ to them.
It broke my heart to see it all. All of their physical needs were being met but there was no sense of hope, no desire to do anything except exist and remain in their addiction. I couldn’t handle seeing the pain in their eyes. I felt called by God to speak against it all.
Just as bad, I found myself in the same situation. My physical needs were being met. In fact, in one sense, I was being paid to be an addict. In addition to receiving welfare, free housing and food at the harm reduction sites and all the donations of clothing and shoes and drug paraphernalia, some pharmacists would actually give us part of the dispensing fee that they received from the government when they filled our prescriptions of Methadone or whatever else was prescribed. Everything seemed to be geared to keep me an addict; I never had anyone in the harm reduction facilities encourage me to seek recovery.
I am grateful that Union Gospel Mission was different and provided help towards recovery. After several times in recovery and relapsing, I eventually moved to Mission so that I could be closer to Angie. I began reconnecting with the Christian community, going to church, reading the Bible and praying. People from my
support group in Abbotsford began contacting me frequently.
I was working in Mission and had received a promotion from my employer. But when Gordon left his position as facilitator at Hopedale, I knew that no one was ready to take his place. Angie knew that too and the board agreed to ask me to come back on staff as facilitator of that house.
My experiences have helped me understand better the problems of the guys who come to us from the Downtown East Side. I can understand their sense of degradation and lack of desire for recovery.
Hindsight has helped me to see in my own life before the relapse, I stress more than ever the need for transparency and accountability, both with the men and in my own life. All of us suffered loss due to my addiction and relapses. Pieces were taken from us. Precious moments never to get back like my brother's wedding, my daughter's wedding and the birth of my grandson Ethan; to do over. Joy was taken - stolen. Now moving forward I am grateful to be given grace by God and the people in my life. I have three years clean now. I seen a lot of horrible things and truths when I relapsed this time and my hope is that I can be a voice that brings about change. This is the "good" that can be found even in a horrible mess. I've learned the true meaning of God's grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. I have felt persecution as well but that is oh so small compared to the persecution Jesus felt as He laid down His life for me. Amen.