I was born into a very rich family. When I was in early primary school my family went bankrupt due to my father’s gambling. My family life was still good for a few years while we lived in Queensland, Australia. Our house had a pool and my older brother and I played a lot of sport. My younger brother was born and I was seriously injured when I was hit by a car. Not long after, we moved back to Tasmania.
My father ran several businesses and we began to struggle financially. He began gambling again and drinking. From around 9/10 years old I started to have a bad relationship with him but so did most of the family. At one stage, the hate in me was so strong I tried to commit suicide. My mother took me to a psychiatrist and after a few months of sessions, we went as a whole family. The psychiatrist basically narrowed out family problems down to my dad.
At 11/12 years old I really rebelled against him and at one stage, I stole over $2,000 and ran away with a friend from school. When I was 14, he committed suicide. My parents went out to dinner and I babysat my little brother. When they got home he got angry at me for some minor detail, it turned into a family argument and mum took us to stay at our grandmother’s house. The next morning he was found dead. He had gassed himself in the family car.
A few months after, I met my first girlfriend and for some unknown reason I moved out of home. I was 14 and a half. It wasn’t long before I was using drugs and drinking heavily. I dropped out of school in grade 11 and started working as a kitchen hand.
For the next 8 years I worked as a cook. I began but never finished an apprenticeship at a very good restaurant and worked in a casino, on a 5 star resort island and many other restaurants, even a trendy café. I spent almost 2 years traveling around Australia working and living in different places. But my life was a mess. I had many relationships, both casual and long term. I used heavy drugs and would sometimes go for days on binges. My girlfriend of over 2 years slept with another guy when I was living on a resort island and I found myself moving to a new city. I started to gamble away my money and would often have to live a week on nothing as I had lost my entire salary the day I got it.
My older brother was living in Indonesia and he encouraged me to come over to him. I arrived in Surabaya with Rp3,000 (30 cents). He looked after me and helped me get back onto my feet. To allow me to stay in Indonesia I started to teach English at a language school. He gave me a few ideas and it was very easy, just playing games with kids when they go to English courses after school.
After 2 years working at the language school I was offered a job at a ‘real’ school. I got in and found out it was a Christian school. My Indonesian girlfriend was Christian so I went to church with her a few times to find out what it was all about. Honestly, I was bored. After a few months at the school, I went on a teachers retreat. During one of the sessions I saw Jesus with his arms out, I put my head on His chest and cried all the pain and hurt out of my heart. My life has never been the same since.
I went on a men’s boot camp, called ‘The Real Man’, which was based on the Promise Keeper movement from America. I never imagined getting married because I could only see it ending in misery. I learnt that a real man is a man that stands in the gap and takes the position God has prepared for him.
I married the Christian girlfriend who took me to church for the first time and prayed so faithfully for me. On the 1st of January 2004, our daughter was born. On December 5, 2007, our second daughter was born and our family is the biggest blessing I could ever have hoped for. Its not always easy but we have love and God to hold us together. As a teacher, I have been working in the real school for over 8 years. I have been made a leader and coordinator of the English department for over 750 students. People with 30 years of education experience are amazed at my understanding of education. I can only credit God.
God bless you
If you need God in your life or someone to talk to, please write to me. Geoffcollins1@yahoo.com.au