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I came into Grace with literally nothing. I had lost my home, my family, my children and myself through drugs, alcohol and gangs. I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I am a living testament that what Grace Foundation does and offers WORKS. Through my time with Grace I have learnt
to be intentional with my thoughts, I have found purpose to life, I am alcohol and drug free and better discerning of my environments and friendships. I have weekly access to my children and live with God first in my life. A mental illness does not define me, my past does not define me, I am free through the instrument of Grace Foundation.
My husband and I are now volunteer house parents for Grace in the hopes of giving back to those who travel the same journey we did and also to support the structure that so helped us in our time of need. We have a beautiful baby boy named Gideon.
I do what I do because I believe whole-heartedly in Grace, its methods and its vision’
My name is Tovia Fepuleai but later on into my teens my street and gang name became my common name which is Dizak. I came from a family of 5 boys and one sister and I’m a father of 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. I have been in and out of jail since I was 17 and am now 34 years old. I got into mischief as a child which got me into a lot of trouble and soon became a habit that followed me into adulthood. My father was a very strong and well respected father who was really set in our Samoan cultural ways. He was a boxer in his days and we were all trained to protect, not just ourselves but to also be a firm foundation around my mother and only sister. It became handy in my life that was waiting outside my front door on the South Auckland Streets and that’s where Dizak came out to play. My state of mind switched and my dark criminal ways became real. I’ve seen a lot that I wish I didn’t and also experienced a lot that added to my angry thinking that would start to show via my fist. I became very familiar with stealing and robbery by 15 years old and aggravated robberies on a weekly, assaults, stealing cars to drug dealing. Ive been stabbed and been in some really ugly brawls and I live with these scars that not only mark my body but also scared my thoughts.
These all came easy once I became a full fledge street gang member early in my teens involving partying, women and drugs. Jail became familiar to and my name also to the police. I ran away from my family and made the streets my home. Nobody, not even myself could control what my curiosity was starting to get me involved in. I started with alcohol and weed then got introduced to what was about to become my fuel that I lived on daily and would control my mind- meth
I smoked it to the point my mind was so reptile and my thinking was heartless and ruthless. To keep these heavy habits, I became the man sitting in the tinny shops and eventually upgrading to the meth labs that were scattered around south auckland.
Then my dad passed away from cancer and that hit me hard.
Today, I stand here today, not as Dizak but a changed renewed Tovia. This could only have been possible because my God had mercy on me and loved me regardless of my thoughts of “no one cared” or “everyone had given up on me”
Dizak was not liked and rejected by my wider family. I was the bad seed, the druggy the jail bird and my presence was always negative and created fear. Rejection was familiar and of course judgement. People would say I could not be changed and it’s hopeless to try help me too. I was stubborn.
But God put what Dizak wasn’t use to into action.
I tell you I didn’t think he was real but I WAS WRONG, HE’s REAL!! I know this in my heart and now I see my path clear! No more drugs or alcohol to cloud my judgement on a daily, but it was now fuelled on the fruits of the heavily fathers words and the scriptures that the grace foundation share to me on a daily. Tovia Fepuleai is free of the past and that thinking!! My one fear was change! Ut God wanted his child back and to let me know “I Am loved and I am forgiven and he’s not giving up on me.
Thank you Dave and Tui for accepting me into the Grace foundation. I can’t thank you enough. This place saved this sinner that is standing in front of you today.
My past life was very difficult. My young life was filled
with drugs, alcohol, gangs, violence, abuse, poverty and homelessness. I was 12 when I started doing hard drugs,
16 when I did my first stint in a rehab and by 18 I was in jail.
I took my life for granted until I witnessed my baby sister being abused. I stayed home then to protect her until we were separated.
I done my second lag a few years ago and was released 5 months early to Grace Foundation. They helped me see my flaws in thinking negatively, alone and without faith. They helped me to break down my walls and to care about others again. They put me on the right path to find what I had lost in
my life; like my beliefs, my mana, my ihi, wehi and whanaungatanga.
After I left the first time I went back to partying for a whole year but I gained absolutely nothing, I was homeless and broke. Thankfully Grace Foundation took me in again and now I’m doing everything I want with their help and God’s. I am extremely grateful. Amen.
Edith Te Iri Ransfield, Ngati Kahungunu/Ngapuhi
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength Phillipians 4:13
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy Proverbs 28:14
For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life John 3:16
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