Leaso’s life had been one of trauma and loss—but God has given her the strength to rise again.
I was born into a Christian family in Samoa. In 1995, when I was 21, my husband and I moved to New Zealand with our 11-month-old baby. Before we moved, my father said to me, ‘Leaso, you won’t survive without God.’ But
like most young people I thought, ‘Don’t tell me what to do.’
We settled in the North Shore, Auckland, and had four more children. In 2004, my beautiful life was shattered when my husband died of cancer. I had a stroke at the same time due to stress.
Three months after my husband died, my oldest son, who has rheumatic heart disease, had a series of heart attacks. As he was being rushed to Starship Hospital I promised God that if he saved my son’s life I would give him back to God. That promise has never been broken. My son is a youth leader and worship team leader at his church, serving the Lord faithfully.
I remarried, but we had difficulties. I first met The Salvation Army in 2009 when I was a couple of days away from giving birth to our second child. My husband had been arrested and was at Waitakere Police Station. I couldn’t drive due to complications with the pregnancy. I had a small child with me and no money for food or a taxi.
I remember thinking, ‘I’m sure there’s a Salvation Army around here somewhere.’ I started walking and found myself at The Faith Factory (Waitakere Central Corps).
The people were so welcoming and I immediately felt a sense of love and acceptance. The receptionist prayed with me and someone dropped me home. I remained a client for three months and started attending church there.
I needed a fresh start. I had been through so much. I heard a woman speak one Sunday about things she had been through and how God had helped her. This opened up a space in my heart to face what had happened in my own life, including being raped by a policeman when I was just 17. I’d never told anyone about this, but God helped me to let it all out. In my heart, I forgave the man who did it and told my husband about what had happened as well.
I decided to become a senior soldier (member) of The Salvation Army. It was a big decision, but I knew God had always been there for me and that my job for God was not finished. Signing my soldier’s covenant was an agreement between me and God. I was reminded of what my father had told me: I couldn’t do life without giving God control.
Every day of my life, even when I’m still going through problems, there is freedom in every decision God gives me. Even if life feels uncertain sometimes, I feel a real peace from God and know his grace is with me.
Life has been hard for me, but I feel so blessed to be alive. After I was in a car accident, I had something similar to a pacemaker fitted. I used to be so depressed that I tried to kill myself several times over the years, but each time God saved me. Everything I’ve faced, the more things I face, the stronger I become.
Being a part of The Salvation Army has opened so many doors and opportunities. I work each day as a volunteer in the Foodbank. I’m also involved with a women’s rugby club. I want to make sure they don’t go through the things I’ve been through. I want to be a safe person for them to turn to.
The strength I have for each day comes from the Lord. It’s God’s strength in me. No matter what I face, I praise God and remember that I’m not done yet.
by Leaso (c) 'War Cry' magazine, 6 May 2017, pp11
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Visit the Salvation Army in Waitakere | www.salvationarmy.org.nz/waitakere