Jack Fareni was delivered from addictions through the grace of God. Now a Senior Soldier at Ōtāhuhu Corps, he shares his testimony of God’s wonderful power and salvation.
At the age of 13, I started smoking and drinking. My mother didn’t like it, but I wouldn’t listen. I smoked cigarettes and enjoyed drinking, but soon this was not enough, and I longed for something stronger. On the weekends, I started hanging around with friends at local clubs, socials and discos. We often ended up drinking until early dawn. After a while, I was introduced to marijuana at a party. I only had a few puffs and I was high. I couldn’t wait to have my next puff.
For the next 27 years, worldly pleasure became my main driving force and inspiration. I couldn’t give it up, but it had a destructive impact on the rest of my life. I was expelled from school and I ran away from home. Things started to get out of hand, but I didn’t care. I simply waved my problems away by getting drunk or high. I believed, at the time, that I could get away with it.
I simply waved my problems away by getting drunk or high. I believed, at the time, that I could get away with it.
I began to realise my life wasn’t exactly the way I wanted it to be. My friends had gotten on with their lives while I was still fooling around. Others were achieving things, but I had no goal. I felt miserable and low. I knew it was time for a change but didn’t know where to start.
I began to read an old Bible I had once received from someone very important. I visited different churches, looking for some comfort and answers. Even though the people I met were friendly and kind, it just didn’t feel right. I still felt desperate for a feeling or sign. Deep inside I cried to the God of the Bible: ‘If you are there, please help me’.
One year ago, I found out The Salvation Army was also a church. All I knew was that it helps the poor and attends to the needs of people, so when I was told there was a church, I attended the very same week. On that Sunday, the power of God came over me and I received the Holy Spirit into my life right away. I knew my heart belonged to the Lord.
I’d given up alcohol and drugs, but couldn’t give up cigarettes. At first, I thought there would be no harm done, but as my soldiership class ended, I knew I’d have to quit smoking. I struggled to give it up, and cried out again to God, ‘Please help me’. As I lit my next smoke, I felt a strength overtaking me. I knew this experience from when I first walked into The Salvation Army; it was the Holy Spirit urging me to stop, and I obeyed. I felt relieved and free, and the urge to smoke has never returned. It was a wonderful miracle, and I have experienced many of these.
I am thankful for God’s mercy and loving care, and also for the people that he led me to from the start of my journey. I’m here today as a man that has committed many sins, but God saved me, and you too can be saved and set free.