One Story of Many
Abuse and depression to community volunteer
"I had been in and out of depression all my life and didn't know it", she says. "It felt like I was walking around in a haze my whole life."
Please be aware, that there are some details in the story below which may be difficult for some people to read.
Naomi remembers being abused for the first time when she was just 4-years-old. Her Father removed her from her grandparents (who had raised her up until that point) and her life took a traumatic turn from that point on. The sexual abuse began at age 7 and would continue for the next 10 years. The level of trauma Naomi suffered at the hands of her closest family members is horrifying.
Because Naomi was from a different tribe, her Stepmother (who was only 10 years older) and her family despised her. On more occasions that she can count, Naomi was sexual assaulted and tortured. She will carry the scars on her body for the rest of her life.
Naomi was forced to eat mouldy bread or starve. At school she couldn't learn because she was so hungry, and would pick apple cores out of the rubbish bin for food. It took all of her energy just to survive each day.
As a young person, Naomi had no one she could trust. Although she loved her grandparents dearly, even they didn't keep her safe.
It's no wonder that Naomi become massively depressed. "I had been in and out of depression all my life and didn't know it", she says. "It felt like I was walking around in a haze my whole life."
When she first arrived at Te Whakaora and met some of the team, Naomi says she felt so much peace. "I couldn't understand how I could feel like that when I didn't even know these people. They didn't try to understand or tell me the solution or try to change how I was thinking about things. They just offered me a safe environment. Every other time I'd spent with counsellors, I would see them writing stuff down and knew in my gut they didn't have the answers.
Naomi attended the first session of the Family Restoration course and couldn't believe what she was hearing. She identified with Cliffy and Indranee's story. "The course showed me the healing that I needed. I made up my mind to go to every session."
After attending the Family Restoration course, Naomi had a one-on-one counselling session with Cliffy and Indranee. "It was so miraculous", she explains. "They do the least amount of talking and you finally have someone's full attention to let it all out and talk about it. Because you've had the weeks of the course to build a relationship, it doesn't feel like you're talking to a stranger."
Coming into the one-on-one session, Naomi was riddled with pain. She was diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome in 1996 and had to have regular injections and take morphene for pain relief. If that didn't work, it would mean regular trips to the hospital. "I didn't even think I could get there (to the one-on-one)", Naomi says. "I was in so much pain. But when Cliffy prayed for me, I just felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit. Since that day, I've never had that pain. Nor the pain of grief, hatred and anger. I was able to just let it all go."
"I honestly didn't even think I'd get to 50 (years of age). I had no hope. Now, I'm just so thankful that God worked powerfully through Te Whakaora Tangata. I want to share my story with my family and people I meet because if I can be healed, then anyone can."
Naomi and her family are now living well and continue to have a close association with Te Whakaora. As well as studying, Naomi volunteers her time to Te Whakaora and her family are regular attendees at our weekly Kia Kaha group mentoring programme.