Salilo W

“My parents came to New Zealand with my siblings but I stayed in Samoa with my grandparents. I was the eldest and was raised by them. During these early years I suffered both physical and sexual abuse, and it was through the prayers and guidance of a Godly grandmother that I am here today.When I came to New Zealand I really struggled and I couldn’t find where I fitted. I didn’t fit in in my own family. Lots of people misunderstood me, even in my own family and I was back and forwards to Samoa throughout my teens.

At times things were really overwhelming and I was in Samoa when I decided I was going to hang myself on a Sunday afternoon. I have no idea how one of my aunties found me in the bush. I hadn’t told anybody. I had a plan, the pain was too much, I needed to end it, but my Aunty turned up out of nowhere. I was looking at the tree and my Aunty called my name. On reflection I can see that God always had me in his hand, he had a purpose for my life. Out of brokenness you can still shine the light of God regardless. I used to have an image of God which reflected how my grandfather was, punishing me if I didn’t do things right, but that has changed. I now know that he has changed me from brokenness and rejection, to realise that I have been loved by him all along. From this place of His love I am enabled to help others see that there is always hope, no matter what you go through.”

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