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Mary McNair’s story

May 10, 2024

CAP client Mary is free from unmanageable debt
Teacher, organist and visionary
“The load was lifted off me. I can laugh again. I can see straight. I can think straight.”Mary

Ko wai au? Who am I? I am the sum total of my life experiences. The childhood learnings, the parental assumptions, and beliefs; the successes, joys, sorrows, traumas and dramas. I’m a survivor of the best and worst life has to offer, that have all shaped me into the person you see today.

Nō hea au? Where am I from? I grew up in Timaru in a house which revealed a visage of Mt Cook, now Aoraki, every morning when we opened the curtains. Aoraki is my
mountain. Aoraki is my home.

My name is Mary, an ancient name going back to Old Testament times that I’ve always liked and respected. A name tried and trusted over the centuries. Tried and trusted, like me.

I got into debt by being a visionary and a dreamer. It was an online business that crashed and there was nobody that could help. And I was scammed on an online trading
site. When the COVID pandemic struck, income stopped from organ playing at church. Things started falling apart.

I was having trouble with TIAs (mini strokes). The stress wasn’t improving things. I did the best I could with prayer, with everything I could to keep myself in good health, but my mental health was suffering, and certainly, my physical health was.

For three or four years I existed from a foodbank, eating food that wasn’t good for me, but I was hungry, and that’s all I had… I was trapped. There was no magic bullet. No way out.

One day a helper at the community club at church handed me a CAP brochure. I made the phone call, and I was met with complete and utter understanding, compassion. There was no judgment. Here was an organisation of people that were able to go through my debt and had systems and the means to help.

I came off the phone absolutely thanking the Lord for people who accepted me and all my faults. That was a huge learning curve in being grateful.

They explained that there would be somebody that would come and see me in my home. That meant a lot. And then came this ray of sunshine – Debt Coach Vanessa.
We had such a lovely time.

It dawned on me that I had been given an absolute gift. CAP worked out a budget for me and things gradually started to change from there, from very early on. I was secure and calm in the face of rising costs, knowing that my basic needs were provided for.

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I’m so thankful to CAP for their kindness, their wisdom, and helping me to see things in a different light. I now understand the biblical implications of debt – that I’m no less a person for having been there, and that I am forgiven and still loved. Those are some of the biggest things for me. God still loves me. John Wesley preached lots about grace and
forgiveness, and so many hymns are about these very things: hymns which mean so much to me and my Methodism.

Mary has the gluten free food she needs

The load was lifted off me. I can laugh again. I can see straight. I can think straight. And the thing I love most is going into the supermarket, getting the food that I need in my trolley. Now, I have the money to pay the extra for the dairy-free and gluten-free stuff. It’s amazing how a simple pleasure can restore one’s confidence and self-esteem.

I’ve got my sanity. I’ve got my self-respect. I’ve got my life back. I see life as I used to see it. I enjoy reading, writing, walking and I started knitting again. My money habits have also changed. The way I think about money, the way I handle it. No more credit. If the money is not there, it doesn’t get bought.

I’ve got three children, grandchildren & great grandchildren now. It’s at least three years since I’ve seen my family, so I’m looking forward to visiting them. I pledged myself to saving $100 every pay when my pension comes in. I’ve done well with no credit card to have saved the money to pay for the airfare and accommodation, which left not much for extras, so I’m playing the organ again for a month.

CAP supporters – I want to say a huge, huge thank you for the way you have changed my life. You’ve helped me get out of enormous debt that was affecting my wellbeing and mental health to a life that is now worth living. Life can turn from trial to joy in such a short space of time.

I’m not ready to sit here and do nothing. My mind is always thinking, ‘What can I do to better myself, to better society?’ I’d like to keep in touch as a contributor, of what I can — towards the on-going work — so that CAP can continue to assist others to get the best outcome. Brightest blessings and very best wishes to you all.

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