“For me to think at 52, ‘I’m worth nothing,’ to, at 52, saying, ‘I weathered so many obstacles and I’ve come out on top.’ The greatest work that anyone can do is to give hope to the hopeless.
Mindset is what changes everything. Because everything else is just a series of mechanical steps. You’ll find a job, go to the doctor, get better – that you can do – but you have to have hope before that, build your confidence back up.
That’s what I got out of the CAP journey… much more than money. That’s the thing that I would say to all of those who assist CAP. The money that you donated not only got me out of debt, it saved my life.
Before CAP, life was a distressing nightmare. It felt like, how can I wake up? Looking at my bank account every few minutes even though it wouldn’t change.
I’d left a difficult marriage and I really lost the will to live. Finance was a big issue. I’ve got a daughter and a son, and two stepchildren. We were buying breakfast cereal with Laybuy at The Warehouse. I had $7.14 in my account when I left.
If I started speaking about it, I would break down. I didn’t care enough to have those filters, those elements of shame that you don’t cry in public.
I ended up in my car, and then I was able to exchange my car for a van. With the van, at least I had enough space to sleep. I parked at the railway station at night and ice formed
on the inside of the windscreen.
I would go to church. I said to Pastor Graham, I’ve got a lot of debt. He said, ‘Ring CAP, don’t delay. Tell them the truth.’
I met Debt Coach Rolene in Lower Hutt. I shared the vulnerable details. She always prayed. Sometimes I got some free kai. I didn’t have much kindness directed at me, so the kindness I got from the church or budget advisors, I was very grateful for that
I wrote to the creditors and said I’m with CAP. I found the name to be very powerful.
I felt that I was not at creditors’ mercy anymore.
Initially, I would just walk around and think mostly about taking my own life… But as I started working with CAP, the business of working towards a goal to be debt free was one of the things that kept me alive, because I found it very interesting. ‘What’s the detail of this payment? How much did I spend that day?’ I started being very frugal.
When I had difficulty with food and this and that, CAP would rebalance my budget. I didn’t realise the value of that advice – not just for your finances, but for your life.
It gives you a clear structure to work through, which you can apply to other things.
I’m an IT analyst. I would work when I was living in the van. The van had electricity and I got a Data SIM for internet connection. I found a spot to keep my campervan and I kept
a 24-hour gym membership, so I would do my gym routine twice a day and then I would shower. So, I got healthier. That van improved my health because I wasn’t eating a lot of rice and big meals. I ate some salad because I had diabetes. I was very conservative, very choosy about what I ate.
I started to feel the debt and the camper were giving me skills that I didn’t have before. I was gaining confidence – because if something happened to the camper van, I had
to figure out a solution myself. My mind became stronger as I was problem solving in the van and working through CAP.
As the debt started to look like it’s going to get paid off, I gained a lot of hope. I found a way to rent a room. I was much warmer and better off.
In the seventh month I started to dream again. At one point I was able to save a thousand dollars and I had to pinch myself, because it had been so long since I could save. I got more and more relieved. I didn’t feel like I was a horrible person. The debt
was just a mistake.
I thought being in debt would be a lifelong sentence… I got out in nine months.
I managed to keep every payment till it ended. There was a CAP email. The person said,
‘You’re debt free! Everything’s paid up!’ And that was a great feeling. Very happy.
Since then, life’s been good. Now I want to save towards a deposit towards a house. That would be a good goal.
Once in a while, I’ll see someone on the street. They’ve got no food, so I’ll buy them a meal. It’s my connection with God, and this is part of a faith thing to learn the skills.
There were a lot of direct faith experiences on my CAP journey. I talked to Jesus very much like He was my friend in front of me – that He was my Jesus rather than He belongs to everybody. I had strong feelings in my body about faith. I felt very much on fire.
More recently with Jesus, it’s a very personal relationship. Normally you just go to church when you want God to do something for you. But I go to church to say thank you, because I got out of something that I didn’t imagine was even remotely possible.”