Naomi & Vaughan
Vaughn & Naomi have committed their lives to walking with people through the work of Odyssey House. Their dream is to one day build a home where they can care for people.
V: Was a very peaceful existence for a kid growing up. We were aware that there was warfare taking place, but we didn’t have any concept of what that meant. The reality of that then came crashing down on us when my dad was killed during act of service. I was 9 years old. After the war there were still pockets of dissidents running around. Armed dissidents going around killing farmers and killing locals. I just happened to be in a property where there was a lot of that taking place and then quite a few of my friends got killed.
N: My dad struggled alot with anxiety and whilst they used to drink socially, my dad used to drink a lot, and that increased over the years. He would invite unsavoury characters to come to our home. And as a young girl I found myself in compromised positions with those, well in particular one man. I really had started to get a hardened heart towards him. And I got to a stage where I was just prepared to do anything in order to get some kind of attention for the pain that I was going through.
V: We needed to make a decision to leave Zimbabwe and really if I wanted to leave Zimbabwe I was going to leave Africa completely. And so we through a process ended up in New Zealand. And that’s been great, the best thing for us.
N: We had God at the centre of our marriage, although we weren’t fully serving him in any capacity because we were still having to deal with all this woundedness. There was always the faith that he can take us through anything, at the end of the day and that we will pull through eventually.
V: We’ve had the privilege of being able to just spend quite a lot of time with people who society has put in a box based on their dependencies on drug and alcohol. We pick up a group of people from two houses and bring them to church on a sunday. And they are able to experience just the love and the acceptance from people in the church. And without fail, when I’ve asked each one of them why they come it’s because they feel something.
N: And they can’t explain what that is but but God’s love touches them.
Resident 1: I always felt like I wasn’t accepted by the people around me. A lot of drugs, alcohol, just partying and doing what I felt like when I felt like. Basically I did everything they didn’t want me to do. And so after being welcomed here and being accepted for who I am and not really looked at for what i’ve done and what i’ve did. In the past it was kind of what did it for me.. I’d probably be dead or in jail by now if it wasn’t for them coming and offering their home, their support, their loving care. After really spending time with them and and seeing what they do, where their hearts are, I can see that they’re sharing God’s love. And that’s something that i’m learning to do myself as well. Because of them.
N: God persevered with us for many years and took us on a real transformation process, that we know he’s faithful. And he won’t let you down.