Clinton and Gerald
Gerald had given up a life of drugs and gang affiliations several years ago and had turned his life over to Christ, but had no Christian friends.
Enter Treena Davis from River Valley Baptist Church, who gave him a basket of Easter goodies and not only touched his life with kindness but also introduced him to her husband, Clinton. Gerald and Clinton now lead worship together in a local church.
But let's start at the beginning of the story.
Two years ago, Treena suggested that her church in Parakai give away free baking and hot drinks at a local free Christmas concert, “Christmas in the 'Ville'”. Soon freezers were overflowing with baking and on the night of the celebration, the residents of Helensville enjoyed free hot coffee and home baking off the back of a truck.
Encouraged by their success, the church thought it would be great to follow it up by giving away baskets of Easter goodies, which they have now done three times.
Treena's neighbours were surprised and delighted by the free baskets of easter eggs and hot-cross buns. “Are you sure it's free?” she was asked more than once. The first time Treena met an interested Russian couple who got involved with the church, purely because of the community focus that her church had demonstrated.
The following year, Treena faithfully gave out Easter baskets again, this time with even more visible success. One of the lives changed by Treena's second Easter excursion was Geralds'. He was amazed and impressed at the delicious gift because “nobody ever does this”.
Before Gerald had moved to this neighbourhood he had been a key member in the prominent gang. His time with the gang had him coping with prison sentences and violence, which he began to resent. He decided to distance himself from the gang lifestyle. He gave over his burdens to his mother's Saviour and soon found Jesus for himself. He moved to Parakai distance himself from the gang scene, but this also isolated him from the community that he knew.
As Treena took time to serve him together with her church, she realised that not only did he have physical needs, but also needed a spiritual mentor. As the church reached out generously, Treena prayed that someone would inspire Gerald spiritually and take an interest in investing in him. That person turned out to be her own husband, Clinton.
Gerald loves jamming along on his guitar to some of his rock music collection. Clinton also enjoys jamming, creating a natural point of connection between the two. Jamming with Clinton and his friends provided a framework for friendships which evolved into a band called “Three Nails”.
As Gerald has grown in his faith and learned his true worth in Christ, he has become more comfortable with church and now serves in the worship band. With some encouragement Gerald is retraining himself as an office worker. For him this has been a life turned around – community, friends, work and God.
Gerald says, “I am so grateful to God for all He has done in my life”.