John's Story

My life was pretty messed up before Jesus became the most important person in my life. My story is proof that God can bring light out of darkness and hope from despair.

I was born in Sicily, into a poor family living in a small country town. My parents, with 3 children in toe, left their home to start a new life. Their dream of making money and securing a future for the family were high motivations for what happened next.

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                                     (John as a baby)

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                           (John on the left as a 2yr old)

I was three when we left Italy, spent a year in France then migrated to Australia. My parents planned to return to Italy once they had realised their dreams. Upon arrival there were four boys (my sister was born some years later). My parents worked hard which took them away from us for many hours at a time. My dad worked all day while my mother worked through the night. Most of the time our aunty cared for us. There was little parental supervision before we were teenagers.

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                                       (As a boy)

Through primary school I struggled because of poor literacy skills. I felt I was good for nothing. From the age twelve this attitude led me into all sorts of delinquency. Often didn't go to school; a few times I ran away from home. My rebellious nature confirmed to everyone else that I was a lost cause.

I was 15 when I failed Year 9. My parents were at their wits end. They had no idea what to do with me. They asked me what I wanted to do with my life, but I hadn’t even thought about my future beyond school.

My choice of a career was based on a family friend who was a successful hairdresser. His name was Joseph. He was very good at what he did and I wanted to be just like him. He was a cool guy; had a nice hair style; dressed well; wore nice clothes; and always had a good looking girl hanging off him. So I became a hairdresser.

I began to work and quickly realised I had found my niche. I loved my job. In no time I was cutting my friends’ hair; experimenting on my brothers; and experiencing success. In my first three months I won the Victorian Hairdressing Championship for my section. This gave me the first real sense of meaning and purpose that I can remember. After coming from a background of trouble and being the black sheep of the family, I began to thrive. I had finally found something that I really loved.

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                                       (As a teen)

Unfortunately, the hairdressing scene went hand and hand with the nightclubbing scene. I joined in and had lots of crazy friends from all walks of life. It was during this time that I met and began to date Sharon, who later became my wife. At this time we were both rather insecure. The two of us swung between being volatile and inseparable, and making up and breaking up, all within ten seconds.

This was a roller coaster ride for my poor parents. My father didn’t understand why I was so different from him. He was the strong, builder type. I was an emotional hairdresser. By the time I was 16 he had given up. Once he whacked me with a big rubber hose to try to straighten me out, but nothing helped.

My stormy relationship with Sharon began to affect my work. My parents told me that I needed to leave her and get stuck into my work or leave home. By boss gave me a similar ultimatum. Being a rebellious sort, I wrapped all my clothes up in a bundle and walked right out of the house.

At this point, I still couldn’t drive. So I rang Sharon. I told her to pack her things and to come pick me up. We were moving out. We drove to Dandenong and looked for a flat to live in together.    

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