Gavin Duffy

Gavin DuffyAllan Jones: I have a young man called Gavin Duffy. Some of you may remember his father sharing some months ago does [inaudible] but delight his son Gavin is going to share this story. Gavin was quite involved in sport when he was young, and doing quite well, even had trials with Wales. But then he was diagnosed with manic depression, which led him to drink and drugs. He probably shows a little about that, but how he came out to that. How his life changed? And so right now I'm going to hand over to you now we're going to share your story with the people tonight. Thanks, Gavin.

Gavin: Thank life stories for having me. Yeah, looking back on my life, it's an absolute miracle I'm alive. I was born eight weeks premature. I was a twin. My twin died in the womb. And growing up I was very quiet, very reserved. In primary school, my teacher would say to my parents, I can't get him to talk. My parents said to talk about sports. And that was one thing I was very passionate about, one thing that I loved was rugby, and football.

   Yeah, so she got me to talk and get in school and in primary school, we had a rugby team and my team won the cup and yeah, I scored pretty much. I think I scored all the trades that day and with Titus even and then the boy Matthew Peacock was on my side. He was a small kid. And the referee told him to pull the ball back thinking he wouldn't kick it over thinking that we've lost the match, withdraw the match and immerse kick the ball to hit the post but went through. And we won the cup and it was just screwing up. It was just amazing. It's kind of been a big part of who I am as yeah just yeah it's been amazing just to be able to play with some of the people I've played with and just to know that people that I've known.

   Yes, sport is so incredible, it's such an amazing sport, and growing up I got along with fear and anxiety from a dawn I got sexually abused by an older girl and that brought more fear. That brought more shame. When I grew up, I struggled to look at girls. I can't look them in the face and go into the camp. I just felt like I never fit it in. I felt like I wasn't good enough. It felt like I never measured up but at the same time, I had a lot of friends. I was quite popular but inside I felt empty. I felt broken, I felt like there was something missing. And around this time I had trials for football and rugby for Wales and you know but that just kind of didn't work out because of how I felt inside then, the lack of confidence, the insecurity, the fear stopped me from being myself. Stop me from being free. It stopped me from really enjoying the game because I was too conscious of how I looked. Too conscious what people thought and it hindered my rugby, it hindered my football.

   So I kind of didn't play much for the Wales team. I gave up rugby around that year and I just kind of got into the wrong crowd and just mixed with the wrong people and just [inaudible] football caused dwindled down my life. About that time I was like the fastest boy of my year. I ran for Wales as well and I kind of just threw it all away because my friends didn't want to play. I didn't want to play. That kind of just led me down the wrong path then. Mixing as I said with the wrong people.

   And then coming to 17 years old, I got diagnosed with manic depression and life just seemed hard. It just seemed like just going out the front door was a battle just to say hello to somebody, just to open the door. I just felt this week, like I just wanted to hide from the world. I kind of locked myself in the room and I would have people really knocking the door, and my dad was in there. I didn't know what to do. I just felt helpless and then [inaudible] I got introduced next to see if that would kind of give me the confidence. I felt good. I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt like I was a different man. I felt like I found out who I was.

   But that kind of was short-lived because I had to take more ecstasy which led to different types of drugs to methamphetamine, Valium, and I would take in everything because I was just so empty. I was just so lost. I was just so broken and I kind of-. A couple of my friends growing up but commit suicide and one of my friends' cousins commit suicide and there was a person I looked up to. And kind of like it felt like suicide was a way of escape. If I like or this was the answer to my problems that I didn't have to face or confront because I just felt like it was just too much to be. And I just remember around about 18, I'm planning to take my life. I remember just taking the stuff that I was going to use and I was going to walk into the woods and I was going to hang myself. But I remember it was a dark night, I just took loads of valium and I thought it was raining and I thought this is it. I got this covered. This is for the best. I'm no good to anybody.

   And so I kind of made the plan and I left the house. Out of nowhere I can't hold up at the point where I grew up with the school I was good friends with, called me, I don't know, I was like just go away. I just don't know what to do. Just leave me alone and he pursued me. He just kept on following me. And he kept on talking to me. I can't believe that God sent me somebody to steer me away from making the worst decision of my life. Backtracking a little at the age of 16, my dad went to California on a business for Fellowship and, I do apologize. He goes to this business fellowship and when he comes back, he is a completely different, he is a completely-

Gavin: Yeah. So as I said, my dad went to California on a beautiful fellowship. And he came back completely transformed. Within a year, my whole family went to church. And it was just amazing to see the difference. That kind of drew me. I believe I was the first of my family to commit my life to the Lord, but I still have those insecurities, those fears. So kind of like being in church and being a part of the youth. I didn't really fit in. I kind of reserved. I kind of felt awkward. I felt like they didn't understand me and I definitely didn't understand them. My friends at the time, they would tell me, oh it's not for you. You're not one of them. But I kind of believed them that church wasn't for me. And so I kind of left church and continue to take in drugs, take in ecstasy, to amphetamine, to valium.

   And then by the age of 20, I took heroin for the first time. This just kind of made me feel numb like I just felt like there was just no issue. There were no problems. I just felt at peace. And I just felt like this was the answer that I was looking for. I wasn't getting any psychosis. I wasn't getting any paranoia. I just felt completely numb. And for a while it kind of just made me feel like I could survive. And kind of it was just that, that false hope. That false substance that was just going to cause more problems cause more havoc in my life, and I got my best friend and have committed suicide at around 24. And that kind of made me feel empty, and I felt a weight and a burden that someone that I love who so much potential has kind of ended up dying before his time or somebody who I looked up to, someone I grew up with, from the age of 11, we were friends. And just to see the pain that it caused his family and to the people that are left behind. I just knew that there's going to be another way.

   And so with my addiction, I went to college, I did a National Diploma in a level in the arts. I ended up going to university still with a drug habit. And while I'm in university, this is in my mid-20s. I'd say I was around 24 at that time. My friend passed, I was kind of just in a place where I was just so lost. I was so broke and I couldn't interact with the other people on my course. I just felt so out of it. I was so disconnected. I was taking drugs. I was on medication. I was on the treatment team. I just felt so wired. I just got so out of it. I ended up taking loads of valium. I ended up getting raped. I ended up kind of just leaving the dorms and then moving into my friend's uncle's house. And I was there when I was under the home treatment team and kind of someone would have to come and give me my medication daily. I just felt like a walking zombie. And I just felt like wow, this is it. What's the point because I just don't feel alive, I felt so dead inside.

   And that continued at the university. I ended up getting robbed at the University in Soho, London, UK, and as I was being dragged down a lane by four girls who were threatening me with a knife. They're starting to take my clothes off, I heard God speak to my heart. He said, "You need to ask for forgiveness." And then that moment I asked for forgiveness. And out of nowhere this streetwalker came and pushed me and said to run. And so I ran and I took me around, I stayed with him and then I ended up leaving him. I ended up blacking out though I was found in a ditch with a taxi driver picking me up and taking me home. And I just, in that moment, kind of my parents were gone, because I knew that I was missing. I ended up having to leave university. I dropped out of university. And I just felt even greater heaviness. I felt even greater disappointment and I just felt so lonely, and so lost and so isolated because the one thing I thought I'd be able to do, I ended up not doing and kind of spiraled back into taking more drugs.

   And causing more chaos and prefer all ended up getting married to my first wife, and it was a nightmare from the beginning because I was so messed up. I was so broken. I was so self-focused. I was so self-centered. Yeah, I just it was all about me. And I just kind of just locked in that lasted a few years. And she asked me to leave the house. And so I end up leaving the house, moving in to my sister's and I've rock bottom, I thought what I do now. In my sister's, I was afraid to leave the house. I was afraid to be around people, just to do normal life. I was stuck. I was housebound.

   And my dad cheered about Teen Challenge and so played for Teen Challenge and that kind of they rejected my application, and I was just like, "Oh now I can't". And the 1/3 for all three kinds of doors was shattered. We found out, and my parents found out about the tower. So I run up a tower on a Friday. They told me that I could, I could come in on a Monday. So I went on a Monday. I was so anxious. I was so fearful. And just being around people was so hard. It was tough.

   I remember not coming to speak in front of people. I couldn't be around people; I just couldn't eat around people. I was just like a nervous wreck. I was shaking. But for the grace of God, I managed to complete the program. Balancing the program, God really came to me, really. One night, I remember just being on the field, it must be around three o'clock in the morning. And I'm like a crying figure, Lord, I can't do this. I don't know you, I can't feel you. But I'm going to worship you. I remember crying and I remember just praising God in this field. And something happened.

   God encountered me and I felt his love. I really felt his love. It changed me. And then it was a process of walking out surrendered my life. It was amazing. This place of the town where I met people that were similar, that were fully committed to the Lord. That was showing me a different way to live, a different way to act. And I just knew this was what I was destined for. This is what I believe that God had set up that He arranged for me to meet the people that would show me who I am, and who Christ is. And I'm so grateful in that place where I really found out the name of Jesus Christ.

   And He is the God that sets people free, is the God that really opens the eyes of the blind. I had many years where we're sort of bound by darkness. I remember just being attacked for months and months, by demons, and just really struggling and tormented in my mind. But then there was one incident in my life where I remember just disappearing and I was laying on the bed and this is when I got attacked by this demon and I was paralyzed. Otherwise, you ought to be with Jesus. In an instant, I saw He flew through the window, and I was delivered. I was set free and it was just amazing that there's power in the name of Jesus. This power in His name, that He's the name that, that I'm sure today, given a testament to glorify His goodness, His grace because he's been so good to me. Even though I didn't deserve it. He never gave up on me and even though I made a lot of mistakes. He's working for good. And it's just been incredible this journey that He got me on. I'm so grateful for ministries, like towers, for challenges that really get a hold of people. God uses those places to roughly impact people's lives and radically impacted my heart.

   And that's why we are alive to help people that were broken. People are battling with mental health, battling with addiction because it gave me purpose in my pain. And it's just been such an amazing journey from that place of a tower. Meeting my wife, we went to the same school. We knew the same people who actually went to the same primary school. We went to the same comprehensive. We knew the same people, but we never met until I went to the tower.

   And while I was in the tower, I was thinking of women, it didn't even cross my mind. But I left the tower after 17 months. And I was in my home with my parents' house; I was just reading the Word Daily. I was worshiping, and I was praising God. And I just felt this peace like I never had before. And I just thought no one's going to bring somebody into my life. And it was my turn at the time they called a new event. They asked the girls to come tell, they asked Carrie to come down with two other girls, three other girls sorry, to give testimony. And it was in that place where God really spoke to me. As I was speaking to Carrie, he said, "This is what a beautiful woman looks like." And I knew in an instant that she was the one. And I said, Lord, do you want me to go to the tower?

   And I was like; I don't really want to go back there. And within a week, I shared that, I felt like she was called to come back to Wales. And she ended up coming to our church and my sister and I were praying. I thought, well, this is it, we're going to get married, and we’re going to get married pretty quick. And it didn't happen though. It was a lot longer than I realized, I kind of gave up hope to the Lord, and I got it wrong. And I was speaking to a friend on the phone, and he said to me, "Oh is there a woman in your life?" I thought "I think so". And then I got off the phone, because I thought I've got this wrong.

    And then I got a text that said "Gavin, I've had a vision, do you want me to call you or you want me to write it down in a text?" And then I also thought of writing it to send it through the text. The text said that "I had a dream, and in the dream you're getting married, there was a fact that you are getting married." I know that the person will get married. The person said the person I want to tell you who you are getting married to Carrie. And I held on to that. And I just knew that that was God that he was talking to, that he was directing me. That he was bringing something good to me.

   And this is the process of the demon kind of. It's just been amazing just to get to know this amazing woman of God that really just has helped me so much to help me grow. And I just knew that proof of spending time together that she was the one I plan to propose to her. I took her to this place this morning, which I'd never been to before. But two weeks prior, I had a dream in the dream; I saw a picture that I'd never seen before. We looked so amazing. As I proposed, we sat down and I had a picnic. It was a picture in my tree and my God just confirmed to me that this is it. I am with you. And I'm blessing you. Honestly, it's so amazing to do life again with somebody that loves the Lord that is seeking the Lord and it's just been amazing that all kinds of people around you. And it just changes life, and I couldn't ask for anything better. We were serving in the church; we'd help out in prayer. We help out with the kids. We preach once every six weeks.

   And it is amazing that from, like, two years ago, and I was afraid to talk. I was afraid to open up but now it's gone as we work and it's really changing me and healing me. And it's been a process, it’s taken time for the journey, just revealing more of itself to me and it's just been powerful just to get to know Jesus is, is to know that I'm loved, that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. That He I didn't make mistake when he made me, and He didn't make mistake when he made you assist me. So incredible just to know how much I'm loved and how much he loves the people that I work with, the people that I come into contact with daily. And, it's been amazing to be able to hold on to all this. To work with the people God has got me around.

   And the drama we've got now is awful, it's a factory that I remember, God is really speaking, as I read in the Bible, and it was an actor, Peter gets sent to the house in [audible]. So he was always sent to this factory. So I ended up getting a job in the factory. And it's just been amazing just to testify about God and what he's done for me that he set me free from addiction. He set me free from so many things. I've now five years clean from drugs for five years. I'm now five years clean from taking any medication. And it's just been so rewarding that the Bible says that those who seek Him, He will reward and he's just been just blessing me. And it's just amazing to see that a good father really does look out for us. And he really does want the best for us, really just doing bad things for good.

   I was just blown away by his good Master; he chose me and assisted me. So privileged just to have a life I have now. I got my own home. I'm now happily married. There was a time where I got told I won't be able to work. I wouldn't be able to- I'd always be on medication. But today, my life is so different from what the world says what the doctor said. And I believe what the Word says. The Word really does work. Jesus really is the way he really does set people free. He really has done far more than I could ever expect from magic. Just to just be able to testify as to His goodness as to His grace, because I was a guy all the way through my life just keep quiet, just being so reserved, as I said. But today, he's made these changes to make me the man He wanted me to be. And after reading this Word Daily has to spend time worshiping, praising, and honoring Him was so good.

   And I just know that he is the answer to whatever situation or calling your goal for. He is the key to those who really unlocked my life. Unlocked free from the paranoia, the depression, the helplessness, the loneliness is the key that is really just setting me free. God set me on a different path to where I would be today. But today, I'm here because of his name and his name alone. I couldn't have done this by myself, but Jesus Christ has really just paved the way for me. I know he did plan and died for me. And I truly believe that. When I stand up for things like that, were things like hopeless, that I can overcome because He overcomes.

   God is so good. Like church now it is just getting better and better. So we help with the worship. We help with the kids. Now, the church is looking for me and my wife for MIT training. Yeah, but we never imagined that. That's just to the glory of God. Over just before lockdown, Carrie was given a testimonial on this Church and the guy Steve that she was going to test in the church he was involved in sports. We also sent a talk to him and now he's kind of on the waiting list to be sport-shattering.

   And it's slowly but surely for this. I feel back at building my confidence back up. And this takes time versus speed. So work with us to spend time with him just because he's the healer. And he's always all we need. He's all I need. And he's like; he's the one that really fills us. Fill me. So I'm so grateful.

Allen: Thanks, Gavin. Thanks so much for sharing your testimony. You've been through some rough places in the past but God got you through. It's a great year.

Gavin's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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