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Warcry: Moving mountains

Shirley Borch Shirley Borch says believing in God is all you need

I was born in Rabual, Papua New Guinea, although I can only recall snippets of my life there—including the volcanoes erupting with thunderous rumblings and shaking our house, people running and screaming, all of which gave me a taste of fearfulness as I was only seven years old at the time.
I remember being on a boat to the Trobriand Islands—where my mother, a nurse, came from—to visit my bubu’s (grandparents, who were devout Methodist missionaries) and watching beautiful dolphins swimming and halarking in the air performing just for me.

I recall washing clothes and dishes in the clear ocean and in the evening watching my grandad chewing beetle nut as he told us stories of his past times, then riding at the back of an open-roofed 4WD, bashing through thick, lush dense forests chasing butterflies with Mum and Dad.

My mother said that I was her wild fire—I’m sure she meant ‘light of her life’ and that I was very adventurous, happy, fun-loving, spontaneous, cheeky, curious, caring and generous—well, seriously, who could argue with that?

When I was eight we moved to Melbourne to Dad’s father’s home. Now we were in what we called, white man’s land. We didn’t meet many of the same colour people as ourselves until we started travelling up the coast of Far North Queensland in Dad’s old white Kingswood stationwagon. 
We arrived in Cairns in March 1973 and experienced racism, which didn’t sit well with my dad. He always made a stand to protect his family in this strange town. 

I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 25 but fell away in 1994 when I fell pregnant with my wonderful son Laurence. Not long after that, I moved back to Cairns to spend time with my mother, who was dying from cancer. 

Soon after I met and married my husband. My marriage was toxic and highly volatile. I experienced much emotional turmoil and, after 13 years, I made a stand and said, ‘No more!’ I know that God led my footsteps all the way. 

I knew I needed a spiritual home and protection and after much prayer and seeking direction from the Lord, I met Captain Jenny Vali from the Cairns Salvation Army. We became friends instantly and in that moment I knew there was more to our meeting.

In prayer I continued to seek God for direction. I knew we needed a church that would receive a broken family with lives full of strife, contention and much anger due to the repercussions of living in a mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually abusive environment. 

I had watched my children struggle with life and coping with the reality that we were not a normal family. Some days I could hardly breathe and wished the earth would swallow me up as I battled to keep our ship afloat.

Jenny invited us to Cairns Salvation Army where I found a family who received us as their own; with no airs and graces, and no bling. The starting point of our restoration journey was the love that flowed so abundantly from these people. I knew we were finally home. It’s been nearly three years now and I have become a member. 

Since separating from my husband, my children have gone from strength to strength. They are flourishing in school and sports and, as for me, well I can only say ‘Thank you from the bottom of my heart’ to the Cairns Salvos for loving us through our storms; especially Collin and Pam Robinson, Giana, Jenny and Albert Vali, Ann Gumuna, Keri, Alison Geno and all their family—they became our stabilising human pillars as God began his work of healing us in all aspects of our lives.

Other stories from Warcry

To read other stories from past issues of WarCry, click here.