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Jul20WedThanks to help from The Salvation Army in Australia, Musu Idaigi has turned his life around July 20, 2011 by Bill Simpson
Musu Idaigi has come a long way in a short time – much of it by bicycle! But the Musu of today – Salvation Army member and helper of people in need – is very different to the 'bad boy' of only a few years ago.
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Too much drink – or 'grog', as he calls it – growing up on Thursday Island in Australia's Torres Strait turned Musu Idaigi into a 'bad boy'. Almost four years ago, Musu was sent to a correctional institution in Cairns, North Queensland.
Musu had been raised in a Christian home. But when the grog got hold of him, he was a different man. He did things that sometimes he could not remember doing.
While in prison, he determined that upon release he would turn his life around. 'I asked God for direction,' he said. 'I got what I asked for.'
After release in mid-2010 Musu decided to stay in Cairns and take a TAFE (Training and Further Education) course. As part of an unemployment benefit arrangement he was assigned to a work-for-the-dole scheme run by the job network. He was linked with The Salvation Army's Family Store (thrift store) attached to Cairns Corps, on a 12-month assignment, working six hours a week sorting through clothing and other community donations.
Musu was so enthusiastic he completed his scheduled hours months ahead of plan. He stayed on as a volunteer and is still there. However, something much bigger happened in his life. He committed his life to Christ and is now an adherent member of The Salvation Army.
'I didn't know anything about The Salvation Army until I came to Cairns and was sent here by the job network people,' he said. 'One day while I was working at the Family Store, another volunteer said to me that I should go to the church. So I did, one Sunday morning. I liked it. I could feel something by going.
'I think that was a few months after I started at the Family Store and I have been coming ever since. I said I would like to be an adherent member. The people have been nice to me. They didn't care about my past or where I had come from.'
At the corps, Musu is part of a mission team. He has been helping Alison Geno (Mission Team and Family Store manager) in outreach into a local Aboriginal community.
'I have been advising Alison on how Aboriginal communities like to work. It isn't easy to get in to some of these places.
'When I went to this particular community I saw some of the boys I had been with at the correctional institution. I hope they will trust me enough to do something to help their community.'
Musu also rides a bicycle around Cairns looking for people to help. 'It doesn't matter if they are black or white, I try to help them,' he says. 'It's not a colour thing with me. I think I have a sense for people in need. So, when I see somebody like that, I just talk with them and offer them help.'
Musu has another impressive objective on his spiritual journey. 'The first day at The Salvation Army I could feel something special. I have now decided to put my foot down. This is ground that I can stand on. My next step is to wear the white shirt of The Salvation Army. I want to become a soldier. The Salvation Army is my family and my home now.
'If I went back to Thursday Island, life would not be like this. I would start boozing again. This (life) is right for me now. God has brought me here.'
This article first appeared in Pipeline magazine, published by The Salvation Army's Australia Eastern Territory: salvos.org.au/pipeline