Off drink into dream life

Mark Cox
Mark Cox has done more in his life than he ever could have imagined.

I grew up in an Aboriginal community at One Arm Point, about 210 km north of Broome in the West Kimberley region in Western Australia. My grandmother and my dad raised me. My dad and mum separated when I was about two years old, and I was left with my dad and grandmother to take care of me. My dad came from a Catholic Mission, Beagle Bay, and Mum from Sunday Island, in the King Sound area.

One Arm Point to many white folks, who visited, was known as paradise, with its clear blue waters and white sandy beach. Sometimes I wonder why God took me away from paradise, but I believe He had His reasons, because I used to go to Sunday School at the community. My Sunday School teacher convinced my dad and my grandmother and the rest of the family that I should go to a Christian boarding school down south. In 1982, I was sent to Roelands Christian Mission, which was situated between Bunbury and Harvey.

I spent every Sunday going to Church and Bible study on the mission. One night a friend asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my life and I said, "OK", so he prayed for me by placing his hand on my head and asking Jesus and the Holy Spirit to come into my life. While on the mission I heard about my dad's passing.

After a year at Roelands Mission, I was sent to Perth, to a boys' hostel in Mt Lawley, and I attended Cyril Jackson High School. I used to spend weekends going to Christian youth groups on Saturday night, and Sunday night church service, on Sundays. That was in 1983. I joined the East Perth Sports Club, playing basketball and football. I was all around State Champion in Basketball for the under 16s, representing the East Perth Club.

After a year in Perth, I went back to the Kimberleys.

My mum was living in Kununurra, with her second husband and two kids. My two older brothers were also in Kununurra. I went to Kununurra to visit and stay with my mum. In Kununurra I mixed with the wrong teenage crowd, and ended up drinking alcohol and smoking. I started drinking alcohol at 16, in 1985. I drifted away from God and the church.

Alcohol ruined my life. I drank from 1985 to 1996. There were a lot of broken relationships that I went through. I played football and was good at it but alcohol got the better of me. There were only three things in my life of drinking: fighting, jail and hospital for alcohol poisoning.

In 1994 God came back into my life. I had a very bad hangover from drinking for two weeks in town. One Saturday night a cloud of blackness shadowed my mind. I could not see a thing. I was afraid and called out to God to forgive me for every wrong thing in my life and take away all the darkness. The blackness left me and I could see again. I felt the Holy Spirit come over me and felt peace in my heart. I felt the love of God and tears started running down my face. In that instant God took away my desire to drink and smoke. I knew God had forgiven me, and that He was real.

In Jeremiah 33:3 God says: "Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." In my new-found faith in Christ, I wanted to follow Him and so I got baptized in Kununurra in the Order River, during a big Christian convention in 1997.

Since giving my life to Jesus Christ, God has blessed me in taking me to places that I used to only dream about going, and helping me to do things I never thought I'd do. God helped me in getting a driver's licence, and to study at a training centre in Derby for two years, in 1996- 1997.

“Jesus
came to
give me
life to
the full”
In 1998 - 1999 I did a mission training course with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Darwin. That led to doing mission outreach through outback Australia (from Darwin to Coober Pedy in South Australia) and on an outreach mission trip to Indonesia - to Bali and Lomboke Island.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

In 2003 I did a two-year course at Perth Bible College.

After returning to the Kimberleys, I enrolled in Notre Dame University in Broome to do a two-year Education course, graduating in 2006. I was cast as an extra in the award-winning movie Bran Nue Dae in 2008.

In 2011, I needed to refresh my spirit so I went to Brisbane to study at the Nazarene University. I spent two years there. Since returning from Brisbane I have worked in different jobs in Broome. In July 2015 God called me to work with Aborignal students from the Kimberleys and around Western Australia, at the Christian Aboriginal Parent School (CAPS) in Coolgardie, in the goldfields. I now live in Broome and fellowship in the Peoples Church, helping out in leading the Sunday night service.

In John 10:10, Jesus said: "I have come that you may have life and have it to the full."

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