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Recovering addict finds a place of learning, healing

“No one wanted me. I would be a big risk. But the school gave me a chance,” said Juan Cusi of his time at South Pacific Bible College

Cusi grew up in Churches of Christ on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. A longtime drug abuser, he was looking to change his life. At the college in New Zealand, then-dean of students Roger Craig agreed to admit and mentor the troubled youth.

“I was a stranger, but he showed me God’s grace,” Cusi said. “At first, my goal was just to get myself to go to school — baby steps, one day, two days, then one week, one month.

“I wasn’t the best student. You can ask (academic dean) David Nelson about that. But he never gave up on me.”

Outside the classroom, the college “taught me how to be patient, how to share Christ’s love the way it was shared with a struggling, recovering addict,” he said. He began to see the church as a community where he could experience healing.

Since graduating, Cusi has returned to Cebu. He assists with  medical missions and reaches out to other recovering addicts. He’s active in his congregation and has seen it change for the better.

“Sunday isn’t just Sunday worship but an all-day event,” he said. “We’re all involved with each other’s lives.”

A year after Cusi graduated, Craig traveled to Cebu to see how his former student was doing.

“Roger is family,” Cusi said. “If he hadn’t sat down and talked with me almost every day, maybe things would have been different.”

Filed under: From The East International

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