Matt Buttery is BCM’s Cleaner and Groundsman, as well as staff support at the Care Centre. Here he shares the story of how he came to faith.
I’ll start right at the beginning. I was brought up in a Christian family. My mum and dad took us to a Sunday School where Wes was the preacher. To cut a long story short, my primary school experience gave me this disobedience towards authority. In my teenage years I got into the wrong crowd, smoking cannabis, taking recreational drugs which led me to heroine abuse and a really bad place.
I met my now wife, Zoe, whilst in all of that. She was 15 when we started dating, I was about 20. We were both doing drugs. I tried to get off them in rehabs, I’d gone to Betel for 6 months, but I just wasn’t ready and went back to drugs again. Stealing off my parents, stealing off my gran and grandad, stealing off everybody. Sleeping rough, in and out of cars and derelict houses. It was a bad time.
I could tell you a lot of stories, but one particular thing happened to me that gave me a kick up the behind. I was caught by the police and ended up in court. I’d evaded prison up until then but this time, because I had nowhere to live, they were going to remand me. A lady I was staying with at the time gave me an address so I managed to escape prison again, but it made me think, ‘I’ve got to sort this out now.’ I got back in touch with my parents and they got me a place at Victory Outreach, a Christian rehab centre.
After I had been there for about a month my grandad became ill. They let me go and see him because he was dying. I saw Zoe and she told me she was pregnant. Back at Victory Outreach I became very upset and tried to run away. They caught me and brought me back. And this amazing thing happened to me in the middle of a devotional meeting. I heard this voice say, ‘You’re not ready to go.’ And to this day I know it was God telling me, ‘You can’t leave now. You’ve got to stay, do the time here and wait. Everything’s going to be OK.’ It was kind of like a voice – it’s hard to explain really. I stayed. And from that day to this my life changed.
It was as quick as that. I’d been on drugs since I was 12 years old and I’ve never wanted to take drugs again since that moment I heard God’s voice. I’d been at Victory Outreach for around 9 months when I left in the end. Usually people stay for 2 or 3 years or more and they were worried I’d relapse if I left too soon. But I never did.
I married Zoe. She wasn’t a Christian at the time, but when our daughter arrived she looked at her and thought, ‘There’s a God.’ It brought her to a relationship with Christ. We’ve had four more girls since then. Our eldest is 19 now and has just got married.
I’ve been working as a builder really since I left school, but because of my hip – I need a replacement – I’ve had to knock it on the head. I’m waiting for an operation, hopefully in January. My leg’s painful, but working at BCM has been really positive, good for me. The Care Centre can be challenging, but it’s a great family environment.
I love this verse in Colossians 3: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.’ It helps me to not seek empty praise and acceptance, but to quietly do things for the Lord. My praise and thanks go to him, my Saviour Jesus Christ. Without him none of this would have been possible.