Norwich couple find freedom and take it to the streets
A former drug addict and his wife are serving on the streets of Norwich, helping other addicts to find freedom.
“I was very much into getting stoned every day,” remembers Steve Maylam. “I was using cocaine, weed, ecstasy – getting plastered all the time.
“It started when I was 13. Mum and Dad had split up when I was very young, and I used to wonder a lot about life, and ask a lot of questions.
“For me drugs were about escapism. But they only made me superficial and selfish. I would go to raves and take pills, and the rest of the week I was like Neanderthal Man. It was just a cycle of getting high and I had no real purpose in life.
“One night I had a dream that I met Jesus. I couldn’t see Him clearly, but there was light flowing out of Him, and I woke up with tears of joy and could sense His love.
“Then I met Rachel.”
She takes up the story.
“I grew up in the Philippines,” she said. “I loved Jesus and used to be Catholic. But a lot of my friends were not living their faith or finding real freedom.
“I wanted to see England, and I came here in 2003. I saw that life here was very chaotic. I went to the Catholic Cathedral, but my background was more charismatic and I couldn’t connect in my spirit. So I started clubbing with my friends.” But God spoke to me and knew I shouldn’t be there.
Steve and Rachel met at work and started living together. Three years later Rachel felt she needed to go to church.
“I went to Norwich Family Life Church one Sunday,” she said, “and I felt I belonged. My heart was pumping, and I got prayed over.”
“She was radiating when she came back,” remembers Steve. “I was stoned at the time, but I knew she had changed.
“It challenged me, because there was light in her and darkness in me. I said that she had to choose God or me.”
Rachel said: “There’s no comparison.”
In spite of initially rejecting the change in Rachel, Steve got to the point of realising he wanted what Rachel had.
“I said to God: ‘You need to show me you are real’ and He did in so many different ways. I read the Bible almost cover to cover and although didn’t fully understand, believed it to be true.
“One day Rachel came in and said we needed to get married. I was like ‘no’ – I’d seen that already in my parents.”
She won him over, however, and he realised that in the Philippines he had to get baptised before he was allowed to marry.
“We were sprinkled on the head,” remembers Steve, “but as soon as I said ‘I turn from sin and give my life to Jesus’ it was like a dam exploded inside of me. I was filled with Holy Spirit. I felt everything break off. I stopped using drugs, smoking and watching pornography. I felt free.”
“I was being changed too,” picks up Rachel. “My character was being refined. I was finding freedom from selfishness and stubbornness. I realised I had to die to my pride.”
“We’ve learned not to be so concerned about finances and material things,” adds Steve, “not to worry what people think and dying to the fear of man.”
The couple got involved in a ministry in the Philippines which runs feeding programmes. It gave them an opportunity to go into prisons and to help drug addicts.
In Norwich 2018 they became Trustees of the Light House in Fishergate, where they help teach in discipleship schools and organise the use of the church building.
After serving in a number of churches in Norwich, they have joined a movement called The Last Reformation, where they have found an opportunity to use their gifts as a couple. The movement has revealed to them a fresh understanding of the Gospel, and of the biblical response to it.
“We felt God was calling us to walk alongside others,” said Steve, “helping them to find maturity as they came to rely on Jesus, His word and Spirit.
“Over the years God has been preparing us, but in the last three years, we’ve seen much more fruit. With simple obedience and faith in Jesus, we’ve seen many repentant, baptised and filled with the Holy Spirit, healed and demons cast out.”
They have found a growing response as they approach people on the streets of Norwich, and break the ice by asking simple questions.
“People can tell the spirit you are coming in,” said Steve. “When they realise you love them, and care for their soul, they are open to having a conversation. But we do also sometimes face rejection too.”
“We look for people who are really ready,” joined in Rachel, “People of peace. Healing is a big thing that happens. We are just trusting the words of Jesus, because we know they lead people to salvation and freedom.”
If anyone like-minded is looking for house fellowship, training in disciple-making, and going onto the streets to share the Gospel, you can contact Steve and Rachel on firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above are Steve and Rachel Maylam at the Light House in Fishergate