Nakia’s Faith Story

Like Herod I believed Jesus existed, but I was a bit skeptical. I would occasionally call out to the Lord but only in times of despair. When things were going well in my life there was no praise to the Lord for those blessings, but rather more of a self-recognition for MY hard work and MY efforts. I had everything I “needed.” Money, recognition, and material Items and these would become my measure of success and happiness.  Like any drug, these material items would only have a short period of satisfaction, and once the pleasure was gone it would leave me wanting more resulting in working longer hours and leaving little time for family.

I have, however, always been the kind of person that if someone is in need I do whatever I can to help, which I attribute to my mother.  The big difference between my mother and I was that she did everything selflessly. I thank the Lord for my mother. She raised three boys as a single parent. She was a pillar of strength to everyone in her life, she taught us the importance of family and what it looked like to love unconditionally. She demonstrated integrity and how important it was to be morally aware.

Over the past few years, my faith has grown and I’ve been learning what it means to be a follower of Christ. I was called to do missionary work with the Aqua Viva Organization. Their focus is to provide clean drinking water to remote villages in Honduras. The mission was to travel to Honduras, to the village of El Higuron, to work along the locals to dig trenches, lay piping from a main water source to each household, and most importantly to build relationships with these people, through Christ.  Once there, I found myself in an uncomfortable place – reality had set in. I had none of the comforts of home, no family, no cellphone, not even a warm shower. We were received with smiles and open arms from the villagers, they were happy we were there, but I found myself in personal turmoil. I had no control for the first time in my life. I kept questioning why did I come? Why am I here? Why did I leave my family? I was focusing on MY discomforts, and not putting much effort towards building relationships, like other teams were already doing on day 1.  There was a communication barrier which made it challenging, and I remember laying in my hammock the second night praying to God asking Him to give me strength and guidance. I felt like I was getting in my own way. I remember waking the next day feeling lighter, content even.

My Honduras experience started off with me trying to remain in control of what was going on, focusing on what was best for me and my comforts- this mindset took away from the true purpose of the mission which was to build relationships with the villagers, through Christ.  When I left, eight days later, I felt a sadness almost, my perspective on EVERYTHING had changed. It’s funny how I originally went to help them, but in the end it was them and the experience that helped me.

The experience changed the way I look at things, how I react to things, and most importantly it has helped me build stronger relationships with the people in my life. The experience has given me a thirst to learn more about Christ and what it means to follow Him. I find myself still constantly asking Him what I am supposed to do with all this? I’m sure He will continue to reveal Himself to me as I trust in Him.

My heart has been opened up wide and I finally understand what my mom was trying to teach us with her example all those years- God is the root of everything. Love God, Love others and the rest will be as it is supposed to be.