“Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
I was born and raised here in Naples in the River Park Projects.
My mom was in and out of prison, addicted to crack cocaine and heroin. I didn’t know my dad. My grandmother had to get me at a very young age. I’d never seen anyone be married in my family. No one raised their children with both the mom and the dad.
When I was about to bet married, I asked my fiancé, “Don’t we need to go to a church or something?” And he was like, “Uh, okay,” so we ended up in a church for marriage counseling with Pastor Williams. The first question he asked was where we were in our walk with Christ.
“I know God, and God knows me,” my fiancé said, and I looked at him as if to say, “Oh, really?” First I’d heard about it. When it was my turn, I told the pastor, “I did go to an Easter service once, and I heard something about this man that died…I did hear some story…” I tried to figure out if I did I know this guy the pastor was asking about, but I just wasn’t sure.
Pastor Williams said, “Well, you can be sure when you leave here today,” and he gave us the following illustration: “If you bought a Jaguar and something were to go wrong on it, would you take it to Honda to get it repaired?” That was a no brainer. “No, I’d take it back to Jag,” I said. Pastor Williams explained that marriage was like that Jag: God instituted it, He created it and problems are going to come, things are gonna happen. But if you want a successful marriage, you need to have Christ in the middle of it.
I’ve always wanted to be successful, not like I wanted to be rich and famous, but I wanted to do what I did well. And that’s what sold me. It wasn’t hearing the death, the burial, the resurrection. God must have told Pastor Williams to re-present Him to me in a way that would catch my heart.
“I want to know Jesus,” I said, and I meant it. I didn’t know what I was asking for or what the outcome was going to be, but I knew I wanted to be a success, so I ended up saying a prayer inviting Christ to take charge of my life.
Jesus took me up on it, and from that day forward, I’ve been saved. Now, when I meet people who don’t know Jesus, I ask Him to show me how to re-present Him in a way that will catch their hearts. And he’s taken me up on that, too, every time. Shalonda Washington