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Yvonne O.

Today, Yvonne speaks to us about her ministry, what she has learned from the book of Hebrews and how faith transformed her mind.

Interview:

Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and eventually moved to Ontario, Canada when I was 12 years old. Growing up in two very different countries came with its challenges but also with many blessings. I was able to see the world from two different perspectives and relate to more people than I would have been able to. My childhood was quite colorful. As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” and so it was for me and my three sisters back home. We always had aunts and helpers all around us to make life easier for our parents in whatever way.

Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: “So they left the tomb in a hurry, afraid and yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples”- Matthew 28:8. This verse speaks to me so much because I am waiting on a certain promise from God and I know when the promise manifests in the physical, I will feel this same way- “afraid and yet filled with joy”. It’s a strange thing to look forward to but it will be life changing.

Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I am focused on praying and fasting for certain things at the moment, but namely, for my ministry. I desire a life devoted to God in ministry and so I am taking some time to just really pray about it and seek God’s face to know where He wants me to go; what He wants me to do; who He wants me to minister to. I don’t want to labor in vain. I want to labor where God sends me.

“I don’t want to labor in vain. I want to labor where God sends me.”

Profession/Mission: My mission is to inspire and encourage everyone to live boldly for Christ using whatever we have such as our talents.

If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Hindsight is 20/20

When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I’ve had so many distinct encounters with God. My first encounter that I can put my finger on is after I got baptized. I felt an overwhelming amount of peace and joy and just knew that I was on the path of righteousness. Not too long after, I strayed from the faith, but God’s grace found me again and this time, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I’m in it for the long haul!! Amen

How would you describe Jesus? Oh man…How can one fully describe the radiant force that is Jesus?! He is everything. He gave His life in love and willing obedience. He is my Redeemer, my Saviour, the reason I have not been consumed by life, He is my victory, my ministry, my Champion…we’ll be here all day. He is truly everything.

How has your relationship with Him changed you? I am so much calmer. There is an indescribable peace that comes with knowing the Lord. The struggles of life don’t seem to have as huge an effect as they should anymore. I walk through everything I do with a certain grace because of Him. I’m able to take a step back and seek His face on a situation before I jump head first into it and find out for myself that perhaps the situation was not for me. I would also say, I have gained wisdom in so many areas of my life that were once blind spots. I cannot wait to see my next pieces of growth!

What has been the darkest time in your life, and how did you see God in it? When I strayed from God, I developed all sorts of mental illnesses. I was extremely depressed, anxious, and thought about ending my own life too many times. I was so unhealthy in my mind. At this time, I knew of God (seeing as I grew up in a Christian home) but I did not know Him intimately. My mental state was not getting better but as I started turning back to God, I was able to cope with life more. I finally spoke to a therapist who told me to find a “foundation” to rest on. I realized that I needed to turn back to my “firm foundation” and rest in Him. And I did. I prayed and gave my burdens to Jesus and asked Him to take over my life and since then, it’s been night and day. I have not had a suicidal thought, nor a depressive episode. That verse “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed”, rings so true in my new life of freedom. It’s such a beautiful feeling.

What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Spending more time with God. I usually have my daily routines of what I do to spend time with God but lately, I have been adding more and seeing Him use that extra 30 minutes for my good and His glory.

Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading the book of Hebrews and although I knew in my head that Jesus is the centre of everything, I am seeing that more and more. He really is the centre and everything/everyone else (including me and you) are just a side-show.

Top three essentials: As my dad says “the recipe for a good life is integrity, love, and trust in God”.

How did God speak to you recently? This morning, I was having some doubts about the promise He gave to me regarding my husband but as I thought through the doubts, the Holy Spirit brought to my memory the many ways God has come through for me in time past and my doubts were washed away by the good thoughts.

Hobby: I love baking and cooking! You cannot leave my house on an empty stomach.

Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong:
You cannot do life as a Christian alone. You need the Holy Spirit. Make sure to call on Him for help all day everyday
Trust that God has good plans for you. (Read Jer. 29:11 & Rom. 8:28)
Spend real time in prayer. Five minutes here and there is a great start, but spending uninterrupted quality time with God is important to build that relationship.

Favorite person in scripture? I love Paul! He is such an inspiring person. To write so much of the New Testament and still being so humble and hungry for God is such a trait I aim to have!

What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? That God is a God that honors those who honor Him. He is a God of covenant, and He will keep His word and He is a God of immense love.

How do you engage with your community? I am very involved with my church so I get a chance to do IRL things through church; however I love to post encouraging messages on my Instagram page to uplift people’s spirits and edify them on this walk with Christ.

Favorite holiday? My birthday…Just kidding. Christmas is probably my favorite because it’s symbolic for when Christ, my King was born. Hallelujah!

A goal you have? I really want to live a life devoted to ministry. Right now, I am working, and I love my career, but my heart is in the things of God. I am praying that God will open doors for me to be in full-time ministry.

“Right now, I am working, and I love my career, but my heart is in the things of God.”

A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My husband and I have at least 1 game night a month and the winner at the end of the year gets to choose our next vacation destination.

Question you will ask when you get to heaven? What was the thorn in Paul’s side? Was it metaphorical? Was it physical? So many questions about this thorn!

Thing you want to raise awareness about: You do need to believe in Jesus to get to heaven. You cannot get to heaven any other way. Our talents were given to us by God to be used for the advancement of His Kingdom and for His glory. Hoarding them or using them for something else is contrary to the will of God.

What does your morning routine consist of? Wake up, pray, do a praise & worship session, (if I’m fasting, I’ll do a ‘listening prayer’ to hear any direction that God may be wanting me to hear), read my devotional, and get ready for my day!

What is on your nightstand? A box of Kleenex because it’s allergy season!

Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is striving to live your life like Christ.

For more Yvonne:

Instagram: @in.not_of

Youtube

Until next time, keep witnessing!

XX

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