A Special Address from Bishop C.E. Melville:
A Personal Testimony of Praise and Thanksgiving
I wish I could write a somber post, but I can only state that I was always blessed, and for this I am eternally grateful to God, for His love and tender mercies.
Thanksgiving Meaning: the expression of gratitude, especially to God (Dictionary.com).
Growing up in the foster care system only offered me one way out, and it was through education. I found myself dreaming what it would be like to be a teacher, a nurse, or someone really big. I wanted make an impact in the life others. Though many thought I was different, I was just a little girl with big dreams. I knew that my beginning wasn't going to be my ending. My birth parents had abandoned me at 2 months old, and I was subsequently placed in the foster care system.
Circa 1981. I was 9 years old here, with my Brother Calvert (R), Deaf, and now deceased (12/02/1965 - 04/06/2002)
CHS - St. Croix Central High School Class of 1990.
RFD #2 Kingshill, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Miraculously, I was placed in the home of a loving woman in whose eyes I saw a big world without limits. As I grew I became aware of my surroundings, and listened to the stories told by the elders of my community, all of which encouraged me to focus on my dream and worked diligently to make them a reality. I worked hard in school despite distractions by my raging adolescent hormones, and the reality of not really knowing much about the family I came from, discerning a foe from a friend, and most importantly understanding myself (aka insecurities). Nevertheless, I persevered and it seemed as though I was accomplishing my dreams. I graduated from high school with honors, and received a full scholarship. I was on my way to living out my dreams.
Unfortunately, life struck with some hard lessons. I made poor choices, and had to learn from them. I became a college drop out, divorcee, and single mother at a young age. Thankfully, later in life, ( by the leading of the Holy Spirit), I exercised faith and went back to school. I registered at Liberty University in summer of 2008, and began my studies on August 18, 2008. Since then I have earned a Th.G, Graduate of Theology, a Bachelor of Science in Religion/Biblical Studies, a Masters in Marketplace Chaplaincy and just recently a Master of Divinity. God's willing in the Fall of 2020, I will begin the Ph.D degree program in Biblical Exposition and Teaching. Truly, I have come a long way since exiting the foster care system. All I can say is, if it had not been for the Lord on my side, I don't know where I would be. To God be all the glory!
I would like to encourage you today, to trust in God. What God has done for me, He will do for you. You must believe in the dream giver, sustainer, healer and life giver. There is only one way to truly being happy, and that is to trust and obey God's word.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34
Stewardship Meaning: the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property (Dictionary.com). I will add taking care of people.
Stewardship for me means taking care of my family, and community. It also means forsaking all others remaining a faithful servant to God. So, even if it means parting ways with those who are not walking in faith and upholding God's laws, I must forsake the company of the ungodly and so should you. You see rebellion spurs hate, discontent, chaos and all manner of evil, including racism, classism, pride, jealousy, envy and strife. There is no room for clarity, justice or healing when possessing a rebellious nature (spirit). You will never see right in the midst of all the wrongs. You must repent of your sins, and pray for wisdom and discernment to understand God's ways, and laws. God is not a dictator, but a loving Father who hates evil, and honors those who keep His laws. Being a (steward) leader means you have authority to care for God's people.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20
As was mentioned when I began sharing my personal story, I didn't know the family I came from. My foster mother introduced me to the ones she knew, but the rest was up to me know and find out. As I became older I desired answers to many questions lingering. I proceeded to seek out the whereabouts of both my birth parents. My birth mother was at this time suffering from Diabetes and other secondary ailments, along with depression and other forms of mental illness. She was sedentary and required assistance with daily living at an early age. When I met her and tried to have. conversation with her, I couldn't help but have compassion for her, and forgive her for abandoning me. For I realized that she couldn't have raised me.
I became even more grateful to God for saving me even before I entered foster care. At this point I knew, I was always blessed. When I met my biological father, it was a different story, he was able but still disabled in his mind and spirit. He kept me a secret from his wife and church for 28 years. He pretended I wasn't alive for so long, he wasn't sure that he would ever see me. But the Lord had other plans and allowed me to find him. Though a relationship was never formed, I knew the importance of my identity here on earth and I demanded that he establish paternity. After much resistance, the power of the Holy Spirit caused him to do what he would't ordinarily do, and on April 14, 2014, my father established paternity and gave me his family name of Melville.
Proud Descendant of the Akan People in Ghana West Africa, born in the United States Virgin Islands (US Citizen by birth), on the Caribbean Island of St. Croix.
But simply finding my parents wasn't enough, and several DNA tests later, I finally found my tribe/clan living in modern day Ghana, the Akan people, dating back to the Ghanaian Empire, The Kingdom of Axum, in Ethiopia, to the Solomonic Line (Tribe of Judah). , via AfricanAncestry.com, by taking their matriclan dna test.
Watch as I discover my African Ancestry here:
So you see, the road to finding ones purpose contains elements from our past experiences, education, habits, goals and dreams. It is with decisive action in which we will move mountains and experience exponential growth and faith, enough to lead us to our purpose.
As we take leaps of faith, let us be reminded of the schemes of the evil one. Don't let your guard down. Stay strong and prepare for battle, your life and that of you descendants depends on it. Take the steps to learn and grow, thus finding your purpose, so you can fulfill the Great Commission. Remember, you are not alone. God is with you!
Congratulations on your achievement thus far! Keep going. The journey continues....
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. ~ Ephesians 6:10-18
May the Lord bless you. and keep you, May His face shine upon you and give you His peace. Amen.
Bishop C.E. Melville