2018 was a year of great strides for me majorly in my career and in my faith – my walk with God.
20 years of education and finally, 2018 was the year I progressed from being a student to becoming employed. Maybe I should start from my graduation… I graduated from my masters program this year. Throughout the entire duration of the program, the devil fought me so hard. It was evident he was out to get me. From my supervisor suddenly disappearing to money going missing from my account to me developing strange illnesses. I still can’t believe I graduated with a Cum Laude Pass, a first class! This was more than enough consolation for my extreme inconveniences.
So back to our story! After graduating as a dietitian, one has to do a 1 year community service, before being registered to practice. I spent my community service in a 300 bed hospital, seeing a wide range of both in and out patients daily.
My desire has always been to use my knowledge to empower those around me. I always say it’s not always about making money. Not every time hustling and doing things for money. Sometimes just help people and God will surely bless you in other ways. Maybe even an open door through what you do or it can grow to create income somehow.
So with this in mind, I went ahead to start a support group for the diabetic patients in the hospital. We met twice a week and I came up with the content to be discussed, education of diabetes and meal plans. I was not doing this for any notice but just to genuinely help people come out of hopelessness with diabetes.
The rewards from creating this group became so clear to me just a few months after, as more and more diabetic patients testified to having more controlled glucose levels and better confidence. This whole time I did not receive any recognition for all the work I did from my department. It was as if people did not even know or care that I was doing anything. No one offered to assist or paid much interest to the group. But God being the show stopper He is had His own plans to celebrate my willingness to help others so freely.
During our closing function for the diabetes support group which now had over 50 patients, our communications officer at the hospital, who’s a Christian, took notice of our gathering and asked if I will like to be interviewed for starting the first successful diabetes support group in the hospital. I agreed happily smiling at God for taking notice when no one else will. And so I was interviewed by our town newspaper and radio station as well. Ayeeeeee! And that’s how my small initiative became a talk of the town, beyond the walls of the hospital. This fueled my desire to keep offering nutrition education to people who desperately need it but do not have the resources to access this information.
So I went ahead and started an online platform Called “Ask A Dietician”, where I share African based content on the dietary management of lifestyle conditions as well as just general infant and adult nutritional education. I tailored it to Africans because I feel there are already too many western based dietary platforms but our meals in Africa are so different and we are underrepresented in this regard. I share free dietary advice on this platform through an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page. All under the name “Ask a dietitian”. I pray it grows to become a trusted brand in future.
Social media has had such an effect on how I see things in terms of opportunities. While others see a place to come and argue I see an opportunity to impact people’s perceptions of important topics and also a place to make money.
Being a young single lady, working and staying alone, I needed something else to keep me busy outside of work. I thought how can I use social media to my advantage while still helping people? I’m a lover of thrift clothes and it occurred to me that they’re not so many thrift stores in South Africa. So I decided to start and online thrift store, were I will buy and resell items but still at very affordable prices. It sounded like a giant idea when I first thought about it but once I got the stock, did a photo photo and started posting, I soon became more confident in my new business venture. At first it was fun to do but later became stressful as I was joggling the store and work. Imagine being stressed by customers. Loooool!
It’s a good stress I guess. I did not expect the store to become so busy and grow so quickly, but within 4 months, it has grown to almost 1500 followers on Instagram/Twitter! I’m so thankful to God for blessing my thrift store with growth.
Why am I sharing this with you? It is so that you may take bolder steps in 2019.
You may feel unequipped to start something new in 2019 but do not limit yourself. We serve a God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly much more than we could ever imagine! That great idea you’ve been having? Just start it! Don’t hold back waiting for the perfect time. There are no perfect times, just guided steps with God. Trust him, stay humble and He will grant you success beyond belief!
Secondly, about my faith. This year was one of new depths and re-assurance.
I am a Christian and as a child of God, I’m sure we share the same desire to consistently dive deeper into our relationship with God. We read all these exciting stories in the Bible and hear testimonies from those around us and somehow we want that same supernatural Christian life. Not just a “good life”. In my life I’ve experienced God in such tangible ways and it brings me to tears each time. To think God will have time for someone broken like me. This year was no different. God showed up in moments when I most desired to be reminded that I am not alone. It is my joy to share some of these moments with you. I believe in edification and love reading or watching God move in other peoples lives. So I pray this encourages you too.
One time, I was praying and asking God for new encounters in the Spirit. And truly as I lingered, new tongues came with overwhelming joy and laughter. I was thrilled that God could listen to my innermost desires for new depths and fulfill them. I finished praying, I opened my bible instead of my phone *covering my face* (phones can be such a distraction!) and the Holy Spirit imprinted on my heart to check Matthew 8:24 . A verse that I didn’t even know. It goes like this… “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping”. And I read it again 3 times and said “Wait God, what are you saying?”
And immediately He began to help me understand and inspired me to write down what he was revealing from that one verse and I did it went something like this… Because you chose to follow Jesus, like the disciples decided to follow Jesus into the boat, the devil will arise a storm against your life. The storm can represent (intimidation, fear, troubles, difficulties, threats of death, discomfort, discouragement, despair). He will try to stop you from arriving at your destination of purpose And it will come SUDDENLY. And you may be praying but it seems God is not listening. Jesus was asleep in the boat though present.
Don’t mistake Gods silence for his absence! His presence even in silence is all the protection you will ever need. Because Jesus was in that boat and because Jesus is with you, no harm can come to you. No storm from hell can take your life. No arrows from hell can sink your boat! You will stay afloat to matter what, until Christ arises and quietens that storm. And he surely will. Because He needs you to fulfill his purpose for your life. He needed the Disciples to spread the gospel. So there was no way the storm was going to sink them. This for me at that point in my 2018 was a reminder that Jesus was/is here. Jesus is with me. Jesus is actually present regardless of my state. I was so encouraged and my heart was rested that no matter what I faced in the year, God was present to help me
And my last story is another reminder that God is omnipresent. Yesterday about 3 weeks back I was almost attacked by 2 street guys while I was waiting to direct some visiting guests who were lost. The road was dark & empty. The guys stood & watched me for sometime discussing amongst themselves whether to come at me or not. Then they suddenly walked away from my presence. It dawned on me that I was not alone. Surely I was with an Angel. We carry God’s Spirit within us & our adversary sees a fire that warns “NOT THIS ONE”. Anything could’ve happened to me as there was an abandoned building just near by. I was assured GOD WATCHES OVER ME. I am never alone
Dear child of God, as you go into 2019 and always, be confident in your God. No matter what don’t give up on God! He is with you!!!
Bio: I am Joan Akob. Cameroonian Christian Blogger, Registered Dietitian and TEDx Speaker. I was crowned Miss Cameroon South Africa 2016. Currently, I am working towards becoming a PhD candidate in 2019, God being my helper