‘I thought I was going to die but it was God cleaning house’ – Anointed Dancer Nickeisha Jones

Do sharp unkind words or attitudes weigh you down? Do you keep the cruel words and actions of others in your heart, allow offence to grow and fester, and refuse to release the hurt and the person who caused you emotional harm? Do you secretly malice the person and wish for their downfall? If your answer to these questions is yes, you may want to change your mind about how you approach dealing with emotional pain, because it turns out that malice and un-forgiveness can make you physically sick.

Family and Faith Magazine caught up with the beautiful soft-spoken and powerfully anointed Founder and Director of Laud Dance Ministries, Nickeisha Antonette Jones who shared about becoming seriously ill as a result of malice and un-forgiveness, some seven years ago.

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“I struggled with malice and un-forgiveness. If you say something to offend me I would just smile but in my mind, I usually harbor that person. And if persons offend me or I feel offended by anyone, the moment when they enter the room I would just leave,” she told Family and Faith Magazine.

Of course this way of handling offence can be problematic in a creative interactive environment such as in a dance group. “When the group (Laud) started that’s where I found that God started to really work on me. We had different personality clashes and as a person who was easily offended to be placed over persons who ‘go off’ any minute that was really hard for me,” the Dance Director said. “Persons would do stuff in the group and I wouldn’t take it well, still I was ministering; going out to churches, dancing,” she confessed.

Soon however malice and un-forgiveness would not only ‘cripple’ Nickeisha’s heart but also her limbs and her whole body. “It brought me to a point where I couldn’t even get up off of my bed to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t play with my children, I had no time for my husband, I couldn’t attend my rehearsals at Laud. The beauty though is that the team would normally come to my house and they would pray for me and stuff like that,” the talented dancer recalled.

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On top of that, her “blood pressure was out of whack, blurred vision, panic attacks, I took anxiety tablets, at nights I couldn’t sleep, my heart would be racing and it would just be really really crazy,’ she said, noting that she had to undergo numerous tests in order to find out what was wrong in her body. “I did an MRI, I did a CAT scan, I did a whole lot of tests to see what was happening with me, but they were saying that they could not find anything wrong,” she recalled.

“And I remember one day just lying on the bed and I was like ‘God what is this?’ And He gave me a list of persons to call and just ask for forgiveness because it was un-forgiveness that had caused me to become ill,” Nickeisha revealed. “It wasn’t until the Lord gave me the list of persons to call and ask them to forgive me if I did anything wrong, that my health started to get better. I thought I was going to die but in fact God was just cleaning house. After I had called all of the persons I felt a weight lift off of me,” she testified.

The season of illness lasted for about 4 to 6 months and was a difficult challenge for Nickeisha’s family. But the wife of 15 years is deeply grateful for the love and support of her doting husband Kemar Jones. “I am just surprised at how my husband really stayed and kept the family together.  Anything I asked for, he was at my beck and call. If I said Kemar, my head is hurting me, he is up, he was very supportive.”

 

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As part of the purging process from emotional pain and malice, Nickeisha stayed in prayer and the Word.  “Psalm 91 became so real to me. This is the Psalm that I would read a lot and I remember when I was reading it, He who dwells in the secret place….and I felt God hugged me and I called out to my husband and said Kemar you feel that? He is like, what?” she recounted to Family and Faith Magazine.

Clearly after the whole experience, the committed believer is not the same. “I get to realize that in order for us to be at a level with Christ we have to go through some of these steps and some of these steps are not easy. I remember saying, ‘Lord I want more of you.’ But in getting to that level you have to overcome something in order to go to that level and it wasn’t until I went through that that I realize that being a Christian is a serious thing,” she contended.

The season of illness wasn’t the first time Nickeisha experienced remarkable victory in Christ. She recalled when she had a miscarriage as a young mother and how she was tempted to take her life.

“The nurse said don’t push until I come back so as a first-time mother, if the nurse gives you an instruction even if you feel like pushing, you are gonna close your legs. So that’s what I did and it ended up sending the baby in distress because the baby defecated inside of me and inhale it and later on the pediatrician that came to talk to me said that if the baby lived she would have been a vegetable.”

A miscarriage can certainly be one of the hardest emotional and physical experiences for women, especially for a young mother. To make things worse, the hospital where Nickeisha delivered her stillborn placed her in the same space with women who had just delivered their babies safely. “So that was like torture. I remember when I was laying down on my bed, it was 4 persons in our cubicle and when I looked over I saw this teenager who I had learned worked in the market. She didn’t have anything. And another lady was there and she wasn’t married or anything and ‘the enemy’ just came in. I literally just felt a presence sat on my bed, it sank. And he was like ‘you do praise and worship, you dance, so whe your God deh, whe your baby deh?’ And he showed me the young lady who wasn’t married and the lady who wasn’t married with their babies and he showed me some other persons and I just draw the screen around myself. And he was saying to me, when the nurses do the last call just tell them that you are going to the bathroom, go all the way to the top and jump off the building cause you don’t have no purpose.”

Nickeisha was so broken by the experience that she had decided in her heart to jump. However, God in the nick of time, sent one of His servants to encourage Nickeisha during this dark moment.  Nickeisha remembers an African nurse who was to do the last check on the ward that night.

“She asked, ‘why is the screen drawn?’ You are not supposed to draw the screen because we have to see the baby. And the other lady who was across the bed told her that I lost my baby and then the nurse said, oh. And when she pulled the screen she just started to pray and she started cover my mind. She said ‘The Lord is going to give you a child that you think is like 10 children’ (which is now my son), and He is going to allow you to do things and she started to prophecy over my life and when she did that I started to feel different. I was actually planning out everything (to jump off the building) but when she was leaving she said God loves you and I will see you tomorrow and I said ok. And by the time she left, the place wasn’t so gloomy anymore and so I started to go over to the ladies and I went to the teenager and I said where is your stuff? And she said her mother don’t bring it yet, she will bring it in the morning. And I took up most of my baby stuff and I gave it to her and the other ladies and I just start walking around and giving away all the things. The only thing I kept was a blanket my mother bought and a booty.”

Since that time Nickeisha has experienced other miscarriages but she is happy for the two wonderful children that God allowed her to have; her 11-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

Nickeisha is certainly a believer who has experienced God’s hand in her life and now more than anything else, the anointed Dance Minister just wants to make Him smile.

LaudCertainly the amazing performances and concerts that her dance group, Laud does are part of how she is seeking to please the Lord. Laud’s upcoming annual concert being staged under the theme “He Touched Me” is sure to be a powerful encounter. The concert is scheduled for October 14 and 15 at the Little Theatre with tickets available at the Theatre or at 129 Sundown Crescent, off Molynes Road in Jamaica.

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In the end, with over 2 decades of dance under her belt, Nickeisha is keen to ensure that in all things God gets the glory. “Anything you are doing for God, the moment you feel ‘flesh’ rising up, you have to say to God, take over. Because if you follow the crowd you will feed on that and forget that you are a minister. So you have to be constantly reminding yourself to say it is not for me to get the glory, it’s for God. At the end of the day whether it is that I am dancing or raising my children or being a wife, at the end of the day, I just want to make God smile.” SAH

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

RELATED – check out Kamila McDonald on Wellness and WATA!

 

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New high schoolers ask God to bless them with success & good friends

After soaking up the sun and great fun at Jewel Resort during the Summer holiday, our GSAT kids have started high school! Having done well in their exams, the children are now enrolled at some of Jamaica’s top high schools. Cara is at Immaculate Conception, Immanuel and Israel Jamaica College and Nia-Ashley at St. Andrew High School for girls.

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From left: Nia-Ashley, Immanuel, Cara and Israel

As they embark on this new phase of life, the high achievers from prep and primary school are asking God to keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’ as they start high school.

Cara – As I embark on a new journey to high school, I would like God to help me to make Christian friends. I would like to have friends who will motivate me, who are focused and hardworking and will assist me in becoming a better Christian. I would like God to help me to be a good Christian friend as well.

Nia-Ashley – As I embark on this new stage of my life, I ask God to provide Christian friends with competent and motivated teachers  to support and guide me in the right direction. I also ask God to help me to maintain academic success and make my family and well-wishers proud.

Israel – I want God to assist me in gaining academic excellence in high school. I am believing God to give me great success in the sport of football.

Immanuel – As I go to high school, I want God to give me success in the area of football and for him to let me be the leading goal scorer on the school football Pepsi team. I also want the Lord to help me not to be ragged!

Family and Faith Magazine has been journeying with these 4 precious children over the last few months and we are pleased that in the end, with all the stress that GSAT brought, they have learned that hard work pays off, and the biblical adage holds true, you reap what you sow.

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St. Andrew High student serves the community with Jamaica Broilers help

The St. Andrew High School for girls has implemented a Community Service component to the school’s curriculum wherein each young lady is required to complete five (5) hours of voluntary community service each school year. We had the privilege of catching up with Miss Jada MacMillan, now entering grade 9 at the school, as she worked with the Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) to prepare back-to-school packages for students in the parish of St. Catherine.

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Jada has completed ten (10) service hours since being enrolled at St. Andrew High, though she has been an active volunteer even before joining the school.

“I have participated in community service with Jamaica Broilers Group since I was a baby (I don’t remember it all but I see the pictures). I have been to Bustamante Hospital, Sunbeam Boys Home and one Heroes Day I remember we went to Curphy Home to treat the Heroes of the war and hear their stories and serve them a Best Dressed Chicken dinner and we had a barber who cut their hair. I remember there was only one female war veteran.”

In her first year at St. Andrew, she volunteered at the Sunbeam Boys Home where she helped to prepare and serve breakfast for the boys. She also participated in their annual Christmas Day treat, though for her this was not unusual, as her family has traditionally visited the home each year on this occasion. In her second year, she worked with the Jamaica Broilers team to make packages for the orphans in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.

For Jada, the school, her family and JBG – where her mother Mrs. Lissa MacMillan is employed – have all contributed to shaping for her a culture of ‘giving back’.

Her most recent project with the Group saw her working alongside Miss Karla Davis, Public Relations and Training Assistant (affectionately known to Jada as Auntie Karla). Jada was charged with the responsibility of counting the items ordered to make sure that all were accounted for and ensuring that enough items were available for each package. Generally packages included a Best Dressed Chicken branded school bag, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, pencil cases, note books and other items depending on the age group of the recipients.

When asked about the experience, Jada replied, “I worked on the project with Auntie Karla. We worked two (2) days until we were finished and I didn’t care about the hours, I was happy knowing that it would make many children happy. It was very exciting and I enjoyed it. I realize that even if you don’t have money or things to give, you can give your time – it is valuable.”

The Company distributed 370 school bags filled with school supplies to residents of the communities within which their major operations are established including Spring Village, McCook’s Pen, Bodles and Freetown.

In closing, Jada remarked, “I think the programme at St. Andrew High wants us to learn to be better citizens and recognize that you have a responsibility to make somebody’s life better. I’m glad Jamaica Broilers is helping me to do this.”

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

See RELATED story about St. Andrew Old Girl Kandi-Lee Crooks Smith:  Sweet as ‘Kandi’ – Overachieving Principal of the Year, Wife & Mother, Kandi-Lee Crooks-Smith Shares How God Orders Her Steps.

Single-sex versus Co-ed Schools?

The new academic year has begun and schools in Jamaica are expected to play a huge role in shaping the development of children and enabling them to achieve their full potential. However, one issue that some parents tend to reflect on is the question of single-sex versus co-educational institutions. To help us to assess the merits of both types of schools, Family and Faith Magazine caught up with veteran respected educator, Esther Tyson.

Family and Faith Magazine: What are some of the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a single sex institution?

Esther Tyson: Research has shown that girls do better at the sciences and math when they are in a single sex school. It appears that when girls are in co-ed schools they expect that the boys will do better at these subjects. Girls attending single sex schools generally are more competitive in that environment. I have seen where the girls attending a single sex school seem to be less prepared to engage with the opposite sex in a platonic way. Relationships with the opposite sex, unless they interact with them in other circumstances, tend to be rife with sexual interpretations and innuendos. Romantic attachments are imagined where there might be none.

In the same way, boys who do not have girls around tend to be rougher on the edges and may not understand how to treat the opposite sex. Boys in single sex schools seem to develop a more macho way of relating to each other in the absence of the girls. So there are academic as well as social advantages and disadvantages for single sex education.

Family and Faith Magazine: Although the answer to our next question was intimated in your first response, please still articulate for our readers the unique benefits and challenges of sending your child to a co-ed institution?

Esther Tyson: In a co-ed institution boys and girls learn to relate to each other as friends from early. In the 7th grade there is a healthy rivalry that takes place between all students. This changes when at about 9th grade the hormones really kick in and the awareness of the opposite sex in a sexual and romantic way change the dynamics of the relationships. Some girls become more shy and demure because they are trying not to compete with the boys but instead want to give them space to shine. On the other hand, boys may start to antagonize the girl that they like as a backhanded way of showing it.  The dynamics of the interaction certainly change in upper school. Underlying all of this though is a history that these students have with each other and an understanding of each other unlike those who are educated in a single sex school. In a co-ed school a girl can learn that she can do as well at the sciences, math and tech/voc subjects as any boy. This knowledge can boost her self-confidence. Girls and boys in co-ed school develop an understanding that they can have a platonic relationship with the opposite sex without any sexual or romantic attachments.

Family and Faith Magazine: Do you have a preference for either one, as it pertains to preparing a well-rounded actualized individual? Why or why not?

I think that both systems have their benefits. Both my daughters went to a single sex school, whilst my son went to a co-ed school. My girls had other environments apart from school where they interacted with the opposite sex, so the social impact was not felt. Academically, they were able to compete with other girls in all areas and develop their own skills without competing with boys. My son has good friendships with girls that he went to school with which are platonic, this is a healthy outcome of co-ed education.

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WATA, Wellness and Hurricane Prep with Fitness Coach Kamila McDonald

Persons who are overweight tend to overthink the weight loss and wellness process and get bogged down with gym membership fees, starvation diets, fat-burning tablets and other ideas, when sometimes one of the simple things that can be done immediately with little effort is ensuring that they are hydrated by drinking enough water. According to a recent study, some 50% of Jamaicans are dehydrated, which explains why so many are also overweight! However, thanks to the efforts of the WATA brand in Jamaica, efforts are being made to increase the hydration of Jamaicans and place hundreds on a path to wellness and weight management.

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Over the past 4 years, WATA Ambassador and Fitness Coach Kamila McDonald and other guest instructors have been leading the WATA Wellness family of approximately 100 persons every first and third Wednesday through various workout activities free of cost. Interestingly, the workouts are innovatively done with WATA bottles. “When I first started working with them (WATA), I thought, how cool would it be if you could use WATA bottles as weights? So we started using 1.5 litre and 5 litre WATA bottles during our workouts,” she told Family and Faith Magazine, beaming.

Plus as brawta each member receives their ‘workout WATA’ to go home, which is a great way for them to stock up during the current hurricane season. Of course September has seen some of the most intense storms during the season and Kamila recommends that Jamaicans stock up on a few 5 litre bottles of WATA in order to stay hydrated during the season, especially during water lock offs or simply to ensure that they are consuming clean potable WATA. Each person in your home needs at least 5 gallons of water over a 3-day period to stay hydrated.

Reflecting on the impact of the WATA Wellness Programme over the years, Kamila declares that “it has been a blessing. Through the WATA wellness programme, I know that I am fulfilling my purpose on earth. We have 1 member who has lost over 100 pounds by committing to the monthly workouts and you have women feeling more confident about themselves,” shared the bubbly fitness expert. She added that working with the WATA brand “fits so authentically into what I do in my life, which is teach people to be the healthiest version of themselves which you can’t do without proper hydration,” she explained, emphasizing that the most important aspect of being healthy is being and staying hydrated.

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For her personal regime, Kamila tries to get in 3 litres of water each day, which is two 1.5 litre WATA bottles. She espouses the adage that ‘water is life’ and points out that water in the human body lubricates joints, protects organs and helps with lethargy. And for those who don’t quite like the bland taste, she suggests adding a favourite fruit or vegetable such as oranges, cucumbers or lemons to your WATA beverage. The health guru also advised that sometimes when persons say they are hungry, sometimes they are simply dehydrated.

No doubt Kamila and the WATA Wellness Family will continue to spur Jamaicans on to a better version of themselves as they stay committed to hydration and wellness over the long haul. For more information about WATA’s Wellness Family connect with them via Facebook or send an email to watawellness@wisynco.com.

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