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Strengthened through faith after personal loss

Found a path: Bible studies with Koinonia Training Centre helped Marjorie Caines after she lost her husband, mother and aunt in the space of a year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

In the space of one year Marjorie Caines lost her husband, aunt and mother. She felt as if her life was spiralling out of control.

“I watched all of these people taken from me in a very short period of time,” she said. “I began to feel hurt and forsaken. I had to ask God, ‘Where are you in all of this?’”

To lift her spirits and find a new focus in life, she enrolled in a course offered by Koinonia Training Centre.

Taught by Pastor Cyril Simmons and his wife Joan, it showed her how to effectively study God’s word and apply its principles to her life. It also showed her how to handle pain and hardships in a Biblical way, which was important to Ms Caines after the losses she suffered in 2014.

“At the end of the course, I looked over my life and realised how blessed and thankful I was,” she said. “I was grateful to God for helping me to persevere through my loss and hurt. It was a reminder for me that no matter how broken you are, God still loves us and that I could use my experiences to help others.

“I’ve learnt not to let my past define my future. Instead, I try to use Godly wisdom to direct my choices in this life.”

It had been a childhood dream of hers to attend Bible college; Koinonia made it possible. Ms Caines ultimately received a bachelor’s degree in ministry from Christian International School of Theology.

“I took a few Bible study courses when I was in the United States, but never finished,” she said. “I had always loved reading my Bible and sharing about my faith to encourage others, so when I attended the first Koinonia Training Centre class and the instructors advised it would count towards a degree programme, I knew that was what I needed in my life at that moment.”

She threw herself into her studies; her faith in God began to grow stronger as a result.

One of Ms Caines’s goals from the outset was “to strengthen her ability to face challenges in everyday life and grow her faith”.

She said: “In the natural, we do maintenance on our cars, houses and bodies, but upon reflection I realised I needed to build up my faith and my soul. I wanted a more intimate and closer relationship with God through His word and this programme was my path to getting there.”

Ms Caines and her classmates learnt how Biblical characters dealt with their problems by leaning on God. She soon saw the results she was after and was able to use her gifts in service to others.

“This course challenged me to look at the word of God like a mirror, reflecting who I am and whose I am. It showed me that as a believer, by a covenant relationship with our heavenly Father, I can call out while praying ‘Where is the God of Elijah?’

“I also learnt that God responds to our praise and our worship and He will reveal Himself to us in different ways. We cannot keep Him in a box.”

Busy with her role as the owner of Lifestyles Co Ltd, a store that also provides mentoring opportunities to young people, it was tough finding time to complete all the course work each week, admitted Ms Caines.

There was a lot of juggling involved and many times she’d question if she could keep up with the long nights. Her friends, family and classmates encouraged her to continue.

“They knew that it was important to me to finish,” she said. “I was focused on getting all my homework done and kept on saying ‘I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me’.”

Her efforts proved worthwhile in the end.

“I actually surprised myself because, at one point, I found myself up at all hours of the night willingly writing my research or testimony papers. I became determined to endure until the end and kept believing God would give me a supernatural strength to complete the programme. I still, to this day, give Him all the praise that I finished and have a Bachelor of Arts in ministry. Now I’m more equipped and able to share my faith to touch lives.”

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