My life before knowing and accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior was a constant roller coaster. I would always be scared to be “too happy” because trouble and devastation always followed. I grew up in a family with four siblings of which all had different fathers than I had. I always felt like the odd ball, my dad was the only African American and the only college-educated out of our fathers. I always felt alone and like an outcast. I knew my mother, father, and family loved me, but it was something that felt so conditional. I felt like I was only shown love when I was doing things for others – cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, lending money or a helping hand.

I first recognized Jesus as my Lord and Savior when my stepfather returned home after being in jail. It was the Spirit in him, it was the undeniable change that had happened in his life, it was the way his eyes glowed and his body relaxed as he talked about how great our God is. I remember when I would go to church with him and my mom I always wanted to go up and pray when they invited people to the altar but was too shy and worried about what everyone else would think of me. I would wonder if I was ready to be a different little girl – the one that didn’t care about what anyone thought of her, that just wanted to be closer to my Lord and Savior.

I am so thankful for the blessing of my son and so grateful for so many things I have been through and God has gotten me on the other side of. I am thankful that I know him and I just want to be a light of his love and his Word. I’m not afraid of what people think anymore. I want people to know that I know Jesus and I accept him as my Lord and Savior, and I want to work every day to be closer to him and what he has for my life.

— Nakita Rico, Baptized April 2019

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