By FELICITY DARVILLE
A lockdown amid a global pandemic could be a good thing if you look on the bright side. There’s an opportunity to get proper rest, start a new hobby, connect with your family like never before, or take time for self improvement. Another way to make use of the time, is to pick up a book.
Doris Emmanuel-Johnson had been planning her book launch, unaware the Covid-19 was going to change her plans. She poured her heart and soul into her first publication and was looking forward to introducing it to family, friends and the general public. But with a ban on social gatherings and the implementation of social distancing, the book launch plans have been drastically changed.
Looking on the bright side, however, is nothing new to Doris. She saw that even though plans have changed, the fact many people are stuck home, means they have an opportunity to actually read her book and hopefully be inspired in their own lives. Doris’ book is all about seeing the silver lining. Through the storms of life, she realised she was actually being presented with opportunities to strengthen her faith and lean on God like never before.
Doris’ Amazing God – 100 Miraculous Interventions of Christ in My Life is her memories presented in a relatable way with opportunities to laugh and even cry as she shares the little miracles that have happened to her along the way. She goes from telling her story of the innocent island girl, to the woman who went through marriage and divorce – the woman who never gave up on God through it all. She feels she is rewarded for her faithfulness and she documents a series of what she considers “miraculous interventions”. These same incidents could be considered coincidence by some, or luck by others. But Doris is sure they were all by divine design.
“I could remember having to go to the mall to get some money from the ATM to pay for my grocery that I had picked up and was unable to pay for at the store,” Doris shares.
“After I had gotten exactly the amount of money that the grocery required, I hurriedly left the machine and began to run because I was anxious to get back. As I did so I recalled that I had no monies for water or to catch the jitney to visit my father the next day, at the hospital. I didn’t wish to turn back because I was tired and only had a few dollars left on my account. I thought, ‘Lord you have to work out this situation, for I am tired physically and mentally.’ I was running through the mall with my head bent down in contemplation. When I looked up I saw money spread out on the floor of the mall a few yards ahead of me. I looked around wondering if it was a mirage or if I was dreaming, because people were walking to and fro and no one seemed to see the money. I began to wonder if someone was laying a trap for me, and then recalled my prayer for help. I continued running and just stopped briefly to pick up the dollar bills. When I reached out to the main road, I paused to see how much money I had picked up. I was happy to see that I had enough money to accomplish what I desired. Indeed, God had done it again. He had answered my unspoken request, because we had a relationship. I thanked and praised Him for His marvellous grace, as I made my way back to the store to pick up my groceries.”
This is just one of the hundred incidents she shares in the book. Each of them are detailed and tie in with life events and things she was going through at the time. The way she tells the stories make for good entertainment while keeping you aware this is actually a story of faith and purpose.
Doris was born in Salina Point, Acklins. It was one of the larger settlements on this southern isle, but it was almost isolated from the other settlement. At that time, it was mostly accessible by boat; there was no road that led to the other settlement. Only the very brave would traverse the day’s journey by foot, walking near the sea shore, and Doris’ mother, Victoria Forbes was one of them. Victoria had to stop sometimes to wait until the tide was low enough to cross, making this a journey not for the faint of heart.
Life was not easy for Doris growing up in Salina Point. Her mother had to manage as a single mother of three girls, Doris being the middle child. Her grandfather, James Forbes, was the local constable for the settlement, who was known to be ‘very stern’. He was also a prayer elder in the local Baptist church, which was the only church there. Doris’ grandmother, Evalina, bore 14 children for her grandfather and the entire family lived in one area of the community, called Forbes Town. Doris, her mother and siblings lived with James and Evalina. While she recalls fond memories of island life, she also recalls the hardships she and her family faced.
“Those days were extremely hard and food and fresh water were scarce,” Doris recalls.
“Most days, our breakfast was flour pap and our school lunch was sweet potato and milk switcher. I cried many nights for food, but there was none. We sometimes had rice on Sundays, which was a treat. The only job that people did was farming and fishing, to feed their families. My mother went in the field almost every day. The main crops she planted were peas, corn and potatoes.”
Eventually, Doris moved to Nassau as an adult. She worked in the hotel industry for over 25 years. After that, she worked in the insurance industry for a few years. Although she grew up in the Baptist church, she became a Seventh Day Adventist in 1979 after coming to Nassau. She says she loves her church because “it teaches all the truths of the Bible” and “you don’t have to guess about the doctrines because they can all be found in the scriptures”. Over the years, she has held many positions in the SDA church, including women’s ministry leader, youth leader and master guide. One of her favourite callings is being a Bible worker and medical missionary, because “it encompasses the whole man, as expressed in 3 John 1:2”.
Today, she is self-employed, helping the elderly, doing missionary work, promoting healthy lifestyles and selling or giving away health literature. She got married in Nassau but is now divorced; however, she is thankful for the blessing that came out of it – her son Rancario Johnson. Throughout the years, she is thankful for the support of her father, Granville Emmanuel Sr, who is now deceased. She also assists in taking care of her elderly mother, who lives with her sister.
“What inspired me to write this book is my love for Christ and His unfailing desire to see me through each difficulty,” she said.
“I wanted people to know that the Christ of the disciples in the Bible days has not changed and is willing and ready to help all of his children. I wanted to share some of my personal and professional experiences that the Lord miraculously brought me through. I know that many people had similar experiences, and I wanted them to know that the Saviour who never left me alone in the time of trials, would never leave them also. They need only to love and believe His promises, as its found in scriptures. I want them to know and feel the love of God, so that they too would tell the world what an amazing God we serve.”
“My book is excellent to read during this Covid-19 lockdown because it reminds us that God is in control of everything, for He is creator, sustainer and redeemer and knows the unknown. We can trust Him to bring us out of this pandemic, no matter if we don’t see a way out. He has more than a hundred ways to deliver us. My book shares some of His glorious deliverances in my life when I had almost given up, and He doesn’t love me anymore than He loves you.”
“You can be still and trust the Lord because He promises that He will never leave you nor forsake you, and I have proven that He is not a liar. My book is a Bahamian book that has a touch of humour, that would lighten your spirits, and a little sadness, that shows you that you cannot stop fighting no matter what situation you fine yourselves in.”
You can find Doris’ Amazing God – 100 Miraculous Interventions of Christ in My Life at: amazon.com/author/dorisemmanueljohnson. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 824-1991.