Article in October, 2003 -- The Mag

The Mag: Tell us about what you do?

Juliana: I'm a licensed massage therapist. I grew up on the island of Trinidad where my father was a Baptist minister. Many people on the island were poor and everyone worked in the fields all day. Church members would often come by our house after they finished working to talk with my father about spiritual things, to ask him questions, and discuss life struggles.

Many of the people would come to our house not just with spiritual questions, but with lots of aches and pains. I remember being a very young girl and wanting to help ease the physical pain of others. A man in our village called a "rubbing man" gave me my first lesson in massage! I had to beg him to teach me, because he thought I should be doing women's work. But I asked him so many times to show me, he finally gave in. He taught me how much pressure to place on the muscles and the direction to massage in order to help ease the pain of others.

From the beginning I knew this was what God was calling me to do with my life. As I worked on the people, I would pray for them -- for God to ease their physical pains and also give them peace about their other struggles. I also prayed that God would show me how to help their bodies to feel better.

The Mag: Tell us more about God's call on your life.

Juliana: As I grew up I decided I didn't want to remain on Trinidad and be poor. I wanted to come to the U.S. and go to school to become a trained massage therapist. When I first came to America I lived in New York City. I would tell people that I wanted to be a masseuse and they would always look at me funny. Finally, somebody told me what many people associated massage therapy with -- and that was not what I wanted to do at all. I just wanted to fulfill what I believed God was calling me to do -- but I knew He was calling me into the kind of occupation that my friends told me about.

So, I got a job at Chase Manhattan Bank where I worked for 20 years. I moved up so high in the company that I had a key to the executive restroom. I was making a great salary, I was an executive but I was miserable. On day I stepped off the elevator on the way to my office and I was so angry. I thought, "I don't want to live like this or feel like this any longer." I went to the bathroom to pray. I thought about my childhood and all the important things I seemed to be missing in my life as an adult -- happiness, fellowship, love, and a close relationship with God. At that moment I know that I needed to come home to God.

I told God that I had lost my way and asked Him to bring me back to Him. Whatever God wanted me to do was what I was going to do. It took be a little while to realize what change I needed to make and what kind of work I should do. But then it came to me. I was going to be a massage therapist I went to school to become licensed, taking all my classes at night. I know I had found myself. I knew God would be with me and lead me because I was following Him. It is humbling to me now to think that God has blessed me with this gift and talent that I can use for Him. I thank Him often for helping me to finally get focus and be able to do what He has called me to do.

When you are doing what God has called you to do, you have great freedom and perfect satisfaction. It gives you a peace that others can't begin to understand.

The Mag: How does you Christian faith affect your daily work?

Juliana: My faith is what makes me work each day. My work is not a chore, but a love offering. I feel like I'm on vacation every day. This is my ministry. Sometimes I think about the years I lost, doing another job -- and not doing the work that God had planned for my life. I reminds me of Moses not going immediately to the promised land, but taking the long route through the wilderness.

The Mag: What do you want to say to readers of The Mag?

Juliana: First have pride and respect for yourself. God has made you special. When you give love, you get love in return. As you love others, give them time to grow into a fuller understanding of God's love. Don't expect to always see immediate changes. You have to let people grow, give God time to nurture them, and some day the nurturing will hopefully result in a fruit.

Accept and love all people. Ask God to direct you to the mission He has for your life. Remember that being a missionary means a lot of different things. It can be taking food to the hungry or caring for the homeless or working in a church or helping God ease the physical pain of others. I pray for my clients during their massage therapy sessions and I pray that God will give me the ability to help them.

My dream is to someday open a center for battered and underprivileged women who wouldn't normally be able to afford massage therapy. I know that I can give good touch and that God works through that touch to help others see His love in me.

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