Hello, my name is Dorinda Jeffery, CEO of the Ambiance Hair Salon at 2207 Apalachee Parkway. I was born and raised in West Haven, Connecticut. My mother and father were Christians. We were raised Christian, but not really active Christians. We attended Living Word Ministry where Pastor Mallette was the pastor. We attended the church sporadically. We would go to church on Easter. We would go to church on Christmas and major events, but we were not active church members.
I didn’t feel like anything was missing, but I did know and I had a reverent fear of the Lord because I knew as a child that I didn’t want to die and go to hell, because that was…you know…I had an aunt that would take us to church and she told us, if you didn’t accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that you would die and go to hell and burn forever.
Well, those things aren’t necessarily real to you as a child. It was more real to me when my uncle, who was very close to me, he told me that he was living an alternate lifestyle. He was homosexual. He called me one day and he told me that he had been diagnosed with HIV, and that he was going to die.
The Holy Spirit stirred up in me, as a sixteen year old, because in my mind I did not want him to die and go to hell. And I knew that he hadn’t accepted Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. My grandmother, I think she was a Jew at the time, she didn’t want me to bring a Bible up there, but I found a way.
He was almost at the delirium state when I got to him. While he was in that coma, though, I was able to go to him with John 3:16 and ask him to confess the Lord while he was in a coma. And the man on the phone at Living Word Ministries, he told me that since he couldn’t talk, ask him to wiggle his feet or squeeze your hand or whatever.
And he responded to me and I asked him, “Uncle Marky, do you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Because I don’t want you to die and go to hell. I want you to experience God. And he wiggled his toes…in the coma state.
And then I said, “I’m going to do this one more time, because I just want to make sure that you hear me.” Again, I read the sinner’s prayer to him and I said, “Now do you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” And in that coma state he wiggled his toes – again – to let me know.
After that I felt in my spirit - as a sixteen year old I knew - that he was going to heaven. Sometimes I would question it in my mind, but now I know that he was able to accept the Lord as his personal Lord and Savior. And that made me want to live for the Lord, and that made me want to change my life and live for the Lord. As a sixteen year old, yeh, I still did things. Yeh, I still got into trouble. But in my mind I always knew that I wanted to live my life for Christ.
Eventually I graduated from high school and I moved to Tallahassee, Florida to go to college. And when I got here to go to school I noticed that here in Florida, in the southern states, people just went to church on Sunday. In Connecticut there was a real difference because, you know, you went to church or not, and it wasn’t really a big deal. Just like with the use of ma’am down here and up there it’s like, yes or no…whatever your name is.
When I got in college my relationship with the Lord became more real because I needed Him like never before. I needed to have Him help me pay my bills because my parents weren’t able to help me.
The Lord really showed up big in my life. I mean, I went from basically having nothing to becoming the owner of this beauty salon that is very prosperous. It’s only because of my relationship with Christ. It’s only because of the fact that God is first here, and the fact that I am a tither as well as a follower of Christ, and God is first. And that is the reason why it is important to have a relationship with God. Even outside of your church you have to have a personal relationship with Christ so that His spirit can lead you.
And right now I know that my uncle is in heaven. Even my grandmother who would not allow me to take the Bible to the hospital so that my uncle could get saved and I actually ended up getting in there – before she died, she accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior, and she’s in heaven, too.
When I go back home to Connecticut to visit my friends and to visit my family, when I look at the lives of some of my very close friends like Melinda and Abraxus, who both ended up in prison – one on drugs, the other one in prison for selling drugs – and these were two close friends of mine. It is just amazing to go back and see how God has kept me from that. I see now more than ever that God had His hand on my life.