From a young age, Rakeem knew he was called to do something BIG with his life. He had dreams of traveling the world but didn’t quite know how to achieve them. Like many young kids, he grew up in a christian home and lived a morally good life. Throughout high school, he was a four-sport athlete and had the opportunity to go to college with baseball scholarships as early as tenth grade. He chose instead to attend university as a graphic design major in the summer of 2008.
Although Rakeem grew up in the church, he fell pressure to the world’s claims of what it means to be a man. Sexual immorality became a stronghold in his life for many years. Pursuing relationship after relationship gave him a sense of acceptance that he had never known before; but after years of this, he realized that the affirmation was only temporary. No matter how many women he pursued, there was no a lasting sense of fulfillment in his life. No matter how many parties he attended, he always wanted another.
Overtime, he got sick of this lifestyle. Women were no substitute for the insecurities within and pornography was no substitute for a loving relationship. He would sit in his dorm room at night crying out, desperate for change. The dreams of his childhood just wouldn’t fade away and he didn’t want them to. He knew he had to pursue greater.
One evening while alone in his room, Rakeem became desperate for God. He was listening to music, when the presence of God surrounded him. This was what he had been searching for for years. In a moment, everything changed. He re-dedicated his life to the Lord and promised to live for Him. His only request was that God would place him back on the course to fulfilling the desires of his heart.
His prayers were answered in the form of a phone call in May 2010. Recording artist and song writer, Eddie James, was looking for new dancers for his international ministry. Through several connections, he heard about Rakeem and knew he wanted him.
Rakeem joined Eddie James Ministries and led the dance team, Excalibur, for several years. In time, he learned to surrender his brokenness to the Lord, and was set free from all of the strongholds that had previously bound him. He is now pursuing his dream of traveling the world and making a difference in every life that he comes in contact with. To date, Rakeem has travelled to several nations of the world, dancing and spreading the gospel. These include Romania, Germany, Israel, and Uganda. After serving Eddie James for three years, he has recently co-founded Canvas Ministries. He dreams of opening up arts schools, studios, and performing arts centers all around the world in both Christian and secular realms; and as you can see, he wont stop until he sees his dreams fulfilled!
”Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9
In 2009, Machal received the call on her life to become a missionary. As a nine-year old little girl, she knew that the Lord had spoken clearly regarding the plan over life. She pursued holiness, purity and had a true heart for God even as a child.
Three years later, a new, young boy showed up at her church. They began to hang out and fell for each other. Little did she know that they would be in a relationship for the next 8 years.
The relationship was harmless at first. They were both young and much of it was spent long distance. Machal knew, however, that this was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. As the years progressed and the relationship strengthened, things began to change. He became addicted to pornography, and she began to care more about pleasing him than pleasing the God she had served so diligently as a child. She thought she had to stay around to be the pillar in his life, not realizing that only God can change a person.
Soon before Machal left for college, he pressured her to give up her virginity. The battle went on for weeks until, finally, Machal believed the lies of the devil that told her she had to in order to prove her love. The regret and shame that followed were to last for several years.
College proved to strain the relationship even further. It became exceedingly verbally abusive with comments like, “all that you’re worth is sex and I can find that anywhere.” After years of abuse, she believed every lie that was spoken over her. She found relief in alcohol and partying because that was the only thing she knew to lift the cloud of depression. One night at a party, however, she was raped by a man who she thought was a friend. This further solidified the belief that all she could ever be worth was sex. She became numb on the inside, only painting on a smile so that those around her wouldn’t be able to see her vulnerability.
The alcoholism progressed until it became something she used on almost a daily basis. It medicated her depression and hid the real issues of her heart that were too painful to address. She went from man to man, knowing that was all she was good for. But no matter how many drinks, how many men, or how many parties she attended, she was still empty on the inside. The pain inside of her wanted to break out and the numbness began to fade away.
One night in her dorm room, she cried out to God, begging Him to restore her to the girl she once was; the innocent, kind-hearted girl who was always joyful. The one who was whole on the inside. She told Him that she couldn’t handle feeling this way anymore but that she was too much of a cowardice to take her own life. She didn’t realize, but a faithful God heard her cry in that moment.
The very next day, she met Eddie James Ministries. The team pastor asked her to join the ministry in order to leave everything behind and get a fresh start. Without much hesitancy, she left her pre-med degree, her car, and all of her stability to chase after the God she knew as a child. God ran after her heart even harder than she pursued His.
He healed her from all of the pain she had faced, broke every addiction in her life, and restored her identity as a woman of faith and purity. The Lover she had searched for was the One who had been there all along.
Over the past several years, Machal has been a part of Eddie James Ministries. She led the women’s dance team, Kabod, as well as the discipleship program for the women. She was also the road manager. After two years of serving Eddie, she followed God into Mozambique, Africa for 3 months to attend Heidi Baker’s school of missions. She is pursuing her dreams to end sex trafficking in Africa, Asia, and parts of the Middle East. She been to 11 different nations and travelled most of America preaching the gospel. Through Christ, she will reach a generation of women who are broken with the love and hope of a healing God.
“Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.” Psalms 2:8