I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago, an island in the Caribbean. As the oldest of six, I worked hard to achieve my goals. Although my parents were strict with us children, I was obedient and thankful. I helped my my mother with cooking, doing the laundry, cleaning, ironing and painting. In my high school and my junior college years, I focused on studying, passing exams,and obtaining a job to help my parents and siblings financially. In my spare time, I read mystery novels and wrote short stories. From childhood, I knew that God had called me to interact and share my life with others. As a result, I learned to walk in faith, love, strength, compassion, and integrity. As a teenager, I was passionate about helping those who were in need. I brought free lunches for my classmates when they were in need of food. I joined others in praying for the sick in homes and in hospitals. I taught free classes in Mathematics, Algebra, and English to youth in my village. Today, these children are successful adults.
With God’s help and my parents’ support, I pursued my dream and came to Boston to work and attend college. Later, I sponsored my parents. During my early college years, I had a difficult time adjusting on-campus especially when the main building was closed for holidays. I had no friends or a place to go except to another on-campus building which did not provide food. However, I persevered by trusting in God. I will always be grateful for the friends who I came to know and love. After graduating from college, I got married to Carl. Today, we are the parents of two daughters and two sons. We also have three grandchildren.
Our lives have been filled with joy as we celebrated births, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and other events. These memorable events would always overshadow the life-challenges we faced even with our daughter battling mental illness.
I thank God who has all power in His hands and who has continually sustained me as I rest in Him for our daughter’s healing. I thank my husband Carl who has also stood by my side. I maintain a life of prayer standing on the promises of God without wavering. I know that what God has promised to me He will perform, if I trust in Him. Having faith in the power of God to fight my battles has given me hope and peace. As a result, I have learned to cope with, and to overcome every test. I have also encouraged others to do the same things.
Through one-on-one mentoring and utilizing love, faith, strength, compassion and integrity, I help family members, friends, ministers and others who are hurting. I teach them about God’s love and impart Biblical tools to help them deal with their pain. I also inspire them to reach their highest potential regardless of the issues they face. Whether I am having tea or telephone conversation with a family member or friend, speaking with someone after a church service, or meeting a friend at the local YMCA, I am ready to listen, share, and encourage that person. This is who I am.
Joan M. Blake is an author, speaker, teacher and mentor. She is the President and Founder of the Boston Based Christian Resource Network, Inc., and Editor of The Christian Connection Newsletter. At key to Life Publishing Company, she has written books to help others on their spiritual journeys and hopes to provide consulting services to those interested in writing.
Ms. Blake has written four books: Standing on His Promises: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm, Prayer and Meditation: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm, Prayer and Meditation for Teens: Finding Comfort, Hope, and Purpose in the Midst of Your Storm and Biblical Self-Help Tools for Parents of Teens: When You Do Not Know Where to Turn.
Ms. Blake began her ministry at Christian Resource Network, Inc.in 2000 by writing editorials and profiles of pastors in The Christian Connection Newsletter. She continued with prayer and support groups in her home, women’s monthly breakfast discussions, and conferences on “The key, the Door and the Way to Success” and “Rise up and build.” Her inspiring breakfast messages at Christian Resource Network, Inc., included titles such as, “What is Crippling You?” “Rise up in the Face of Adversity” and “Are You Thirsty? From what well are you drawing your water?”
She was a guest preacher at Evangelical Congregational Church of The Atlantic in Quincy, MA., on two occasions. She was a speaker at their women’s retreat in May, 2012, leading workshops on: “Positioning Yourself as God’s Beautiful Women” and “Knowing and Maintaining Your True Identity.” She led a four-week journal class for both men and women entitled: “The Art of Journaling” which included topics such as, “Discovering the real me;” ”Where Are You Now?” “How Are You Getting There?” and “Living under the Obedience of God.” In 2013, She was a guest speaker on WEZE 590AM Radio for Born Again International Church in Quincy, MA. Her messages included: “God Has the Final Say” and “God’s Love.” She has conducted workshops at various Boston Branch Libraries. Topics included: “Introduction to Memoir Writing” and “The Art of Journaling for Teens.”
Ms. Blake has mentored many people, including students from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, who were enrolled in Mentored-Ministry classes. She helped them with their ministry goals, prayed with, and for them, and provided them with Biblical tools to deal with their current issues.
In the 1980’s Ms. Blake taught accounting at Newbury College and later had a home-based book-keeping and tax practice. In 1996, she became a tax auditor for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and worked full and part-time for about seven years.
In 2004, Ms. Blake earned a Master of Arts degree in Urban Ministry with a concentration in Women’s ministry, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She also holds an MBA from Suffolk University, earned in 1981. In 1971, she received a BS degree in Business Management from Boston University.
For more information about Key to Life Publishing Company, visit http://www.keytolifepublishingcompany.com.
To learn more about Christian Resource Network, Inc., go to http://www.christianresourcenetwork.org
To view her blog posts, log on to http://www.keytolifeblog.com