Keeping it real with Danielle Clarke
Her decision to get baptised at the age of 10 wasn't fuelled by a dramatic incident or the pressures of an adult. It was, however, influenced by a lifestyle she experienced and grew to like.
Danielle Clarke and her sister grew up in Church, and it was part of their calendars to attend every service they could, even when their parents were absent.
"We were in the children's choir, among other ministries; participated in the church's anniversary programme; attended cell group meeting, and sometimes stayed up far later than a child could manage to attend crusades, Bible studies and Sunday night services. Those various meetings were an inspiration to me as well as those testimonies of God's goodness and mercy. Although I had already been attending Candidates' Class, it was while living with a Christian family, the Whites, to finish school (as my parents had moved to another parish) that I decided that I was ready."
With an idea of the rigours she would experience having told the devil no, and the Lord yes, Clarke explained that her way of life slowly changed.
"I remember as my relationship started to grow with Christ while in high school, I had to start skipping parties. At that time, parties were my thing. I used to plan them and didn't see a double-standard. I just didn't know. This absconding from parties followed through to college and university. It provided more time for me and God because He had to be my company in those times when I felt very lonely."
She added, "Temptations come in many forms, and every time you say no to music that you shouldn't listen to, conversations you shouldn't be involved in, places you shouldn't be, things you shouldn't watch, it is difficult, but as your relationship with God grows, it becomes easier because you want to please God."
As the coming of the Lord draws nigh, Clarke explains that this is the time for others, especially young people, to stand and be counted.
"As young people, the sooner we begin to value God's omniscience, the better our Christian journey will be. We are not promised a smooth road always in this world. We are promised a Comforter and guaranteed a desired end. The best time to serve God is when we are young and strong, so stand firm. We know the truth and, regardless of the false doctrines that continue surfacing, let us not lose sight of God. At this time, more than any other, we have to be selfless, become compassionate, and be on a mission to win souls for the Kingdom of God."
She added, "I encourage young Christians to enter into a time of reflection (as I have done) and assess if you are doing enough for the Kingdom. For those who are students, do others see that Light in you? For those at work, do your co-workers even know? Let us pick up our Bibles. Let us actively pray and fast. Let us stop the double standards, let us passionately seek God. Let us assess the activities we participate in, the people we keep in our inner circles, and the things in our hearts. Let us move from lukewarm to hot and, for those that are already on fire for Jesus, I say, press on."
A member of the Calvary Mennonite Church, Clarke has served in several capacities and has plans to continue the work of God, with the Holy Spirit as her guide.
"I intend to use my media and communication degree to create content in the media, on stage and otherwise, that can influence people to Christ. Throughout the journey, there have been times of extreme determination and times of frustration, especially at times when you feel you lack support, but you have to keep going. Jesus endured so much to redeem us of our sins, so giving Him our lives is our reasonable sacrifice. I love being a Christian. God has guided me throughout my life and I can't imagine life without Him."