Fri | Sep 17, 2021

I’m free to worship!

Former Grace Thrillers member talks life’s transformation and women empowerment

Published:Sunday | May 30, 2021 | 12:08 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Natalie and Sheldon Evans
Natalie and Sheldon Evans

Dr Natalie Evans is today basking in the direction her life has taken her. She reflects with Family and Religion on what she terms a “wonderful transformation in ministry” which took place in her life as she and her husband, Sheldon, were ordained as pastors by Dr Robert and Prophetess Sasha McQueen of Center of Transformation Church.

The Evans started their own ministry, Evangelist Family Life Ministries, in December of that same year, with Sheldon being the senior pastor and Natalie the co-pastor.

With service at the heart of her ministry, as well as the desire to empower women, Evans founded and hosts an annual Women Conference – I’m Free To Worship – in 2017. She said it was designed by the Holy Spirit to see women transformed spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and financially through the spoken word with biblically sound teachings and empowerment sessions.

“Women from all walks of life, creed and nationality have been equipped with the power to experience true freedom through worship. Worship is a gift that God has given every person to draw them closer to Him and to build back their relationship with Him,” she shared, as she explained that by unlocking the true worshipper within and experiencing new dimensions, women will be taken to a place where they can be delivered from the shackles of pain, their past and their minds.

Evans said she knows more than most about the power of a transformed mind and about bouncing back to take control of your life, as during a young age, she was molested by a trusted family friend who "took away himself" as soon as she explained what he had done.

At age 12, she lost her virginity to a rapist and was again traumatised in the same fashion, this time at knife point at age 14, by a friend.

“Over the years, I battled with suicidal thoughts and even tried to commit suicide twice. I had very low self-esteem and became involved in an abusive relationship which only made me look at myself even less. I also struggled with depression,” she shared.

Evans said she turned to partying seven days a week – clubbing, drinking and going to dances – all in an effort to find that missing piece, which she said she found in 2003 when she gave her life to the Lord.

"That has been my best experience ever!", said Evans.

Three weeks later, she was baptised and embraced into the Faith and Deliverance Ministries International, now Agape Christian Fellowship, under the leadership of Dr Lloyd Maxwell (now deceased) and his wife Dr Shirley Maxwell.

That same year, Evans was recommended by Grub Cooper to Noel Willis – founder of the Grace Thrillers.

Expounding on the importance of the annual conference which was held virtually in March of this year at the Hilton Hotel, JFK, Evans said it was her hope that, just as she found the answer in Christ, other women would also have the same experience. She said several women's lives were transformed, with some receiving healing and being able to make a fresh start towards their destiny and purpose.

“The new things God has for them is to identify their role as women in society, knowing their worth and value in the eyes of God, and laying prostrate in prayer and worship to be the intercessor for society, our families, friends and co-workers. The world needs our prayers and many of us who have lost our zeal to worship and pray discovered this at the conference,” she shared.

Evans, who got married in 2008 and relocated to the United States (US), did her last tour with the Grace Thrillers in 2009 in the US before parting ways to embrace a solo career where she ministered at some of the largest churches in New York, as well as at Madison Square Garden. She has also shared stage with some of gospel's bigwigs such as Travis Greene, CeCe Winans, Tye Tribbett, and others.

On December 9, 2017, Evans received the Degree of Honorary Doctorate on Divinity Honoris Causa by CICA International University and Seminary under the leadership of Dr Phillip Finn.

Still pushing women's empowerment, Evans now hosts a show on Bess FM – 'I’m Free To Worship' – every Saturday from 4-5 p.m., with the goal to empower women.

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com