Jo-Marrie Fortuin became a Christian when she was 17 years old. “I will always remember that year because it was the most difficult time of my life. God met me at the lowest point of my life. I became very ill. I was in and out of the hospital, seeing many different doctors, but none of them could identify the problem. Hospital bills were piling up.” Thankfully, she says, she grew up in a Christian home, so she and her family prayed earnestly for a breakthrough from the Lord. “I was getting worse by the day, and doctors had lost hope. I started doubting God and questioning Him. Finally in His goodness, He enabled a doctor to make the right diagnosis. The problem was connected to my inner organs. I had to undergo a major operation which really scared me as a young person, but it was very successful.”
Following her operation, Jo-Marrie’s church had a visitor from South Africa. As the woman preached, Jo-Marrie was very touched by her message. “It made me think of the time I was in the hospital. I realized that our lives are so short on earth, and God wants to use us to do His work while we are here. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would not have had a successful operation.” That evening, she decided to give her life completely to the Lord, follow Him and do what He wants her to do.
She credits her Christian parents for her faith and how they raised her. “My parents always encouraged me and taught me the Word of God. The fact that they always put God first and trusted Him for everything in their lives had such a big impact on me. After my conversion, they continued to share the Word of God with me, and that made me grow even stronger in the Lord.”
With a great passion to serve God, Jo-Marrie decided to study theology. “I love sharing the Gospel with young people and would really love to see more young people giving their lives to the Lord.” She has already earned a Certificate in Evangelism and Christian Counseling. She is now in her final year at the Namibia Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS).
“Being at a Bible school is the most wonderful experience one could ask for, to study God’s Word in depth and be equipped for ministry. But being at a Bible school is not all about information but also transformation. Being part of the NETS community helps me to grow in my character and in my Christian walk with the Lord.”
“One of the subjects I love is ‘Contextual Theology.’ It helps me grow in the knowledge of African cultures and contexts which is of utmost importance for African leaders. It shows me whether I hold to or challenge traditional African religions and beliefs. I believe in the inspired and infallible Word of God and don’t want to compromise it in order to fit the context.”
Equipped to serve, Jo-Marrie is a member of the Evangelical Mission Church. She serves as a deaconess on the church council and will be inducted as an elder soon. She teaches confirmation classes and recently started a youth group. She also has a great passion for music, so she’s a member of the worship team. “Since being at NETS, my ministry has become much more effective because I have been given a good foundation for teaching the Bible.”
After graduating, Jo-Marrie’s church will appoint her to be involved with youth work and other pastoral and leadership roles. She wants to use her Christian Counseling certificate to serve the Lord with her counseling gifts. “Many of our young people contract HIV/AIDS. Others drink too much alcohol, and the suicide rate among teenagers is very high. They need good role models and Bible teaching. Challenges, trials and hardships will always be there while we are on this earth, but I always remind myself that ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength.’ We are always to seek the Lord’s face in whatever we are facing. And when everything is going well with us, we should give glory to God, for He is good all the time.”