From Partying Hard to Praying Hard: Accessibility Director Shares Journey to Faith

4/16/2021

Witfield FelixAs a youngster, Witfield Felix heard about Jesus during Vacation Bible School on the island of Grenada. But by his own admission, he spent most of his adolescence and young adulthood going to parties and lingering at bars until closing time.

It wasn’t until Felix was a young man living on the Caribbean island of Montserrat that those seeds of faith took root, he said, sharing in chapel in February about how he eventually came to Christ.

“I partied hard, I played hard and I worked hard,” said Felix, PBA’s director of academic and accessibility resources, an office that helps students having special challenges. “I really lived it up. I wasted my substance on unrighteous living.”

One night, he was driving on a dark country road when his car skidded down a 60-foot embankment. Though the car was smashed, they escaped with minor bruises.

“I said ‘Lord, I’m going to serve You for as long as I live,” Felix said.

Then he didn’t.

But Felix was working as a police officer, and around the same time, another officer joined the force. The man always had his head buried in the Bible and possessed a calm under pressure that Felix envied. In other words, the officer “witnessed to me with his life.”

Felix also was familiar with a street drummer who was always encouraging passersby to give their lives to Christ. On one Friday, Felix felt “led by the Spirit” to follow the drummers after they drove off. When they arrived at their destination — a prayer meeting of some sort — Felix’s friend walked out of the house, praising God that he showed up.

Sunday couldn’t come fast enough for Felix.

“I don’t know which was faster — my feet running to the altar or the tears streaming down my face,” Felix said. “I wanted to live a different kind of life.”

When Felix decided to move to New York, an older man laid out his options: Felix could get trapped in the neon lights and night clubs of New York City, or he could get into a church. Choose wisely, the man advised.

Felix did.

He got very involved in a church, where he met his wife. After 20 years in New York City, the couple decided to move to Florida. Felix’s wife was retired from corporate America. He had no job lined up but felt he needed to work. His sister encouraged him: “The Lord is going to use you as He sees fit.”

When he learned about PBA, he realized it was where he wanted to be. PBA is a Christ-first University, and in everything believers do, they need to take a Christ-first approach, Felix said.

“I see this as part of the vineyard,” Felix said. “My ministry is working together with students.”

For a time, he taught the First Year Experience course, an introductory course to help new students adjust to life at PBA. He integrated faith by always having students pray before and after class.

“No one was getting up from his or her chair unless we prayed,” Felix. “That is the most powerful tool we have in our chest.”

It took him so long to learn that lesson because of all the parties and moonlit mornings on the beach, he said. Felix urged students to shed habits or friends that will weigh them down.

“You are not going to lose anything compared to what you will be receiving.”