19 adults, 4 youth and 10 children … that’s 33 people who took the step of publicly declaring their faith in Jesus through baptism in the weekend services on March 2/3, 2019! Here are a few of their stories …
“I grew up in a wonderful home with amazing parents who love God and did their best to raise me in a way that honors Him. I went to church with them almost every Sunday from a young age till I moved out when I was 19. My Dad and Mom read the Bible to us for many years and taught us many valuable lessons from it. For as long as I can remember, growing up we had family prayer and devotion time in our family.
When I was in middle school my mom had some serious health problems that really challenged us as a family and our faith and trust in God. Through that God taught my family to trust Him no matter what. The doctors only gave her 1% chance to make it through one of her surgeries. If it weren’t for Him and His miracles, I don’t believe that my mom would still be alive and serving Him in Israel today.
When I was a teenager I began to make some poor choices that began to lead me away from God. Up till just recently I put Him aside and didn’t make Him the most important in my life. My life got consumed by pornography, chasing girls, partying, and doing things that didn’t honour God. I never forgot about God and that Jesus died for us on the cross and paid for our sin in full with His blood, but I was so caught up in everything. My shame and guilt kept me from really accepting that. For years I had the wrong mindset. I didn’t really believe that I was good enough and I thought I had to meet a certain standard to be really loved and accepted by God. I thank God for the work He has done in my heart and life.
‘He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.’ (Psalm 40:2)
Today I really believe and know that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour. It is only by His grace and mercy alone that I have been saved from my sin and shame. I know that I have been bought with the blood of Jesus which was shed for the remission of my sin and for the sin of the whole world. I am a child of God. He loves me regardless of my past, and I am free forever from condemnation.
I am excited for the future and what God has in store for my life. I pray that I will be a blessing and a vessel of mercy to others. God gave me peace, help, strength, joy, and forgiveness and I know He can do the same for you!
I thank all my family and friends for all their prayers and support. One of my favourite Bible verses that has helped me through a lot of tough times is Psalm 23.”
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23 NIV)
“I was adopted from Romania at the age of 3. I was baptized as an infant in the Romanian Orthodox church. When I came to Canada, my parents had me dedicated as a little girl. I grew up in a Christian home going to church every Sunday and reading the Bible and praying daily. I went to Calgary Christian School from kindergarten all the way through grade 12. I grew up learning about Jesus and considered myself to be a Christian.
As a teenager, I was faced with certain difficult life circumstances and I turned away from God and my faith. I stopped going to church, praying, and reading the Bible. I lived my life thinking I didn’t need God anymore and that I was fine without Him. Throughout my twenties, God tried to get my attention and I felt a sense that He was. Deep inside me I felt I had a yearning to ask Christ back into my life again, but I pushed those feelings aside and kept ignoring them. I never stopped believing in God but I stopped having a relationship with Him because I was angry and He was to blame. He wasn’t important and I was okay to do life without Him.
Last fall my mom told me about Alpha and asked me if I’d be interested in going. I was a little unsure at first and nervous about it. She offered to do it with me and I felt that again this was God tugging at my heart strings and knocking at my door waiting for me to open it. I decided to go and it immediately started to change my life. The videos and conversations every Thursday rang so true to me and it started to make me excited about the Lord and having him in my life. The Holy Spirit weekend retreat is when I asked Jesus to come back into my heart and that is the day I decided I wanted to live the rest of my life serving the Lord. I never wanted to live another day without a relationship with Him. Being baptized is so important to me because I want people to know that I am a Christian and that I want to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.
The Bible verse that has always stuck with me through good and bad times and has been a reminder for me is Jeremiah 31:3″:
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
“I’m a visitor in Calgary. I was baptized by my parents as a baby in a Presbyterian Church. When I married, I followed my husband to a Catholic Church. Even when I came here a year ago, I was worshiping at St. Albert. My daughter and my son in-law worship at FAC. At home we talked about baptism. So, I decided to follow them at FAC to do the right thing. Since I started listening to teachings from the Bible and preachers, I made up my mind to do it right!”
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. (Romans 4:8)
“I felt a sense of emptiness within me. It is really difficult to explain but this void seems to have been within me ever since I was growing up as a boy. I came to know Him by reading my Bible at least once a day. Also, I listened to certain evangelical preachers on the radio and TV. I have decided to live for Him because He is the only way to eternal life. He has taught me patience. He continuously teaches me how to be a loving father, a faithful husband and most importantly a servant to all.”
Reverence for the Lord gives confidence and security to a man and his family. (Proverbs 14:26)
“Before I was adopted, I didn’t even know there was a Jesus. My life was not good before I knew Jesus. I was alone on the streets with my sister.
I was in the Sanctuary with my parents when I heard a pastor ask to repeat a prayer to follow Jesus. I knew I needed to follow Jesus and listen to God. I believe now more than before. I pray to God when I am scared and need Him to help me. I talk to God and I pray for my family. I want a new life with Jesus. I want to be baptized because I want to be born again, with my forever family there to part of my rebirth.”
“My life before I met Jesus was sort of empty like I didn’t really know anything. I became a Christian when I learned the story of Jesus. Now I feel more alive and I am more aware. I want to be baptized because it means to follow Jesus, and I haven’t been baptized.”
“I felt I was missing something always … lost, wandering aimlessly but never getting anywhere. I was disconnected, felt misunderstood, lonely, unhappy, chasing the elusive dream and wondering what purpose there was to my life.
The difference is unbelievable. I feel more at peace and not so anxious about the future. I’m still a work in progress, but I can’t describe the excitement I have about learning to be more like Him [Jesus] and seeing how that change affects those around me in my life.
My story … I’m just an average person, living an average life filled with trials and tribulations. To some, I have it all: two beautiful daughters, the most amazing grandchildren, a great relationship with my mother, my health, amazing friends, own my own home, have traveled and generally am ‘living the dream.’
But I felt like I was missing something. I felt disconnected, misunderstood by many, lonely, unhappy, and completely discontented with my life. I was chasing all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons. I was like the mouse on the wheel. Running, but not getting anywhere.
Last year was when I fell apart. I combusted.
I realized that I needed to (had to) change. And I was lucky to have someone show me, through example, what it could be like to have peace, contentment, love, and acceptance. And I know I wanted to be a part of that! Through this friendship, I have come to know what it means to have Jesus in my life. He has spoken to me in many ways over this last year, and let me tell you – I’m listening! I’m still a work in progress, but already I feel so much more at peace!
So, thank you, Laura, for being the bright light and showing me there is a better way! I’ve found a reason to start new.
A favourite poem reminds me: ‘During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.'”
He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them. (Psalm 145:19)
“I grew up believing in Jesus. When I’m lonely it feels like He is always with me. [I’m getting baptized] To show everyone that I believe in Jesus and am part of His family. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life.”
Andres Betancur Cano
“I was pretty insecure with fear to face new challenges. I was raised in a Catholic family and although I have believed in Jesus Christ since I was a child, my faith and Christian values were not solid enough. I felt that there was something missing in my life, so I decided to live a life of real connection with God. No more excuses!
Now my life is more spiritual and always God is first in any decision I make. I no longer have the fear to start new projects, definitely God gave me strength and hope. Now my Christian values are stronger. I have decided to be baptized. It [baptism] is the best way to say, ‘My Lord, I accept You in my life!'”
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Baptism is a one-time, public declaration that shows you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. The next baptism weekend at FAC (First Alliance Church) is May 11/12, 2019.