I am very quickly being introduced to the many different aspects of this new church I have been going to.
I didn’t go to this church last week since I was at home for the holiday. This week when I arrived, I was greeted by no less 5 different people. And I was finally grabbed by their welcoming table to fill out a “visitor’s card”. I did it now since I think that I will be quite happy to make it my regular church.
I was surprised to learn that today would be a baptism service. I really enjoy them – there is something about watching people publicly declare their desire to join the church. I can even remember (although not very clearly) watching my own parents get baptised when I was younger. There is something so special about a baptism service. They bring such happiness and celebration within a church. I have been to a few, at my old church, at friends’ churches, once while standing at the side of a small lake, and once (believe it or not) in my own backyard with my swimming pool serving as the water supply.
This was a little bit different of a baptism service than I was used to. Each of the candidates read their testimonies as they were standing in the tank, waiting to be dunked. I found this encouraging. But then, the last candidate walked into the tank.
Her testimony had almost the entire church in tears. You could hear sniffling all around you, and I was even moved by her words. She started by telling the congregation about how she came to the church – living in a homeless shelter with her young son, trying to find a church to go to, and setting out one morning to go to a different church but her GPS died and she couldn’t find it. Instead, she had driven past this building, took down the name, and decided to give it a try the next week.
As soon as I thought that she had finished, she then started to talk about before that – all the way back to when she was 15 and ran away from an abusive home. She then got into drugs, using and dealing, and was arrested and charged. She finally gave her life fully over to the Lord.
What surprised me most about this young lady’s life, was that she was already baptised twice before. I was under the impression that once you were baptised, that was it – no need to redo it. But hearing her story of how she was treated at other churches, I really admired her choice to do it again in a place where she had found love and acceptance. It also made me really happy that I had found such a church. At her last church, she was baptised, and then her past was revealed to the other members of the church and she was asked to leave.
How horrible for her! She finds a place where she feels welcomed and safe, and where she had been growing with the Lord and in her faith, and they betray her in her moment of need like that. It’s churches like that which give Christianity such a bad name.
I am glad she found this church, just as I have. I am even more happy to have heard her testimony this morning. It spurred in me a knowledge that I have made a good choice here.