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On a Sunday morning late last spring, Baptisms took place in all three English-speaking services. What was remarkable about those Baptisms was the number of children, teens, and young adults who were baptized: fourteen young people—boys and girls, young men and young women, who publicly identifed with Jesus Christ, acknowledging Him as Savior and Lord. Following are the testimonies of just some of those who were baptized that morning.
Hi. I’m David Mann, and I’m committing to follow Jesus with my life. While I’m just getting started, I feel pretty lucky, because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t talk about God and Jesus at home with my parents. I also can’t remember a time when I didn’t go to church. Back in December I talked to my dad about my decision to follow Jesus in Baptism. I had already prayed to accept Jesus as my Savior. I learned in Awana that James 2:10 says, “Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” But more important, I know that in life I need a Helper. I don’t know all the answers, but I know I want to do it God’s way. Today I’m telling everyone that I will follow Jesus, no matter what. And I have the faith that I can do it with His help.
I am a freshman in high school. I grew up in a Christian home and go to a Christian school. I became a Christian when I was about five years old on the way to preschool. I told my mom that I was learning about Christianity in church and school and I wanted to know how to become a Christian. She prayed with me, and I became a Christian that day. But I began to stray away from my faith in junior high, and I was afraid of what would happen to me because of my sin. I fell into many kinds of sin and kept getting farther from God. I would keep asking God to save me over and over again. One night I talked to my parents about it, and that night I made a true commitment to Christ. Since then I have been growing in my Christian faith, and I enjoy praying and reading God’s Word. I want God to use me to share my faith with others. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for my life. One of the important things God has taught me is found in Philippians 4:6–7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I was raised in a strong, loving Christian family. I accepted Jesus into my heart at a very young age. But I did this because I thought it was something you had to do. I didn’t really know what it meant, and I didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus at the time. Everything changed for me when I was about eight years old. My
parents got divorced, and my dad moved to Colorado. We also stopped attending church for a while. During this hard time I still considered myself a Christian, but any relationship I had with God kind of went away. I kept asking myself why God would put me through this. I had a very hard time understanding what was going on. I didn’t feel that I had anyone to turn to. We moved a few times, and my dad didn’t move back to Illinois until I was a little older. During this whole time I felt very alone, upset, and scared of the future. We started going to church again, but I still had a very hard time dealing with everything.When I was in seventh grade, I changed schools and started getting more involved at Wheaton Bible Church. I started going to Studio78 [junior high midweek group] every week, and my relationship with God grew very strong. There was one night in particular that Scott [Junior High Pastor Scott Murray] gave each of us small stones and told us to set them down by a cross to symbolize letting go of something from the past and surrendering it to God. That’s exactly what I did. I realized that I was living in the past and not trusting God with my future. I surrendered to Him and immediately felt a change. A verse that has stuck with me is Genesis 28, verse 15: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.” This has helped me realize that although I didn’t always know it, God has always had a plan for me and He will be with me the whole entire time, whatever I do and wherever I go. I never want to go through another challenging time without God; I want to spend the rest of my life with Him by my side, and that is why I am getting baptized today.
Hi, my name is Blessing Steele, and I am a junior in college. Just like many of you, I grew up going to church routinely. I knew who Jesus was and what He did, but I didn’t understand how it related to my life. In my church it was the popular thing to do to go up to the front of the church and accept Jesus Christ into your heart, so one day when I was around six years old, I did. Years went by, and there was no passion for God in my life. It wasn’t really until my freshman year of high school that I went to a Christian summer camp and the Lord met me there. I learned of becoming a new creation and how Christ came to invade and change every part of my heart. God took away a lot of bitterness, anger, and unwillingness to forgive when I surrendered it all to Jesus that summer. I still struggle with thoughts that I know God doesn’t love, but I am holding on to His unfailing love. I know that God requires much of my heart to serve Him, so that I will gladly do. A verse that I would call my life verse is found in Micah 6:8,“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
As a young child I knew I wanted to follow Christ. I had so many great examples who taught me and showed me His great love through their kindness toward me. When I was five, I prayed with my dad on the way home from a hockey game (unfortunately, it wasn’t a Blackhawks game!). At that moment,I was saved! That was the best and most important decision I have ever made. My life has been greatly impacted by Christ. Thanks to a great church, a Christ-centered school, caring teachers, and my loving family, I have grown much in my faith. God has given me more compassion and more of His love. He has used me for His Kingdom, and there is no greater blessing. After all, my life was never really mine—it was and is His. Today I want everyone to know that I am His servant and He is my King.
Even though I grew up in a Christian home with a mom who influenced us to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, that didn’t keep me from having questions about God. I even wondered if He was really there at all. About a year ago, I was praying with my mom, and in that prayer I asked God to forgive me for all the years I didn’t have an honest faith in Him. I asked Him to help me to stay on the right path. That was a turning point for me as I began to take my relationship with Him more seriously and to have a relationship with Him on a daily basis, not just on Sundays. I just finished my sophomore year in college, and this year I have seen my faith grow dramatically stronger. Even so, there are still times when doubt rises—when I question God about what He’s doing with my life and what His plans are for my future. So I ask you to pray for me. There’s a verse that’s important for me—in fact it’s on a poster in my room—and inspires me every morning when I wake up, reminding me that God can make everything possible if I put it in His hands. It’s Proverbs 16:3: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” I am being baptized to show that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I grew up in a Christian home, but that did not make me a Christian. As far back as I can remember, I attended church to please my family and to see my friends. I did not take my faith seriously—just like a lot of the other Christians I knew. I thought I had full control of my life and that God, heaven, and hell were just something people imagined. When I was sixteen years old, I was at a prayer time at my youth pastor’s home when God opened my eyes to the truth about Jesus Christ. I knew I was not living faithfully. That night I prayed and gave my life to Jesus Christ. I confessed that I had not been serious about the One who died on the cross to save me and to give me eternal life.I made a serious vow to live only for Him because of all He had done for me.I am now 22 years old, and since the day I gave my life to Jesus, He has given direction to my life. I still struggle with sin and with keeping Jesus as a priority in my life. But He is helping me through the struggles. Praise God! A verse that is very meaningful to me is found in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”