baptism testimonies 2013

CHILDREN

NOAH DEITRICH Since I have been raised in a Christian home, nothing has really changed. I just decided that I wanted to be baptized and be a forever-friend with Jesus.

MARSHALL DELGADO I want to get baptized because it will allow me to follow Jesus. I will become a full Christian. Most of my family are Christians, and Jesus died on the cross for me as the ultimate kindness, so I want to follow His greatness.

COLIN JAMES DICKEY I accepted Jesus when I was five-years-old. My mom prayed with me to accept Jesus into my heart. Before I made Jesus my forever-friend, my Savoir, I was selfish. I just wanted to get my own way all the time. But now that I want to follow God for the rest of my life, I try to be a lot nicer and make better choices. I would like to thank my mom and other family members for showing me how to have a loving relationship with God.

EVA KERSCHBAUM I was baptized when I was a baby. I know because I have seen the pictures and my mom told me about it, but I don't remember it. My sister and I decided we wanted to be baptized again, so it would be our choice. I really love God and I can't wait to be baptized in the lake!

GIANNA KERSCHBAUM I was baptized at another church as a baby and I had accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 4-yrs-old; but when I saw the baptismal service at Easter this year, I asked my mom and dad why I didn't get to choose when I wanted to baptized. My dad explained to me that it was more like what we would call a dedication at First Church; where he and my mom and the congregation promised to raise me to know and love The Lord. That's right when I decided that I wanted to be baptized in the lake this summer. I also want to be baptized because living with the Savior in my heart is amazing and makes feel very jubilant and blessed.

SAVANNAH AUTUMN OVERTON When I was 5-yrs-old, I went to a Christian camp and that’s when I accepted Jesus into my heart for the first time. Before I had Jesus in my life, I made unwise choices. But now I have Jesus and I am kinder and make better choices. My small group leader is special to me. She helps me understand the Bible. I want to thank Mr Bill for showing me how to have a loving relationship with God. Also, I am really excited to be baptized, because I want to give my life to God.

OLIVIA KATE TRIVEDI When I invited Jesus into my life, I was 10-years-old and that’s a moment that I will never forget. Before I invited Jesus into my life I was mean to my brother and I was never agreeing to what he said, and I wouldn’t listen to him sometimes. But now, since I invited Jesus into my life, I’m understanding him and listening to him. I also like to read the Bible and pray to God and talk to him, and I like to tell people about God and Jesus Christ. My life has changed since I’ve invited Jesus into my life. I would like to thank my pastor Mr. Shepard and my family members for showing me what it means to be a child of GOD! It’s an amazing feeling to know that you have a forever-friend. I’m really excited to be baptized because I want everyone to know that I have lots of love for God and that I’m ready to give my whole life over to him.

ADULTS

CHRIS BRITTON I have been a Christian since a very young age, but didn’t really begin to take my faith seriously until about five years ago. For the longest time I resisted being baptized, because at that time, it would have just been something I was doing in order to check it off my “Christian bucket list.” But in the past few months the importance of making a public declaration of my faith has begun to sink in. As I’ve gotten older and more involved, I’ve seen how easy it can be to become distracted and selfcentered. My choosing to be baptized is a statement that I desire Christ to be the center of my life. 

HEIDI EMERY As an infant my parents had me baptized in the Reformed Church of America and in upper elementary school I made a public profession of my faith at another church in the same Christian denomination. Jesus has been a faithful friend throughout my life. He has held me close during difficult times and given me wonderful gifts and experiences to enjoy in this world. I am especially thankful for his gift of Christian family and friends. I desire to be baptized as an adult because I want to remember my baptism and publicly profess my continued need for the guidance of the King of the Universe. 

TAYLOR GORDON I have been going to church my whole life. I invited Jesus into my heart in kids church and have been growing in my faith ever since. I feel like this is the next big step in my faith and I want to show the world that I love Jesus and want to share that with others. I look forward to seeing what He will continue to do in me. 

JENNY GREYERBIEHL I was baptized as an infant, and since childhood I have continually grown in my faith. The deeper my relationship with Jesus has become, the more He has pressed upon my heart to obey His commands, one of which is being baptized as a testimony to my faith in Him. I believe that Jesus cleanses my sins and I am excited to share this belief, this act of obedience, and love of Him with my community! 

JESSICA GREYERBIEHL I cannot recall a time when I did not consider myself a Christian or when God was not a part of my life (although admittedly there were periods of time in my life when I was probably ignoring Him a little bit... or a lot). I was baptized as an infant in the church that I grew up in, and it wasn't until I moved away and eventually landed in St. Joe and at FCOG that I really started to think about the fact that I had not made the conscious decision to participate in baptism. My parents had made that decision for me. After several years of debating with myself about whether or not it really mattered that I didn't consciously decide to be baptized, and after much prayer and scripture reading, I realized how important baptism is simply as obedience to Jesus' commandment that Christians share an outward act of their inner commitment to follow God. I am happy to share with my community an open sign of faith in God and my desire to follow God's plan for my life through the act of baptism.  

BRIAN WASHBURN I have been a part of First Church for a couple of years now, and it has made me see that this is what I want. So, getting baptized is me burying my old life, and embracing my new life with a commitment to Jesus Christ. 

MARK WILLEY One night years ago, my children's mother told me we would be divorcing, I had trouble sleeping. As I lay in bed with my eyes closed, a strange feeling entered by body and bright colors came to my closed eyes. I went downstairs alone to sit. As I sat in my living room, Christ appeared right in front of me. No words were exchanged but the message was clear in my brain. "Relax, trust in me. I have a plan you cannot see but it will be" The next day I went to the Catholic church we had been attending and signed up for confirmation classes. I was confirmed but still wanted more. Years later I remarried a beautiful Christian woman. My testimony is actually quite simple. If I am to see again my Friend and Savior of all who call in Him, I come here this day as commanded in John 3:3-6, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and spirit.” I was baptized once as an unknowing infant--today I come of my own will and desire to profess my surrender to Christ the King. 

LIZ HALLIBURTON I was first saved and baptized at the age of eight. I’ve had several discussions with other believers whether an eight-year-old truly understands salvation and baptism. I argued that I had no help from a family member or a friend to lead me to make that decision. I went to a Baptist revival after being invited from one of the church members handing out tracts. On the second night I attended, I gave my heart to God and was baptized as His child. When I was fully immersed, I felt God’s Spirit enter my body and all of my sins he forgave and I felt them leave my body before I was raised up out of the water. This is another heavy debate I spoke of to other believers, that in no way could I feel my sins leaving my body or feel God’s Spirit enter my body. My question is, If you are a believer in Christ, how could you not feel His Spirit, not only when you accept him as Savior, but at all times of your life? And if you are a believer, how can you not believe that your sins are leaving your body when being baptized?

I’ve grown up in a hard life and I did turn away from God because I was bitter and angry at God, and felt I had been abandoned by Him. I blamed God for not preventing the bad things in my life from taking place. He’s almighty and powerful, right? Then why didn’t he use His power to protect his child? But tho the events changed my life and faithfulness to God, he proved to me time and time again that he never left my side. He continually sent Christians in my life to send his message to me that he had never forsaken me. I tried “church shopping,” but none ever felt right. I met Lisa Baldwin thru the Blue Star Mothers military support group. She faithfully kept asking me to attend First Church. I gave in and started going at the Benton Heights campus. It didn’t take long to feel I was finally “at home.”  I’ve said I’m at peace when I’m at church. It’s leaving church and carrying that peace with me I needed to work on. So I found Life Groups and Sandra Fleming. My daughter, Amanda, had become pregnant. I barely knew anyone and, behold, Benton Heights showed us the true meaning of Christian love by giving her a baby shower. Proof God watches over his children, saved or not. God continues to work and watch over me. Being widowed five years ago, I’ve been protected and blessed in ways I thought could never happen. Though my walk with God has a long way to go, I’m reaching out to him and I’m proclaiming , “Here I am, Lord. Take me. Mold me. Save me. Don’t give up on me.” And thank you, Lisa Baldwin, for being a loving friend and not giving up on me.

JENNIFER HILL I had spent many years feeling as if there was an emptiness in my life. I had always believed in God but never felt a connection. About five years ago I finally gave up. Every path I took was the wrong one! I opened my heart and I asked God to help me. I asked for his forgiveness and gave my life to him. It was then that I began my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He filled the emptiness with a spiritual joy I had been searching for. Now I want to be baptized as a sign a sign of my love, faith, and commitment to the Lord. 

EMILY HODGE Growing up I was always brought to Church with my mom, so I always considered myself a good Christian. And I never really understood what Christianity was all about until I went to Five Pines camp. On my last year there, I had accepted Christ as my savior. And from then on out I had more faith, and felt closer to God. After 5th grade I had been at Warner Camp every summer, and always grew in my relationship with God each year I went. And I had thoughts about getting baptized, but never pulled through with it. I was strong in my faith, but I just didn't feel it the right time. I wasn't in the right place in my relationship with Him. And this summer I grew so much closer to God, and I want to give my life completely to him. I have been offered the chance to get baptized. And I have chosen to take that opportunity so that I can fully accept Christ as my savior. And show that I will always be a follower of Him. 

DAVE KERSCHBAUM My testimony, kind of goes like this: I, like many others was baptized when I was just a baby. It was not by our choice, rather our parents’ choices, and there is nothing wrong with that. I originally accepted Christ into my heart when I was 16 at a Young Life camp in Colorado, but I was never baptized after that point in my life. My wife, JoAnna, and I have been attending First Church now since my 7-year-old was a newborn, and over that period of time, I came to understand the real meaning of baptism. So, now, I am making it a choice and a priority in my life as part of my walk with Jesus. As a husband and a father of three girls, it is most importantfor me to continue my growth in the Christian Faith, not to mention that this will be a very special moment in my life, by getting the opportunity to be baptized with my two oldest daughters. 

DAVID LUCKER I was baptized as a baby. God is the heart center of my life and is now leading me to pursue baptism as an adult. 

GABRIELE MANLEY My relationship with God started in sixth grade when I came to D-groups since I didn't grow up going to church. Each year I got closer to him and more serious about everything. After eighth-grade I started thinking about it and I decided I wanted to let everyone know I accepted Jesus into my life so once I heard about the baptism in the lake I was really excited and couldn't wait to find out more information about it! 

DONNA RENTAS I see baptism now as my lifelong commitment to believing and serving God, making my own decision this time.  Something was missing within me. I did not get to experience this as an infant since I had no idea of what was happening but because it was my parents wishes, this is what was done and I have no problem with that. This was their belief and they made the best decision for me, their child.  Since I am an adult and I have a much clearer understanding, I am doing this for me because it has weighed so heavy in my mind and heart and troubled me for such a long time.  I have prayed and asked many questions on this and I know this is the Holy Spirit telling me, I wont feel complete faithfully or serve the Lord totally.  If I keep questioning myself and others, something is not right within me.   I need to believe in baptism as it is in the bible and I wont have to question this within me, any longer.   Maybe I felt I was going to disappoint my mother, my present pastor who I love and respect.  I dont know?  Getting baptized will fulfill this emptiness.   I can be my own person.  Something had always felt as it was missing. God has always been in my life since a child and I understood He was my protector, my everything.  That was basically what I grew up knowing.  We were not taught the bible in Catholic School or church, it was the gospel only.   I ran to church because of childhood turmoil and abuse, church was my safe haven. I know then, I accepted God as my Lord and Savior and he protected me.

I have come to learn that everyone can interpret scripture "their" way and how they choose to live and love.  I cant be made to feel guilty about my beliefs and I cant judge and reflect on others.  It's not in my hands.   I have to reflect on me and what makes me a true Christian.  I have met many true Christian friends through FC and they have brought me understanding, love and guidance.  I have listened to Pastor Colp preach times I have visited FC, which was at first, honestly to see my grandchildren who I love so dearly and my daughter.  I now attend for me.  I could not do this without God.  He was always there for me but I know many times I disappointed Him by my sins, not coming to Him at all times, just when things got bad.  I have sinned, I ask God for forgiveness always and I know He listens when I pray for forgiveness and He is a forgiving God.  He will free me from my sin. I may not be as affluent in the bible as others but I am learning my bible more and more.  I actually attend 2 churches and I love and respect them both. I love helping and serving in many of the ministries through my Anglican Church but  I come to FC for the emphasis on lessons I can learn, understand and listen from the bible.  I dont think God would judge me on this.

I can now begin this new journey believing, serving and loving the Lord.  I truly believe the Holy Spirit influenced me with the help of dear friends who helped in answering the many questions I had and knowing the truth was right there in front of me. I knew it all along but I had to be ready to make the decision.  Guilt of doing the right or wrong thing so I did not turn my back on my faith and how I was raised or on my infant baptism. In discussing this with my mom, she supports me in all I do and my decisions on my faith and beliefs.   I have read many different parts of scripture over and over and made my decision that this is truly what is missing.  It is what I need to be fulfilled as a Christian.

KEVIN STEINBRAKER I grew up in an evangelical church as a kid and accepted Christ as my savior as a young child. I was also baptized in grade school. Growing up, my parents went through a very difficult divorce and for this reason and others, I strayed from God and my relationship with him. I spent 2004 overseas in Iraq and Kuwait for the start of the war with the Marine Corps Reserves; this was also the 1st year of our marriage. I had spent most of my life thinking that I could "control" the things around me and I believe that this, ultimately, is what had led to the distance that I was from God. After being in country for three months in a difficult environment, we found out that our orders were to stay deployed for another 12 months. I remember a complete sense of "loss of control" and I didn't know how I was going to make it through this time, and more importantly I couldn't ensure that my marriage was going to be there when this was all done. This is when I turned back to God--out of desperation I handed the situation over to him. I was able to spend my down time reading about God and praying and this was the only way to remove this burden. God also used this time to actually strengthen our marriage. Through these events, my wife came to accept God while I was away. It has now been 10 years, and He has worked wonders in our marriage. We are now working to teach our two girls about God. 

JENNIFER STEINBRAKER I did not grow up going to church. I always believed in God but never had the relationship I was longing for. In college I met my husband. We dated for about a year and a half and then got engaged. We were in the process of planning our summer wedding when we got a phone call one Sunday afternoon in February. Kevin's Marine Reserve unit was being activated and sent overseas on that coming Thursday. He asked to me to send him some Christian books on marriage. I bought two copies, one for me and one for him. We would read chapters separately and then discuss them when we got to talk on the phone. One day we came to a paragraph that changed my life forever. It was a very simple prayer to repeat, accepting Jesus into my heart. So, on the phone with the love of my life a world away, I said that prayer that saved my soul. I cannot even begin to express the feeling of contentment that came over me at the moment. From that moment, I was saved I knew that everything was going to be okay. Getting baptized means the world to me. I desire for the world to know that I choose Christ. I choose to live my life for the glory of God. I know that my sins are forgiven because God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for me so I can live in Heaven forever. The fact that I get to get baptized with my husband, the man that prayed that prayer with me, that helped lead me to my salvation is one of the biggest blessings of my life. I can't wait to stand with him on the beach and recommit our lives to following Jesus Christ! 

BRIAN TODD I always talked to God. Whether it was about something I wanted or needed, or to just talk. But I never really knew Him or what it meant to be a Christian. I had never been to church as a kid so there was a lot I didn't understand. After meeting my wife, she brought me into the church. It was then I started to see what I had been missing. I've grown a lot with Christ over the years and I know I still have a long way to go. I know that this is the next step that God wants me to take in my relationship with Him.

Angie Youngstedt When I first asked God into my heart I was 6 at kid zone and Pastor Bill said if you would like to ask God into your heart you can say this prayer along with me. So pastor Bill told us about what this meant and I really perked up when I heard him say excepting God into your heart forever . I said the prayer along with him, and I felt the most reliving feeling ever. I was so exited I told my whole family. Then about a three and a half later years later I asked my mom if I could get baptized . So we talked about how that is like showing the world that you love God and that when you go under it is like Jesus dying on the cross and when you come up it is like him rising again. And that is when I decided to be baptized.