To say that those being baptized at the beach on September 15, 2019 were eager would be an understatement. Asked to check-in for the 3:00pm baptism by 2:30 or 2:45, most of the participants had arrived and checked-in by 2:20! 48 people in all were excited to share that they were BRAND NEW in Christ - that they had experienced first-hand that "if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Friends, family, and church "family" celebrated with those who were baptized. Among the participants were men who've struggled with addiction and are being transformed by the love of Christ. Others have grown up in the church and decided to make the faith they've heard about their own. Still others, have only recently begun to follow Jesus. Individuals, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives entered the water, stirring cheers and tears among the crowd. At one point a little girl could be heard squealing, "Look! Teacher Lizzy's getting baptized!"
One young woman captured the essence of the way God has been writing the stories leading up to this exclamation point. "I was very young when I accepted God into my heart. I have never stopped believing in God, but I had for awhile stopped going to youth group and stopped reading my Bible. Although I believed what I was being told, I didn't practice my beliefs and help share the love of Jesus. After my grandpa died, everything became really clear, and I knew I wanted and needed to begin going to youth group, and reading the Bible and sharing the love of God to others again. I hope that with this outward expression of my faith, God can speak through me to others of His almighty power." The young woman? Jessica Archer, the granddaughter of our beloved Pastor Gary who recently graduated to heaven and is now in the presence of Jesus. Amen, Jessica!