On the weekend of Labor Day I got baptized for the first time. I wanted to share the experience with you guys. There are a lot of things I want to share so I decided to break it up into different blog posts.
The emotions of being baptized didn’t dawn on me until I was in the water and Pastor John was asking me if I commit to being baptized through the name of Jesus Christ. I had about a month to prepare for my baptism but it didn’t really hit me until then. I almost broke out in tears when he asked me that question because it was a very sacred moment. I made a vow in front of people I loved.
I’ve always thought about being baptized but I didn’t know the clear reason why we had to be baptized. I once asked someone if I had to be baptized to go to heaven and I remember them saying that wasn’t the case. So, I really didn’t know what the importance of it was. Also, there might have been a part of me that wanted to avoid making that kind of commitment so I may have used it as an excuse.
Then, Pastor John explained what baptism was and it cleared up a lot of the questions I had. Now, It didn’t matter why I had to do it. I just wanted to receive it.
Among the few things Pastor John Park talked about the main thing that stood out to me was that once we’re baptized we’re identified with God. Growing up I had difficulties with my self-image and although I’ve found myself in Christ I wanted to made a declaration by accepting his grace through the baptism. Also, our Pastor talked about a renewal. To be baptized meant to be renewed by God. He also explained that God has freely given us grace and being baptized is us accepting his grace. It’s not just us making a commitment but us accepting the commitment God has already made to us. I wanted to accept God’s love and commitment through my action. The whole experience was even more amazing because I was able to do it with Chris and Topher.
We got baptized in Newport Beach because that’s where we had our retreat called Renovare which means Renewal in Greek. It was 3 nights and 4 days. Our beach house was literally on the beach which was incredibly relaxing. Also, I felt God’s love through our NUMA family the entire weekend. We had a lot of time to “X” which means to connect with one another with Christ in the center. So, every night we got a chance to hear someones story. It gave us a chance to learn from one another , get to know each other better , and hear about all the wonderful things God did and was doing in our lives. It was awesome!
On the day of the baptism we had Sunday worship at our Beach House. My friend Susie, Alex, and my sister came to share this sacred moment with me which meant a lot. I also asked Chris to help baptize me and Topher which was incredibly special.
The whole ceremony was a celebration. Every one was cheering and congratulating one another. It wasn’t like any other baptism ceremony I’ve seen. It was beautiful. I’m getting teary just thinking about that moment again. I was a little scared walking into the ocean because I'm scared of waves but I felt secured because God, Chris, Pastor John, and Pastor Jenny was with me. I thought the water would be extremely cold but surprisingly it wasn't. As we saw the wave coming P. John asked me if I would like to make this vow to God and I said YES! Then, they helped me into the water and Chris shoved my head into the water. He said he wanted to make sure I didn't cheat myself from fully being baptized and renewed. He knows me too well. I might have jumped right up due to my fear of the ocean. It was awesome! I have been RENEWED!
There were a few people getting baptized that day who were none believers. It’s amazing the transformation God can do in our lives. We were all a little worried that day because the waves were huge, it was really cold, and there were no sunlight. Although the circumstance wasn’t the best it turned out perfect. Our pastor described it perfectly . It was a beautiful mess. His wife Jeni shared that she received a word from God that morning telling her that that’s how we should come. We don’t need to be right with ourselves to be cleansed from God. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect but even in the midst of the ugly storm he’ll make it beautiful. We just come as we are. It’s so amazing that it’s hard to grasp but that’s how awesome and amazing He is.
On a side note: A funny thing that happended that day was how P. Jenny got baptized several times along with us because the wave swallowed her up. She's very petite so she kept getting swept away. I felt so thankful for her sacrafice and can't deny that it was incredibly funny. We all couldn't stop laughing. That made it even more memorable. We're going to miss you P. Jenny!
|This is a tribute for P. Jenny. This is her getting swept away for the 5th time =)|
|We love you P. Jenny for your sacrafices =)|
|What a beautiful MESS <3|