According to my favorite dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Baptism is a Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community and it’s also defined as an act, experience, or ordeal by which one is purified, sanctified, initiated, or named.
When I was an infant, I was already baptized. It was a tradition that most people follow. But what happened next?
I rarely prayed. In fact, I lived most of my life as an agnostic. I was even an atheist at one time, but when I did pray, it was always to wish that my life would end.
I saw life as suffering. I lived a hard life. I focused on my struggles and challenges in life. Self-pity became a habit. I rarely felt loved because whenever I achieved something good, I don’t have anyone to share it with. I was alone physically, emotionally and mentally.
As you can see, my mind’s been filled with thoughts of sorrow and negativity. It continued when I grew up, though of course I got happy sometimes. Like for example when I got to buy my favorite gadget. But the feeling of happiness was temporary.
I lived life one day at a time.
When I faced extreme challenges last 2004, I tried to get to know the Lord. I joined an organization that I ended up judging as a social community rather than a family of Christians. I left that fellowship and ended up being an atheist for a few months after that. I’ve been invited to several more ‘Christian’ gatherings, but I always turn them down.
Fast forward to last year, I faced another difficult chapter in my life. I don’t know what got through me but I learned to open my heart to Christianity again. When I had lunch with friends, they asked me if I could join their Bible study. I said yes. Things that transpired after that were wonderful. I attended the Bible studies week after week. I met people who I can feel genuinely loves the Lord. It changed my outlook on Christian organizations. For the first time, I felt that there’s a group who’s there to serve the Lord, meeting friends are just a bonus, it didn’t feel like a social organization. For me, this group was a gathering of true Christians. I can feel the goodness of their hearts. I felt welcomed. I felt that I can grow spiritually through their guidance. I felt the Lord in them. The impact was great, far greater than what I expected.
My impression of Christians really changed.
I started opening up. For the first time, I felt… hope. I maybe working on my spiritual life. I maybe changing my outlook in life. In one of the Bible study sessions that I attended, I witnessed a baptism ceremony. It was a declaration that they are abandoining their old lives and they are embracing life with the Lord. THey asked if I would like to join them. At the time, I wasn’t simply ready. I felt too much of a sinner. I said to myself that I’ll finish reading the Bible and be a better person before I go that route.
Last December, I got sick. I got admitted to the hospital for a week. I hated it. I NEVER ever want to be confined in a hospital. I know I don’t have a family here. I was already expecting a miserable life in the hospital. I may have some friends who would visit me, but I’m sure it’ll be a one day thing. I would be facing weird looks and facial expressions from hospital staff wondering why a person like me don’t have a family to take care of me.
But I wasn’t alone!!! I may not have a caring biological family, except for my female cousin who I care for deeply, but I have a family in Christ. Everyday, I get visitors who brought me food, having fellowship with me, reading Bible verses for me and sending me love and care. It was overwhelming, and I was truly humbled! I then realized that God is with us. We may not see Him but we certainly feel him.
As I laid down the hospital bed, I decided on several things.
- to finish reading the Bible by end of Year 2012
- be Baptized
I came to also realize that I’ll never be perfect. There will never come a time that I can say that I’m completely a good person. We are all sinners. We don’t follow the commandments everyday. Thou shall not lie right? But we always utter white lies in order to prevent conflict. Thou shall love your neighbors right? But every single day, we judge people and we criticize them (consciously or not).
I finally understood what the saints (that’s what we call the people in our church) have been telling me — that Jesus Christ saved us from all of our sins. All we need to do now is just accept Him in our lives.
I started reading the Bible… Everyday I would send what I learned to my ‘family’ via e-mail. One day, I told one of the sisters that I want to be baptized. She was so happy that she broke the news to everyone! They prepared the event on Chinese New Year (January 23, 2012). Incidentally, my mom was here on vacation so I asked her to come along.
The night started with our usual Bible study. We read the verses for study. We shared each other’s understanding of them, and when we closed the Bible study session, we prayed.
I requested for my baptism to commence after the Bible study. We all went up the 2nd floor where the bathtub is located. That tub would be the place where I’d get baptized. I was excited! I couldn’t wait to exclaim and announce to the world that I’ve accepted the Lord in my life!
We all prayed first…
Then brother Frank explained to me how the baptism would go… I was really happy! I couldn’t wait for my new life to begin!
I asked friends to capture the moment for me. I knew it was really important and I really really wanted to record this very crucial moment in my life :):):)
I’m now a true blue Christian. I’m still not perfect. I missed several weeks of my personal Bible study and I still feel like a sinner. However, I know that it’s okay because I have God with me. I continue to seek Him as I try to live this world through the words in the Bible. I’m still the same person but I have a certain feeling of peace. I’m not alone anymore…
I leave you with thoughts about Baptism from my sisters and brothers in Christ.
- “Baptism is saying, “I do!” to our Lord Jesus Christ, an outward affirmation of our inward acceptance of Him.” – sis Luc
- “Baptism is a declaration that you now belong to Jesus Christ!” – sis Jo
- “Being baptized was about accepting God for everything He is and everything He has done. By accepting is allowing Him to deal with all of my sins, transforming me into man in Christ, a living testimony of Grace.” – bro Mike
- “Just like marriage is an outward confirmation of the love of 2 people, baptism is an outward confirmation to accompany the inward reality that you accept and now belong to the Lord Jesus” – sis Meng
- “Baptism is not a requirement for you to become a member of a group or religion. Baptism is a declaration to the whole world, even to Satan that you now belong to God.” – sis Debbie
- “Baptism is the end of old life, and beginning of newness in life with God. Doing everything and living with Him.” – sis Ane
- “Baptism means my old person has died and been buried with Christ, and I’m raised together with Him as a new person in new creation.” – bro Joseph
- “It is a transfer from the kingdom of satan into the kingdom of God.” – sis Shilo
- “It is the leaving of the old creation in the water, and rising up a new man. Also affirming to God and men that you accept the Lord as your savior.” – bro Mark