I waded into the water behind him.
As we moved into position we faced each other… I closed my eyes for a moment and then opened them. He began to speak: “Gary; do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? ” “I do. ” He spoke again: “On behalf of that confession I will now baptize you in the name of the Father and in the name of the Son and in the name of the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of your sins..
. ” He then gently placed his hand behind my back and lowered me into the water — I came up a few moments later — a completely new and different person.My mom had divorced my dad recently and it had caused problems worse then while they were married. He had filed bankruptcy, and his debt came on my mom; thousands and thousands of dollars. My mom didn’t have much money at the time; she was working as a full time Rn and working overtime everyday. My middle brother was deep into drugs and violence and at times wouldn’t come home for weeks or months at a time. My oldest brother was in rehabilitation and was dealing with his own drug problems.
My mom was already in debt plus she was paying for my brother’s rehabilitation costs. My family has never been very religious, but usually went to Church now and then. After the divorce, my mom began to get me and her involved with the Church of Christ. One day my mom managed to convince my oldest brother to come to Church. During the sermon, which was about becoming a Christian and devoting your life to God, my brother changed his heart. A week or so later he became a Christian and was baptized; he was a different brother — literally.
You could see it in his eyes…
a peace that he never seemed to have had. He became drug and smoke free at that point; the rehabilitation center couldn’t make him change or stop abusing himself with drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc, but when he was baptized, physically and spiritually, he had the power to stop and he did. A week prior to my baptism, my mom and I were at a retreat with our Church’s Singles group. One night during the retreat the group gathered at an outdoor stone amphitheatre.
The stars were completely visible, hundreds of them.We sang praises to God and had a devotional. I began to get tired, so I laid down on one of the stone steps. As I was falling asleep I began to absorb the sounds of the music and praises around me.
.. all of a sudden it hit me: I remembered my mom reading me a scripture that Jesus himself spoke, “I am the Way the Truth and the Light, no one comes to the Father, but by the Son. ” My mom used to read me verses from the Bible to help me be a more spiritual person, she wanted my life to be different.She didn’t want me to have the problems and sadness that her and my brothers had. I made my choice: I was going to be baptized a week from then and become a Christian. A few years later my middle brother was at his friend’s house (18 or 19 at the time).
It was the middle of the night and they were smoking and drinking. His friend eventually passed out. My brother was struck by a brief thought: He had been into drugs, alcohol, and violence (gang related) for 8 or 9 years; his life was declining and he was becoming consumed by his problems.He got up and ran to our house (which is a mile or so away). He knocked on the backdoor until my mom finally came and opened it. It was 2:00 AM now.
He told her his thoughts and began to cry. She and him talked about Christ. He knew at that point he needed God, salvation, and a sinless life. My mom called an elder and woke him up; they all met at the Church and my brother was baptized.
Since then he has baptized three people, I have baptized my best friend, and my mom convinced my grandparents to become Christians and be baptized.My middle brother went into a Christian rehabilitation center to develop a stronger resistance to his problems. I’m saving up money to get into Abilene Christian University, my mom can’t afford it, but I’m aiming for scholarships and grants. I plan to get involved with missions and start several churches in America with my brothers. My family was torn apart, Godless, empty..
. myself included, but through the sacrifice of God’s Son we now have a stronger unity with each other, salvation, and most importantly — a relationship with God.