Let me tell you the story of how I got baptized… First off, I didn’t expect to get baptized today, it was sort of a spontaneous decision.
On January 23, 2013 I had made the commitment to follow Jesus after years of exploring religion and Christianity. And for the past few years I’ve have been wanting to get baptized, but hadn’t found the right time, the right church, or the right opportunity. Although I live in San Diego, it was important for me to get baptized in the Atlantic Ocean because I grew up in New York and Boston, and spend my summers as a kid at the Jersey Shore. So it was important for me to get baptized in Ocean Grove, New Jersey
For the past few years I’ve felt like I’ve been ready to get baptized, but I’ve been wanting to have my daughter and maybe other members of my family be with me. My daughter is a teenager now and has a busy life of her own, so the past few summers it hasn’t lined up that she has been able to come with me. And for the next couple summers, it’s going to be hard to predict if that could happen.
So I had said a little prayer to God: “I really want to be baptized. I want to be baptized in the Atlantic Ocean, and if it is meant to happen or if the time is right let the situation manifest in front of me.”
So then on this trip, in the summer of 2018, when I came to the East Coast to visit my mother at her beach house in New Jersey, there was a group performing Worship music at the pavilion on the boardwalk. They were a fabulous group. I immediately fell in love with this small church group. Mostly because of the love that I felt between each one of them. They announced that they were going to do baptisms the next day on Sunday. So I decided, “Well, I want to come back and I want to watch the baptisms, but seems like it’s a baptism for their group only”. I had talked to a few of them, they were very, very friendly. I just really loved this group of people. They’re from a church called Ignite Church in Newark, New Jersey.
I came back the next day to listen to their fabulous worship music and also to listen to their preacher. And then the pastor made an invitation “If anybody else would like to join us and get baptized we have a t-shirt for you”. They had special t-shirts. And I said to myself: “Oh, I don’t know if this is right. My daughter is not here. But I really want to do it. I don’t want to wait any longer to get baptized. Oh, I’m not sure…” And then the pastor made the announcement again, and I said to myself:
“This is it. This is the church, even though I don’t know them and I just met them. This is the church! This is the time! This is the opportunity!”
And so I went up and I said “I want to be baptized too,” and they were all very welcoming and I put the shirt on. I made friends with a woman named Amarilis, and I asked her if she would take pictures of me while I was being baptized so that I could document the event. And the water was so warm and it had previously been cold the day before and the tide was low and everybody cheered me and welcomed me and I felt so much love, and I felt so happy. It was a full immersion baptism.
The wonderful thing about the experience was it felt like a wedding. And I knew it would be a special day, but I had no clue it would feel like a wedding! I felt like I had just gotten married to Jesus, and it was such a wonderful, wonderful feeling and they were the perfect group!
Here is a picture of Amarilis and me. I was very blessed to have met Amarilis Padilla there at the baptism. She befriended me and who took these wonderful pictures. You can find her at http://herhopearises.com/
I plan on staying in touch with Ignite Church, and hope to bless them as they have done so for me.
Here is a pic of the whole group from Ignite Church in Newark, New Jersey who were baptizing and getting baptized.
Blessings to everyone who’s reading this, and thank you to witnessing my journey.