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Plunging into a New Life: Spring Baptism
By Katie Hart - April 16, 2009

Shelley Gilbert and Shawn Maree McCowan contributed to this report.

On a cool April evening, Rock Church pastors in board shorts and t-shirts baptized nearly 200 children, teenagers, young people and adults in Mission Beach's Plunge indoor pool.

Baptism at the plunge

As the Mike Clark Band played worship music, people shared their stories of how they came to be baptized.

The Light at the End of the Darkness

John Jr. was there only after his Uncle Billy spent the night battling for John's soul. The look on Billy and John Jr.'s faces when they came up out of the water was pure joy. But the night before had been full of darkness.

Billy got a disturbing phone call the night before the baptism. John Jr. had started using drugs again. He had locked himself in his bedroom, moaning and yelling as Ozzy Osborn music played. Billy called Mike Powers, the leader of the Rock Church's Surf Ministry, to ask for guidance and prayer before going to talk with with his nephew.

Billy arrived at John Jr.'s house and pleaded with him to unlock the bedroom door. John finally relented. Billy spent the next few hours reading the Bible to John and praying over him. He felt certain that spiritual darkness enveloped the room, and he was involved in spiritual warfare as a battle raged for John Jr.'s soul.

Mike told Billy about the baptism the next night. While Billy witnessed to John he told him of the event. John Jr. agreed to go and be baptized. Peace permeated the silent house now. John Jr. rested with anticipation of the following day. The baptism marked a new day, a new life in Christ. A life of forgiveness, love and acceptance. There is no looking back, only going forward in the Lord.

Many Faces, Many Stories

Carrie Clark had been a Christian for two whole days. “My sins are washed away!” she said.

Rock Associate Pastor Ricky Page and his wife, Nova, had the privilege of baptizing their 7-year-old son, Elisha.

Tiffany from Human Traffic Ministry said, “I am making a public announcement to others and to God and this is an expression of my faith."

Heidemarie and  her husband had tears streaming down their cheeks. “I’m here to tell the world about how much God means to me,” she said.

Reggie, who was saved two years ago, said, “God told me it was time to do this!”

Kevin said, “After 17 years of following God, I am finally getting baptized.”

“I’ve been walking with God for 6 months,” Bree Olds said joyfully, “and I wanted to wash away the sins and get closer to God.”

Carrie Clark had been a Christian for two whole days. “My sins are washed away!” she said.

Children's Pastor David Robles said 17 children who had gone through the Pebbles class were baptized, but of course many more came with their parents to be baptized.

Ryan Cassidy’s whole family got baptized: his wife Courtney and their two beautiful young girls, Madison and Kaelie. Ryan said, “For me this is confirmation of a new start of a job for Jesus and for my children.”

Jasmine Tagalog said,” I was born into a Catholic family. My grandma introduced me to Jesus. God has been calling me back to church. A co-worker invited me to the Rock. Since then God is drawing me closer to Him. This is my public showing to others my faith in Jesus.”

Why did Brianna Porras, 9, want to be baptized? “Because I’m into God,” she said. “When I get baptized I’m going to serve the Lord because He’s a nice guy who likes to take care of us.”

Nine-year-old Alex Dixon, who serves in the Hospitality Ministry, was also getting baptized that evening: “I wanted to become a member of Jesus’ disciples.”

Baptism at the plunge

Alejandro Young, 13, wanted to be baptized so that “God can forgive me for all my sins and I can go to heaven.”

His mother Maria, who was baptized as an infant in the Catholic church, joined her son in getting baptized that night. “I’ve wanted to (get baptized) for the longest time," said Maria. "I started coming to the Lord, but I wasn’t ready yet, but I was getting closer and closer. I knew it was my calling.”

Kimberly and David Kuykendall, ages 23 and 21, joined with those getting baptized.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I just didn’t have the right place or the right time,” said Kimberly. To her, baptism means “..showing your public love for Christ and showing your relationship with the Lord.”

For David, getting baptized means a new start. “It’s a way to strengthen my relationship with God, to start over and wash everything clean, to have a clean slate,” he said.

Their parents, Harrison and Kimberly, were thrilled to witness their children make this public declaration of their faith. “It’s the most important day of my life, and I hope it’s theirs, too,” said Kimberly.

“My daughter has wanted to do this forever and I’m glad today’s the day,” said Harrison.
Nine-year-old Kayla Steele said “She wanted to give her sin to God.”

Tracey Williams wanted to make the commitment to get closer to God.

Jennifer Simpson, who used to doubt whether Jesus and God were the same, decided to become baptized to signify that she now knows the truth of Jesus and God being equal. 

Sisters Jessica Brown and Kelly Hamill were getting baptized so they could further their walk with the Lord.

Walter and Ellen were baptized, to the joy of their daughter Samantha, who said she had been trying for years to get her parents to go back to church. "Never did I think they would, but the Lord moved in their hearts."

Prayers for Discipleship

At the end of the glorious night, Ashley Monzon said her baptism experience will help her move forward in her relationship with the Lord.

Please continue to pray for all our brothers and sisters who were baptized at the Plunge. Pray that they will get plugged into small groups and Bible studies, and that their walk with God will become stronger each day.

(Note: writer Shawn McCowan's two daughters were baptized this night as well.)