Baptism Testimonies

See testimonies from people baptized at First Church

November 25th, 2018

Laurel Nelson

Growing up, my family never attended church, but I was always curious about religion and God.  Even as an adult, I was still curious, and I felt as if some part of my life was missing. This summer, I had what I considered to be a sign from God nudging me forward in my religious search.  I started looking into churches in the area, and I landed at First Church of God. From the first service I attended, I felt “home.” The more I attended, the more whole I felt, and the happier I felt.  One service in particular was very powerful and moving for me, and I believe that is when I fully accepted Christ into my life as my Lord and Saviour. I am excited to be baptised as the next step in my spiritual journey, one that will root me deeper within Christianity and my faith.

Lake Michigan Baptism 2018

August 19th, 2018

Schaeffer Ott

One day when I was five or six, I was thinking about God and Jesus. I heard the resurrection story before, I know it by heart. That same day I asked Jesus into my heart, by myself! A few months later, it was Easter and my family was talking about Jesus and my parents talked about asking Jesus into our heart. Then I finally told my parents that I had already did that. I want to be baptised to show everyone I want to be like God and show his love to others.

Imogene Carpenter

I open the door of my heart and ask you to be my Savior and Lord. Please forgive my sins and help me to live for you.

Steven Machurick

Growing up my family never went to church, so I never got in tune with a higher power. After losing my father, I became a full blown alcoholic which led to my drug addiction. That landed me in rehab where I learned I needed something more in life. Then when I got locked up for months, I actually dug deep into the bible seeking guidance. I came to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason and that reason was to find my Savior Jesus Christ. Now one year sober I know I no longer have to walk this road of recovery alone.

Catherine Pastrick

I was baptized as a baby and raised Catholic but never had any form of a relationship with Christ. I went through every class and Confirmation because it was what I was suppose to do as a Catholic child. I struggled to connect with a higher power and occasionally went to church but it was all a front. After losing my dad 4 years ago, my life began to spiral out of control and I made many extremely bad decisions and I lost any faith whatsoever. I found myself homeless, broke, depressed, and addicted to alcohol and drugs. My life was completely out of control and I didn’t know how to fix it nor did I have the desire to change at all. It wasn’t until I went to rehab in May that I began to completely open my heart to a relationship with Christ. I’ve found that without Him, recovery would be impossible for me. I want to be baptized again at 27 to solidify my faith and show that this was a choice that I consciously made for myself and that my future as a recovering addict is intertwined completely in the belief that I can’t do this on my own, that my past doesn’t define me because I’m worthy in Christ’s eyes. My life has made a complete 180 and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family, close friends, and most importantly Jesus Christ.

Rhonda Stilwell

I have always had faith in God. When I was young, I attended church with my family consistently, but once we moved, we stopped going. When I met an influencing friend, she guided me to grow a closer relationship with God. My family and I began to attend her Lutheran Church on a basis, but we eventually stopped going because it did not feel like home to me. In the hardest points in my life, I turned to God to help and healing. After all, God is who cured my illness in June 2016. With love, prayer, and faith, I am healthy again and I cannot be more blessed. Once my daughter became to attend church again, I found the will to go to the church to grow closer to God again. First church has allowed me to grow as a Christian in many ways and most of it feels like home. For my next step in my Christian faith, choose to be baptized to show my love for Jesus Christ and that I am a follower.

Taylor Stilwell

When I was young I occasionally attended a Lutheran church with close friends. After attending vacation bible school for a couple years as a child, I still did not feel as connected to God. Once I began attending youth group at First Church, I began to feel at home and I began to strive to be more connected my faith. I always planned on getting baptised when I was a young teenager, but I never through with it. Now that I am an adult, I have realized that being baptized is something that is really important to me. After turning to God in difficult times in my life, I am making the decision to take the step forward to prove that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

Bruce Cole

I grew up in a church family and accepted Jesus into my life at a church camp at a young age. Time passed and I was never baptized. It seemed like there was never the right time. I want this Baptism to be a sign of my faith and my dedication to the Lord.

Samantha Farmer

Before I let Jesus into my life I was very lost. I would spend a lot of time by myself, and I had a very negative outlook on life. After I started going to First Church, talking to people and praying, I realized that I wasn’t alone. I noticed that I could get through the darkest of days with Jesus by my side, and now. I try to help as many people as I can throughout my day. My faith has brought my peace and I am excited to take the next step in my journey with the Lord.

Elizabeth Mayer

When I was younger I watched my siblings get baptized. I thought it was really cool and I wanted to be baptized too, but never actually knew what it meant. Now I am 10 and I understand what it means to follow Jesus and invite him into my heart. He’s my forever friend and I will praise him with all my heart. I want to be baptized because I want to show everyone that I follow the Lord and I will do my best to always praise Him.

Barb Vegter

Being baptized as a child and growing up in a Christian home gave me the foundation I needed to live a Christian life. Looking back on my life I’m able to see God’s hand in my relationships, my marriage, raising our family,and in ministry to others. Events in my life during the past two years have caused me to rely more on prayer and God. I’ve never doubted that God was with me, but I haven’t always reached out. Now, through prayer, Bible studies, and Christian friends I’m seeing more vividly how God is working in my life to bring me closer to Him. So when the opportunity for baptism came this time, I felt a nudge from God and decided to act on it. I’m thrilled to be taking the step to a more faith-filled life with Christ!

Lisa Wolf

I have been a member of First Church for a few years but I haven’t come to church as much as I needed and didn’t have the dedication to God that I needed. Unfortunately, it took my life falling apart to realize that I needed to find God’s plan for me. It is time for me to start living the life God wants me to.

Sarah Gambill

I was raised Lutheran and was baptized as a baby. I have believed in God, but it wasn’t until I started attending First Church when I realized there was so much more I was missing. I was missing the personal relationship with Jesus. I joined a Just for Joy study and met so many wonderful women who had that missing piece. I continued with more studies and began to grow deeper in my relationship with Christ. Now, I want to be baptized to show my commitment to always pursuing my relationship with God.

Julie Jasper

I’m a firm believer in God’s plan and that everything happens for a reason. I was baptized as an infant in the Lutheran Church but have always felt somewhat disconnected in my relationship with God ever since high school. My life was so busy and church made me feel like I was partaking in more of a “religion” than a relationship with Christ. I stopped attending church regularly but after going through a tough breakup and my parents divorce I drew closer to God. I witnessed how much God changed my mom’s life and how he helped her through the hardest time in her life. She is the strongest woman I know and I thank God that he did that for her and for me so I could have such a strong woman in my life. I knew I wanted what she had. For awhile I was committed but I let life get in the way again and didn’t make time for God. I miss that way it felt to be closer to Him. My whole life I have battled anxiety and the only time I truly felt like it was no longer a constant issue in my life was when I drew close to God and trusted Him. I want to recommit to Him and live the amazing life He has planned for me. As I look towards the next year I have some big decisions coming up. As a college student it’s my time to decide what I want to do with my life and who I want to be. And while I can’t say I have it all figured out I know that God does, I want him to show me the right path. All this has been going through my head for awhile. Which brings me back to everything happening for a reason. After I had stopped attending church my sister suggested we try this place called First Church that her coworker attended. After the first service it felt like home. I finally felt like I was back on the right track and where I was supposed to be but something was still missing. That’s when the opportunity to be baptized came up and instantly I knew that was what I wanted. It means so much to me this wasn’t something that was decided for me but something that I decided. I want the world to know I am committed to my relationship with God and that I look forward to what the future brings with Him.

April Neal

I was baptized Catholic and raised that most of my life. Once I had my daughter 3 years ago I felt like something was missing in my relationship with God. I felt like I was just coasting in life and just going to church out of habit, not out of desire. I knew something had to change. In 2017, I had a miscarriage and I struggled a lot with that. That tragedy flamed a desire to have a better, stronger, deeper relationship with Christ. I then started bringing my family to First Church of God, and my first time there I felt I was exactly where I needed to be. I have the Holy Spirit move in a way I have never felt it move before. I feel Baptism is the next step in my spiritual journey as I can now as an adult declare my devotion to Christ. I desire for the world to know I choose Christ. Church is no longer a chore, but a choice that I thoroughly enjoy. I have known all along I was a child of God, but now I truly believe it.

Hannah Caudell

Before I went into Jesus’s hands I made some bad choices. Now that I am Jesus’ forever friend, he will help me make better choices. I want to invite other people into Jesus’s hands. I want to represent God in all I do.

Landon Hall

I love Jesus because he guides me through my life. I love Jesus because he died on the cross for me. I want to get baptized because I want to have a new relationship with Jesus.

Tanner Hall

I love Jesus because he died on the cross to save our sins. He also guides me through the right path, he is so wonderful to me and everyone around me. I want to get baptized so I can deepen my relationship with Jesus. He is the best person ever!

Jordyn Franklin

I want to be baptized because I decided to follow Jesus, to be his forever friend. I never got baptized when I was a baby and now I decided I want to be.

Isabelle Holwerda

Before Jesus I was mean and bossy to my brothers, sisters, and friends. One night I remembered a lie I told my dad, that made me feel really bad and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted to pray about my sin and I asked Jesus to be the King in my heart.

Kane Howell

I feel like I have always believed in Jesus. I really knew that I believed when I got hurt when playing kickball, I prayed for God to help because I was scared. I want to thank my mom for praying with me.

Kellie Damaske

About 5 years ago, we began attending First Church we quickly realized God had brought us to our new church home. Each one of us in our family of three had been baptized as infants. During middle school, while at Warner Camp, our son Zane was re-baptized at Lake Lester. That was a very emotional time and what a blessing it was to have Chris Spitters and Caleb weeks, along with the rest of the ministry staff and campers standing there alongside of him. This spring, we had an opportunity to add a member to our family, Dylan has been attending church with us. He is becoming more involved with the high school youth group and has expressed a desire to be baptized. We decided to share this lake baptism as a family. We are thankful to be able to call First Church our home and look forward to what God has in store for our future.

Dylan Kole

I am a 16 year old that has been through alot growing up. I was lost/taken from both of my parents when I was 2 years of age, I was placed into foster care. I want to be baptized because nobody in my family has been. I want to prove to people that I am not the same person I used to be and show them I can make a change. I also love the fact that I am given this opportunity to do this with my new family. I have been able to actually feel happy and move forward with my life to show this family what I am capable of, even though they may already see it. I feel alot better personally and I would like to follow my Heavenly Father’s footsteps.

Asa Long

I think that I was two or three when I accepted Jesus into my heart, but I prayed about it this year at VBS when I was 6. Now that I know Jesus, I want to pray and read the bible more. I am excited to get baptized because I get to follow Jesus and I think it will make me have a better life.

Justin Damaske

Baptism as a family is something that is very important to us. We work very hard at keeping God first. Becoming baptized again means that we are renewing our faith and stating we are one with Him. Kellie and I do this as husband and wife. God has an amazing path for us. This October 4th will be 10 years that we’ve been married. We have two constants in our lives through it all. First is God, and second is love. We are trying to lead by good example. Being re-baptized we feel that shows Zane and Dylan we are strong with God and all things are possible with Him on our side. We want our lives to be God driven as we grow with Him and each other through the coming years.

NOVEMBER 26th, 2017

Scottie McKie

I am excited to be baptized! I grew up in church and have always believed in God, but I never took the step of being baptized. Now is the time for me! I do this out of love for God. There have been many obstacles put in my way over the years and I have come to know through my faith and love for God that He doesn't bring us to (obstacles) but he sure does help us through (our struggles).

Jakob Diamond – 11 years old

At VBS two years ago, I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. For the past year, I felt strongly that I wanted to be baptized as the next step in my relationship with Jesus. I want other people to know that I’m a Christ follower. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


Jason Holok

I grew up in the Catholic Church and was baptized as an infant. I never felt connected to God growing up and he was not part of my day to day life. I moved to Michigan and accepted a teaching position at Lakeshore. I became involved in young life and in Colorado at a young life camp I made the personal decision to follow Jesus. For the first time I realized God wanted a relationship with me and from that point forward I made Him a part of my entire life. I want to take this step to be baptized for myself and as a symbol to my family and friends that I will continue to follow Jesus and walk with him always.

Lisa Holok

I was baptized as a young child by my parents and wanted this opportunity to be baptized as an adult. I have felt God pulling at my heart strings the last few years to make this step in my faith journey. I've spent my entire life in the church, part of youth groups, and young life. I made the personal decision to follow Christ in 7th grade and have actively been walking with Him since. There have been missteps and bumps along my journey but Christ has always welcomed me back. I am beyond excited to be baptized in front of my family, friends, and fellow church brothers and sisters and to continue sharing the never ending love story of Jesus.

Tim Vriezema

I was baptized as an infant (sort of). When in my late 20’s my mom mentioned to me that during my infant baptism, there was no water in the baptismal. So instead of asking someone to go get some water, the pastor simply ‘went through the motions’ of baptizing me. Basically, I was never baptized. Upon finding this out, I contacted my pastor to ‘correct’ this error and asked if he would baptize me. I was in my late 20’s when this pastor baptized me (with water this time). 

So why now? Why again? 

When I was baptized, I was ‘correcting an error’ that had occurred in my infant baptism. As I have studied and learned more about baptism, I realize that it is a cause for GREAT CELEBRATION.  It is a renewal of coming out of the water a new person through the completed work of Christ. The water of baptism washes over me just as Christ’s blood washes away my sinfulness. I feel I missed out on this previously, I wish to CELEBRATE this time with the joy of what Christ has done for me.

Pat Breitkreuz

In my younger years I made some poor choices. Although I was baptized as a baby and grew up in a Christian home, it is First Church where I’ve felt a closer walk with God and I want to confirm my faith and be even closer to God. I want to set an example to my children, grandchildren, husband and friends that I am serious about my love for God. Thank you for this opportunity to be baptized.

Sarah Knapp

I grew up in the Catholic church & was baptized as a baby. I went to church with my family every weekend, and then every once in awhile. In college I drifted away from God and stopped going to church. This unfortunately lasted years, and I made some terrible decisions as a result of following my way, instead of God's way. After experiencing the tragic loss of my brother, I Instinctually broke down and asked for God's help. Immediately a weight was lifted off my heart. I understand I need Him in my life, and feel led to take the next step of baptism.

Kelly Pedroza

When I was a little girl, I prayed with my Aunt Mariam. My relationship with Christ now is strong, because I read the Bible more often, so I feel closer to Him than I did as a child. I want to get baptized, because I feel like it will be a change in my life and I want everyone to know my love for God.

Chris Regan

I was raised Catholic, baptized when I was a newborn and I accepted Jesus as my Savior back when I was 15. Prior to accepting Jesus, my life was filled with sports, video games and interest in girls – pretty typical for a middle school kid. During this time, I didn’t have much care for things that didn’t directly benefit me. Yes, I was a selfish kid (surprise) but I also had a great family and extended family. We cared very much for each other and my parents did teach me how to love and respect others.

Colin Fry was my close friend who started me down the path of salvation. He invited me, along with several other friends, to join a small group led by Scott Nolte. This group taught me what it meant to be a Christ-follower, and, eventually, the courage to take a leap of faith during a winter retreat at Warner Camp. It was an incredible moment when I accepted Jesus into my heart, but my life didn’t drastically change. I was still an immature teenager. It took several years (insert my wife, Megan) for me to truly accept the responsibility of the decision I had made when I was 15-years-old. Thank you for everything, my love.

I used to look at my testimony as not good enough to share, because my transformation wouldn’t draw someone to tears or rouse an applause. Now I see my story as a gift and I thank God I didn’t have to go through extreme trials in my life before coming to Him. I know there are others in the same boat and, hopefully, these words can help you on your journey, too.

Megan Regan

I was baptized and raised a Catholic. I’ve believed in Jesus for as long as I can remember, although I have not always been on fire about following His teachings. Many times in the past I decided “my way” was better. It wasn’t until I became a mother that my faith became completely real to me. I was truly seeing for the first time God as the all-loving Father that He is. If I as a human can love my children as much as I do, how much more does He love us as His children! As a mother, I also realized that parenthood carries a huge responsibility. Not just the responsibility of taking care of the day-to-day needs of my children, but also the responsibility of being a living, breathing example of the hands and feet of Jesus to my children. They will know Jesus by my conduct, by the “fruit” of my life. It is time for me to reaffirm my faith through baptism and let the Spirit shine though the fruit of my life.

Elizabeth Remington

I have chose to be baptized as a adult because I want to restore my faith in God. I have needed God this past year and I have felt the presence of him. I know he has guided and helped me through it all. I love First Church.

Tabitha Winans

I was raised Catholic and was baptized as an infant. I went to the Catholic Church and Lake Michigan Catholic schools until I was a sophomore in high school and just never felt at home in my church. When I switched over to Saint Joseph High School my mother decided that we should start looking for a different church, for various reasons. When we walked into First Church the first time the atmosphere was just so loving and happy, we knew that this was the church for us. Not only was the church significantly more accepting, it was a joy to be there, for the first time in my life I enjoyed going to church. Every single sermon seemed to hit home and speak to me. As some of you may know, my family has recently fallen into some trying times and Pastor Colp, his wife, and the entire congregation have been an absolute blessing to us. They have shown me that the answer to every problem is to delve deeper into your faith, read your bible, and trust that the Lord has a plan. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to give my life to Christ than to be baptized by the very church that has shown me so much and loved me so deeply. It is an honor to be a part of this amazing church. I love you all.

Anthony Carl Ealey, Jr.

My life before I knew Jesus wasn’t the best. I wouldn’t want to do anything, but play video games. But now I want to do more. I want to go to church. Now I want to b3e a fisherman of Christ. I want to see other people go to church and get baptized. I thank my whole family and the whole First Church of God for bring me to the Lord.

Madison Danapilis

When I was a 9-year-old, I wanted Jesus to be my forever friend. I made that decision at VBS at the St. Joseph campus. I am 11-years-old now and I want to be baptized, so I can be closer to God. I want everyone to know that he is my forever friend.

Ryley Danapilis

When I was 7-years-old, I accepted Jesus as my forever friend at VBS, and I was thinking I should get baptized, because I want to get closer to Jesus.

Tristian Lackey

Honestly, I can’t remember my life before Jesus, yet I do know that I re-dedicated my life with Jesus when I was 10 (last year). I was at Warner Camp when this happened. I have been trying very hard to be kind and not complain about things. I have been doing the “Know God” daily devotional to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. My leaders are Pastor Bill and Mrs. Tracey. Pastor Bill (Your Royal Highness) talks about God to help me and others understand the all-powerful Lord of creation.

Adan Reyna

I accepted Jesus when I was 7-years-old. I was at Vacation Bible School and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Before I made Jesus my forever friend, I always wanted to get my way, but now I try to make better choices. David is my small group leader and he is really fun! He helps me understand the Bible better. My family is special because they help show me who Jesus really is. I am excited to be baptized, because I’m ready to give my whole life over to Jesus.

Vivian Rose

I accepted Jesus when I was 7-years-old. I was at church and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Before I accepted Jesus, I bickered a lot with my brother and lied and made unwise choices that only led to trouble and sitting on the stairs. Now that I want to follow God for the rest of my life, I try to be kinder to my brother and make better choices. I try not to complain about emptying/loading the dishwasher and other things like when Dad has to go to Lowe’s, the Home Depot, Menards, etc. I am excited to be baptized because I want to let everyone know about my love for Jesus.

Laina Todd

I accepted Jesus a few years ago while my mom was reading the Bible to me. Before I accepted Jesus, I was more selfish and always wanted my own way. But now, I try not to be selfish and let my brother and sister get their way sometimes, too. Now, since I’m going to accept Jesus for the rest of my life, I’m going to try to read the Bible more and talk to God every day. I’m excited to get baptized, because I want to let everyone know how much I love Jesus. I’m ready to give him my whole life.


Noah Toney (8 years old)

I want to be baptized because I have made some bad choices in the past and I want to be forgiven by God and be able to go to heaven someday and be reborn. After I'm baptized, I want to live a good life and follow Jesus.

Cole Toney (13 years old)

At this point in my life, I feel like I would like to take the next step to become closer to God through baptism. I want to be forgiven of my sins and show everyone that I am encouraged to do my best. I also want to be baptized so I can become just like Jesus and go to heaven. 

Barry Adams

Baptism, to me, means a fresh start. I come from a family that did not go to church much at all. Just an occasional wedding every so often was the extent of my exposure to church. Up until the spring of this year though I had always enjoyed whichever church I visited, but I always found an excuse not to go to church. The Alpha class I attended in this past spring made me realize what I had been missing all of my life within the church. I would like the chance to be cleansed of my sins and dedicate my new life with Jesus Christ as my personal savior. I want to serve Jesus Christ as many ways as possible for the balance of my remaining life.

Bella Bacolor, age 11

Parents: John and Connie Bacolor

I was 7 years old when Jesus really became a big part in my life. It was after VBS when I made the decision to live for Jesus. That decision really impacted me because before I was somewhat selfish and made choices I regret. Now I make better choices and live my life for Jesus not for me. I pray often to God and read my Bible more. My small group leader was Ms. Amy. She had really helped us along the way. I would like to thank my family and friends because they have shown so much support and showed my heart who Jesus is. I am really, really excited to be baptized because I am ready to give my life to Jesus!

Nicole Baker:

God told me when I was a child that I belonged to Him. I have been a follower ever since. I was baptized as a baby and felt led to be baptized again to publicly declare, "I am His."

Kayla Braamse

I was taught about Jesus and salvation even before I could understand the depths of these concepts. I accepted Christ in first grade with my teacher. I went to a Christian school, attended church, and was involved in service from early on. However, I was still exposed to the world, and everything in it. God has always been a refuge for me. Although I am not always as true to Him as I should be, He always pulls through for me. When I lost my Grandpa to an accident, He was there. When I lost my brother to suicide, He was there. When I lost my Opa, He was there. When my family fell apart, He was there. He has always been there. I could not turn away from Him during these times. I needed Him more than anything or anyone. Of course, life still throws difficult hurdles at me which seem impossible to jump over, but I have jumped, and continue to jump over them--One. At. A. Time. I am not alone, and that is the only way I have survived. But I am done with just surviving. I want to thrive! That is why I have decided to follow Jesus and get baptized, in His name. Isaiah 12:2- “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord is my strength and my song; and he has become my salvation.”

Emily Caudell

I was baptized as a child in the Catholic church. When I was a sophomore in college, I felt that something in my life was missing. On a spring break trip to visit some friends that year, I gave my life to Christ. I started to read the Bible and my relationship with Jesus grew. In the past few years, I have faced many personal struggles, including fertility issues and a divorce. Now, I am working to strengthen my relationship with Christ and learning that my true worth comes from Him. I am currently working at a faith-based medical clinic which allows me to share my faith with others. To me, this baptism is a chance to reaffirm my beliefs for myself, and to those around me, especially my daughter, Hannah.

Marie Eisbrenner

I was baptized as an infant and my parents took me to church every Sunday as a child. This developed into a pattern in my life, but as an adult I have the desire to make this choice for myself as a symbol of obedience to my Savior. God has stood beside me through many difficult situations in my life and has always brought me through, stronger, on the other side. My walk in faith has become a very important part of my life and I want the world to know it. I’ve felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to participate in this baptism and I am very excited to take this next step in my journey as a believer in Christ!

Will Fiesbeck, age 11

Parents: Kirk and Lindsay Fiesbeck

I have decided to be baptized because I would like to be closer to Jesus. I would like to thank my friends, Will and David, for showing me how to accept Jesus into my heart. Now that I’m being baptized, I will be closer to Jesus and, with His help, I will also try to be kinder. 

Jackson Galsterer, age 9

Parents: Richard and Rachelle Galsterer

I accepted Jesus when I was seven. Before I accepted Jesus I made unwise choices. But now that I want to follow God, I try to be kinder to people. I’d like to thank my camp leader for being such a special person in my life, for showing me who Jesus really is. I’m excited to be baptized because I’m ready to give my whole life over to Him. 

Rachelle Galsterer

Baptized as an infant and raised in the Catholic church, I’ve been a believer for as long as I can remember. Somewhere along the way, I started to feel that there was more to this faith—more to learn, more to do, more to understand. I know now He was pursuing me, drawing me closer to Him. God wanted a personal relationship with me and this has changed everything. Now I feel the joy that comes with experiencing His love; I feel completely overwhelmed by His mercy and greatness. I feel gratitude for my salvation and a responsibility to live according to His will and to serve Him. At every step, He has placed people in my life who inspire me, encourage me and model for me. For me, baptism is a personal affirmation of my obedience to the Lord Jesus and a natural and very exciting step in my faith journey.

Becky Graham

I will give my life to the Lord; I will call for help when I need it to make the right decisions. I will pray everyday for myself and for my church family. I love the Lord. I want to commit myself again to God and to this church through baptism.

Patricia Hacker

When I was ending a bad relationship, I was invited back to First Church for a church service. The sermon that Sunday was about forgiveness being the way to release the heavy burdens of resentment and anger, feelings I needed to let go of with the love of God and Jesus. I felt a wave of redemption that day. I know Jesus with me and continues each day to try to lead me with His grace and awareness.

Benson Holleman, age 12

Parents Ben & Mindy Holleman

I want to get baptized because I want to be free of sin and really love God. The reason I’m getting baptized now is because I’m reading the Bible a lot more and loving God more. I started a Bible study last school year and that really started up my relationship with God. Then just a couple of weeks ago, I went to Camp Geneva. One day we learned about John the Baptist and baptism; that is the day I truly decided to get baptized.

Ruben Holleman, age 9

Parents Ben & Mindy Holleman

I want to be baptized because I want to tell everybody I want to follow Jesus more. I have gone to church my whole life; I want to follow Jesus, so I act better. I read the Bible and try my best. It is important to follow God so you can teach other people so they can live a good life and go to heaven. It is hard to follow Jesus because of sin. You can’t live with God with sin, but when you get baptized, you can go under the water dirty with sin and then come up clean.

Brigitte Kelly

I have felt something was missing from my life for awhile, an emptiness that I haven't been able to fill no matter what I've tried to fill it with. God has led me to being baptized again. Plus, I'm doing it with my kids.

Grace Kelly

I want to be baptized to be closer with God. It feels like the right thing to do.

Owen Kelly

My heart is telling me being baptized is the right thing for me. I want to be closer with God.

Kate Kohtz

Why do I want to be baptized? Good question! I believe that Baptism is a powerful thing that sets us apart and marks us as God's children who share in Christ's death and resurrection. I was baptized as an infant and have always felt that I had faith in Christ Jesus and that the Holy Spirit was present in my life. I guess the best analogy I can think of is a renewal of vows. For many people, their marriage and relationship with their spouse grows, changes and develops into a deeper relationship over the years. I think a spiritual journey can be much the same. For me, I have really felt God working on my heart and speaking to me in new ways. I have felt like He is calling me to not only grow deeper in my faith but also to do more as a result of that faith. For me, baptism now is an outward expression of that call.


Matt Kohtz

I am excited to have the opportunity to be baptized in such a beautiful place. Having been raised by amazing Christian parents, and being baptized as an infant, I am grateful for the example of faith I have had my whole life. I desire to take this powerful step of faith ownership now as I seek to be buried with Him in His death, and be raised to new life by the power of His glorious resurrection. 


Brittany Merrill

Over a year ago I had a really tough situation because of mistakes I had made. I felt myself stray from God and my life shattered, and then I moved away. I came back to God this past year. I felt a tug on my heart to be baptized, to be washed in the blood and raised again as a new person. I am choosing to be a born-again Christian, to be HIS daughter, and to come to Him with open arms. “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” I want that to be the way I live my life!


Brody Roland

I am 18 and heading off to college this fall. My parents raised me in a Christian home, so I have always believed in God and had a great relationship with Him. I really started to chase after Him and grow closer to Him in high school, though, and since I'm about to be experiencing some major changes in my life, I felt that now is the time for me to finally be baptized. I know that my relationship with God is strong enough to help me face many things in life and not back down. The Bible says to believe and be baptized, and that is why I am taking this next step with God.

Christine Roland

I've been raised a Christian all my life. When my father died at a young age, I was very angry and constantly turned to God with my anger at the unfairness in life. Despite my anger, He was always there for me when no one else was and I have always had a strong relationship with Him.

I have always felt secure in my childhood baptism and never felt the call for adult baptism, despite praying about it. Now, as an adult, I'm ready to take the next step. I feel I have been following God's path for me but would like to feel more free in following what steps he has for me to fulfill His purpose. 

I feel God has always had a distinct purpose for me, and baptism is the next step.

Aedan Ruble, age 8

Parents Josh and Laura Ruble

I accepted Jesus in Little KidZone when I was about 6 years old. We talk about God a lot at church and at home and I knew that I wanted Jesus to be my forever friend. My dad brought me to the lake baptism service last year and I felt like being baptized was something that God really wanted me to do. I know that I am a sinner and that I need a Savior. I prayed again at VBS this summer and asked Jesus into my heart. Now my heart feels full. I would like to thank Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and Duke and Be for showing me how to have a loving relationship with God. I am so excited to be baptized because I’m ready to give my whole life to Him!

Tiffany Southard

My walk with Christ has not been a short one. “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) Just as I know I will grow as I continue my walk with Christ as I publicly declare Jesus as my Lord and Savior. As David said about Him, “I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand. I will not be shaken.” (Acts 2:25)

Adam Walsworth, age 11

Parents Dana & Brett Walsworth

I’ve always felt like I’ve had a strong connection with God. My thoughts were confirmed when a small miracle happened to me. I was at my grandma and grandpa’s house when I was very young and was standing on a stool next to bookshelves on a wooden floor. No one else was in the room. I started falling, so I closed my eyes because I knew it would hurt when I hit the shelving. However, instead of cracking my head on the bookshelves, I landed back on the stool. I felt that an angel had caught me and saved me from hitting my head. 

When I went to Five Pines church camp a few years later, in Bible class I was taught that Jesus was knocking on the door of my heart, and only I could let him in. So I prayed and decided to let Jesus into my heart. From then on, I have been building my connection with Jesus. I pray regularly and I trust in Him to keep me safe, just like He did when I was a little boy.

Cubby Wolf, age 12

Parents Tom & Mary Jane Wolf

I first committed my life to Christ at a Five Pines camp in first-grade. Since then, I have made the same promise at VBS, VBX and other Christian camps. But now the next step for me is getting baptized. I know this means committing myself to Jesus in a public way. Please help me stay a follower of Jesus in my actions.

MARCH 27, 2015

Chris Smit

I was raised in a Dutch Reformed Church home and baptized as a infant. As part of a large Christian family, we regularly attended all church activities and I knew Jesus my whole life. I accepted Christ into my life when I was a teenager. In his love and mercy he redeemed me. I am honored to have Christ as my friend and Savior. That was approximately 50 years ago. I went on my life journey holding hands with Christ along the way. Sometimes I found myself walking in the same direction as Christ but not holding hands. However, my faith has always been strong and I corrected my errors. 

OCTOBER 18, 2015

Andrew Joseph Ferrell(age 9)

I accepted Jesus when I was 9 years old. I was at church and I asked Jesus to come into my heart. Before I made Jesus my forever friend, I made unwise choices. Now that I want to follow God for the rest of my life, I try to be a bit kinder and make better choices. My small group leader's name is Mr. Dave and he is really great. He is kind and funny and he challenges me to grow in my relationship with Jesus. I would like to thank my family for being such special people in my life and for showing me who Jesus really is. I am excited to be baptized because I want to let everyone know my love for Jesus.

Alexandra Kaye Biggins(age 8)

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was at Spring Hill Camp. It was the third day and we were talking about having Jesus in your heart. I didn’t yet, so they talked to me and that night I did! I am ready to be baptized.


Alexandra Kaye Biggins(age 8)

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was at Spring Hill Camp. It was the third day and we were talking about having Jesus in your heart. I didn’t yet, so they talked to me and that night I did! I am ready to be baptized.

Emily Elizabeth Biggins(age 6)

I took Jesus in my heart when I was at VBS. Now I know more about Jesus and want to keep getting to know Him better, and I pray more, too. I want to show people that I love Jesus and get baptized.

Riley Patrick Biggins (age 10)

I accepted Jesus into my life when I was 6-years-old (at VBS). When I was young, I lied and was mean a lot, but now that I know Jesus, I like to pray more. I want to thank Pastor Bill and my parents for teaching me about Jesus and helping me get to know Jesus better. I am ready to be baptized.

Tara Deam

I want to be baptized to show the world that I am a follower of Jesus/God.

Noel Nicole Dickey

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 7-years-old. My mommy prayed with me after devotionals one night before bed. Before I made Jesus my Savior, I was mean to my brother and just wanted my way all the time. But now that I want to follow God for the rest of my life, I try not to complain and be mean. My small group leader is Mr. Leaf, and he is really cool because he helps me to understand the Bible more. I would like to thank my family members for showing me what it’s like to be a child of God. I am excited to get baptized, because I want everyone to know that I love Jesus!

Nancy Dunlop

I was baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church and went to church everySunday, really just going through the motion because that's what was expected of me.

I have always believed in God, but did not truly feel the Holy Spirit within me until now!

I want to be baptized to show God that I accept him and want to walk the rest of my days with him, here on earth and in heaven.

Deedy Fowler

I was born into a large Catholic Family and christened as an infant. I meandered my way through life pretty much doing what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. Still I felt something was missing from my life as I had no relationship with Jesus, only head knowledge I learned in passing conversations.

I was married to the love of my life in 1982 and when our daughter was young she asked why we did not attend church like other families. Fortunately my mother and father in-law would take her to church with them and she would attendSundayschool most weeks. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I really began to experience a huge void in my life and felt I was not giving my family the best of “me” because I did not know who that was. I had a very special Sister in Christ come into my life and lead me to Jesus in October of 1996. I started attending FCOG in St Joe and visited a few others. There was one sermon I will never forget when Pastor Bob Moss was reciting the Lord’s Prayer as if it was a personal conversation between Jesus and I. I only knew this repetitious recital as part of ritual during the Catholic Mass. It brought me to tears to understand it for the first time on a very intimate level with my Lord. He loved me and had a plan for my life.

My decision to finally get baptized as an adult has been way overdue. I have the very special honor of sharing this blessing with my husband Larry. God is good and ever faithful, extending grace to even someone like me.

Larry Fowler

I first started thinking about being baptized as an adult after going to watch the one at Jean Klock beach in 2011.I really wanted to do it the last two years in the lake but driving schedule kept me from doing it. Then after going on mission trip to Paraguay earlier this year I felt that this was something important I needed to do. I also want to show my daughter the change that Jesus has made in my life.

Mark Fry

I was baptized as an infant, and when I came to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ while in high school, figured that was done. As I came to know Jesus, I was stubborn and kept telling myself that I was baptized. So, after many years, Jesus and others I love said, “but your baptism was not your act of obedience.” I love Jesus and want to be obedient to His will for me.

Sandy Hahn

I have always been a follower of Jesus, but I have not yet had the chance to publicly declare my faith as an adult. I was baptized as an infant, but it was not until sometime around high school that I was really able to grasp the reality of what it was that Jesus had done for me on the cross. From then on, it was a process as I began to dig deeper spiritually. My greatest influences continue to be my mom and my Godmother. Both of these women not only introduced me to a Christian life, but have continued to show what it looks like to live your life for Jesus, no matter what troubles come your way.

When asked to write this testimony, I found it very difficult to sum up my story. Fortunately, at the next service, Pastor Dave spoke about “storms.” The best way I can describe my reasoning for wanting to take the next step and be baptized is due to a “storm” in my life this year. I realized from the start that there was a strange, yet amazing, sense of peace and reassurance that Jesus was, and still is, with me in the boat throughout this storm. I guess you could say that this year removed any and all doubts…and as Pastor Dave said, we all need this “Who is this?” moment. This year I had mine. I pray that everyone at some point will experience a similar moment that shows the mysteriousness, greatness and love of Jesus Christ.

Benjamin Harlan

When I was nine I asked Jesus into my heart. He forgave me of my sins and I want to be baptized. I want to do what the Bible says and be baptized.

Cindy Jakeway

I was raised in a wonderful Christian home, andChristhas always been the center of my life. I attendedSundayschool, and later taughtSundayschool, I have been singing in Church choirs since I was about 4, since my mother was the choir director. I gave my lifeto Jesus when I was in MiddleSchool at aCrusade Meeting in Muskegon, Michigan. It changed my life. Of course things weren't perfect, I was young andstill went throughgrowing pains, but I always turned to myfaith to get me through any turmoil in my life.

I had always prayed to marry a wonderful Christian man, and God sent me one!! We have raised our three children inthe church and they have become wonderful Christian adults! I know now that I am older and feel even stronger in my Faith every year, I wanted to bebaptized. I don't remember my first one as a baby, since I was only three months old, and my parents dedicated me, and theysaid I cried andmessed my diaper...thank goodness I don't remember that day!!!

My parents were baptized in the River Jordan on a trip to Israel, and said what an spiritual experience it was ,so I wanted to be baptized in Lake Michigan because it is almost like John TheBaptist, baptizing Jesus in the River Jordan, or as close as I will ever get to that experience.Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I feel so blessed that I can do this as an outward sign of my Faith, and rededicating my life to Him.

Benjamin Ian Osborn

I was a Christian ever since I was about 6-years-old. I have also grown up in a Christian household. In VBS, Pastor Bill asked if anyone would like Jesus in their heart, and I said “yes,” so I prayed, with them. I just know that I am ready to be baptized! And I really want to follow him/Jesus my whole life.

Grace Newman

I decided to be a forever friend of Jesus at Warner Camp 2014. We where carrying crosses to Mosquito Hill, after an encouraging talk by Pastor Bill. From then on, I've been praying every night before bed, and have memorized the Father's prayer. That's how I know, it's the right time to devote my life to Jesus.

Nancy Rambow

I have always been a believer that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, but never knew the importance until I married and had children and wanted to bring them up in a Christian family. With many struggles in life, including losing my mother, father and brother, I know that it was my faith in God that got me thru it. But until this last year, facing the most difficult time in my life, was it that I truly understood the depth of how he worked in my life and how he prepared me for many of the challenges I faced. I live my life in a different way now, knowing that he has always been there with me. Each day takes on meaning, knowing his presence is there with me and that I take that special time with him each day.

Sean Ramsey

I asked Jesus Christ into my heart at the age of five. I have been praying to God almost all my life and have seen prayers answered. For the past couple of years I have drifted from my faith through and looked to possessions and substances to fill the void and slowly just started to feel more and more empty inside. I started to feel more and more empty inside. I started to shut out friends and family and was just heading down a dark and lonely path. I am ready to let go of that path and to start walking the path God wants for me. 

Bailey Rank

I have always believed in God and Jesus. I have always wanted to be baptized. The reason I want to be baptized is because I want to be a follower of Jesus and God, and I also want God and Jesus in my heart through the good and bad. That is why I want to be baptized.

Beverly Rank

I’ve had Jesus in my heart now for 40 years, but never have been baptized. Now I am going to be, along with my family. What a blessing. God is good. He’s so good to me!

Eric Rank

Growing up, my family and I attended church on a regular basis. I’ve always felt comfortable with my faith of Jesus dying on the cross for me. But, judgment of others has been a mental obstacle for me for years. The judgment came from other Christians who were friends of the family, acquaintances, and even family. They were quick to pass judgment on others and myself, using faith as a measuring stick and oftentimes holding themselves in higher regard.

I’m not perfect and I realize those individuals passing judgment weren’t either, but I’ve always believed that looking upon others around you as equals is actually easy and the right thing to do. I guess it has been a no-brainer for me so it’s been hard to understand why it happens, especially from a Christian.

Even though those experiences still hang with me I have come to a place where I realize that I’m good with my faith and those experiences have nothing to do with my relationship with Jesus.

Marie Rank

Being with God and Jesus makes me feel comfortable and happy and safe. I want Jesus to be my forever friend.

Natalie Rank

I was raised to believe in God, but wasn’t brought up going to church regularly. I began going to church more often when I met and was dating my now husband, Eric. We were married in 1994 and moved to St. Joe in 2003 where I met many people who attended First Church. Having children of our own, we wanted to have them belong to a church family and have a relationship with Christ. Since attending, I have felt a sense of peace that I didn’t have before. I feel my relationship with Jesus has grown and I would like to make an external commitment to follow Christ by being baptized. I have always wanted to be baptized, but when I was young it was because my friends were baptized. Now that I am older, I realize I want it for myself.

Roddy Ray

I was blessed to be introduced to God by my parents, who also taught me Jesus is Lord, the only son of God, and the Bible is God's holy word. I fear God and though I often fall short, I want to obey Him. Getting baptized is one way I can obey Him. I am grateful God drew me to Him and that I can talk to Jesus, that I receive so many blessings in daily life and most of all that I am saved. I will be baptized a grateful man. Finally, I hate Satan, and I suspect he hates my getting baptized. With my baptism I will proclaim I am the Lord's.

Monica Viviana Salvo

Over the last couple of years I've been felling a tug in my heart and recently that voice has gotten louder.I’ve accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and I want to follow that with gettingbaptized. Having God by my side over the last year, especially, has helped me make changes and work towards a better life. I know I am not perfect and we are born sinners, but having Jesus during the work of life makes the steps of life easier and knowing that I have a home with God in heaven is an unbelievable feeling. In gettingbaptized, I am professing to those around me that I am a child of God.

Sawyer Reed Satanek

When I was in first grade, I heard about baptism. They said, “if you get baptized, you’re letting Jesus into your heart.” So, I wanted to learn more about baptism. I went to VBS and learned more about baptism. I started to think about getting baptized. In third grade, I asked my mom if I could be baptized, but she said, “you should learn about Jesus before you get baptized.” We started listening to the Bible together. After I get baptized, I will be so happy, because Jesus is my forever friend.

Raiden Spoelman

My family is Christian, but I first came to Jesus for myself at Warner Camp in 2014 and have grown stronger ever since. I realize that as a Christian, I will never be alone on this journey of life.I enjoy be active in D Groups, Warner Camp, devotions with my mom, and volunteering for VBS. I want to bebaptizedto be publicly acknowledged as a believer in Christ and to be more Christ-like in all I do.

Alyssa Swanson

Ever since I began school, I’ve suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. I’ve always gone to church and prayed. But this past year, I’ve noticed that I’ve gone to church just to “be there,” and I was praying solely for what I wanted, instead of giving thanks or asking for forgiveness. I always believed, but I never felt that I fully let go and gave everything to Him. I felt that I could deal with everything by myself, and now I realize that I can’t anymore.

In a book I’ve been reading called, “Unashamed,” it says that your body is God’s temple 2.0 and by trusting yourself more than you trust God, by self-harming and by wanting control, you are destroying his temple. I never wanted to let go of control, even though it’s best for me. I want to feel good again and I’m ready to make that promise to God.

Jaime Swanson

Growing up, I've always been a part of the church, I don't remember a time when I wasn't praising God. I accepted Christ into my life in elementary school and have furthered my faith every single year since then. Now that I'm going off to college, it's a whole new experience. I wanted to get baptized to publicly declare that I am a follower of Jesus and to make our relationship stronger. College comes with many temptations and adulthood, and I want to walk through this new chapter in life with Jesus right by my side. I don't want the stress of school and life to tear our relationship, I want to commit to living every day for Him. Getting baptized is the next step in my faith, and being 18 and becoming independent, I feel that this is the right time for me in my heart. It's time for me to declare that God is my Savior and that I want to follow Him, not just follow what my parents have done thus far. I've always had a passion of helping others as well, so this will also allow me to reach out to others at college next year and help them find Christ, and share all the good he has done in my life. I want to fully commit my life to Jesus because living with him in your heart changes your life. We all go through struggles and hard times and looking to Jesus provides peace and comfort. I'm very excited to share with everyone my new commit to being a follower of Christ, and living my life for the sole purpose of serving Him and spreading his love and word to anyone that I come across.

Trisha Treat

I was raised by an agnostic mother and a post-Lutheran father. My grandparents on my father's side took me to church when I was very young, however my grandmother was somewhat of a tyrant. She instilled God in me with a sense of fear based on her singular personal belief and opinions. Eventually I went inward and shut God out after witnessing my grandfather have a massive heart attack next to me in church. I left my faith behind for 14 years until recently. I lost myself out there over the years. I was very depressed and feeling very muchalone and bitter. I denied God completely and went into a negative mode and eventually lost faith in myself as well. After losing my grandmother early March 2015 (not a whole year after losing my grandfather), I called on a dear friend who works at first church to pray for me. I don't know what came over me. I was drowning so deep in depression that I began to question the value of my life altogether.

I met with this friend just to find peace of mind. He invited me to the GoodFridayservice at the St. Joseph campus. Ever since, I have been going every week, to the Benton heights campus. Sometimes I wish I could tell my grandparents how much this means to me and how loved I feel. I found myself relating to the word. I began to feel chills when we would pray. I began to understand, and I began to know and love myself again, and love the God that never left me after all. I have never beenbaptizedand I want to give myself back to God, for him and his discipleshave given me another chance, a new understanding and a new loving feeling and friendship that has washed over me. No counselorcould ever make me feel as loved and wanted as my Benton heights family, as God himself does. Thankyou for this opportunity. I owe Him everything.

Anna Huyen Vi

I have always grown up in a Christian home, but when I was 6, I finally understood what it meant to be saved. I didn’t want to get baptized at first because I was scared to be in front of so many people, and then later I just never prioritized getting baptized. I have finally decided to lay down my concerns and become a new creation in Christ.

Dave Walberg

I used to, I’m getting toknow God! I was baptized before as an infant, but this baptism is my decision.

Mary Zech

I'm excited to follow Jesus' example of getting baptized, which was pleasing to God, as the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and he began his ministry. I was baptized as a baby, but now that I'm an adult, I want to show the world that it's my choice to belong to God and to follow Jesus.

I've been a believer my whole life, but kept living the way I always did, not thinking about the sinful things I was doing, or allowing into my mind. But, after hearing many sermons and reading Christian books, something finally clicked , and now I desire to put away my old, sinful self and become a new person in Christ and to be a better Christian, representing Jesus well here on earth. I feel like it's something I need and want to do, and that God is laying it on my heart to do it now.

I have tried to be a better person on my own, but I believe that being baptized will help me feel renewed and remind me that I am a new person, born again in Christ, and help me feel closer to God.


TERRY BLAKE At the age of eight I was baptized and started attending parochial school. Even though we were taught about God and the Bible, I never seemed to "get it." I left the church for many years and only talked to God when I needed him. I looked to people and things to fill an empty spot in my life. After much hurt in my life, God came knocking at my door. I began to slowly open that door and developed a relationship with him and now seek him daily. I now feel I am ready to walk this journey of life with God next to me holding my hand all the way. I now know that he is the one thing I was seeking and will always be my unfailing love. I look at baptism as the next step I need to take as a testimony to my faith..

AUDREY BOUGH I have been a Christian all my life, but since I have started D-Groups and you gave us the devotionals it has been testing my faith for God. I have found out that I am a fan, not a follower. I feel not close, out of his family, not invited. Also, since I have been in 6th Sometimes I feel I’m not even in this world. My life has God in it I know, but I don't feel it, and sometimes I test it. I want to feel close to God and be in His family. I was baptized when I was a baby, but I want to say it is my choice, not my parents’ choice. -grade, I feel like I have floated away from God, and it is hard.

SHERRI DOBBINS As an infant my parents had me baptized in the Catholic church, so I have always be- lieved in God, but something was always missing. Like many, I have praised God for the many blessings he has given me, but when life got tough, I would get angry and turn away from him. This last year has been filled with sadness, regret, guilt, lost relation- ships and a deep emptiness. A dear friend convinced me that I needed nothing more than God in my life. She said, “there is nothing you can do to make him love you less!” Those words gave me hope on some of my darkest days, and the courage to visit First Church. I will never forget that day as I sat in the back of the church, almost hiding... God seemed to be speaking directly to me through Pastor Colp, as though nobody else was there. It was a very emotional and fulfilling day. I believe that baptism is just the next step and a symbol of faith that I am choosing to follow God’s plan for my life.

MAYBELL PLUS My father was the pastor of the church in Jarabacoa, Dominican Repubic, since I was 7-years-old. Through him we learned about the love of God and experienced the Christian life. I met Kevin Pluss during a missions trip in 1996. We saw each other in 1997 and 1999 and then did not see each other again. Around 2001 my father grew apart from God and so did the whole family. For many years I felt sad and lonely. I knew I needed God back in my life but wouldn't let him back in. One day I asked God to bring back to my life someone who could bring back happy memories, someone who could help me experience the Christian life again. Kevin Pluss contacted me after 11 years. We are now married, have a beautiful family, and are back in church. Being baptized is my testimony to the world about how God has changed my life. I am following his command, thanking him for rescuing me from a very dark place and for giving me the life I have always desired.



GRACE MORRIS I would love to be baptized. Now this point in my life I fully understand God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have heard and read that when you go into the water, it is like dying and being buried with God and Jesus. And when you come up, it is like being born again. I have always wanted to be everlasting friends with God and Jesus. Hoping I prayed right and for everylasting friendship, and when it is time for me to walk the path of death, I hope God and Jesus will accept me. Also, our friendship will last forever with God and Jesus.

KAILEY MORRIS At this point of my life, I want to get baptized because I want to be Jesus’ and God’s everlasting friend. I want to live again with Jesus and God!

KATHY MORRIS I was baptized as a baby; I never knew a time when I didn’t believe in God or Jesus, nor not love them. I remember each of four times that I either went up to the altar or rose my hand to the prayer of “those of you who wish to accept Jesus Christ into your life…” Yet, as I grew into an adult, I always doubted my ability to be accepted into heaven just by accepting and believing in Jesus, for many churches said unless I was baptized into the water (unlike baby baptism), I would not know everlasting life. As my two daughters [stories below] have grown old enough to learn, love, and understand the meaning of God and what it means to accept Jesus Christ into their lives and live to honor Him, I also want to share in the baptism. In preparing for our baptisms, I have a better understanding of the symbolism and how the Holy Spirit can more completely enhance my life to honor Him by improving my abilities to see my spiritual gifts and pray. I look forward to being marked by ownership of God and to have my heart blessed to truly want to live and learn about God, and not to feel I need to out of fear of the consequences or due to rituals. I look forward to everlasting life with God and Jesus and with my family in Christ!

JULIE GARDNER ‐ MOORE I never was brought up in a church but I have always had the desire. Thankfully my aunt, Sue Jennings, kept trying to expose me to the Lord. I would go in and out of Sunday service as well as the amazing Just for Joy ministry. I have struggled with my mental health since I was in high school. I was a cutter, as well as, had several suicide attempts. I had my first child at 19 and spiraled into post‐partum depression. I frequented a therapist office for Prozac and counseling. I started back into Just for Joy and my life started taking a turn for the better. However, I became complacent and I let my daily life overtake my church life. I ended up stopping my Sunday and Wednesday church attendance. Over the past year I have ended up becoming addicted to narcotic pain pills and my mental health has taken a turn for the worst. I have spent time in rehab and a psychiatric hospital. I have a new diagnosis of severe depression and mood disorder, borderline personality disorder of which there is no medicine to help control this illness. I’ve turned my hope to God. Only God can save me. I’m committed to help show God’s love to my four children. Medical professionals cannot help me, only God and His almighty love and grace can help heal me. I’m devoting my life from now and eternity to God. Thank you, Sue, and thank you, Jesus, for never giving up on me. over

Sherry Kreiger At age 18 I was encouraged by my mother to get baptized. Now, at age 67, I have found that I need to be a follower of Jesus through my free will, not because my mother encouraged me. I look forward to being re-baptized as a symbol of my love for the Lord.

Linda A Nelson I was baptized as an infant and confirmed as a teenager in the church I attended, only because all of this was expected of me; I wasn’t given any options. As a young adult, I attended my husband’s church and, also, the church I was brought up in, which led to my church removing my name from their membership, since they don’t recognize other faiths. The removal from the church’s membership was done without any contact with me from anyone in the church. I felt abandoned by the church and by God. Over the years I divorced, re-married, and raised a son, six step-children, and many grandchildren, never attending any church, thinking that, if I believed in God, that was enough. I always had an empty feeling, though, and no comfort or peace. I did feel that there were times God was trying to get my attention as things happened and I felt He had a hand in the outcome. I wanted to return to church and God, but was afraid or another rejection. Then, I re-met a very special woman, Sherrill Wesner, whom I had gone to school with as a very young child. We were now working in the same place. She invited me on several Prime Time bus trips and programs, then one day asked me to go to church with her. She didn’t realize that she was a disciple of God and that she had opened the door for me to return to God. Thank you, Sherrill, for who you are and your friendship. With Pastor Bob Confer’s help, I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and have found the peace, happiness, and love that God has been trying to show me. Since then, my life has become so enriched and I have met the most warm and loving people; it like coming home. I am so excited, and I feel strongly that it’s time to re-commit and acknowledge my relationship and commitment to God through baptism. I feel so blessed; praise be to Jesus.

Cindy Casper I grew up without knowing my birth mother and was raised by an absent father--absent because he spent a lot of time drinking. Because of this, I spent a lot of time making bad decisions throughout my life. Running from the problems that I created over the last several years, has caused me and my children a lot of stress and grief. I had no hope for our futures and felt very alone. I stopped and asked God one day “Why are you doing this to me?” I instantly had this hunger and desire to find out more about something, anything, that was higher than me. Although I feel I have always believed in a God of some kind, I had no clue what that meant. I struggled for several years and still understand that there’s room for growth, but after many discussions, prayers, books and church services, he has shown me the things I have done to create my current reality. I can see the things I need to work on about myself and ways to deal with my situation instead of running away from it all. I don’t feel so alone anymore and I have some hope about our outcome in life.

I want to get baptized to show my gratitude for helping me to this point in my life and to show those around me who may be struggling that if I could come from where I came from and get to this healing phase in my life, they can, too.

Alyssa Ann Curry I have been in private Christian schools my whole life. I have studied the Bible and memorized verses, but I have always felt alone in my life. I had never asked for God in my heart, I just thought if I believed, that would be good enough. I want to be baptized again to symbolize that I completely give my life to Christ.

James Dickey I am so excited to be baptized! I grew up going to First Church as a child, but after high school I drifted away from God and stopped going to church. But God never gave up on me. I woke up one day, tired of trying to do things my way. Doing things my way cost me some lost time that I can’t get back and it hurt my marriage. I had asked Jesus into my heart many times, but I didn't seem to have the staying power…till now. I finally reached a point where I can’t deny God anymore, and I asked him to forgive me of my sins. The burdens that I carried disappeared. I feel such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and want to take the next step by being baptized. Praise and Glory be to God!

Irene Fiskars I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church, and I still acknowledge the forgiveness of sins through that baptism. I feel deeply that, as my faith grows and I continue maturing and having a relationship with our Lord and Savior, I need to be obedient to His Word and Commandment to be baptized, with my own understanding of what that means and how that will help me grow further as a Christian.

I also would like to set an example for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren through, not only my many words of advice to them, but through my actions as a Christian woman. As all of us have, I have had my many ups and downs in my lifetime, and I know with all my heart that the only thing that kept me moving forward was my relationship with the Lord. This is a very important next step in that relationship and I praise Him for putting it on my heart to finally acknowledge our relationship through baptism.

Mitch Sluder Since I have given my life to God it has been amazing. Not all exactly easy or smooth sailing, but I have never felt so much love, peace, understanding and grace. I have my beautiful twins, Jett & Max, who are a blessing from God. I just want to be a great Christian father and husband to my wonderful wife, Carrie. From here on out, I want anything I do to be for Jesus Christ.

Dawn Valdez I was baptized at 13 because it was what I was “supposed to do.” After graduation from the church’s education system, I continued to maintain and be faithful to the church’s beliefs, but fell to the wayside and stopped attending. I felt like my entire life had been based on what my parents and church wanted for me, not what I needed/wanted for myself.  During my 20-year marriage, we attended church when it was convenient for us; we could never find a church where we belonged. Devastating life changes--death, divorce and other life-altering events—helped me to realize that I was missing a piece in my life. I had allowed myself to walk away from the One who stood by me…God.  Still, I only leaned on Him when it was convenient.

Two years ago I was finally at a good place in my life. I moved to Michigan, happy to move forward, only to be set back once again with excruciating disappointment. Then, I was brought to First Church by two amazing young women who had no idea at the time what they were doing for me. Some would say it was all coincidence—I see it as God’s hand working in my life.  It has been First Church and these two amazing young women who made me realize I am home now.  With much thought and prayer over the past nine months, I acknowledged I need Christ and a church family in my life full-time. I am getting re-baptized because I am ready to re-commit my life to Him and let his love shine through me.  I have been blessed!

Julie Gardner-Moore I never was brought up in a church but I have always had the desire. Thankfully my aunt, Sue Jennings, kept trying to expose me to the Lord. I would go in and out of Sunday service as well as the amazing Just for Joy ministry. I have struggled with my mental health since I was in high school. I was a cutter as well as had several suicide attempts. I had my first child at 19 and was spiraled into post-partum depression. I frequented a therapist office for Prozac and counseling. I started back into Just for Joy and my life started talking a turn for the better. However, I became complacent and I let my daily life over-take my church life. I ended up stopping my Sunday and Wednesday church attendance. Over the past year I have ended up becoming addicted to narcotic pain pills and my mental health has taken a turn for the worst. I have spent the past month and a half in rehab and a psychiatric hospital. I have a new diagnosis ofsevere depression and mood disorder, borderline personality disorder of which there is no medicine to help control this illness. I’ve turned my hope to God. Only God can save me. I’m committed to help show God’s love to my 4 children. Medical professionals cannot help me only God and His almighty love and grace can help heal me. I’m devoting my life from now and eternity to God. Thank you Sue and thank you Jesus for never giving up on me.

Justin Alan Watkins I was raised a pastor’s grandson and a pastor’s son, so I have heard God’s Word my entire life. I’ve also spent my whole life running away from God. It feels so good to finally be at peace and no longer avoid God, but live for Him!

José Pedroza I have felt lost on a path that was taking me nowhere. I felt that I was keeping something great from my kids, now I know that was Jesus. I want to be a model for my kids to follow and I am finding who I am in Christ. Jesus has been pursing me and I’m tired of pushing Him away. So I am choosing a new path and that path is Jesus.

Doug Hoffman On May 9th, 2014, I was given a second chance at life on this earth after suffering a heart attack that morning. I went to work like a normal day and began to have chest pains. The Lord above told me that something was not right. Since I have found First Church I have found the thing that has been missing in my life. I feel I should be baptized again since I have a new beginning on this earth.


Sarah Jean Bartz I accepted Jesus into my life at camp when I was 7 years old. I wanted Jesus in my life so He can tell me what is right and what is wrong. I was not very nice to my sister before I accepted Him. Now I try to be nicer and make better choices. I am excited to be baptized because I want to get closer to God.

Cali Jordan Allen I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I am taking this next step and professing my faith and love for Jesus.

Zoe Price I accepted Jesus when I was 9 years-old at church camp. I know Jesus is my forever friend and I want to live my life pleasing to Him. I am excited to be baptized because I want everyone to know I am a Christian.

Andrea Hisle I believe in Jesus Christ and am ready to take another step like Jesus in baptism. At VBS I started thinking again about asking Jesus into my heart. When I was at church talking about baptism service I decided to allow Jesus into my heart forever. I would like to thank my pastor, Mr. Bill for telling me about Jesus and what he did for other people. Also I would like to thank my mom and dad for bringing me to church and talking about Jesus around me. I am excited to be baptized because I want to give me whole life over to him.

Jared Svetlev One time when I was 7, on a Saturday evening in KidZone, the lesson was about accepting Jesus to be your forever friend and that in John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one goes to the Father except through me.” I realized that I wasn’t doing everything I could do to devote my life to Jesus and decided to ask Jesus to forgive my sins and become my forever friend. I would like to thank Daniel and Joyce Teich, who were my small group leaders at the time for the help they gave to help me accept Jesus into my life.

Collin Thomas Ingwalson On the 3rd day of VBS Pastor Bill Shepard did a prayer to accept Jesus into our hearts. So I said the prayer in my head with him. My whole life I’ve been learning about Him and now I am ready to follow Him.

Alivia Abram I have attended First Church my whole life. Last year, I thought I was ready to be baptized, but after attending the baptism class, I felt I didn’t understand everything I needed to know about baptism. This year when Pastor Bill talked to us in Vacation Bible School, I knew I was ready. My heart felt warm and loved and peaceful. My tummy had butterflies and I cried when I asked Jesus to be my forever friend. I know that Jesus came to Earth to be a good role model and show us how he wants us to live. He has given me a good home to live in, food to eat, and family and friends that love me very much. That is why I wanted to be baptized and to ask Jesus to be my forever friend.

Blake Flanagan My name is Blake Flanagan and I am 10 years old. I am from a Christian family, so I grew up learning about praising God and serving Him. But it was not enough. Even though I knew about Jesus I had to have my own experience with Him. So, early this summer I attended a Christian hockey camp. And the camp director was preaching about doing something crazy for God as we do crazy things for somebody or for our favorite team… So, at that time, my craziness was surrendering myselfto God! When you surrender yourself to Jesus, you start walking with him. He is always there to encourage you and to lift you up! I came home from camp and talked to my mom and dad about my decision to follow God. I knew later in the summer our church was holding a baptism service and I wanted to be a part of it. I am choosing to be baptized to show the world my love for God and my intent to follow Him.