Last weekend at Mercy Hill was an incredibly powerful weekend of baptisms. We wanted to share a few stories of some of the people who were baptized.
“I lived in California, and I didn’t grow up in church. The first time I attended church it was because my dad remarried, and she was Catholic. Two years later, at 11 years old, my then stepmom forced my sister and I to get baptized at her church. One year later, they divorced, and I stopped attending church all together. The four years they were married were hard. It wasn’t a healthy marriage, and it left me confused about God, church, and my baptism.
At 16 years old, a friend of a friend approached me and invited me to church. He didn’t tell me then, but he later said God was telling him I needed help. I did. I was confused and felt lost in my first year of high school. He took me to youth group that Wednesday, and my life changed. This church was incredibly different than the Catholic church I had been forced to attend. The pastor taught the gospel chapter by chapter, verse by verse until he got to the end, and then we started over. By the end of my freshman year, I had given my heart to Jesus and found my home church, but I didn’t get baptized. I made excuses because I was still process those four years with my stepmom, and I didn’t want to admit it. I put it off and put it off until everyone around me either forgot or figured I must have been baptized at some point.
Somewhere in high school I got lost again. I stopped attending church, and I didn’t have to make excuses about baptism anymore.
Three years later, I met my now husband online while still living in California. I was in a bad relationship and struggling with my faith. He helped me get reconnected with my church, helped me build up my relationship with Jesus, and encouraged me when I felt like I was an imposter in church because I never knew as much as my peers. He already knew about my ex-stepmom when he learned I wasn’t baptized. When I told him it was an old wound, he dropped it, but he didn’t forget. I eventually moved to North Carolina, married him ,and had a family. His family here were all Christians, and for the first time, I had a family to believe with. He gently prodded me to get baptized throughout our three years of marriage, but I managed to find excuses. I didn’t like the church we were attending, or I didn’t feel ready, or I still felt hurt by my past.
After three years of church hopping we landed at Mercy Hill. We’ve been attending for 8 months, and I quickly decided this was going to be our church. We joined a Community Group (shout out to the Peters!), and when talking to the women there, I decided I was ready to be baptized. I wanted it to be at Mercy Hill. I announced it to my husband driving home from Community Group the Wednesday night before Easter. I told him I didn’t know when exactly, but it would be at Mercy Hill.
This brings us (finally) to Easter. I heard the message, and God pulled on my heart to go back and talk to someone. I’m an anxious person, and I immediately began making excuses in my head. I had on nice clothes, I’d curled my hair for once, and my husband’s parents were there and didn’t know yet that I decided to get baptized. My fear, my past, and my flesh were trying to scare me and hold me back again. I took a deep breath and told my husband I had to do it now. I went back and talked to one of the counselors and told him I believed, but I was scared of baptism. However, I had a family now, and I needed to move on from by past and give it all to Jesus once and for all. I made excuses for 10 years, but I ran out of them on Sunday.” -Candice Baker
Don’t forget that we are baptizing again this week at all 3 campuses! If God has brought you from death to life, then your next step of obedience is to publicly declare that he is the Lord of your life! If you have questions about baptism or you’re ready to sign up, click here.