Lexington Baptism Stories

11.08.19 | baptism | by Jacqueline Turner

    9:15am Service

    Paul LeVeille : I grew up going to the Boston School for the Deaf in Randolph. From the time I was a young boy, I faced terrible abuse from those adults who were supposed to protect me and make me feel safe. I did not have interpreters for my religious instruction and my family did not sign so I felt very alone. Because of all the trauma in my life I learned almost nothing. I had no one to teach me about God, the Bible, or much of anything in my own language, American Sign Language.

    A few months ago, at the age of 74, I started coming to Grace Chapel. Here I have learned that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” Now I believe these words and Jesus has changed my life. When I sleep at night, I am comforted by feeling Jesus close to me, keeping me safe. I have Deaf friends here that are like family. I know that Jesus forgives me for the wrongs I have done, and that He loves me. I am loved by Jesus and saved by Jesus! I am so excited to be baptized today to thank Him and to show everyone that I want to live for Jesus!

     Monique Ashton: My story begins when I was a kid at boarding school in Hershey, PA. I can’t remember ever being introduced to church or God before that. I wouldn’t say that any of my immediate family is religious. But at school, my primary residence from August 1997-June 2009, we attended a mandatory Christian based chapel service on campus every Sunday. It was just part of the school’s culture and mission. Everyone attends regardless of your faith, and yes, they talk about the Bible but the real focus every week was the core values of the school: Mutual Respect, Commitment to mission, Leadership in action and Positive Spirit.

    After that service I attended several different churches over the years that the school would provide transportation to. I would go to services there, as well as youth group on Thursdays. I never really thought about it till now. I went for years and years. It was never something that I was made to do, but the fun we had while worshipping and the friends I made is what kept me going back. It wasn’t like it was my identity it just flowed it was part of my life and I truly was walking in faith.

    When I went to college I moved, and I lost that community that I had been in for 12 years of my life, and at age 18, that was tough. At that point I wouldn’t say I lost my faith, but I’d say over the years I lost my way and I became farther and farther from God. Till this past year. 2018 was a “Bad” year. Without getting into depth, I entered a relationship I had no business being in, I was mistreated and emotionally torn down. I ended it on the last day of the year. On the first day of 2019, at my lowest point, I asked myself why this was happening to me. Then I realized it wasn’t, it was happening for me. He struck me down to the point that all I could do was look up to God and let it go. I started listening to podcasts and watching sermons on YouTube. It wasn’t something I talked about or did for attention. I did it because it made me feel happy and whole.

    This summer I started looking for a church to physically attend and I found Grace Chapel. I experienced grace like a flood and things in my life have settled. I’ve made bad choices, and I fell off but, now it’s time to wash that away and solidify my choice to walk with Him (God) for the rest of my days. I’ll never be perfect, but I will be complete, and I will always find my way back because I have Him.

    Christine Lee: I was born into a Christian household. All my life I would spend most of my week at church with friends and family. None of my extended family lived on the east coast, so naturally those who began as my church friends, I soon called my “cousins”, “aunts”, “uncles”, “grandmas”, and “grandpas”. This small Korean church that I grew up in was where I was nurtured with the love and blessings of God. Every week I looked forward to going to church and was enamored by the stories I would read in the Bible and Jesus’ love for me. As a kid, these Bible stories were fascinating, but I was too young to understand the real depth of Jesus’ love for me.

    One night as a kid I had a dream that I was there at the feet of Jesus as he was hanging on the cross. I had never felt such emotions. I woke up crying and realizing how special Jesus really was and how special I was to him. From that day, I began to internalize that Jesus was my true and only savior. This feeling, however, remained internalized mostly as I moved churches and ultimately left home for college.

    In my first year of college, going to church was not a top priority for me. I would listen to sermons online, here and there, and go to church, once in a while, but my passion for the word of God faded. I struggled a lot with myself in my first year of college and slowly lost the connection I once had with God, Jesus, and people who had the same love for him and his word.

    I ran into many moral dilemmas and questioned myself as a Christian. I knew within myself that Jesus Christ was my savior, but I failed to publicly show that belief.

    After returning to church, I look back and realize all the countless blessings God had provided for me through every part of my life, and especially in my first year of college. And I want to take this first step and proclaim publicly to all that Jesus is my savior, He is my love, and He is the only one sovereign over my life.

     Olivia Lee:Growing up in a family of faith, building a relationship with God has always been an important part of my life. This past year, I have been blessed in so many ways, and for a while I struggled to understand why I was deserving of it or what I could do to repay it. Through reading Scripture, praying, and having conversations with my friends and family, I realized that there was no need to feel guilty, and that all of my blessings come from Him, who is full of unconditional and abounding love and grace. It was then that I decided to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

    Now, I look to serve God, who has given me everything I have and blessed my life with His everlasting love. I want to build a deeper relationship with Him and know that He has been waiting for me also. I am so grateful for His presence in my life, and truly believe that “better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10). After experiencing His grace, I am being baptized today as a public declaration of my relationship with Jesus Christ, and of my decision to follow and serve an unconditionally loving God.

     Gage Whittier: I was raised in a strong Christian family. I spent most of my time in church as a deacon, choir member, in youth group and as a chaperone on 6 mission trips. I came to Jesus as my Lord and savior on August 2, 1975, the day I married my wife, Dotty as I recited my vows before God, clergy and family. After that my life revolved around faith and family.

    My faith journey took me from Boston to New York for 23 years and back to Boston in 2008. All of the hills and valleys of marriage and family were steadied by faith and prayer in the Lord Jesus as my savior and Lord. During my wife’s cancer treatment my life centered on her treatment and prayer for a cure. My wife took her final journey home to heaven on November 19, 2018. I am being baptized today to start my faith life over anew without my partner. To quote the song “In Over My Head “ by Bethel Music, “I am standing knee deep where I’ve never been, I feel you coming I hear your voice on the wind, And further and further my heart moves away from the shore, Whatever it looks like whatever may come I am Yours”.

     Yuan Zhou: I was raised by non-believing parents. Although they don’t know Jesus, I always felt extremely blessed and grateful for the unexpected good fortune and happy life I had. Since I was little, I have been constantly amazed and deeply touched by the undeserved kindness from people around me including strangers. I didn’t know Jesus back then, but I had no doubt that there was the Almighty to look over people on the earth and to conduct things in their lives.

    Jesus came to me in 2007. When my voice teacher introduced the aria, “Erbarme dich, mein Gott” from “St. Matthew Passion” by Bach, I hadn’t read the Bible yet and I didn’t understand German. Tears rand down my face as I listened to the bitter sweetness and the aching beauty in the music. I eagerly did research on the plot and opened the Bible for the first time. A few weeks later, when I sang it to a teacher, she asked if I was a Christian. I said, “no”. She said, “you sound like so.” From then on, I started to go to church. Every pastor helped me to get to know Jesus better and every congregation showed me Love, which is patient and kind in many ways. I truly desired to be part of the heavenly family.

     In addition to this, Jesus saved my marriage. When I felt desperate for the huge differences between my husband and I, and felt impossible to communicate with him, I started to pray. I believed in God’s word, that love never fails, so I prayed that God would teach me how to survive and to succeed in my marriage. I clearly saw His work to humble and ease me. Although I still got upset sometimes, I couldn’t help to relax and smile when my angry eyes looked into my husband’s self-blaming eyes. I was totally not like that before I turned to Jesus!

     I have been waiting for a good time to be baptized. I never know when it is completely “good” until I was reminded by pastor Bryan’s sermon: Grace is undeserved favor, unconditional love, unexpected kindness, unrestrained mercy and unbelievable goodness. I have experienced them all, in Jesus. I’m completed by Him, and it’s all good! So today, I am being baptized as a public declaration of my absolute faith in Jesus Christ as savior and lord of my life.

     11:00am Service

     Maria Alves: Ever since I was very young, I have known about Jesus. My mom used to go to church while she was pregnant with me and even then, I used to learn about Jesus and I always felt him inside my heart.

     I moved to the U.S. five years ago when I was 7 years old. I was in second grade and still adapting to the city and we just couldn’t find a church we liked, so we spent about four years looking for a church where we felt welcomed. Last year we found Grace Chapel and me and my family fell in love with it. We come to church every Sunday when I don’t have swim competitions. I love to come to church so much because I love worshiping and praying. Every single time I step on the blocks I always say, “Jesus is with me!”

    I’m being baptized today because I feel Jesus in my heart every day and every time in my life. And I publicly want to share my real faith in him as my only savior.

     Tomás Alves: I grew up with Jesus. Since I was a little child my parents brought me to the church, and I learned about the meaning of Jesus and his love. I moved to Boston 4 years ago, and during the transition time I missed the connection with Jesus, until we found Grace Chapel one year ago. I’m really happy to be at Kidstown every Sunday and I’ve been learning so many things about Jesus.

     I’m being baptized today, because I feel the daily presence of Jesus, especially when I pray before I go to bed and I want to publicly declare my absolute faith in him as my only savior.

     Bruno Alves: I was educated in a religious family and grew up going to church until I was 7 or 8 years old. Since then I completely disconnected from Jesus, until I met my wife, 12 years ago. At that time, I was believing that I was enjoying a great life but at the same time I had a feeling of total emptiness and lack of meaning. My wife brought me to church, but it took a long time until I really started to feel the presence of God in my life.

    Ten years ago, my wife was pregnant with our son Tomas. During her pregnancy she had a small accident that put my son’s life at risk. In those circumstances I felt compelled to search for a church to attend. We went to a great church in Sao Paulo and we started to pray. God listened to our prayers and my wife’s pregnancy became healthy, as well my son. Since then I’ve been in a process of understanding Gods words and acts. I’m humbled to understand how He has been so kind and generous to me and my family and today I’m being baptized as a public declaration of my absolute faith in Jesus Christ.

     Carolyn Choi: I grew up in a Christian household, but never really understood why my family was Christian. For about twelve years, I went to the same church not knowing the real meaning of why any of us were Christians, or what being a Christian meant. Last year, my family started attending Grace Chapel. The Middle School Ministry taught me about Christ in a much different light. I learned about God’s love for me, how He sent His son to die for my sins and through him I be reborn in him. The more I learned about God through Middle and High School Ministry, and through my pastors, the more I was compelled to follow Jesus. Today I’m getting baptized because I want to get closer to God and be reborn into a new stage of my life.

     Kirsten Choi: I once went to another church and accepted Christ there but wasn’t fully involved with everything. One year ago, my family changed churches and ended up here. Since coming to Grace Chapel, I have learned a lot about God through VBS and Sunday school activities. During a MSM sermon a couple weeks ago, we learned about baptism. While they were talking about baptism, I felt a tug that made my decision of confirming that I am a Cristian that is committed to God. I am being baptized today because I want to claim that I am a Christian, that I believe in Christ as my Lord and savior, and that I want to be reborn to start a new chapter in my life to learn more about God.

     Lanesha Joseph: I was raised in a very religious family and have attended church every single Sunday since I was a baby. I didn’t understand the importance and purpose of having God in my life until I came to Grace Chapel about 5 years ago. Ever since then I realize the important role God plays in my life. Many times, in my life I have felt that there is no one else to turn to. But ever since I have accepted God into my life I don’t feel alone. I feel filled, happy, and immensely grateful. I am being baptized today because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and want to take the next step in my everlasting journey with him.

     Taisha Joseph: Growing up in a religious Haitian household, I have always known about Jesus. My parents would always make sure that we go to church every Sunday and try to get us involved with the church. I have always enjoyed volunteering at church, and I would also do the service at my school. Helping those who are less fortunate and able to make at least a small difference in their life, is rewarding for me. Service has allowed me to be more connected to the community and allowed me to be closer to God. The people that I serve are reminders of the great things that God has done for me and confirmation of my faith. I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. This realization caused me to want to get baptized and accept Jesus as my savior.

     Jinsoo Lim: I was born to a Christian family and received infant baptism. As I grew older, I struggled with doubts over being born again in Jesus Christ. When I was a teenager, my family was kicked out of my house because of father’s bankruptcy. The event is still so impactful that I changed my living goal to pursue restoring the lost house rather than the Kingdom of God.

     Throughout life, I did my best in school and worked hard to make money. Although I had studied so hard and got a job that paid well- all my efforts still left me feeling empty, miserable and hopeless. At that moment, God’s gentle and loving voice whispered to my heart and saying, “Read Mark Chapter 10”.

     When I read Mark chapter 10 from the verse 1 through the end, I realized why God led me to read that chapter In Mark 10:29-30: Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” God clearly told me through the Bible, “I want you to give up your absurd ambition of regaining the lost house but to grab My Kingdom.” So, I succumbed myself to God to give it up and truly born again. Since then, my life became less self-centered than before and pursued His Kingdom as top priority over my life.

     That life changing moment was almost thirty years ago. One of my dreams was to get immersion baptism but I haven’t had a chance. During the membership process at Grace, one of the elders sincerely persuaded me to get new immersion baptism. I answer, “Amen.” God has listened to my prayer to get immersion baptism as Jesus Christ did before me.

     Emma Lindborg: I’m 12 years old and I’ve gone to church for basically my whole life, but my relationship with God changed this year. When I was younger, I had some anxiety and I didn’t know what to do about it, so I didn’t tell anyone. It started to really affect me, and it felt like I couldn’t really enjoy life as much. About a year into this, I started praying to God before I went to bed. Soon my anxiety lowered until I didn’t feel it any longer. I didn’t understand why it stopped; I was just thankful it had. Then one day, a few years later, I was in Middle School Ministry and the large group speaker was talking about a book that shared how praying could help anxiety levels. At that point, it hit me that when I started praying it had been God who had cured me from my anxiety.

     This summer I went to my first overnight camp and stayed there for 1 week. Camp Berea was amazing, and we got to share stories, play games and connect with other kids. We also worshiped, learned about the Bible and sang fun songs. The guest speaker suggested that if we felt God moving in our heart that we could talk to our cabin leader. It was in this discussion that I accepted Christ into my heart. I am happy to be baptized today and want to grow in my faith and help others learn about God’s love.

     Marty Smith: I was baptized as an infant, but I fell away from the church as a young adult. I was married to a devout Christian woman for 25 years, but, for some reason, I was not ready to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior during that time. In December of 2018, 6 years after my wife passed, I met Lyn Grace Vail. Lyn and I had many conversations about faith, Jesus and the messages in the Bible. Lyn was the perfect guide in my journey to rediscovering Jesus.

     I attended Grace Chapel for the first time on February 17th, 2019. As I had deep faith conversations with Lyn, read the Gospels and Matthew Kelly’s book, Rediscovering Jesus, attended weekly services over the next several months, participated in an Alpha class, and joined a small group, my faith led to a transformation like I could never have imagined. I have whole-heartedly realized that Jesus is who he claimed to be. I have come to realize that my entire life, which has been defined by blessing after blessing, has been part of God’s divine plan. For me, 2019 has been defined by a revelation about who Jesus is, by my gratitude to God for what He has done for me and for how He has done it my entire life. I am being baptized today because I choose to declare to all my faith in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

     Alex Yoon: I was born in Cambridge Massachusetts, then moved to Los Angeles when I was one, then moved back here to Lexington. I started going to church at a young age. My grandmother would volunteer at the church, and just bring me along. I was born into a very religious family, with very strong beliefs in God. We would go to church every week, we would pray, and we would read the Bible at home. However, I never personally felt that close to God. I would always just go through the motions, not really getting the meaning. However, this year I’ve gone to more activities like the Middle School Ministry and Camp of Woods to get closer to God. I understand much of what I didn’t get before, and I feel my relationship with God growing every day. I love God more than ever before, and now feel like it is the right time to take one step further and get baptized.