On Sunday, February 14, 2021, I was baptized at Kensington Church in Traverse City, Michigan. That morning, I shared the following words – my testimony – with my family, friends and members of the church.
I grew up going to First Presbyterian Church of Northville with my family. I was baptized as a baby and confirmed as a freshman in high school. In high school, I joined youth and adults from my church on two mission trips to Mexico. Those were transformative experiences for me, and looking back, I can see how they played a role in shaping who I am today and planted a seed for the life I’m living now.
Growing up, church was always something I did with my family. My faith and relationship with God didn’t come to feel like my own until I was 23 years old and living and working in Berkeley, California.
My roommates that first year in Berkeley are believers and followers of Christ. Being in community with them and seeing their commitment to and relationship with Christ inspired and encouraged me to explore my own faith and relationship with God.
From 2013-2016, First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley was my church home, and for the first time in my life, I consciously recognized my relationship with Christ as my own.
After three years in Berkeley, I felt a nudge to adventure and live outside the U.S. and learn Spanish. In November 2016, I moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I started attending church at Saddleback Buenos Aires – and fell into community with a small group of expat women.
City life was tough on me, especially since I had moved to Argentina with Patagonia, and a desire to explore and really know the region, on my mind. So in June 2017, I moved to Bariloche – a mountain town on a beautiful lake – in Northern Patagonia.
My first Sunday in town, I found a church the Saddleback pastor had recommended to me, sat next to the woman who would become my best friend and have called that church “home” since. At church in Argentina, there are moments that leave me in awe and move me to tears as I praise, worship and receive the Lord’s word in a language that is not my mother tongue among people who are seemingly different but share at least one major commonality: our faith and belief in and relationship with Christ.
Through my church and community in Bariloche, I have come to understand the importance of immersion baptism. I have felt the Lord calling me forward in recent years, and the further I step into relationship with Him, the stronger that call seems to be. As I considered baptism here at Kensington in these weeks, not having my community physically present – in the way I’ve imagined – has weighed on me. But I also so strongly feel God telling me the moment is now – and to trust Him, this moment and His timing. And due to the virtual nature of this service, it’s a seemingly unique moment for my community, that spans the globe, to be present.
I want to commit my life to God – as an adult and through my own choice and action. I want to commit to living into His purpose for me and my life. I believe He has shown me a glimpse of my future with Him, and while the road ahead will be both challenging and rewarding, I am ready to step into that future, in faith, with Him.
February 23, 2021