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Baptism July 26, 2020

Megan Groff

Over the past several years I have gone through a faith transformation. Sometimes it takes a few life changes to make you see just how much God loves you. During 2016, I went through multiple changes in my life. First, I left the life I knew for the past 18 years to continue my education and attended college. However, life had another lesson to teach me: the lesson of pain and loss. I lost my grandfather that October. His passing left a hole in my family and in myself.

I couldn’t understand why God had left this hole in my heart, but it wasn’t until I met my roommate of now three years that I was able to understand God a little better. During times of loss and pain, there is also joy and love. She helped me to understand this. She also bestowed upon me some wisdom that her own pastor shared with her: God only ever answers us in three ways: Yes, Maybe, or I have something better than you could possibly imagine. These words have had a tremendous impact on my life. It has helped to me to solidify my understanding that while there are moments in life that are awful and sometimes impossible to understand, there are also times where there is unbelievable joy and love.

In the past year alone, I have been faced with many struggles as have we all, but God also gave me some incredible joys. He gave me some fun times with family, a new adventure that allowed me to fly above the clouds, and the ability to show that love he gave me to my family, someone special and to the people I work with. Because of all of these things I have come to believe that as long as there is faith, hope, and love in the world, we can overcome any challenge that presents itself because Jesus is on our side.

Which is why I am here today. To proclaim and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, for which I will follow him for all of the days that remain in my life.  

Baptism June 28, 2020

Carmen DiCiano

I am a long-time believer in Jesus Christ, and I have been so privileged to call Jesus my Lord and my Savior.  Through all of my life’s joys and challenges, He has been my strength, my rock, and my living hope - and quite honestly, I know without a doubt that I am nothing without Him.  So it is that I hold tightly to His word and His promise that “if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we are saved.”  My life is firmly planted on this belief . . . and what an amazing gift it is … to be redeemed, to be saved, and not on any merit of my own but solely on His life, death and resurrection. 

I am absolutely amazed at his faithfulness and the love he has continually demonstrated throughout my life.  So, it is with a grateful heart I choose to be baptized today as a testimony to his saving grace.  

Truth be told, I was baptized as an infant, yet that baptism attested to my parent’s faith, not to my own.  Through my journey over the years, and my time in His word and prayer, God has led me to take this step that so many other believers have taken.  Why would I not follow in what Jesus taught me?   Jesus said that “if we love him, we will obey his commandments.”  I do love Him, and so I choose to place my pride and discomfort far aside, and step out in faith, and humble myself in obedience to Him and Him alone.  Today I proclaim before you, my family & friends, and my God that “I’m all in!”  So, with God’s help, I will continue “to trust Him with ALL my heart and lean not on my own understanding; and in all my ways I will acknowledge Him, knowing that he will make my paths straight!”  To God be the Glory!!

Abigail DiCiano

I grew up in a Christian household, so I knew of God and the stories surrounding God. I went through the motions of typical “Christian things” such as going to church and praying before meals that I thought you were supposed to do. I didn’t know Him, I just knew about Him. To me, God was a judge just sitting in the sky, He was distant, unapproachable and maybe not even real.

I found myself searching for purpose and meaning in other things and also in myself. I knew that there had to be more to this life than simply waking up and going through the motions of each day. I was wandering aimlessly through life searching for purpose and meaning. At my lowest point when I was alone and afraid, God drew me to Himself. His spirit comforted mine and let me know that He was very much real and alive. Since I grew up in a Christian home, I knew that He could save me if I just let Him. So I confessed to the Lord that I am a sinner in need of a savior.

Since coming to know Christ, God has shown me that I do not have to earn my salvation or His love. God has renewed my spirit and given me a purpose and joy in this life. I am not perfect, and I still mess up, but God loves me despite all my flaws and imperfections. Through it all, I know that God has been so good and faithful in my life, even when I haven’t been to Him. He has revealed Himself to me through His Word and His spirit. God loved me even at my lowest point and He rescued me from myself and eternal separation from Him.

One of my favorite verses is Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.”

Cara DiCiano

I grew up in a Christian home and always had a relationship with God, but never had a burning desire to pursue it, or so I thought. When I went off to college in the fall, things changed dramatically. Throughout that whole semester, I encountered experiences I never thought I would have in my life. It felt like life kept on knocking me down and I couldn't get back up.

By the end of the semester, I was broken and my relationship with God was broken, but I knew that I needed him more than ever. So, I turned to God . . . and he was there waiting for me.  I started reading, listening, and worshiping Him and only Him. Once I stopped living for the world and started living for God, he truly transformed my life. I am in complete awe of how God has turned my life around and led me to a place where I can grow …. and learn …. and serve Him; I am a living testimony of His saving grace in Jesus.

In early December, my walk with God began - my direction in life changed. Though the hardships and sufferings I experienced that first semester were fresh on my heart, I soon learned that my trials were best met by trusting God's will, not petitioning for my own will. By spending each day in His word, in daily prayer, and trusting His will for my life, I was able to meet every challenge by putting God first.  As He promises in His word, “Trust in Him with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in ALL you do, and He will show you which path to take.”

Jesus has changed my life, and today I am so happy celebrate His saving grace with everyone, as I run to the Father, and fall into His grace. 

Scott Hoffman

Several months ago I was diagnosed with blood cancer or multiple myeloma. While lying there in that hospital bed in the cancer ward, it gave me some time to think. There is nothing like a major health crisis to make you think about your health and your future. 

Thirty years ago I received Christ as Savior after a co-worker explained what it means to have a relationship with Christ.  I asked Jesus to be my Savior right there on the work floor, and it shook me to my core. But I was never baptized as a new believer.

As time went along, I wanted to get closer to the Lord, not just to give Him praise but to worship and honor Him in ways I cannot even comprehend right now.

While I have a long road ahead in my cancer journey, I can say unequivocally that the Lord has healed me spiritually and strengthened me beyond words. While baptism isn't magical, it is an outward sign of my growing faith in the Lord that I am taking this step of obedience to be baptized.

I want to reach a point in my walk with the Lord that every cell in my body screams in praise for the Lord. I'm not there yet. With your prayers and love I will reach this goal some day.

Now I look forward to being baptized and be strengthened in His love forever.