I love baptisms. Not the ones where tiny babies are baptized, but the ones where kids or adults make a conscious decision out of obedience to declare their faith in Jesus in a public way. Every time I witness one in person, I cry. It is just such a beautiful expression of how we die and are re-born. Yesterday, the pastor of the church we attended in Buffalo had the privilege of baptizing his father. Oh, how I wished I could have been there to see it in person. You see, Pastor Dan is an extremely important part of mine and Steve's story.
Steve and I fell for each other very quickly. We had our first date in December 2009, and he asked me to marry him five months later. I happily accepted, and then the discussions of when would I be moving in began. I knew in my heart that it wasn't right to live together before marriage, but we were just so impatient, and listened to our flesh instead of our spirits. By June, I had sold all of my stuff, and had moved in with Steve.
We started looking for a church to attend shortly after that. We were convinced that we wanted to attend a "big" church, so we tried all of those, but none of them felt quite right. Then, we decided to try Restoration. It was a small church plant, and it didn't even have its own building. They met in a school cafeteria. Steve had been to a service there, as his brother's church was helping with financial support, and went with him when his brother was visiting. We both really liked it, and decided that this was the place we wanted to be.
We went up and said hello to Dan before or after service one Sunday, and he invited us to come to his house for community group. There, we met the couple that were the leaders of the community group we ended up joining. We attended services on Sunday morning, and met with our community group one night a week. We never officially said that we were living together, but we did not try to hide it, either.
After a few months, Dan had reached out to Steve and said he wanted to meet with us. He did not tell us exactly why, but I think we both had a feeling what it was about. I was unable to attend, I think because of a work commitment, so Steve went alone. It was exactly what I thought - Dan was calling us out. Telling us what we already knew - that living together outside of marriage was wrong, and we needed to do something about it. He suggested that we should either live apart until we got married, or get married now. As my condo was now empty, I really did not have anywhere else to live. Also, we did not really have a good reason to not get married right away. Yes, we were planning a wedding in Arkansas, but we could still do that, and get married in Buffalo. So that's what we did. We threw together a wedding in less than a week and in front of a few friends and family, made a covenant with God to become husband and wife.
I cannot express how thankful we both are for Dan. How thankful we are that God placed us in that church, with Dan as the pastor. If we had been at a "big" church, our living situation would probably never have come to light, we never would have married in September, and would not have gotten pregnant with Joey in October. Praise God for an obedient and courageous pastor, who knows the truth, and loved us enough to show us a way out of our sin. Praise God that we were not prideful, but humble and repentant. And Praise God for Dan being able to baptize his father, something I'm sure he prayed for for a very long time. God is so good. Please watch this video - Dan is baptizing his father at the end. I promise it's worth the 4 minutes of your time!
Baptism 92913 from Restoration Church on Vimeo.