On Easter Sunday, fifteen people were baptized at Bloomingdale Church in a special baptism service. One of the important traditions of our church is that people give their testimony of salvation in Jesus Christ prior to being immersed in the waters. Here are some of the testimonies we heard that day.
- Dave K of Bloomingdale, Illinois
“I grew up in the Lutheran Church, was baptized as an infant, went to confirmation class but I did not really come to know Jesus Christ. Instead, I wandered away from the church and fell in with the bad crowd at school.
I went to college for a while but really had no direction in life. So I left college and enrolled in tech school for a while. I worked in electronics and found myself drinking and drinking until I developed a drinking problem.
I went to A.A. meetings where I developed a sense of God as a higher power to help me overcome drinking.
All throughout my life my grandmother would ask me if I knew Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. I had cousins who went to Moody Bible Institute, and an uncle who was a pastor, I suspect they were praying for me, but I always struggled with the idea of Jesus as a savior who would forgive my sins and allow me into his heaven.
I did not feel I needed the church because I had heard that church was man’s way of keeping people from having a personal relationship with God.
I studied with a Buddhist for a while and he told me that church was for people who don’t question things but rather meekly go along with what is taught. I did not want to check my brain at the door of a church so I kept trying to develop an eclectic spiritual life on my own. I continued in this mish-mash of a homemade religion for about 15 years.
Even though I found this fulfilling, I wandered away from my own religion. I guess there was something missing because it was not enough to keep me there. Oddly enough, there were times when I was extremely happy because life was working and I felt plugged into God, especially when I was having profound spiritual experiences. But there were other times when I ditched it all.
I think this cycle would have continued until I died but thank God I met a woman named Jen. She brought me to a church she found while walking in the neighborhood. That church was Bloomingdale Church.
When I came to this church I could hear my grandmother’s voice in my head talking about Jesus. Instead of the generic Jesus of A.A., I was being exposed to my grandmother’s Jesus again. I kept coming to this church. I took the Alpha course. I started praying more and more. I realized I needed help. I needed someone to keep me on the path.
I find myself praying the sinner’s prayer every time it is projected onto the wall at church. I ask for Jesus’ forgiveness every day. I am changing from being selfish and praying only for myself into a person who is praying more for others than myself. The world no longer revolves around me. I am trying to humble myself and be real.”
- Ken B of Lombard, Illinois
“I am an Airforce brat. My family moved around regularly until I reached high school. I was baptized, confirmed and had my first communion through the Catholic Church.
Upon high school graduation, I joined the Navy. I made an effort to stay in touch with my spiritual roots and practiced spiritual disciplines such as reading the Bible, prayer, going to services provided by the Navy, and joining prayer and Bible study groups.
While I was in the Navy I met my future wife, was married and together we joined the church. My wife developed a disability, we reached out to the church but received no help. While my wife was in hospice I was disappointed by a priest who responded to my request for a visit with the words, “I cannot give you last rites today because it is my day off.”
At this point, I gave up on the Catholic Church but found myself still calling out to God in my grief. This was in October of 2015. I had a hard year with my physical health.
Thankfully, Alice Taylor from Bloomingdale Church reached out to me and invited me to the Christmas services. I liked what I saw at the church and came back in the new year. Maybe Alice was testing me when she said, “You are just coming because of me.” But that was not true. I was coming because I wanted to be here.
I felt the spiritual urges myself. I felt the closeness of the church. I felt close to these people. I sensed I could talk to people and have come to events such as the First Base luncheon, and the Winter Banquet. I now find myself talking to people on Sunday mornings at church.
One day I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I don’t know the exact moment but I do know that He came into my life. He is making a difference in my life. I don’t feel as angry while I drive. I don’t talk the way I used to talk. I was never very profane but now I do not curse at all. I find myself open to talking with people about Jesus Christ. I want to help them. I read the Bible and pray every night. Sometimes I turn off the radio while in the car and pray to God. The answers to prayer seem to be coming a lot easier than in the past.
Today I am being baptized in order to publicly declare my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord of my life.”
- Kevin B of Carol Stream, Illinois
“I was born into the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church, Latin masses and all. I wondered through the Sacraments and during that time, my faith in God was real and growing. I even became an altar boy led by a man who would prove much less than Godly. At thirteen years old, I saw that religion could be very flawed. That and other events led me to seek out different paths, including the Tao and Buddhism. All that led me to the same conclusion, God is seeking me. In high school, college and later, after Dorene and I were already married, my algebra teacher, Charlie Carpenter, a landlord named Peggy Forbs and a Lutheran minister whose name escapes me, all showed me the same illustration Pastor David preached in service last week: that we are all sinners and that Jesus is the only path to God. The first two times I heard that idea were memorable but did not move me much. The third, closely tied to my first son Adam’s baptism as a baby, landed me here at Bloomingdale Church. Indirectly. It is a little scary to admit that the fourth time came shortly after I decided to be baptized and only a week before this baptism. Coincidence?
There are many other events, both good and bad, that I will not go into today. The death of my father last September was a seminal moment for me though. “I believe in God, I just do.” That is what I told my non-believing siblings when I could find no other way to explain my faith to them just after my father passed away. I believe that Jesus lived, preached, and laid out the foundation for my faith. Throughout my life, found that all I had to do was let go and believe in Him. I acknowledge that faith now through my baptism. No justification or defending my position.
God is My Lord, Jesus is my Savior, and my hope is that I am blessed with the Holy Spirit. I ask forgiveness for my sins. I ask for peace in my heart.”