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More Members Share Their Baptism Stories

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More Members Share Their Baptism Stories

"In an Art Museum Blindfolded" Growing up in the Church I learned many valuable principles and truths through those years that still impact me today. However, in 1995 the "perfect storm" developed in my life. The Church was splitting apart and I was 18 and free to make my own choice, so I rebelled against God and started to live however I felt like living (Luke 15:11-13 Luke 15:11-13 [11] And he said, A certain man had two sons: [12] And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me. And he divided to them his living. [13] And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
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). While many people feel that the music they listen to or things they may read or watch might not have that profound an effect on them, they are sadly mistaken. The more entrenched I became with the ideas of this world, the more it influenced my outlook (1 John 2:15-16 1 John 2:15-16 [15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
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). I guess my perspective could best be summed up by a picture I had in my room of Kurt Cobain, a musician who committed suicide. Underneath it read: "I hate myself and I want to die." I was so in love with the vagabond lifestyle that I wasn't even working, and I jumped headfirst into a pattern of sinful and very harmful behaviors. Things began to turn around for good in 2000 when God, in His mercy, began working in my mind. I was so steeped in the way of the world that I feel that I was called out of the world just like someone who didn't grow up in the Church. When I was counseling for baptism, I compared my calling process to being in an art museum. Growing up in the Church and always believing it to be the truth but not fully understanding it, I felt like I was in an art museum blindfolded. I knew that there were beautiful paintings and sculptures around, but I couldn't see them. Finally, I was able to clearly see the beautiful truth that had surrounded me my whole life when God removed that blindfold. It's been a joy and a privilege living God's way of life while still young and being able to raise my family in the Church. Going through this experience has solidified in my mind what my dad has always said about the truth: "I know that I know" (1 John 2:3 1 John 2:3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
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). I exhort those in the Church, in particular the youth, to never underestimate the power of the pulls of this world. There is a very real, insane Satan who wants nothing less than to destroy you (1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
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). I, along with the other brethren, long for the day when we are born into God's family and will share true oneness forever (John 17:21 John 17:21That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.
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). —Joe Horton Cleveland, Ohio, congregation The Teaching Church I came to know about "the truth" through nothing short of a miracle. I was a widow and had met a wonderful man who had been in the Church for over 30 years. I began to share with him how I was struggling with my previous husband's death. I had mentioned my concerns, and he asked me if I wanted to read a booklet on death. I read the booklet and was totally put at ease regarding a lot of questions I had regarding death in general. Everything in the booklet made perfect sense. It had answered my questions in a way I had never thought of. After three years I can say I was beginning to accept my husband's untimely death with new understanding. I began to attend church with him. I noticed at the first service how respectful the men in the congregation were toward their wives. Men had their arms around them, some holding hands, and some shared hugs. I also made note the minister opened the Bible and asked everyone to go to scriptures. Right away I called this church "the teaching church." Another observation was everyone in the congregation seemed to know each other. How different that was! I was made to feel welcome by several people. That was also a first for me. In over 30 years of attending different Catholic churches, all of the above had never occurred. My husband, Bob, and I were married about a year and a half later. After attending my first Feast in 2003, on the way home I told him that God was calling me! I felt an urgent need to be baptized; I wanted to be one of God's firstfruits. I was baptized on Sept. 7, 2004. As Bob and I are entering our fifth year of marriage, we both stand firm in our faith that God is building teams to rule with Him in the Kingdom. I have searched my entire adult life for my purpose on earth. The truth has a beginning, middle and end. What beautiful truths to know why we were born. I know what the good news holds in promise for me, and, God willing, I plan to claim it. —Jody Schenfield Cleveland, Ohio, congregation Thanks to all who have sent in a baptism story. We hope to run more of them in a future issue.