“My favourite part about following God is that no matter what my problems or worries are, I can talk to God about them,” Michael told me as we chatted before HCM’s Young Adult Friendship Group last this past week. Recently, Michael made the decision to be baptised at his local church, and he agreed to talk with me about what brought him to this important decision!
Michael and his family have been involved at Hope Centre Ministries for a few years now, starting with his parents, and then Michael progressively more and more too. When I asked him about starting at HCM, I had to chuckle at his response. He said that his mom made him and he didn’t really want to because he was nervous, but now he’s very thankful; he’s found friends and community.
Hope Centre Ministries has played an important part in Michael’s journey. He explains that Hope Centre, as well as his family and church all played a role in helping him learn to follow God and bring him to the point of wanting to get baptised. He explains that He felt that Jesus was calling him to make this step that that he felt ready to tell people he was following God.
I asked him what continuing to follow God will look like in his life, and he said that he will do his best to treat people nicely, and also forgive people when they are mean to him. Forgiveness can be very hard, but Michael knows that he can pray to God to help him. God can also help Michael when he feels anxious.
Baptism is a picture of belonging…in God’s family. It was wonderful to hear how Michael’s church helped him prepare for this milestone in his faith journey. Understanding his anxieties, the leaders accommodated his needs by helping him to prepare a video testimony. He was able to put together a beautiful statement of faith without the added pressure of speaking in front of people. They also took time to walk through all the parts of what would happen, including going to the baptismal tank ahead of time. It may seem like small accommodations, but they made the step of baptism more accessible for Michael.
Personally, I’ve enjoyed getting to know Michael over the last couple years, and have really been excited to see more and more of his personality as he’s become comfortable with the Young Adults group here at HCM. The week before his baptism, members of the group shared their own baptism stories with him to help calm his butterflies and prayed that he wouldn’t feel too anxious. Many of them were also able to attend that Sunday! I’m so thankful that Michael can call this group his own and has formed meaningful friendships here.
While the act of getting baptised caused anxiety (because of public speaking, the unknowns of what it would feel like, being in front of everyone, etc) for Michael, I’m thankful that his family, his church, and us at Hope Centre could support and cheer on Michael to be able to do this. It’s the reminder that God provides community to help us reach the things He calls us to, even when it’s scary.