My baptism by Pastor Jeff Hartensveld and John Taylor
This is the testimony of my baptism that took place today, on September 24th, 2011. I know that we have been asked to prepare just a short testimony, but I strongly feel that I need to write the entire story and post it here so that people can really know the story behind my decision to get baptized. This is also meant for those who could not attend the baptism earlier and could not listen to what I shared there (even though I shared only the short version there). So here it is, the whole truth and the whole story behind it.
The question that most of my friends seem to ask (especially from those that have known me for a time) when they heard I was getting baptized was, “Why did you choose to get baptized again? Didn’t you already get baptized in 2001?”. Some people thought I did this because my 2001 baptism was by sprinkling of water, while this one was baptism by immersion, but that’s not what it’s all about.
Back then in 2001, to be honest, when I was baptized I did not understand much about it. I did learn a lot about Jesus and who he was, also the Christian theology and the doctrines concerning Him during my eight week baptism class, but in the end, what it did was just to fill me up with “by the book” knowledge, not leading me to personally and intimately know Jesus as my LORD and savior.
Back then, I would have described Jesus the same way I would have described Steve Jobs today. I would have told people that Jesus was “the son of God who went to the cross to save mankind from their sins, died and rose again from the grave on the third day” the same way I would tell people that Steve Jobs is “the now ex-CEO of Apple who introduced us to the iPod, iPhone and iPad”. If somebody asked if I knew -personally- the person I was talking about, I would have said “no”.
In bahasa Indonesia there are two different words for the English word “know” – “tahu” dan “mengenal”. Back then I would have said that, “saya tahu Jesus tapi saya tidak sungguh mengenal Dia”. Asked if my knowledge of Jesus at that time would have impacted my life thoroughly and personally, I would also have said “no”. At that moment he was just a character from the books for me, none different than Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton or any other character from history.
It was actually two years after that early baptism that I began to really know Him and chase after Him. What made me hesitant to follow Jesus was the feeling that I was inadequate for Him and He could have no use of me. The LORD answered my fears through Ray Boltz’s song “Thank You”, which taught me that no matter how small something may seem, if I really give it all to the LORD and do it all for Him, He would actually use it in great ways for His glory.
The next year, in 2004, the LORD opened a way for me to join the music ministry, specifically, in the choir. It was a ministry that I believed I wouldn’t have been able to do if it wasn’t from the LORD. That time, I had no music talents at all and music was one area of ministry which I personally believed I would never be able to do in my whole life (as my friends used to run away whenever I started singing).
But the LORD changed me, transformed me and used me in mysterious ways in this ministry, and during the two years I was in the choirs, I learned so much about music that it effectively changed my whole life and it became a gift from God to me, something which has become my love language with God even today. You who know me today, especially those who have only known me since 2009 in ICA, would not believe how senseless I was about music before 2004, as I constantly got grades between 30% to 40% in the music classes during my high school days.
As the years gone by, there was a deep desire within me to get baptized again, this time on my own accord, because that first time, I felt that I didn’t do it on my own will (it was actually due to peer pressure) and I didn’t fully understand the significance and meaning. I wanted to do it again, this time with the full understanding, full obedience and full submission to the LORD, surrendering my whole life to Him. But for years, I was sitting on the fence and I didn’t know when I should do it and IF I should really do it.
It was not until Pastor Jeff started one of his sermons last month, conveying the message which he strongly felt the Holy Spirit wanted him to say, that “if you have not been baptized in water, you should do it now”. It was at this point that I felt God through his Spirit convinced me to do it, and inside my heart, I said to God, “okay LORD, I will do it”. In the end, I set up a conviction for myself to be baptized in the next baptism (which was today). I set my mind to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and example of obedience, doing what He commanded us to do in the Bible, and surrender everything I am into His will, letting Him take full control of me.
As I rose from the “watery grave”, I could not help but feel that I’ve done the right thing and I feel that now I am one step closer towards my obedience and surrender to the LORD. Today was my proclamation of faith, a moment in my life which I will be able to fondly look back in the future and say, “this is the point, the foothold in my spiritual life, where I took a step of faith and obedience to follow Jesus and surrender all to Him, proclaiming Him as my LORD and savior”.
I want to thank the LORD Jesus Christ for this amazing day, to Pastor Jeff Hartensveld and Pastor John Taylor who baptized me today and also to Pastor Poedji who prayed for me. Also thank you for the support and words of encouragement from my dear friends, Jos and Ossi Koevoet, Michael Yu (iLung) and Ridwan Soetanto (Bao-Bao). Last but not least, GO Wild West, thank you for coming today, and thank you for all your prayers and support as I can finally make it to this day.
God bless you all! 🙂