Last weekend we had a last minute baptism at our house in our pool. Not joking. We volunteered our pool to be used as a baptismal. So how did this even happen? Well, I volunteer at the welcome center at the main campus of Gateway Church and I overhead a conversation and knew I needed to do something (that was God at work of course). Our church is one of the top 10 largest churches in the Unites States. Needless to say, a big church like that needs a welcome center/information desk where people can ask questions. Most of the time we simply look the answer up on the church website. While I was volunteering this weekend a gentleman and his wife came to the information desk and asked where to go for Baptism today. They said they had registered over a month ago online and drove all the way from Atlanta, GA for the husband, Richard, to be baptized. A fellow volunteer at the welcome center looked on the computer and discovered that the baptism had been canceled because it was a holiday weekend (Memorial Day weekend). I knew we needed to do something. Its not like I can get on my phone and call the head pastor. We do however, have lots of associate pastors at the church who are ALWAYS willing to help in any way that they can. They are there to meet with the people in the church and serve the congration in their given capacity. I called a deacon on our welcome center walkie talkie and Jerry Rowe, the head of volunteer zone, came within 60 seconds. I explained the situation and within 20 minutes everything was worked out. He found a pastor to do the baptism, he visisted with the couple to personally hear their story, and we volunteered our pool for the baptism to take place. The church baptistmal was not prepared since the baptism was cancelled previously, so anther body of water was needed.
It was a beautiful afternoon, the perfect day for an outdoor baptism. It was the first time my kids got to see a baptism. In our faith we believe that baptism is to take place AFTER a person chooses to follow Christ. Much like was done in the bible. In Acts 2:38 says “”And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”. I hope to see my kids choose to follow Christ as young people and then be baptized someday too. It was special for them to see their first baptism in our own pool!
I asked Maryann and Richard if I could share their story here. She said yes, and even typed up their story for me in a word document! Thank you Maryann! Here is their story:
Dr. Magdalena Battles,
Our story leading to my husband’s spiritual journey to be baptized started several years ago
I secured a one year work contract in Dallas at a location close to Gateway Church.
We have a home in Atlanta where my husband has employment as a school bus driver. We had been looking for a ‘spiritually alive’ church for quite some time.
I found a ticket for your Easter show at my Dallas workplace. The Easter show was awesome!
I loved it so much that I started attending Gateway services weekly. From the beginning I realized Gateway was different. I also started attending the Freedom classes. When my husband came to visit me in Dallas, participating at Gateway’s services and the Freedom classes rapidly became a priority for us to attend together.
My husband and I were both raised and married in the Catholic Church.
When my contract in Dallas was ending, God was calling me to be water baptized. My prayers were soon answered and I was water baptized at Gateway prior to leaving Dallas. I knew God had my back when it came time to return to my home in Atlanta.
My husband soon noticed the difference in how I was handling things.
Over the past couple of years of watching Gateway Church services online, my husband decided to be water baptized at Gateway!
Our journey began with the only open date Gateway had available because of his work schedule, May 29, 2016. On April 4, 2016, he registered for the May 29, 2016 baptism. A confirmation email with instructions soon followed.
We departed our home Thursday morning, May 26, 2016, and drove straight through. God parted the heavens and we had safe passage getting from Atlanta to Dallas even though the weatherman was calling for severe storms and possible tornadoes.
Speechless! That’s how we felt when we arrived Sunday morning and found out the baptism was cancelled.
Dr. Magdalena Battles and her husband Justin being ‘spiritually alive’ heard our story at the information desk and volunteered to set up my husband’s baptism at their home!
Prior to departing the church to be baptized, we were given “T”shirts, a book and worship music by two very kind gentlemen who also became aware of our story.
God Bless you and your family and all the Gateway volunteers who treated us so special. Gateway Church is truly “All about people”.
Richard and Maryann
Richard and Maryann are such a sweet couple. Maryann played with my kids while we were waiting for the pastor to arrive. It was a joy to learn more about them and hear about their life stories…from being a Miami Police Officer, to driving school busses, to being wedding photographers they have lead a full life. They are a blessed couple with children and even grandchildren. I would love to have them stay with us the next time they come to Dallas to attend Gateway. That is an open invitation Richard and Maryann- our guest room is ready and waiting for you. God Bless you both and your family as well.