What was it like to go on a pilgrimage? How did it feel the first time you spoke in tongues? Where did the experience of a week-long meditation retreat take you?
The CNN Belief Blog will occasionally share the spiritual journeys of others and begins with this one from Jascinth Hall, a 26-year-old wife and mother of three who was baptized – along with 109 others – on Saturday, May 8, at Berean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. This is her account of the experience, in her own words.
There’s a generation of people in our churches, in all churches, that never left the church but left the church. You’re there every week, you hold down a pew, but sometimes you’re not even listening to the preacher.
My father’s a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, so I was raised Seventh-day Adventist. When you’re a child, you do as you’re told. But as an adult I wanted to make an independent decision of my own to be re-baptized.
It had been a long time since I’d prayed. It had been a long time since I read the Bible. But it’s never too late. It’s only too late when you give up on yourself.
Re-baptism is a common thing in the church. As a teenager, even as an adult, I’ve made bad decisions. I’ve sinned. I wanted to just give my life completely over to Christ again and say, “Lord I know I’ve made mistakes. But I know that you forgive me for my sins. I know that you’ll take my life and make it worth something – make it of some value.”
I hadn’t told anyone I was getting re-baptized. I wanted it to be a surprise. I’d been praying about it, and I knew it was something I needed to do just for my own soul.
When I woke that Sabbath morning, I just felt that the Lord was saying, “I can see in your heart that you’re good, and this is me giving you a clean start. It may not be the end of all of your mistakes, but I’m here, and I always will be here.”
Having that feeling that you have a God that’s always going to be there for you and always going to care for you and just loves you is a good feeling.
We wore nice white robes. Even though before you may have sinned, it signifies that when you come out of that water you’re going to be clean. Every sin you’ve made in the past is gone. So even if you can’t forgive yourself, it’s as far as the East is from the West with the Lord.
Before you join our church, there are beliefs or foundations that we want you to understand. We [those being baptized] don’t recite them, but they go over them and you agree to them in front of the congregation.