The season our residents spend in the Mission’s Life Recovery Program is wholly unique. They do and experience things they might never again have the opportunity to. About a month ago, our Program Manager Luke Johnson had the privilege of baptizing four residents in the waves of Pismo Beach.
It started with Evan, who graduated. Before he moved, he asked Luke to baptize him. It was a beautiful expression of the intimacy they shared and an appropriate way to begin his new life.
“(It felt like) I entered a relationship with God outside my mind and body,” said Evan. “In that moment, He used the wave to wash me and to make me realize His intention in my life. I am not forgotten. I am His. He loves me. And that, with one swoop under the wave, changed me and my life.”
Throughout the New Testament, baptism is preceded by a confession of repentance and of faith. One of my favorite stories of baptism can be found in Acts 2, immediately after Peter’s first and most famous sermon. The author of Acts tells the story about Peter convincing a large crowd of people that Jesus was sent by God to be both Lord and Messiah. Peter reminds them that it was their sin that crucified Jesus. This sermon leads them to repentance, and 3,000 people were baptized that day. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals and to prayer,” (Acts 2:41-42).
When he found out Luke was baptizing Evan, Mark, who is in Phase 2 of the program, asked to be baptized as well. “It means that I’m fully committed to serving the Lord whole heartedly,” Mark said. “I’m no longer in control of my life. Being baptized and walking with God gives me the assurance of his presence and power in my life.”
Johnny and Gary joined in too. “I’m just thankful to Luke and the Mission,” said Gary. “This is the best decision I’ve ever made and this program has changed my life.”
Johnny added: “Getting baptized meant I am now completely surrendering my life over to God and trusting him completely with it. I feel closer to God and I feel like I can overcome any obstacle in my path.”
Events of this magnitude happen often here. These men have experienced Jesus in ways they never have before. Like the audience listening to Peter’s first sermon, their lives are transformed. We’re grateful to share the incredible miracles that occur at the Mission, as they are only possible with your support.
Blessings, Director Chris Rutledge