The following is my testimony that I wrote and read in 2006 for my baptism verbatim. Which means it reflects who I was and how I thought as a sophomore in high school. It’s long.. I know. I dug it up one night as I was looking through some of my old stuff. The writing was pretty shabby, but I’m pretty happy that I kept it.
Hi, I’m Josh, and like many other people who attend this church, I was born into it. Also, like a few others, I too am a deacon’s child. Although unlike most Christians at this church, I don’t exactly recall a time when I was young that a Sunday School teacher took the time to talk to me about God and pray with me. In fact, I doubt any auntie or uncle would at first glance at me. According to my very own dad though, there was a time up at Family Camp when I was in kindergarten. My dad and I were alone, and he asked me if I wanted to accept Christ into my heart, and I did. But, of course, like all kids, we didn’t really know what it meant and just played along. The way I see it, from since I was a little kindergartner till about some time recently, I’ve slowly been learning about God all the while accepting Him. Of course, there have been countless times up at Summer camp, youth conferences and the Billy Graham Crusade where I would say that I wanted to accept or re-accept Jesus into my heart. But, I never really knew if I meant it. Sure, anyone could say it, but would they mean it? All those camp highs and inspiring sermons never really stuck, and slowly faded away as time passed by. When I was younger, I used to think I walked this spiritual path alone because I would feel far from God at times. It wasn’t until a Summer camp up at Forest Home that I realized that I wasn’t alone at all, and that God was with me the entire time. My friend spoke of the poem “Footprints in the Sand”. As you know, the poem speaks of how a man sees his life before him and how at the worst times of his life, there was only one set of footprints and he questioned God about it. He answered by saying “My son, My precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” That line, it hit me. It was then that my spiritual life took an amazing step forward, I guess you can say that at that point in my life, I began living a more Christian-like life. Also, I took the time to pray about it and truly accept God into my heart at the very last night up at camp.
Time passed, and soon I was in 7th grade. It was at this point that my life sort of took a plunge. Things were changing, I was getting closer to puberty, questions popped in my head, and things were weird at this point in my life. I stopped caring about my schoolwork, about getting good grades, about my musical instruments, and everything else altogether. I looked at every possible downside of things and developed a short temper. I felt that life didn’t matter to me anymore. Around this time, I guess I was hanging around the wrong crowd of people and trying to be someone I wasn’t. It’s not like they were overly terrible people, they just weren’t people I could really call my friends. The innocence of everyone being everyone’s friends in elementary school wasn’t there anymore. My social life was totally falling apart. I questioned my faith and God, and I basically lived life for the weekends where I could hang out with the few who were my friends on Sundays. I was falling short of the glory of God. Months passed, and I met a couple of guys who I should have really known earlier in my school. These guys, they were beyond awesome, and who where right in front of me the whole time. These guys come to this exact same church. This is where my life slowly begins its climb up. These guys really changed my life, they may not know it, but they were a big role in my ascent to God. Through them, I found people who I could call friends. I found happiness in life again, and through them, I was set back on track on my spiritual walk with God.
Over this Christmas break, I went up to the Hi Koi Winter Retreat. I thought it was going to be Summer camp all over again, except in Winter. I was wrong; it was better. Although, the area was more secluded and there wasn’t any activities like archery or swimming you could do, but really, it just concentrated everyone more on God. I learned a lot up there as well as meeting people I would never think I would talk to. Prior to being up there, I was asked to lead out grade’s guys during cabin times with my friend. I was told I should take notes on sermons before retreat. I did, and it really allowed me to learn and listen attentively. Even now as I listen to a sermon as I take notes, it really makes sense, and I understand it. Leading them up there wasn’t just an honor, but it also really taught me about leadership in general. up at retreat, the speaker spoke of how living a life without God is like a lit match, it won’t last, but if we do accept God into our hearts, it’s like taking that match to light a candle, which so to say, would last forever. He also spoke of how we are not alone in this Christian life; we have our brothers and sister in Christ all around us. Also, that we will always be searching for something if we don’t have Christ in our hearts, and that God has a plan for us, and in everything we do, it should glorify Him. As I cam down the mountain, I couldn’t help but love God more than I did before retreat. I couldn’t hold in this new found faith in Him. Sad to say, I think this was just another retreat high I had formed up there. Yeah, it was great, but it began to fade as school resumed.
It wasn’t till recently that I accidentally woke late into the night and spent the time to think about my life and how it has been up to now. I thought about how I should really start caring more about my grades, school and about the colleges I might go to, about my musical talent, and that I should try harder in it. That day in school, I thought about it even more. It was at that very moment that I realized everything. All those sermons I heard about and the time up at Winter retreat all of sudden came back to me. Everything started to make sense and I finally realized what certain sermons finally meant. So I rummaged through some old papers and found all those notes I took up at retreat and all those sermon notes I took up till then. I looked over them and reread them, and I realized all these small blessings in my life that God had bestowed to me. And it brought me back to on resolution I made up at retreat, and it was to maybe get baptized. Finally, after much thought and consideration, I remember that there wasn’t a certain point where you needed to reach to get baptized, but rather the point in your life where you want to exclaim to the world that you love God and want to renew yourself for Him. In this realization, it was then that that spiritual high came back to me, that love for God that made me excited. I love God, and just as us Christians shouldn’t keep God in a box, I can’t contain it anymore. I want to get baptized because I want to be a faithful follower of Christ, and I want to serve Him with whatever talent I have.
I’ll admit that my first view on baptism wasn’t all that great. I mean, before, I saw people including my friends before me getting baptized left and right. At that point in time, my parents were over urging me to get baptized. they even used my friends as an example. I never really understood why they did get baptized, so the way I saw it was if I got baptized, people would think that I was only doing it out of my parents’ pressure and because my friends did it.
But, no that doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve never been one to care what people think about me anyway. It’s taken me this long to realize this, it may be late, it may be still a little premature, but that’s okay. I’ve come a long way, and I certainly have matured as well. I know that no matter what, god will be with me to the end. And it is with that, that God deserves my commitment and passion, and I will gladly follow his command.
And April 30, 2006, I got baptized!