Very early in the morning of Sunday, 27th September, a small band of folk from SBC, headed up by Shaun, gathered on Lepe Beach for the baptism of newly-weds, Jan and Monica. This was another Covid-First for SBC as BU advice is against baptism being administered in the usual way in order to ensure the safety of all involved. In order to avoid any breach of the latest Government Guidelines too, this was not widely publicised amongst the fellowship but our intrepid cameraman, was present to produce a video of this special service so that we would all be able to witness their act of obedience to their Saviour and Lord as we celebrate Harvest on the 4th October. That same day, we all had the privilege of listening to Monica and Jan’s respective testimonies as we enjoyed the video of worship at SBC that had been recorded the previous day.
You can see the service and hear the testimonies via our YouTube Channel.
Monica began by describing herself as a ‘Christian woman’ who had been baptised as a child and had grown up to see God as a rule book that told her not to lie and to be a nice, wonderful person. As she had grown older, she had known periods of disappointment and failure but, at those times, God had always placed people around her to help and support her. He has always been there for her and gradually her eyes have been opened. He has shown her that He is the only way to salvation. Through obediently going through the waters of baptism she wants to share the joys, blessings and sense of fulfilment that she has known since deciding to follow Jesus, her Lord.
She left us with the following words from Romans 10:9-10: ‘If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.’
Jan told us that he had been born into an Atheist family. His father had been a military man and God was never mentioned in their home. His maternal grandmother had, however, been a Roman Catholic who could not live with the thought of her grandson arriving at heaven’s door without having been baptised and when he was just a few months old she arranged for him to be baptised secretly. Consequently, as a child he began to learn about God and thought he knew all there was to know about Him until he became friendly with Daniel G, a lorry driver. He was very surprised when he met Daniel that he did not conform to the normal standards of lorry drivers in that he did not swear, drink alcohol or speak disrespectfully about God. When he asked him why this was, he was told that all these things were sins that were not honouring to the God that he, as a Baptist Christian was following. This led on naturally to another question concerning the difference between Baptist Christians and those of the orthodox persuasion – a question to which Jan is still awaiting an answer!
In time, both Jan and Daniel moved to England. Jan arrived first with instructions from Daniel to seek out a suitable church for them to attend – and he found SBC which he says was warm and welcoming, with a family-feel about it. Once at Shirley he also met Florin and Cornel but none of them was prepared, he says, to give him a direct answer to his burning question about the difference between Baptist and Orthodox Christians. Frustratingly, each time he asked he was told to read his Bible – that’s where the answer lay.
The turning point, it seems came when Daniel gave him a bi-lingual copy of the Bible in which the words of Jesus are highlighted in red and, one day, as he read His words in Mark 16: 15-16 they jumped out at him and everything began to fall into place. In Mark 16: 15-16 Jesus says:
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
In conclusion, Jan stated that because he believes the Bible and its teachings he wanted to be saved by God’s only Son and that was why he was seeking baptism.
We sent a copy of what we were intending to include in this magazine to Jan and Monica so that they could correct any inaccuracies and received the following reply, which we thought you might find encouraging:
“You have put our confessions in the correct meaning. Our English is still full of mistakes. SBC was and is for us a family, a school and the way to Father God through Jesus Christ the Son and through the Holy Spirit due to the preaching and the songs of praise.
Every Sunday was for us a reason for joy and a shower for our souls. Singing songs of praise is like a fine retuning of our souls with God.
We give thanks to God every day for His gift, the Shirley Baptist Church, the people and the place where we feel His presence every time.”
Jan and Monica