by Paige Slighter
Michael and Monica were baptized together in Lake Phalen in 2017. To tell the story of how they got there, we have to rewind back to 2015. That year, Monica’s brother Jesse was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He was only forty-seven years old with a new baby on the way and a personality larger than life. The same day of Jesse’s diagnosis, Michael received news that he was being laid off from work. He remembered asking God, “How could this happen?”
Michael and Monica spent months traveling back and forth to the hospital to be with Jesse until he passed away. Michael remembers, “I was able to be with him to the end and assure him of God’s love and forgiveness. In retrospect, it was a time of incredible grace and blessing.” This difficult and devastating loss stirred Michael and Monica into a deeper walk with God. Together they started attending Cultivate classes, and ultimately ended up attending our Southeast Sojourners church in St. Paul. It was there that Michael’s desire to be baptized deepened.
Fast forward to 2017: they were running around Lake Phalen when Michael said, “I feel like I need to be baptized.” Monica expressed an interest as well. She explained that she had been baptized as an infant, but never as an adult. This came as a surprise to Michael because Monica had begun her Christian journey a lot earlier than he had. She had been “spiritually adopted” into a family of faith from a young age and was unashamed of her love for Jesus. As a teenager, she often spent summers attending a Bible camp at Leech Lake. Michael recalls, “While Monica was off at camp, I spent my youth causing trouble and avoiding anything remotely religious.” He gave his life to Christ in his 30s. Monica explained that she had been afraid of being baptized as a teenager because of the leeches in Leech Lake. At the end of their run, they made the decision to be baptized together.
Michael really appreciated the classes leading up to their baptism. He felt like because of them, he finally understood the meaning of baptism and the depth of God’s covenantal relationship.
Michael and Monica were so grateful to share this special experience together. Since then they have been living out what Michael calls “Phase Two” of their faith. For them, baptism is not the end, but the beginning of a new deeper journey with God. Michael says, “It’s just a reminder we’re not done yet.”
Baptism classes start this Sunday (July 7th) at 11am in the North wing.
There are three classes in total to attend, if you’re interested in being baptized. If you have any questions or can’t make all three classes contact Becky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The baptism will take place at Lake Phalen after the second church service. Feel free to invite your friends and family!