By: Multiple Authors
We’re gearing up for our annual baptism event and wanted to share a few of the stories of life change from individuals that are preparing to be baptized this Sunday!
Thomas Prebelich, Clinton Township campus
Throughout my years, I’ve lived by my rules, my way. When suffering because of my parents’ violent divorce, I built walls around myself. I always felt as though something was missing…until my loving wife brought me to Kensington. Every time I went, I felt that I was being reached out to, and soon I understood what was missing: Jesus. I became more immersed in the bible through K-Men and began to understand what it means to follow Jesus. His words and teachings are so powerful and have helped me change as a person and have led me closer to Him.
Kelsey DiPirro, Traverse City campus
Here’s what the past six months have been like: I racked up thousands in medical bills, had to buy out the lease on my car which caught on fire on my way to the dealership, learned that my home had major structural issues, felt my finances were a disaster, tried desperately to settle into a new job and deal with depression and anxiety. A few years ago, I would have been disabled by all this. Instead, I drew close to my community, started a bible study with my friends, shared my love for Jesus with the children at church, and I prayed hard. God and I have the most authentic relationship I’ve ever had. It’s not always pretty, but it is always worth it. I’ve chosen Kensington to be a part of this next step of my journey because I’ve always considered it home, even when it has been far from my new home in Grand Rapids.
Hallie McIntosh, Birmingham campus
I was raised in an abusive home – my brother and I were tormented mentally and physically from childhood into our adult years by our mother. I spent the majority of my life hating myself. I partied often, spent time around people who treated me as badly, and by age 24 I was pregnant, unmarried, and terrified at my future. When I had my daughter, I considered the resources at my disposal that would give me tools to be a better mom than I had. Church seemed like a logical choice. I figured, “what’s it going to hurt” to just go a few times. Those few times became a regular part of my Sunday routine for the duration of my pregnancy. After she was born, I got married, bought a new home, and my life seemed wonderful. I thought this must be working. I must be doing something right. I didn’t want to “jinx” it. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I felt my heart change. I felt the love God was giving me. I felt full. I felt safe. For the first time in my life I really felt…complete. That broken little girl that existed in my head and thought she was worthless has been replaced by a powerful, God-fearing woman that commands respect through her actions and the way she treats others around her. I look forward to spending the rest of my life committing myself to him fully and allowing his love to work through me and heal me for as long as it takes.
Ronald Ward, Troy campus
I was an alcoholic and extremely unfulfilled spiritually. An AA friend took me to a Christian men’s group –Band of Brothers – on a Wednesday which soon became a highlight in my week. The brothers laid hands on me and prayed multiple times and I felt the power of the holy spirit. Then I had the opportunity while on a job site to meet a young lady that was a cutter and had countless scars on her arms. Although she was not a Christian she allowed me to put my hand on her shoulder and pray for her. The power of the holy spirit filled me again and the most beautiful prayer came out of my mouth. This is new to me and tears rolled down my face. She was also cried and said the experience was surreal. I realized then that I was a messenger of Jesus. Now, I attend Celebrate Recovery and Sunday services at Kensington. I want to belong to the community and show the world my devotion to Jesus Christ. I feel fulfilled for the first time in my life and I anxiously await whatever mission God chooses for me.
Frances Xing, Troy campus
I grew up in China and saw many people doing ancestor worship which I believed to be a burdensome and false religion. Ten years ago, I found Kensington and was attracted by its uplifting services, global vision, friendly atmosphere, and giving mission. In life, there were multiple times I was let down – my hope was crushed, I was surrounded by darkness and disappointment, but I was lit up whenever I came to Kensington. I saw Jesus open a window for me whenever a door was closed. I have appreciated God’s love and will continue to learn and apply God’s words. Baptism will start a new chapter of my life to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I am disowning myself and indicating my desire to serve Him, and I am dedicated to doing the will of Jesus Christ.
Patricia Courtney, Orion campus
I’ve been ready to fully give my life to Christ for years and was waiting for the “perfect time” and to be able to perfectly explain why. I now know that it doesn’t have to be perfect at all. It can be raw and emotional. I’m still growing each day in my walk and will continue to do so as I fully give my life to Christ. My life has been such a rollercoaster but the last 10 years have been the most fulfilling. The closer I’ve gotten to God the more my soul feels filled and whole. We love all that makes Kensington what it is: our community, Dave and Ann, Smash retreats, Rock your Family, Intentional Parenting, Marriage Conferences and small groups. Our children have grown so much from their years at Kensington. We are so grateful to continue to become closer to God with this wonderful community and interact in such intentional, fun ways. We are truly blessed.
Please join us as we celebrate with all those in our community taking this step of faith! We’ll have engaging worship, a life-changing teaching, live baptisms, and lots of fun for all ages. Still, have questions about baptism? Read the blog What Is Baptism? by Justin Warns.
For more information, or to register, visit kensingtonchurch.org/summer-baptism.