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Baptism of Raveendra Gunta - 19 Nov 2017

On 19 Nov 17, Raveendra Gunta took the step of obedience to acknowledge and testify of his faith in Christ through baptism. We warmly welcome him to the GBC family; and we pray that we will love him as our own and provide a home away from home for this dear brother whom the Lord has brought to our shores.

Raveendra (Ravi as he would have us addressed him) first came to GBC with his friend, Kiran Aadhay, when we held our first service back at 17 Mattar Road on 27 Aug 2017. They live in a nearby estate and decided to visit us when we moved back. For the last two months, he has been joining us regularly for our weekly worship services and has also joined a care group for fellowship and spiritual growth. Ravi is from South India and has been working in Singapore for the last 1.5 years. We are very thankful for this dear brother whom the Lord has brought to our shores and it gives us tremendous joy to have the privilege to witness his baptism, which is also the first baptism to take place in our new building since we moved back. 

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As Ps Ian and Ravi stood in the baptismal pool, Ps Ian explained that our baptismal pool was intentionally designed to be lower than the stage to symbolise a grave where we die with Christ as we are being immersed in the waters. As the Apostle Paul describes in his letter to the Galatians: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal 2:20)

He then went on to introduce Ravi to the GBC family and below are excerpts of the testimony that Ravi shared:

"I have a lovely, God-fearing Mom, Dad and two siblings in India. My father is a farmer and my mother a homemaker. My parents used to work too hard in the fields to earn their livelihood and it made me feel so miserable. However, I am happy to say that my parents brought us up in a godly way, irrespective of our family’s living conditions. God has shone His grace on us through my grandfather, who was saved through Canadian Baptist missionaries, and...my mother and father were led to believe in Jesus Christ with the help of my grandfather. Currently my father is serving God as a church elder in a small church in my village. Living as a Christian in India is very challenging yet God is doing wonders. Total Christian population in India is just 2%. I belong to Telugu community (Andhra Pradesh) where the Christian population is about 1.3%. I thank God for what he has done in our family and accounted us in that 1%.

Though my parents were Christians and taught me to attend Sunday school, I found Jesus on my own at the age of 13. I attended an event (Vacation Bible School) conducted by Hebron Ministries, there I heard about the crucifixion of Jesus and how He came into the world and gave His life to mankind. Oh... that melted my heart. Immediately I repented and accepted Him as my Saviour and gave my heart entirely to Him. That was my first encounter with God. Surprisingly the Lord opened my heart to His Word and encouraged me to read the Bible daily. Though I couldn’t understand much, I read the entire Bible at the age of 14. I knew that God’s power had begun working in my life.

Once I have seen a beautiful wall paper of Jesus Christ on the cross and there were two beautiful lines written on it: “I have done all things for you…what have you done for me?” That question melted my heart and I realized that Jesus reminds me to do something for Him. This is the driving force within me to live faithful. So I have decided to do something for the one who paid my penalty.

I have always been passionate about introducing my Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ to my friends. I was staying in the hostel while pursuing my Bachelor of Science degree. There, I would often tell my friends about Jesus and how He could change their lives. But they rejected the gospel and would try to humiliate me...But I did not stop sharing the gospel and praying. I was praying daily for their salvation. One fine day, my friends became interested in knowing about Jesus so I shared again the life story of Jesus. God opened their hearts and they were quite impressed and interested to join the church. They often visited church until graduation and they departed for their higher studies. There was one Hindu guy among the group who had given his heart to Jesus and after that he brought his whole family to the church. I was so happy about it. I continue to share the gospel whenever He gives me opportunity...

Though I received Christ in my life, I was not ready for baptism for several years because I wanted to be perfect in faith before I take that step of baptism. I have since learnt that baptism is a step of obedience which Jesus has commended us to do and understood that it’s going publicly in faith and say that I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I decided to take this step and I believe this is the best decision that I have ever made. When I decided to get baptised, there was no opportunity found for five years as I was always away for my work during scheduled baptism dates. Finally, God gave me an opportunity at GBC to acknowledge my faith in him through baptism. Pastor Ian has been encouraging and guiding me toward baptism. I’m quite excited to take this step of obedience and am praying for the Lord’s presence. Thank you so much GBC for such an amazing fellowship. You are the loveliest people I have ever come across in my life. Thank you."

Ravi-baptismBefore the immersion, Ps Ian asked Ravi if he was willing to take this first step of obedience to acknowledge and testify of his faith in God, and without any hesitation, Ravi answered, "Yes." Following which, Ps Ian prayed that after this, Ravi will continue to display this spirit of obedience in his journey of faith whenever the Lord calls him, that this will be the first 'yes' of many 'yes' to come. With that, Ravi went through the waters of baptism to publicly identify with the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ps Ian also reminded the congregation that if anyone, like Ravi, has been contemplating baptism for a while to recognise that baptism is the first step to obedience; it would be hard for us to say yes to Jesus in any other areas of our lives if we do not first take this step! Jesus did not command us to first be perfect before getting baptised - an impossible endeavour; we first follow him, get baptised in obedience, afterwhich His Spirit progressively sanctifies us until His return.

Witnessing Ravi's baptism, we are reminded of our own commitment to our Lord Jesus when we first took the step of baptism. We pray that each and every one of us will continue to display this same trust and obedience in our daily walk with God just as we had when we first proclaim our faith and love in Him. We also pray that as a church family, we will welcome and encourage Ravi in his walk just as he has been such a great encouragement to us.

ravi-baptism-family

 

The next baptismal Bible study is this Sunday, 26 Nov, 11 am to 1 pm at Room 309. Do drop by if you are seeking to find out more about baptism or keen to get baptised!