Baptisms and Transfers -- 20 Dec 2020
On 20 December, we had the great joy of welcoming 12 new members—7 via baptism and 5 via transfer of membership—to the GBC family.
We are so encouraged by their testimonies of how God is working in their lives, strengthening us and reminding us of the saving work of Christ. Below are excerpts from their testimonies and if you would like to read their full testimonies, please email the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Eugene expressed how wonderful an opportunity it was to see the gospel displayed as we witnessed the baptism of these 7 individuals. He explained that baptism does not save us but is a public proclamation of the saving work of Christ. In baptism, we identify with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who in accordance to Scripture, suffered on the cross, died, was buried and rose. Baptism thus demonstrates that we having died with Him, are raised with Him through faith in the gospel.
1. Rebecca Ong
Rebecca, a second-generation Christian, shared how through sufferings and trials of a relationship, God has revealed Himself to her.
My family brought me to church and then to Sunday school each week since the day I was born... However, attending church doesn’t make you a true follower of Christ and I was no exception—I was not really convicted in my beliefs...
Most second-generation Christians would make their own choice at some point in their life to follow Jesus or not, and God in His great wisdom used a particularly hurtful unequally yoked relationship during my university days to turn me to Him. I made my choice to end that relationship to the shock of many and at that point I truly felt I had done something absolutely illogical—but I knew in my heart it was right. I remember praying that day: God, I’ve taken this step of faith and obedience just like the stories in the Bible. I know what I’ve been doing is wrong and I am sorry. If you are real, and if you are truly God, would you please reveal yourself to me?
If you do, I promise to follow you all the days of my life. It was then that our Lord God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Ps 103:8) took the only thing I had to offer Him—a broken heart—and unfolded miracle after miracle in my life just days after that decision.
... Knowing God quite literally turned my life upside down for the better. I understood love demonstrated by our Father himself—knowing that Jesus died for my sins despite my unworthiness so that He could call me His own changed my perspective on life completely... seeking Him brings me the greatest joy I could ever experience.
2. Clara Lim
Clara shared how the search for the meaning of life led her to Jesus.
Growing up as a young child, I was always asking myself, "What is the meaning of life? If one day, we all have to die." Being an inquisitive child, I pestered my parents for an answer. My parents, who were non-believers, gently replied, "Study hard, get a good job, so that you can support yourself and your family." But I thought to myself, surely, the meaning of life can't just be to earn big bucks and support a family? Surely, there is more to life than this?
When I was in secondary school, I tried to find meaning in life. In Secondary 2, I studied very hard and topped the cohort. Yet, after the initial high of congratulations, the satisfaction soon lulled away. I tried to find meaning in doing good, and invested a lot of time in community projects—helping the elderly, the poor and the sick. Yes, there was meaning in this, but I felt a certain sense of selfishness. Am I doing good, just to make myself feel good? What is the purpose of doing good for others? I still could not find an answer to the meaning of life.
Later on, whilst waiting for university to commence, I interned for one of my teachers. He was the first teacher I had met who cared for his students so unconditionally and abundantly. He once shared with me that if anyone ever comes to me for help, to always do my utmost best to help with wisdom and discernment. I asked him, "Sometimes, when you do good, won’t you experience hurt, rejection or even human disappointment? Isn’t it tiring to be so giving, and love so much, yet not experience the same in return?" He calmly replied, "No, Clara, it is because I have Christ. It is Christ who gives me the strength to give and love abundantly, to carry on this work. Even though it is tiring, I know it is the will of God for me to help these students, and I will do so and trust in Him."
Touched by God's grace, I repented of my sins and accepted Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I felt His presence in my life. I teared because I could feel the many years of burden and emptiness being lifted from me, yet humbled by the grace and power of God. In my pre-salvation state, I thought I had everything as per the standards of the world, yet at the core of it, I had nothing. There is little meaning to be found in this world, even in doing countless good works, for it is through God from whom all blessings flow (Eph 2:8-9).
I know that I want to follow Him, all the days of my life… It is easy to run the race well in the beginning, but not easy to finish well. Looking unto Jesus, I endeavour to run with patience the race that is set before me, and serve the Lord well.
3. Caleb Kho
Caleb testified of how being constantly surrounded by God's people revealed to him the love of God.
I was born into a Christian family and lived overseas for almost half my life. I grew up with a loving family but the thing I loved most in my life was not my family but my own selfish desires for joy. Joy from playing computer games defined my life, and my life revolved around this desire...
At the start of 2019, I began to realise the consequences of pursuing these unhealthy habits. I was not doing well academically and had nothing planned for the future... However, as I had stopped playing computer games, I tried to seek other ways to fill this void by focusing on my responsibilities in the army or by spending time with my friends... Not playing computer games made me question my identity and self-worth: ‘’If my whole life was defined by this joy, then who am I without it?”. As the year progressed, I questioned my self-worth and identity even more. “If I’ve failed so many times in school and have no future, why do my family and friends still love me? Is it because they are just good people?” I began to question where their love came from and why my family, especially my parents, continually loved me when I had kept failing in various aspects of life—whether it may be academically, health wise or even just in loving others.
As I continued questioning where this love came from and why I deserved to be loved, God started surrounding me with His people, who continued to show me love despite me seemingly having no worth nor identity. This deepened my curiosity further, and I began attending church not because my family went, but because I desired to understand more about God’s love, and the love through His people. There I realised three things:
- God unconditionally loves us, regardless of who we are and what we’ve done.
- My identity was not defined by my grades or my past, but defined in Christ.
- My previous pursuits of joy from video games were temporal and fleeting, and there was greater joy to be found in knowing God and following Christ as I understood what He had done for me.
... Because of God’s unconditional love for me, I’m reminded not to chase temporal joys, but rather encouraged to be a living testimony to point others—Christian or non-Christian—to God and His unconditional grace and mercy.
4. Samuel Lum
Samuel explained how the gospel became real to him through his experiences.
In my growing up years, I was placed in a comfortable Christian environment. I have Christian parents, attended a small family church since infancy and spent ten years in a Methodist school. I recall my mother and school teachers setting a good example and would often pray with me whenever there were exams or eventful situations. I accepted the Lord as my Saviour during one summer at vacation bible school during my primary school holidays. However, I lacked true reality of the gospel within me.
... It was from that night that I felt the spiritual implications of our earthly actions—our physical deeds have consequences in the spiritual realm. The gospel of Jesus Christ is real, true and it redeems us from our sins and physical deeds. There is God’s kingdom which is spiritual in form and there is unrelenting active opposition and battle against God’s people and their works. I’ve experienced this first-hand—each time I commit to walk right in God’s Word, I would receive voices in my dreams which say “this is only temporary, you won’t last”. Yet however, it is this constant battle that encourages me and tells me that there is a kingdom of God out there, and it is only through the accomplishments of Jesus at the cross that we are saved, set free and granted power over the spiritual forces of darkness.
... To me, I am deeply appreciative that as Christians, we have the ability to plant seeds through our physical actions and this transmits into the spiritual realm. We have an almighty, all powerful God out there who will eventually bring his kingdom to come.
5. Ryan Tan
Ryan shared how understanding that God is not a genie but a Saviour convicted him of his sins and the grace of God.
I am thankful for my Christian parents who brought me up in a Christian household. It is their upbringing that helped me make this decision of getting baptised today.
During my teenage years, I knew that the lust that I engaged in was not what God wanted, but I ended up continuously falling into temptation. I was not sure why I had to flee from temptation and not sure what that had to do with everything in the Bible. I concluded that perhaps God might not grant me what I wished for if I continued in sin because our relationship was not close.
I had the opportunity to share these thoughts with a pastor back in 2018, and he told me I had a completely flawed conception of God, which took a 21-year churchgoer like myself by surprise. He told me that God was not a genie who granted wishes to people who did not sin.
A few months later, I was in London pursuing my university studies. I wanted to know God more but wasn’t sure where to look. I landed up in a Bible-teaching church in London, thanks to Jillian and Clarice. The first book I went through there was Romans, and I learnt that all humans have sinned (rejected God as ruler) and are justified (made right with God) by God’s grace as a gift. Grace is God saving underserving sinners from their rightful punishment of death, by sending his son Jesus, so that Jesus instead would take the place of sinners. People can receive this saving (salvation) by believing in Jesus. (Rom 6:21-26).
In hindsight, I might have known this fact, but it got buried beneath my concerns for worldly gains and I saw God as a genie, instead of the gracious and loving saviour. God unstopped my deaf ears and opened my blind eyes to see my sinfulness, which was not primarily lust, but a refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the rightful king over my life.
6. Sng Wai Hong
Wai Hong encouraged us that our God is a God who patiently seeks.
Prior to becoming an atheist, I was a Sunday Christian. I would go to church with my family but was not serious in the faith. I read the Bible only when I wanted to gain favour from God (e.g. score well in exams). While in university, I took a module on Darwin’s Evolution and I just could not reconcile God and evolution. I struggled for some time and eventually came to the conclusion that perhaps there is no God. Though I profess being an atheist, deep down I know that there is a God since I have seen how God has moved in my life thus far. During those few years, I also struggled with finding a purpose in living since according to the atheistic view of life, there is nothing beyond life. Hence, those years of being an atheist has been miserable for me and I often fall into despair.
One day, I was invited by a friend to a talk where the speaker was from Soviet Union. I attended, not to hear about God but rather, out of interest in how life was like in the Soviet Union. However, instead of getting just a history lesson, God used his testimony to convict my heart. I remembered clearly that the speaker mentioned that he was prompted by the spirit to spread the gospel to a shopkeeper near his home. However, he refused and sadly, on the next day, the shopkeeper was shot. At that moment, I realised that God has given me a second chance to come back to Him. I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:7 that we should walk by faith and not by sight. Even though at that time I was not able to fully reconcile evolution and God, my experience with God and the chance He has given me to come back to Him prompted me to come back to Him once again.
7. Chester Choy
Chester shared how attending GBC and having conversations with fellow believers revealed to him that God has always been present in his life and is actively working in him.
Growing up, I was taught that prayer and offerings to Buddha would bring academic excellence and a good career in the future, amongst other successes. When I was in primary school, my paternal aunt invited my family to church, and it became a regular routine to attend service on Sundays. I started out in children’s ministry and thereafter jumped to attending the main service. However, there were gaps in my understanding of the Christian faith where I knew not where to seek answers. My aunt decided to gift my family with sermon CDs to help us learn more, but I still had many questions. She then also shared with me to “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Prov 16:3).
I discovered the Sinner’s Prayer in a CD sleeve for a sermon and silently prayed it one day, believing that God would grant me all the answers I needed. Little did I know that God would begin to show me His love and faithfulness through the many events in my life. Even as I gradually grew distant in my teens, He continued to draw me close. In the past year I met Christina who invited me to GBC, where I deepened my understanding of who God is. It was through reading the Gospel Primer, thereafter through the Word and conversations with members and elders in GBC that I got to know Christ who is my Saviour.
Our God is a merciful and gracious God, and throughout all the seasons He is still faithful even when we fail to make sense of our circumstances...
Heaven rejoices with these 7 precious ones (L-R): Ryan, Wai Hong, Clara, Samuel, Rebecca, Chester and Caleb, who have taken their step of obedience to proclaim their faith in Christ and in turn encourage others to turn towards the Light.
TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP
We are also very thankful for the 5 new members whom God has led to GBC via the transfer of membership (clockwise from top left): Isaac, Liam, Qian Ling, and Jennilyn and Matthew. We are so amazed at how God is adding new members to the GBC family despite the circumstances!
1. Isaac Ong
Isaac shared how our sermon series on the gospel of Luke has reminded him of how Christ is the way back to the Father.
I grew up in church, but my spiritual growth was stunted when I entered NS and started to drift away from God. After following my friend to visit GBC a few times, I realised my need to understand the importance and meaning of the role of Christ in my life, instead of relying on “sensing” the Holy Spirit to go about life. I used to meditate on the verse I received at my baptism, John 15:7 which reads, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” However, as much as I tried to remain or abide in Him, I still failed all the time and every sinful act either brought guilt or hardened my heart in that area of my life. It came to a point where I was so tired that I thought of giving up on my faith, the only thing holding me back being not knowing where I’d go without God since I wouldn’t even have made thus far without Him.
Eventually, when one of my cell leaders and a cell mate from my previous church decided to look for another church, I decided to follow my cell mate and attended a GBC service to see if a change of environment would help get me back on the right track. After hearing about the gospel in Luke, I felt that I slowly started to go beyond knowing the gospel in my head to understanding and being convicted of it in my heart. Each week I felt God was revealing and reminding me of yet another aspect of the central message of the gospel. I learnt about God’s good plan for us, how we sin and exalt ourselves and our desires above God’s kingdom, and how Christ is the way back to the Father.
Thus, although I am still finding my way and getting used to how GBC works, I am glad that I am slowly growing in my faith again. I am also comforted by the verse Philippians 1:6 which states that, “He who began a good work in us will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
2. Sreeraj Suresh Kumar, aka Liam
Liam, who is currerntly studying at the Baptist Seminary in Singapore, shares how his mother's steadfastness in the faith has inspired and encouraged him to serve God.
My mother has been a single mom for long time because my father left us when I was just three years old. I have no memory of him. My mother has always taken care of me and my brother very well. My older brother and sister-in-law are currently working here in Singapore.
I was born and raised in a Hindu family. However, in 2005, when I was studying in the tenth class, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. The doctor could not give us much hope because of how far the cancer had grown. I visited so many temples, asking the gods to heal and protect my mother but nothing happened. Additionally, my family was very poor and we didn’t have enough money for treatment. With the help of our family members, my mother received treatment, but still remained bedridden.
During this time one of our neighbours introduced our family to church, and the pastor and his wife began to come to our home regularly to pray for my mother. One night she sensed Jesus come near to her. A few days later she began to recover from cancer. At that moment, I began to understand that though doctors speak facts, this God speaks truth. I sensed God speak to me and felt assurance that she would live and not die. And He has healed her sickness. Doctors told us that my mother may not survive five years, but she has now been cancer free for ten years by God’s mercy and grace. This has increased my faith in Him. This was how I came to know Him. Now He is my life.
God has provided my mother amazing strength to do great things for God. From the moment she came to Christ, she has been an active member in church and participated in many volunteer activities. This has inspired me and encouraged me to serve in a similar way. She has helped me to build a strong faith in Christ and has often told my brother and me that the Christian life is a long race, “if you want to complete it, you must trust and pray.” She often reminds me that the struggle and wilderness that come into our lives are not because the Lord doesn’t love us but because He wants to strengthen the faith He has given us.
3. Kee Qian Ling
Qian Ling, also a second-generation Christian, shared how she was lost and found!
I started going to church as a young child, and for many years, I attended services dutifully, wrongly believing that I was saved. As a rather rebellious and angsty teen, I began to doubt my faith. This did not come as a surprise—I was comfortable in my own perceived self-sufficiency, completely unaware of my own pride and self-centeredness, and hence my need for a saviour. What I thought was faith in God was a blind acceptance of what I was told. This realisation filled me with a desire to know and understand the truth for myself. I set out to read more about the Christian faith, which I found increasingly compelling. One verse that helped me through is Deuteronomy 4:29: “But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” I hung on to this promise as I searched the Scripture.
In 2018, God’s love finally won me over. It was then that I repented from my old ways, and decided to place my faith in Christ, my saviour and redeemer. While it seems like I have found God after years of effortful labour in searching for Him, in reality it was Him who has found me where I am—desolate, debased, and completely unable to save myself. Indeed, the secret master of ceremonies has been at work all this time; the life experiences I had, the people I met, and my desire to know Him were all lovingly orchestrated by Him.
The struggle with sin remains very real despite being saved. Through experiences with suffering and hardships, the cost of following Jesus became more and more apparent to me. In my strive for personal holiness, I thank God for giving me a Gospel-centred community where we can encourage and disciple one another. Today I rest in the promise that God will hold forever those he loves, trusting that this will ultimately lead to greater joy in Him.
4 & 5. Jennilyn Ami and Matthew Khoh
Jennilyn shared how she came to understand the gospel during a youth camp at church and how she came to GBC.
My father is a Catholic and my mother is a Christian. I was raised as a Catholic together with my other siblings to follow our father. When I was younger what I knew was I have to attend church every Sunday and do good to others so I can go to heaven and I have been obedient in doing so. I thought that was enough. My mother continues her membership in a Baptist church in our hometown in Philippines and would sometimes bring me or my brother to church, which I used to dislike but I still had to follow.
My Christian life had big turn in the year 2000. It was during the school break when my mom enrolled me to a church's youth camp organised by their church and I almost cried because I didn’t have friends there and we had to stay in the camp for 5 days. In the church camp, I started to know more about Jesus, the gospel, salvation and what it was really like to be a Christian. I was surprised to see a big difference in what I used to believe and what was taught about the gospel and Christianity. It was almost at the end of the camp when I fully understood that I was a sinner and through repentance I could be forgiven and received God’s grace of salvation, not by good works or personal effort. It was then that I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal saviour and decided to continue attending church with my mom.
... In 2012, God gave me an opportunity to come to Singapore for work and later led me to meet my now husband, Matthew. Though we are from different culture and race, we share the same beliefs as he also comes from a Christian family and grew up in a Baptist church in Malaysia. When we decided to pursue marriage, we both agreed to find a church where we will be able to grow our faith together in the Christian community and continue discipleship. And through prayers, God led us to GBC.
Matthew, her husband, reminded us that God is faithful!
I was born and raised in a Christian family. Like many others, I grew up attending church, listening to God’s word, reading the Bible—getting to know and experience the wonderful love and grace of God. It’s hard to describe my life before Christ. For me, He seems to have always been there.
Over the years, I had drifted away from God. Life got busy—with work, friends, career, hobbies, travels etc—and soon I stopped going to church. Sunday was no longer for God, and it was my personal time of rest. I fell into the group of Christians who only attended church during Christmas or Easter. I stopped growing in Christ.
I have tried to change my ways many times to return to God and have failed. It was only when I met Jen, my wife, that I was able to overcome my struggles to depend on God again. It made me realised that while faith in God is a personal conviction, to grow in Christ requires a close friend, a brother or sister in Christ, a community, a Church—to support and help, to teach, to discipline, to encourage each other.
It is the grace of God that saved me. Though I had neglected Him, He remains faithful. He works in mysterious way to bring me full circle back to where I should be. I’m thankful and I will continue to hope in the Lord.
We thank God for the gift of life and for each of these precious ones whom God has entrusted to us to steward. We pray that as a church family, we will be faithful to love and serve them well, and that we would work together for the growth of the gospel, here and beyond.
You can watch the baptisms here: