Baptisms and Transfers -- 27 Sep 2020
On 27 September, we celebrated with great joy God's addition of ten new members to the GBC family. We rejoiced as we witnessed the baptism of Lee Qing Ping, Prisca Tan and Krishna Chenthamarai, as well as welcomed Carol Chandran, Dikaios Pang, Fiona Teong, Javirea Lo, Lison Chen, Ruth Fong and Valerie Chin via transfer of membership.
We thank God for these precious treasures He has entrusted us with: (L-R) Dikaios, Qing Ping, Lison, Ruth, Javirea, Fiona, Prisca, Valerie, and Carol and Krishna with their daughter Amelia.
Before the baptisms, Pastor Ian clarified that baptism will not make us more righteous or holy, and it is a step of obedience rather than a step of faith. Each of these believers has embraced Christ as their Lord and Saviour and has come now to demonstrate a picture of the gospel that is found in Romans 6. By going through baptism, Qing Ping, Prisca and Krishna were demonstrating that they were "buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life."
Read the encouraging testimonies of these ten new members on how God is working in their lives and do drop them a note to welcome and encourage them! Below are excerpts of their testimonies.
1. Lee Qing Ping
I think for most people born into a Christian family, there comes a critical point when they decide if the path they are on is true and worth continuing. Before I reached this point, being Christian was fairly easy. I thank God for being blessed with loving parents who have been pillars of faith and have always done their best to raise their children in the way we should go (Prov 22:6)...
But faith is easy without risk, cost or disappointment. Over time, however, more people, experiences and things I learnt challenged my faith. Choices and sacrifices came with some decisions I had to make. I wrestled with my understanding of God and what I saw in the world around me. “If I was going to go through all this,” I thought to myself, “I better be believing in something/someone real.” And so I dug deeper and tried to learn more about what exactly it was I believed in to try and defend the faith. And I think when we seek God earnestly and honestly, He meets us where we are, in His time.
2. Prisca Tan
I was a second-generation Christian, so I grew up going to church every week and learning about the different stories and people in the Bible. I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed going to church to meet other people. However, I never really understood what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. I started attending my previous church’s youth service sometime in secondary school. From there, I began to learn about the good news of the gospel, and the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross for me...
Nevertheless, I had many idols...I was especially challenged when I entered university, and could no longer rely on my academic success for my sense of worth...God broke down the pedestals that I had built for myself. I realised that the only source of strength that would never waver was Christ. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”.
3. Krishna Chenthamarai
I was raised with the support of a Catholic who provided for my education and basic needs and took care of me as his own son. In all my childhood, he did not ever force or push me to become a Christian...I knew Jesus is God. I prayed to him from when I was a child for anything and everything I needed, from small little things to the big asks for my life...
Five years ago, my company gave me an offer to move here, where I met my lovely wife, Carol, who is also working in the same company. She was born and raised in a Christian family in India. Through her I came to know about the Lord Jesus and the miracles He has done in her life and to others in this world. I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Saviour, and was baptised by sprinkling. I now would like to be baptised by immersion.
TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP
4. Carol Chandran
Faith in my family was a given, as my parents came from a line of I-don’t-know-how-many generations of Christians. But when I was 20, my father’s once-flourishing business had some troubles. That drove him to his knees and he took us along with him. Along the way my faith in Jesus became my own and He was my personal Saviour.
That was a more than a decade ago—and a lot has happened since. Sicknesses, weddings and funerals. These are the big events you remember when you think of God’s hand in your life. And then there are the "little ones"— the work of God in your daily living—stopping the rain, preventing an accident, giving you much when you wanted few...
As I share my story, the more I want to echo—what is man that You are mindful of him? Not just mindful, He calls me His child. If children, then heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ! (Rom 8:17)
5. Dikaios Pang
The real risk, that everyone who grows up culturally Christian faces however, is the ease with which one slips into the trappings of religiosity, while completely missing the point of the gospel. And so I existed in this liminal space, knowing the right things to say and even zealously attempting to correct the perceived heresies of others, yet completely lacking a personal conviction of my own depravity and need for personal salvation.
It was in 2010, when I was invited to the youth service of another Baptist church that I was convicted of my own utter and complete depravity and my desperate need for a personal saviour. But most importantly, a Saviour in the person of Jesus Christ and not myself. On some level we all know we are hopelessly lost and in need of salvation, but many of us think we can do it ourselves. I accepted Christ and was baptised, publicly declaring my commitment to turn from sin and follow Jesus.
6. Fiona Teong
My conversion story is one of baby steps into the Christian faith. I first prayed the “sinner’s prayer” when I was just ten years old. How much I understood at that time, I don’t remember. I was busy throughout my school years and was actively involved in sports, student council and camps and was always on to the next “big gig”. I used to think that life is what you make of and was determined to write a great story...Busyness was my badge of honour and after a frenzied lifestyle took over, I was constantly tired and overspent.
One day, after an invitation that stretched on for months, I joined a fellow brother-in-Christ at Bible fellowship...God used the people and platform as He moved mightily in the midst. He opened my eyes to His Word and I begin to understand how upside-down my priorities were, and realised how trials in my life only brought about the wretchedness of sin that was already within me. In a cry of desperation, I (re)invited Jesus into my life. It was a prayer, a plea, a commitment, and a hope.
7. Javirea Lo
During the service, the sermon on the topic of family really spoke to me. When there was a call for people with family problems to come forward, I decided to go to the front for prayer. I shared my indignation and resentment and a lady prayed for me. As she prayed, I realised Jesus was also betrayed. But he still loved his betrayers and even died for sinners like them. I realised I was in no position to hold this grudge against my father. If Jesus has forgiven me, then what right do I have as a forgiven sinner to still hate my father? Even though the wounds will take a while to heal, I decided then to forgive my father. My parents settled on a three-year separation. I still keep in contact with my father. My new faith in God has helped me to grow closer to the community to serve Him and draw nearer to God.
8. Lison Chen
I was born and raised in a typical Chinese family. Most of my relatives are either atheists or Buddhists influenced by my Grandma... In my childhood, I was always told to worship buddha so that I could get into a good school, get a good job, and become wealthy in the future. On the other side, I was taught to earn my life myself and to hold my future in my own hands...
However, things did not go as planned. I lost a job offer due to an economic downturn. I felt lost and confused. But I got an opportunity for further studies, which greatly changed the direction of my life. Looking back, I now understand that things were working according to God’s will, not mine. When God closes a door, He always opens a window.
I came to know the gospel during my studies in Sweden. I also met my wife, Grace. She suggested for me to visit a local church that has a Chinese missionary group. I began regularly attending and was blessed by God’s grace and love. Eventually, I came to believe in Jesus and was baptised in 2011.
9. Ruth Fong
Growing up in a Christian family, attending church and care group, and serving were the “norm” for me.
While I understood and believed in what it meant to be a Christian—believing that Christ came to die for my sins and that I have salvation through Him—for a long time, my heart behind doing these “Christian” things was not truly about God but about such things being the right thing to do in the eyes of other Christians.
Over time, I grew tired and stopped serving in church. I struggled with self-worth, especially when judged by the standards of the people around me—whether it had to do with my grades, my friends, or whether I was doing enough in church.
... After meeting Glen and deciding to attend GBC, it gave me the opportunity to read God’s Word with CG and friends in a deeper way. This helped me better understand God’s grace and the precious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. It also reminded me that my worth is in found in Christ. He paid the price for my sin on the cross. I am convicted that I need God’s grace and mercy each day and will strive to know Him more.
10. Valerie Chin
I said the “sinner’s prayer” at 18 hoping God would change my circumstances for the better—reinstating material comfort and fortifying secular success. That, then, was my idea of God. I didn’t fully understand my fundamental need to repent from sin—that God’s overarching intention is to restore my relationship with Him through Jesus Christ; to make me into a new person fit for Kingdom purposes and to enjoy eternity in fellowship with Him.
I was baptised upon professing faith in Jesus. But God’s discipline was needful. Having come through it, I have a fuller appreciation of God’s plans for me, plans for a future and a hope, plans for eternity (Jer 29:11). The way back is first the acknowledgment of sin, the resolution to turn from wicked ways and the acceptance of Jesus as Saviour and Lord. And so began the walk with Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to guide my steps.
The sanctuary might be empty due to Covid-19 restrictions but our hearts were warmed by the testimonies shared by these new members. We pray that we will be a church that allows them to exercise the gifts and talents that God has endowed them with and that we will be an encouragement to one another, spurring one another on toward love and good deeds. You can watch the baptisms here:
[Our appreciation to Dikaios Pang and Gerald Chua for the photos of the baptism service.]