I Want to Grow
Hello everyone, my name is Benjamin Shih. I’ve always believed that God and Jesus are ever present in all our lives, partially due to my upbringing and partially due to my numerous encounters with Him, such as the ones on the Mexicali short term missions trips, the Youth Winter Retreats, church services, TWA (Time with Abba), and the list goes on. One of such experiences was last year in Mexicali. Pastor David Kao had met a man named Cornelias, who suffered from terrible pain in his neck and leg. David and some other students prayed for him and his leg was healed; the next day, he came and told David that it was the first night that he was able to sleep peacefully. That experience taught me 2 things about God…first, God is real because it could not have been a coincidence that after we prayed for him, his leg just suddenly got better. The Holy Spirit must have been at work, and the healing could not have come from any other religion because we prayed to GOD specifically. Not Allah, not Buddha, not Zeus, not any other deity…just God. Secondly, Jesus is our Savior and Healer, because He healed Cornelias of his ailments. Therefore, I want to get baptized in Jesus because I want to grow in God, know Him more, and fully commit to Him. Baptism is an outward declaration of one’s faith in God. I’ve always trusted God, as stated earlier, yet I have never really been one to publicly declare anything in front of a large group unless absolutely necessary, and I never really planned on getting baptized. However, Pastor Ted preached a sermon one day about baptism, raising the idea that someone could not really say they had faith in God unless they got baptized, and I was scared that I would end up away from God if I didn’t get baptized. That belief, albeit ill-founded, planted the seed that would eventually bring all of this to fruition. After some more thinking and praying, I decided to get baptized. Unfortunately, there was a major scheduling conflict that prevented me from getting baptized at that specific time. I was slightly annoyed at God, but He revealed to me it was because I was getting baptized for the wrong reason–fear. Making a spiritual decision out of fear is not an act that honors God. So I began to search for another reason to get baptized, and would not get baptized until I found one. The opportunity came up again during the beginning of the school year, but I didn’t have a good reason yet, and I had other things that would prevent me from pursuing it wholeheartedly. At the Youth Winter Retreat, God told me I had to get out of my comfort zone to learn and grow in Him, but I wasn’t sure in what areas that would apply to. Soon after, the opportunity to get baptized once again came up. I contemplated it, and I thought to myself, “Well, I would have to make a public testimony, and I hate public speaking, and I don’t want to have to stay longer on Sundays” and things like that, when I realized that this is what God meant when He told me that to learn from Him and grow I have to get out of my comfort zone. Before this, I had to stay an extra hour on Sundays (for baptism class) so I could do this. I have to give this testimony in front of the entire church, and after this, I’m going to be drenched in water that is most likely not the most sanitary anymore. It is completely out of my comfort zone, but I trust that God can and will teach me a lesson out of this entire journey. After baptism, I hope to grow in my relationship with God and I hope to hear from Him more as well. I anticipate that because I am going out of my comfort zone today, I will have the strength be able to do it on a more frequent basis and to a greater magnitude, which will in turn allow me to continue to learn and hear from God.