By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
LEESVILLE, La. (LBM) – Several Louisiana Baptist churches ended 2021 on high notes with baptismal celebrations.
Vernon Baptist Association Director of Missions Morris Goins experienced the blessing of baptizing a second great-grandchild in 2021.
In a moment shared by family and friends, Goins baptized Beckham Hajighassem, 10, at Canaan Baptist Church, Leesville, Dec. 5. Just two weeks earlier, Goins had the privilege of counseling him after he had accepted Christ. Goins previously baptized his great-granddaughter, Kaylee Pew, at Canaan Baptist, March 28.
“It’s brand new and fresh with each one I have the honor of baptizing,” Goins told the Baptist Message. “Next to my own salvation experience, it’s the greatest joy I have felt.”
Hajinghassem’s baptism was number 16 for Canaan Baptist in 2021, which averages 135 in Sunday worship service. Pastor Jason Nolde said the baptism reflects the importance of discipleship.
“Through the many ups and downs the last 24 months, the Lord has continued to bless Canaan and our precious community,” Nolde said. “There have been tough times, indeed, but the Lord always shows up and shows out. Seeing Brother Goins have the most wonderful blessing to minister to and baptize another one of his great-grandchildren has been spiritually uplifting to us all. The blessing that Brother Goins has been to me, our church and our community is priceless.”
Resurrection Fellowship, Castor, commemorated its one-year anniversary with four baptisms, Dec. 12.
Pastor Max Rasbury said the baptisms were a reminder of God’s faithfulness to the church plant, which held its first service at the Castor Community Center, December 2020. Since then, the church has increased attendance to 60 for Sunday worship and has moved to a permanent building.
Members have been faithful to reach their community through personal invitations. Also, in October they hosted a “Trunk or Treat” event that was attended by 300 people.
“It’s been a blessing to watch the Lord work and move in a mighty way,” Rasbury said. “The growth has nothing to do with me but God, who has done every bit of this.”
Brittney Rowell, who was among those baptized, said the church has helped her grow in her faith and become a better Christ-like example to her three children.
“The church has meant everything to me,” Powell said. “Getting baptized was a very exciting moment to share with my kids,” Powell said. “For them to be there and see that is a memory we all will share for many years to come.”
REDEEMED LIFE FELLOWSHIP
Ryleigh Young, 10, celebrated her physical birthday and spiritual rebirth during a special baptism service, Dec. 5, at Redeemed Life Fellowship, Patterson.
Young, who became the first member of Redeemed Life Fellowship to stir the baptistery waters, accepted Christ in the summer. However, her family chose to delay the baptism until December because of COVID safety concerns. Her mother, Jessica, credits Sunday school and family discipleship for planting the crucial Gospel seeds that eventual yielded a precious spiritual harvest.
“After she gave her life to Christ, we noticed a difference in her obedience and respect,” Jessica Young said. “It’s gradually gotten better too. She also apologizes now when she’s wrong, so the Lord has definitely humbled her in some ways.”
Pastor Ronnie Mabile said that two of Ryleigh’s friends who witnessed the baptism have expressed interest in how they too can accept Christ.
“It’s a testament,” Mabile said. “The Bible talks about baptism being a believer’s first public profession of faith. Public baptism is so important because this act of obedience can allow the Holy Spirit to move in the heart of others.”
The church, which averages 30 for Sunday worship, has been active in outreach to the community since they began meeting Easter Sunday last year. Their ministry efforts have included providing 130 meals twice a month as part of a city-wide community outreach to seniors; participating in the city Christmas parade; and hosting an outreach in the city park that featured music, the Christmas story and hot chocolate.