When I first moved to Tampa, in the spring of 2004, Deena was one
of the first people I got to meet. She was the secretary of the church, and made
me feel right at home, and helped me learn my way around the church. Several
times I would start to make a copy or print something out, and she would tell,
me, “let me do that for you. That’s my job.” Being in a new and strange place,
she made me feel right at home.
Not long after, Deena quit being the secretary to move on
somewhere else. By default, I became the secretary for a while until we found a
new one. Deena trained me in, and after trying to fill her shoes for a while my
respect for her grew even more.
Just a few months ago Deena came to me and told me she wanted to
re-baptized and a member of the Tampa First church family, even though she has always been family. She wanted a new start, and today she showed the church and the universe that she is giving all of herself to the One who gave all of Himself for her!
Here Deena and I are finishing up our series of Bible studies at a Greek restaurant. Deena was very faithful in completing all of her study guides. I often tell my Bible students to do two or three lesson a week in hope that they will at least do one. Deena is the only student I have ever had who actually did two or three a week every week!
While we were in the back preparing for baptism, Dan and Pat’s daughter Patty and son-in-law Travis, gave a wonderful testimony about their daughter Jeslyn. Jesylyn was born 18 months ago with the cancer neuroblastoma. After much prayer and medical procedures, Jesyln has now been declared cancer free! Praise God!
Family and friends came from far and near to help Deena celebrate.
I always like to have a prayer right before I baptize someone. I pray that God will make their lives like Jesus’ life, a series of uninterrupted victories! See Desire of Ages p 679-80
“The week before my baptism, William asked me to write an article for his blog on why I was getting rebaptized. I didn’t expect this and really didn’t know where to begin. That was four weeks ago.
I thought about it a lot in the days leading up to my rebaptism and haven’t stopped thinking about what it is I want to say, what it is I could say since.
Then tonight, while studying the Sabbath School Lesson, I read Romans 6:4: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
There it was!
Many things, good and bad, have happened in my life since I first choose to be baptized as a teenager. In many ways, I had no idea the things the devil would send my way just because I made that choice. My rebaptism was symbolic of my decision to live a new life in Christ—to die to sin past and present and claim victory over temptations yet to come. Rather than wallow in regret over things I cannot change, I want to rejoice for all the blessings God has given me, gifts I do not deserve, and vow to live each moment going forward in his grace.” -Deena
Many greeted and congratulated Deena, but I think one of her favorites was her mother.
Don’t let the sun set on you today before you give your heart to Jesus! I would love to talk to you! Laypastor@tampaadventist.net