I have walked in darkness. In some ways I still do. It is my hope that by baptism, the darkness will go and be replaced by the light of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not my first baptism. I was born and raised in the Roman Catholic faith. So when I was a few days old, the priest performed the rescue ceremony that would keep my soul from hell until I was old enough to make my own decision.
The next step towards that decision came with the sacrament of confession. Grand Falls, my hometown is a predominantly French community and even though I didn't go to a Catholic school everyone in grade one was prepared for our first confession. Our first Holy Communion quickly followed that. I grew up, a good little Catholic girl.
Time passed and I went through school and on to University. That's when things got a little weird. Sex and drugs and 'rock and roll' became the order of the day. I decided to become a wikkan and thanks be to God, the witch in charge of the coven didn't want me, he thought I was too good or something.
Long story short, I went back to the little town (in truth brought back in shame by my parents) and settled into small town life. It was there that I met my first husband. He brought me out West. We did it the hard way. We set out with all our possessions and a 72 Nova and drove west. We bought a tent but basically we lived in the car. Back in the '80's we were called vagrants and were moved along more than once. Today you would call us homeless people. So for two months we travelled up and down BC looking for a place to live and build a future. A future in BC with my husband wasn't meant to be and shortly after we moved to Vancouver, we parted.
We had been married in the Anglican Church so I considered myself an Anglican and started attending an Anglican church in Surrey. At the same time, I was involved in a lot of crappy stuff and the apostle Paul writes that what the disobedient do in secret are not to be spoken about and I agree, so this part will stay in darkness. Suffice to say I was a most certainly a creature deserving of wrath in the eyes of God.
To go on, I met Tony Fuller, my husband over 28 years ago. He would prompt me to say "28 wonderful years" and that is to his credit! Some of them weren't so wonderful for him or for us.
I met Jesus Christ personally in the early '90's. I had mentioned that confession was a big first step for a small child in the Catholic faith. At 19, I dropped out of going to church and taking part in any kind of religion. I've always had faith in someone or something but going to church was something that was over in my life.
And then I did something terrible. I felt the need for confession, I felt so awful, so guilty and so scared that it was literally killing me. Where to turn? I turned to my roots and decided to go to St. Joe's and confess my sins to an agent of God, a priest. I telephoned and found out the hours of confession and made my plans to go.
Tony is a very good man, honest and true and generous but he isn't a religion kind of guy and he wouldn't have liked for me to be unburdening a guilty mind to an absolute stranger. "Can't we just talk about it, between us" he would have said. But I couldn't so I went in secret to St. Joes. I drove into the parking lot and the lights in the church were on. Good sign!
This was many years ago and it is not the same building as it is today, it was a smallish old-fashioned white building. I went into the foyer and walked to the main door. It was locked. I stood there in consternation. Why wasn't someone there? Perhaps I had the wrong day and time?
But, I thought to myself, I had made a decision to go to confession and there I would do it to God Himself. I went to my knees and spoke of my sin and sins. I started to cry, my remorse was so great. Then all of a sudden came a presence. I had no doubt in my mind that it was Jesus Christ. The presence was invisible but the feeling of his arms around me and the feelings of consolation and forgiveness were incredible! We communed for just a few minutes but over 25 years have gone by and as I write this, the feeling of awe remains!
Then as quickly as He had come, the feeling of his presence was gone but I felt an elation that cannot be expressed fully. I went to my car and drove down the main street of Langley (it wasn't a one-way street back then). In my elation, I had neglected to turn on my lights!
Shortly after that experience, I felt compelled to join a church and as it happened to be near Christmas since my conversion, I saw that the local Salvation Army was holding a candlelight service. Tony had not been in a church since childhood and I had never attended a Salvation Army service so I had no idea what to expect. Tony's only criteria that the service not be long and that there would be no singing.
Well, guess what, it wasn't long but there was plenty of singing. I liked that; I love music. At the end of the service, Pastor Bonner gave a message, a short one, as requested by his 5 year old son. After all there were presents to be opened at home so Pastor Bonner would abide by his son's request.
All he said was "God has a present for you today too, it's under your tree if you want it. That is the gift of forgiveness. All you have to do is take it." Wow, he was speaking directly to me.
I guess I would like to say this is the end of my story. I wish I could say, "and then I lived happily ever after. The End." But I would be remiss if I did that. Many years have gone by since that first encounter.
I have back problems. This has compounded and initiated a lot of problems in my life. I've had 13 surgeries to correct problems that arose from a skidoo accident. I have battled addiction to prescription painkillers off and on for years until 2001. That was the year that I suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of both the pain and the painkillers. I spent some time in a recovery house. It was awful. Tony and I went through it all. And I can safely say, with Jesus at our side.
We moved to Langley City in September 2009. I live just up the hill from here. Church wise, I was a nomad for about a year and a half. I'd visited North Langley, Living Waters, and CLA but when I stopped here after seeing a Church in the Park service it felt like I'd come home.
The reason I want to be baptised today is similar to what the apostle Paul has written in one of his letters. I don't feel totally 'taken hold of' and I don't think I am not living the life that Jesus has decreed for me. I think that baptism is a granting of the Holy Spirit on a believer. I want this Holy Spirit. I want to make a good confession (my testimony) in front of you all as witnesses and in the eyes of Jesus Christ, my saviour. I want to make a public commitment to live as someone who walks in the light. I am tired of the darkness. I am tired of trying to do it all by myself. I want the Holy Spirit. I want to walk in the light of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus!