I walked back to my car disappointed. Another one of my contacts told me that they belonged to a different church. I had been in Liberty Hill for around two months, and those first couple months were dedicated to following up with contacts that Pastor Patterson had made before I arrived. He had met about 40 people in the Liberty Hill area who signed up to receive a daily e-prayer. So when I arrived in Liberty Hill the first thing I did was visit all these contacts in order to introduce myself and let them know I’d be taking over the daily prayers and holding Sunday worship services. One of those contacts was Ben—who had just told me his family attended church elsewhere.
For the next month or so, I continued to send out the daily prayer. One day, Ben’s wife, Kendra, emailed me back. She explained that she loved the daily prayers, that they spoke to her, and they were looking for a closer church home. Just before Christmas, Kendra attended a worship service to test it out. Shortly after that, she was consistently bringing both her 2-year-old son and her husband. They joined our Bible 101 class and began to dig into the truths of God’s word. We made it to the baptism lesson and I let Scripture explain how baptism is a gift from God. We explored how in baptism God makes us his child, and he offers us forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we finished the lesson, Kendra exclaimed, “Baptism is awesome!”
It turns out Kendra had been baptized, but their 2-year-old son and Ben had not. We scheduled a date and their 2-year-old son was the first baptism at our new church. Ben wasn’t quite ready at that time. So I continued to be patient and let God’s Word work on his heart. When he was ready, we met at the church and I baptized him in a private ceremony. It was an incredible experience for both me and the family.
You never know how God will bring people to him and you never know when. People coming to faith has nothing to do with our own work and our own timeline. We simply get to be the messengers and faithful servants, and what a privilege that is.
Rev. Stephen Apt is the pastor for Peace Lutheran Church in Liberty Hill, Tex.