A Story Of Baptism

A Story Of Baptism

On October 9 & 10, we celebrated Baptism Weekend at The Journey. We saw ninety-eight people proclaim their decision to put their faith in Jesus by taking the step of baptism. We couldn’t be more proud of each one!

Scott and Courtney and their family have been gathering at The Journey since earlier this year. They both knew that now was the time to get baptized. Check out their stories:

Courtney Neil, Impressions Team Leader:

Coming to The Journey with my family was the best decision we ever made. The J-Groups, serving opportunities, and sense of community with like-minded, faith-centered people (and I could go on) all allowed me to open back up and use my pain for good. I want to be a light for others who may believe things can’t get better.  The Journey has reminded me that Jesus’s light will always lead us, and we never truly dull. His light is in us in spite of all our struggles, and he shines it at the PERFECT moment.

I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition that led to twelve brain surgeries, to date.  I was temporarily paralyzed in 2015 and told I should take caution in giving birth to the “miracle baby” God placed inside me the following year.  Life felt like a lot of “Why me, God?” questions, hospital visits, time away from family, being in pain, and missing out on many things. The feeling of hope diminished each time another surgery date approached.  My amazing husband, Scott, was in his own battle: Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  We did our best but found we couldn’t do it all alone.  WE NEEDED GOD.  We needed to be surrounded by God-fearing people.  

I first accepted Jesus into my heart when I was in high school.  Attending youth group and Young Life were two of the most important things I did. I learned how amazing our God is and decided I wanted to dedicate my life to him then. And although I was baptized before, I decided to proclaim my faith again as an adult. And what better time than now? I was blessed to share in this special day with my husband, of whom I am so incredibly proud of!

Long story short, I had to have my tenth brain surgery in September 2020 and ended up hemorrhaging and having a horrible brain infection.  This caused so much pain that I didn’t want to live any longer. I cried and begged all alone in the neuro ICU for God to take my life.  It was like Satan came into my room and felt as though he had won.  Spoiler alert —he didn’t!  A couple hours later, I witnessed my hospital sheets moving, and felt the gentle touch of someone… something.  I knew right then and there that the Holy Spirit was in my hospital room. Initially, I was scared, but soon after felt a sense of peace and calmness that I have never felt before.  I can now say that I have experienced God’s presence in real life.  He performs miracles.  I am a product of that.  I absolutely needed to proclaim my faith again through baptism to also help lead others to see his love and miracles!

Scott Neil, ERT (Emergency Response Team) Leader:

At first, I wasn’t really into the idea of church, or even truly understood who God was.  I attended church with my wife, Court, for a few years until I started to realize the impact God has had in my life.

Growing up, I experienced many harsh realities and learned the ways of life in a negative light. My wife and I have also been through numerous challenges as a couple, and I have always felt I needed something more to help me through life.  After years of searching, I found out that God was that missing piece.  Being able to forgive myself and others and being able to admit that I needed to lean on God for wisdom and strength was a wall I had to break through. 

We came to The Journey this year and I jumped right into serving on the Emergency Response Team and Shuttle Team. I love being able to serve others and learn more about myself in doing so! I love listening to Pastor Mark (and other pastors) every weekend.  Their words, depth of love and authenticity make our family feel very welcomed.

I have battled Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for almost twenty years now and that has been a huge burden over my family.  I tried to hide it, but now I realize that I can use it as a platform to help others. There can be purpose in my pain and suffering. God specifically chose me to use what I have gone through for good. I turn every ounce of frustration, pain, guilt, and sadness to him now. He has truly touched my life in such a way that I will never return to the way I used to be. That is why I decided to accept Jesus into my heart and get baptized during Baptism Weekend.  

Being able to publicly show my faith for God was a momentous occasion that I got to share with my wife.  I felt completely cleansed and ready to begin a new chapter in my life— one with God at the center!

Galatians 3:26-27 reads: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.” 

Baptism signifies us becoming followers of Jesus, beginning a changed life, and uniting with a new family. We’re celebrating with Scott & Courtney, and we love having them as part of our Journey family! 

If you would like to learn more about baptism at The Journey, click here. 

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