Tag Archives: baptism

From Shamanism to Salvation – Nikki’s Story

Nikki (left) and Stephanie celebrating God's power over false gods following her baptism.

Nikki (left) and Stephanie celebrating God’s grace following her baptism.

On Sunday, I had the honor of baptizing a new sister in Christ named Nikki. This baptism was particularly special to me as her conversion was an answer to prayer.

I’ll explain more after you hear her story.

“I was born in Mongolia, a country under the strong influence of Shamanism, Buddhism and other folk religions. Growing up, my parents often visited the witch doctor because of my poor health when I was young. I wore protective amulets close to my heart and around my right ankle. They were my “saviors” and I trusted them to keep me safe and away from evil and harm.

I came to the US in September 2011 to study. During that time, I worked part-time at a dry-cleaners to practice my English. In December 2012, most customers would come by the shop to collect their clothes and as a courtesy ask “What are you doing for Christmas?” I would always respond that “I don’t celebrate Christmas”.

One day, a customer, Garrett, came to pick up his clothes and posed the same question. He followed up by asking about my family and invited me to his church after writing both his and Carrie’s name on a card. Come every Sunday, I would think about whether I should visit the church, but never did so. The following month, I was going through an extremely stressful time in my life and finally decided to visit Del Ray Baptist.

It seemed as though everyone there knew who I was and were extremely caring and welcoming. There, Carrie introduced me to Stephanie who I met on a weekly basis to study the Bible. At the end of one of our bible studies, Stephanie told me that “you cannot serve 2 masters” and challenged me to take off my protective amulets. I was so scared as I believed that if I took them off, I would die.

Stephanie continued to patiently pray with me, and taught me what the Gospel is and what it took to follow Jesus. I continued to question what Christianity was, thinking it was all crazy, but God was working on my heart and starting to change me.

In October 2013, I called my mother and told her I no longer believed in Shamanism and was now a Christian. It was one of the hardest decisions in my life as I knew that I was forsaking what my family and people believed and would face the ridicule of many of my Mongolian friends. Yet, Jesus is my true Savior, not those protective amulets or spirits.

As it says in Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus came to me in such a strong way that I could no longer deny Him. God has given me the courage to take off those amulets, I am still alive! and continues to protect and provide me in such amazing ways despite my circumstances. I am thankful that He loves me so much. What an amazing Father we have!

So I come here today to be baptized before you to say that I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I intend to follow Him for the rest of my life.”


Praise God for His great power over false gods!

God used my encounters with Nikki not only to save her soul, but also to encourage my own. I had been pretty discouraged with my personal evangelism in the days before I met Nikki. I felt like open doors for the Gospel had been nonexistent for several months, so I began to pray more fervently and committed to being bold with any small opening the Lord might give. After my first conversation with her, my wife and I regularly prayed for her salvation and dropped off clothes at the cleaners on days I knew she was working.

Once she visited the church, we had her over to our house with some friends who had done Gospel work in Mongolia and we encouraged others from the church to be praying for Nikki. I remember distinctly one Sunday while I was preaching and saw Nikki sitting next to Stephanie in the row behind my family and her face was beaming and head was nodding as she heard God’s Word proclaimed. There are few sweeter sights a preacher can see than that!

And as a pastor, I have fewer sweeter joys than to see the way our church has been used by the Lord through this whole process. Many have prayed for her, Stephanie has invested many hours of patient Gospel labor, and another single sister named Esther has recently rearranged her living situation so Nikki could move in with her. The Great Commission is always best carried out in a community where people are moved to show sacrifical love because they have first been loved so sacrifically by Jesus.

Having the honor to play a small part in the Lord extending mercy to one of His children is one of the most humbling and soul-refreshing experiences any of us can have. May God open many doors for us so the Gospel can go forth and many more false gods to be put in their place.

Also, keep Nikki in your prayers as she walks with her new Savior. Ask the Lord to encourage her, protect her, and give her opportunity to proclaim Jesus among her friends and family whom she loves very much.

“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God” Isaiah 45:5



Scott’s Story – He Hated God, But God Loved Him Anyway

Scott (left) and Mark were long time friends. Now they are brothers for eternity.

Scott (left) and Mark were long time friends. Now they are brothers for eternity.

Scott hated God. But God loved him anyway. I recently had the honor of baptizing this former rebel in a public display of his new found devotion to Christ. Be encouraged by the testimony he shared with our church from the baptismal waters on Sunday. And be challenged to keep sharing the Gospel with those whom you’d least expect to one day love Jesus.

     For as long as I can remember I’ve believed in myself and looked to myself for guidance on everything in life. I thought if I just focus my efforts I could make myself loveable, likeable, competent, and just an all-around good person that others would affirm that I was in fact a pretty great person. With such a mindset, it’s not surprising to me now, nor probably to you, that my life was filled with anger, depression, self-loathing, and  a sharp distrust of others. Talk of God was a joke to me, albeit one that I tried to “respect” when I was in a good mood.

     During the last 10 years, I’ve lived with a Gospel-believing Christian friend Mark, who, during many “intellectual” and “philosophical” debates never hesitated to share his belief in God and Jesus’ work on the cross.  It sometimes infuriated me that such a well-meaning, otherwise rational person could hold fast to such irrational, self-demeaning nonsense.  I’d say “how can you love someone or count them as a friend when you honestly believe they deserve eternal damnation?”  And he would say it is out of love that he shares the Gospel with people in hopes that they would be saved from that.  So frustrating!

     But back in August, things began to change.  Mark and I met Claire, by complete chance (from my perspective at the time) at a bar in Old Town and we both were struck by her willingness to talk about God openly in such a situation, to Mark’s delight and, honestly, to my annoyance.  We all grew to become good friends over the following

months, though every time God was brought up I bristled.  I’ll admit, though, that I started to see something in their eyes that I hadn’t noticed before: a joy and a hope that I didn’t have and didn’t understand, and it made me curious.

      In January, I found myself in the midst of a brutal storm of loneliness and confusion. I felt like my self-sufficient little boat had been smashed on the rocks and I recognized that I

had no hope in anything other than myself and I was failing myself again and again. So, in tears at work, I texted Mark and asked him to teach me what faith is.

     Mark pointed my eyes in the direction of Christ.  He explained the crucifixion, and for the first time in my life, as I listened, the picture of Jesus on the cross became real to me.  I imagined His perfect life, His genuine love for people who treated Him with hostility and distrust, His patience with them, and the false accusations made against Him leading to

Him being nailed to a cross and mocked even as He was hanging there.  But more than the physical pain His Heavenly Father mercilessly poured His infinite wrath into Him on behalf of many people, including myself for the lies I’ve told, my lust for control over my own life, my slanderous attitude against Him for much of my life, my self-destructive tendencies, my anger, among so many other things. 

     I asked Mark to stop at this point so I could keep thinking more about what Christ had done and I prayed that God would show me the depth of my sins against Him. Every night

I prayed that I’d understand my sin which was helped by Mark and I watching John Piper’s sermons online. I was getting excited about reading the bible and hearing preaching here at Del Ray, but I still couldn’t call myself a Christian. 

     Mark asked if I understood the significance of the resurrection, and I told him I’d heard it, but I didn’t really feel like I understood it.  After he explained that without Christ’s return to life the penalty he took on the cross would’ve been meaningless, and we’d all continue to be under God’s judgment, it came together like two pieces of a puzzle. Later

that week I went to my window at work and repented of my many sins and asked for God’s mercy in the name of Jesus Christ.

     Since then I’ve been told, and I’ve noticed, that my anger has subsided considerably.  My cursing stopped without my conscious control.  My distrust of others began to erode,

not to the point of foolishness, but when you recognize the struggles of others and see your own difficulties in them it is impossible not to have love for them. God has also put me in several situations where I was asked to share His word with others – once with a random person at the dog park, and once with my dad prior to a surgery he recently had. 

     I felt blessed that God would allow me to speak about Him and point people in His direction. But most importantly, I’m grateful for what he has provided for me in my life.  I am grateful that He called me to Him through two of my best friends.  I am grateful that He has given me a growing love for His word.  I pray in hope that I am suitable soil and

that He will never let me go back to self-worship.  I want to be baptized today as a public gesture of my faith in Christ and His work, and as a reminder of the death that I deserve and the life that I have been given, justified by Him in the eyes of the Father, and washed clean of my guilt by His blood and the movement of the Spirit.

Praise God for His mercy. Praise God for faithful friends who share the Gospel. Go tell somebody about the good news that Jesus saves sinners.