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Joyful Baptism

Clouds hung low in the late October sky, and a chill breeze tingled our ears, but we hardly noticed as we made our way down the steep path leading to the river. Someone began singing “Shall We Gather at the River,” and we all joined in, our anticipation increasing as we reached the riverbank.

After a few moments, my father—the pastor—and my friend Annie waded into the frigid water of this natural baptistry. My dad spoke a few brief words. Then, raising his hand into the sky, he baptized Annie “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” As my friend was immersed under the water and quickly lifted out, cameras flashed and “amens” arose from the shore.

As I watched my friend take this important step in her life, I renewed my own baptismal vows. Annie and I had both chosen to give ourselves to Jesus, to become part of His organized church—part of His family. We knew baptism of itself had no power to make us perfect. Instead, it showed our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, dwell in us, and transform us.

The two dripping figures soon stumbled out of the water and wrapped themselves in towels and blankets. Despite the cold weather, our spirits soared with the joy of seeing a new member join God’s family.

The decision to be baptized is one of the most important decisions we can make. If you’ve been delaying, why not talk to your pastor today?

YD Connection

What do we see as our mission at Young Disciple Ministries? Here's our answers:

Will Evert: As a leader at Young Disciple Ministries, my goal is to live a committed Christian life and, by my example, to encourage young people to dedicate their lives to God.

Janet Evert: Above anything else, my mission at Young Disciple is to help young people find Jesus for themselves.

Rafael Kopke: My mission is to faithfully make the best use of my talents in reaching as many youth for Christ as possible. At YD I can serve the Lord in helping to prepare an army of disciples for Christ from all over the world!

Jessica Pendleton: I work at Young Disciple because I want to invest in the lives of young people and help them connect with their Maker in a meaningful and practical way, just as so many others have done for me.

Heidi Reinecke: My mission is communication. Every quarter I design the layout for many different stories and articles. Each one has a different message. It’s my job to visually convey what our writers have said, and to give their words extra power through pictures. I couldn’t have chosen a better job for myself: Jesus knew just what He was doing when He brought me here!

Ted Evert: As camp director, my mission is to provide a place where young people can gather to develop positive friendships, engage in wholesome activities, and be trained and stretched to do amazing things for God.

Kendra LeBrun: I’ve been blessed by studying YD magazine and attending YD Camp. My mission at Young Disciple is to share with other young people the same blessings I have experienced. I want others to have the opportunity to grow in a relationship with God and learn to love His Word.

Kezzia Keener: Through my work here at YD, I hope to help show a hurting world that God is love. I especially want to help young people develop a connection with Him that will last for eternity.

Tony Evert: I have realized that working for God is not just being a preacher, Bible worker, or missionary. God’s work desperately needs programmers, artists, mechanics, builders, accountants, and many other skilled workers. My mission is to use the technical skills and interests that God gave me in His service.

Without Measure

Don’t you love doing chores around the house? Doesn’t it thrill you to realize that you are lightening your parents’ loads and making home better for your siblings?

 If you’re reading in disbelief, I can identify. By the time I was about 12 years old, I was doing a major share of the family’s cooking, cleaning, and laundry. My mom needed to put most of her time and energy into earning a living for our family, and my younger brothers hadn’t developed an appreciable work ethic. I had a rare and special opportunity to minister to my family—but I didn’t always see it as a privilege. In fact, sometimes I felt life was a little unfair.

I wish I’d understood that I was sharing in the experiences of the boy Jesus. I wish I’d realized that there’s nothing better for mind and soul than looking for ways to make others happy. I wish I could say that my life always flowed in currents of sympathy and tenderness—as Jesus’ did.

I can’t go back, of course, but I can invite Jesus to be part of my life today—to fill me with His unselfish love for those around me. I’ve nothing to lose with such a program—and all Heaven to gain!

How about you? Who today could use a kind word and helping hand from you? Are you willing to give without reserve? If so, God will surely bless you without measure!

Hidden Person

It was sort of like hide and seek. Mr. Jacobsen* would go out somewhere along the trail and hide. After 20 minutes, a group of us would try to find him. We had to stay on the trail, but he promised he would be touching the trail, regardless of where or how he hid.

We scoured the trail for an hour without ever glimpsing him. At last, in defeat, we went back to the house and slumped on the porch while Gary went off to tell him we’d given up.

However, he soon came running back. “Guys, you have to come see this! We were so blind!”

He led us out to a long straight stretch in the trail. He motioned to the side. “There he is!” We looked, but didn’t see anything. Just beside the trail sat a mossy stump, some clumps of ferns, and a pile of dirt and forest debris. Just then, a small twig sticking out of the stump began to wiggle. Mr. Jacobsen was part of the stump!

I think back on that day and laugh. But it taught me an important lesson. Sometimes, the things we’re looking for are right under our noses; and if we would just take a moment to really look, we’d have no trouble.

Two thousand years ago, when the priest dedicated baby Jesus to the Lord before the altar, he never suspected he was holding God’s Son. Many of the people who saw that ceremony longed for the Messiah to come. But because they didn’t really look, they didn’t see Him.

How often I make the same mistake! I long for Jesus to fill my heart and my life; and if I would just take the time to really look for Him, I would have all I need.

He is ready to fulfill. Will you join me in looking for Him?

*Names have been changed.

Strawberry Picker

Almost as soon as our family rolled into Walla Walla for the summer, I noticed kids like me spread all across a huge strawberry field, picking fruit. That looks like fun, I thought. They can eat all the strawberries they want, and they get paid, besides! As soon as I had a chance, I signed up to join them.

The next morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 5 am. When I arrived at the field, a man gave me a flat box with a handle. “Pick only the ripe berries,” he told me. “And we don’t want any stems or caps.” He pointed down a long row. “Start there. For every flat you fill, you’ll earn a quarter.”

At first it was fun—and the strawberries tasted wonderful. But soon my back began to ache and my
fingertips grew raw from constantly pinching off the stems. Before the day was half over, I didn’t feel much like eating any berries. By the end of strawberry-picking season, I didn’t care if I ever picked another strawberry.

The next summer, when I saw the strawberry pickers at work, I didn’t suppose they were having a blast. I knew what they were going through, because I’d been there!

That reminds me of one of the reasons I love Jesus so much. He knows what it’s like to live on Earth, because He’s been here, and He’s experienced every sort of temptation and sorrow we will ever have to face.

YAB Connection

More YAB members answer the question: What is your favorite Bible story—and why?

Kaitlyn: I especially like the story of Mary. It tells me that no matter how many times I sin Jesus is willing to forgive me and help me to do what is right.

DahEu: I am named after Daniel, so naturally I draw the stories about him close to my heart. I especially find it encouraging that he purposed in his heart from the very beginning that he would only follow God’s will for his life, and he never wavered!

JosuĂ©: I have so many favorite Bible stories, but among the top picks would have to be David and Goliath. God used one willing young man to do a job that not even the king of Israel dared to do. David’s unswerving faith in God during the whole story is a real challenge to me, and the final defeat of the giant is a monument to the fact that with God nothing is impossible! Therefore, the giants in our own lives will come tumbling down in God’s name!

Harmony: I love the story of Job. Even when faced with unimaginable trials and adversity, he never let go of his hold on God. I want to have a faith like that!

Matthew: My favorite Bible story is the story of Jesus’ life because of the way He showed us how to live like Him. His example shows me His character of love.