Baptism Sunday – Dec 5, 2021

Lighthouse Community Church is pleased to share the following testimonies of our church members who have decided to make a public declaration of their faith through the act of baptism

Melissa Hong | Elvis Nguyen | Madison Nguyen
Phuong Lynnie Nguyen | Anita Pham | David Pham

Melissa Hong

I grew up in a Christian household and my parents were very dedicated to teach me about the christian life. My mom would read me stories about God every night so that I would grow closer to him, and that is what happened. When I was 6, I asked my mom to pray for me because I chose to believe that Jesus died for my sins, and that he is a God that loves me. 

When I became ( lol I still am ) a teenager, I put off getting baptized because “ I didn’t feel ready”. Now I look back and wonder what that even means. Before, I thought getting baptized was about always feeling God’s presence there with me and always having faith, without any doubts.

But when Covid hit, our youth group, Zoe, moved online. I knew that I could choose not to go but I knew right away that without God, I wouldn’t know what to devote my life to and how to live my life. It was the moment I realized that I needed God in my life, that I wanted to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and that I was ready to get baptized. So now, here I am. I’m choosing to continue my faith in Jesus, believing that he is my Lord and Saviour, and committing to him. I realized, there will be times where I don’t feel God, and that’s ok. The bible helps me know with confidence that he is always there with me and I know I will have the church to support me and help guide me in the right direction.

I had trouble writing this testimony because I never struggled growing closer to God. It came naturally. Later on, I realized that it is actually a blessing. I was blessed with a life where I gradually fell in love with Jesus more and more. This is why I chose to get baptized today, I am ready to commit to Jesus and live the christian life forever!

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Elvis Nguyen

I came from a non-Christian family and one where I essentially had no father figure in my life growing up, as he passed away when I was 7. So looking back, I realized that I was missing an important role model. And also,  since my mom, being a single mother, spent all her time working for us, my upbringing lacked a lot of love, affection and affirmation. However I was one day brought into church by my aunt upon moving into Calgary and basically starting a new life. And while I did attend church and ZOE, I never really developed a strong belief in God. 

As time went by, my brother and I stopped attending church. And during that time, I even became an atheist considering how hopeless life seemed. I was constantly questioning why nothing good ever happened in my life and my conclusion was that  it was impossible for a good God to exist. If he did, life would look much different. I would consider those years as an atheist as one of my lowest points in life because I had no guidance in my life, nothing to look forward to, and only myself to hate. 

However, out of nowhere, my aunt one day invited me back to church and I reluctantly went. But this time was a bit different since I saw all those faces that I’ve missed, and realized how much I was missing out on. I first noticed the all-out love and generosity of some of the people at church, and I was drawn to that since it was something quite unfamiliar to me. And as I leaned into the community and made great friends, I realized that the love and acceptance these people were showing me came from a deeper love. A love that came from Jesus and what he’s done for them. I also realized that God has been leading me down this path to know him and be part of his community all this time, giving me experiences to learn many life changing lessons. I realized that all those painful life experiences and realizations from the past were only barriers for me to break through. And while I initially thought they were just coincidences upon coincidences, I now know that it was part of God’s grace and God’s plan. All of which has ultimately led me to a new life. I’m no longer bound to my old toxic mindset of self-loathing, and self-pitying, but rather, a new life that is validated by Jesus focused towards becoming more like Him.

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Madison Nguyen

Ever since I was born, I have always attended church. I swear, my parents brought me to their church not even a week after I was born. Since my whole family, including extended family, were devoted Christians, you could say that I never really got a chance to decide if I actually wanted to be a Christian or not. However, don’t get me wrong. I loved going to church. I loved the community and I enjoyed going to Sunday school. VBS was also something that I looked forward to attending. Around seven years old, my parents and I moved from Vancouver to a small little town 45 minutes away from Calgary called Okotoks. I remember the transition made it difficult for my parents to find a church to stick to. Sometimes, there would be weeks where we wouldn’t even go to church. Growing up in this new environment, I started to dislike going to church simply because I did not feel like I belonged to a strong Christian community. I envied the kids that looked like they were enjoying church because I wanted to know what that felt like. I would even compare how my church community back in Vancouver was and I would wish that I could move back. By the time I was 11, I felt like I was simply a church goer. I went to church for the sake of going to church. I would continually pray to God to bless me with a church community that I could feel a part of. A community where I could grow closer to Jesus.   

In 2015, my dad got a call from an old friend. He mentioned how his two boys and another boy would always go outside during Sunday service to go play basketball. At the end of the call, he asked my dad if he could create a Sunday school class for those boys. And so with that, we started to attend the Calgary Vietnamese Alliance Church. Many of you know the three troublemakers. Their names are Kent, Kevin and Billy. From that point on, I’m happy to say that those boys never played basketball during service again. But all jokes aside, after that call, my dad would give us lessons every single Sunday. I began to look forward to attending church because I got to learn more of God’s word. Even though our group was extremely small, I loved every single bit of it. This was the start of my journey with Christ. Even though our group was extremely small, I loved every single bit of it. 

In 2017, my grandparents passed away. I was extremely sad because I felt as if I did not get a lot of time with them since I moved to Alberta at such a young age. I felt angry at God but at the same time, he blessed their lives so much that I couldn’t really be mad at him. From what I know, both my grandparents were both very devoted Christians and had left a very strong legacy. They dedicated a lot of their time to God and discipled their children to also grow strong in their own relationship with God. Even as a young child, I noticed how important God was to them. I remember before every family dinner, my grandpa would always pray for a minimum of ten minutes before eating. And while it was dreadfully long to everyone else, to him, I know that it was super important. Knowing how much they immersed themselves into God really inspired me to see for myself what my grandparents really poured their whole lives into. With that curiosity and inspiration, I started to take the time to learn and discover what God was all about. And through learning more from God’s word, my own faith was being strengthened. 

After a couple years, my parents and I got introduced to Lighthouse Community Church. I remember going to my first youth group with ZOE and feeling extremely nervous! Mainly because most of them said I had a scary face. I definitely made sure to smile a lot that day. After that first day at ZOE, I felt extremely welcomed. I never went to a youth group where there were so many kids around my age. Ever since then, I have attended ZOE every single week. The community at LCC is so different from any other church I have attended. Mainly because I have never been to a church where roasting is our primary language. Not only that, there were so many individuals at the church who were so welcoming to me and my parents so quickly. That’s something I was and will forever be super grateful for. At this church, I grew a lot as an individual as I strengthened my faith in Christ. Coming to this church made me really want to be more like Jesus.
One of Enoch’s sermons really stood out to me. It was back when he visited Vancouver in 2019 and he preached on Hebrews 11:6. He spoke about how when we use faith to chase the things that will last forever, which is God, we begin to do things differently. Our attitude, strivings, relationships, and finances will all be different. We will suffer if we do things God’s way but we will be rewarded much more in the long run. 

So, why exactly do I want to be baptised? In early 2019, my relationship with God felt very strong. However, at the same time, I felt like my faith was becoming stagnant. During Winter Camp in 2020, the speaker helped me realize that while I was interested in God and his promises, I never obeyed his command in expressing my commitment to Jesus through the act of baptism. And I knew that was the next step that I needed to take for me to continue to grow in my relationship with God. 

To end off my Testimony, I wanted to express how deeply appreciative I am of my parents. They would never hesitate to drive me in minus thirty weather during a windstorm for forty five minutes just to go to a youth group. They never had a problem waiting an hour and almost driving another hour back home every single week. Well atleast, they never expressed it. But all in all, I am really glad that they see how important the development of my faith in God is to the point where I really believe that they wouldn’t even hesitate to drive two hours every week just to go to church.

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Phuong Lynnie Nguyen

I was very blessed to grow up in a Christian home, where I got to see how my grandparents, aunts and uncles live out their faith in Jesus from day to day. My faith grew slowly and gradually since I was a kid and when I was around 13-14, I was ready to dedicate my life to Jesus. However, before I could get baptized in Vietnam, I moved over to Canada and the transition was huge. I was really worried and scared of the sudden change of environment and living style since I was moving to the other half of the globe not knowing what it has to offer. I was moving away from my dearest country, and a city that I spent my entire life growing up in, to a cold and unfamiliar country 11, 688 km away for the hope of a better life. Honestly, before moving to Canada, I didn’t even know this country existed. That’s how unclear everything was to me. I would cry out to God in prayer every night before I leave, and just tell him how unsure and scary it was to start a new page of my life, to literally start over my life, to begin on a new path, start to build everything back on my own (from friendships and education to lifestyle). Being more emotionally sensitive, I was often sad because I would miss my friends and family back home so much. On top of that, I would constantly feel stressed and nervous when speaking to people in Canada because my English wasn’t that good and I was scared of being judged. I was always unsure if he heard me or not. But now I know for sure God heard my prayers because God saved a place for me and it is at LCC. 

God put me into this church where I started as my cousins’ tails, wouldn’t talk to anyone, sticking around them closely, to eventually having so many supportive and caring friends. I was shocked and impressed by the friendliness of those at LCC, and because of that, I could feel like a part of this community. I was able to join a community that accepted me for who I am, despite my Vietnamese accent and different cultural tendencies. I remember my first time ever at church, so many people reached out. Some of the ZOE youth members would even try to speak to me in Vietnamese! I know for myself, if I had to talk to someone in a language I sucked at, I would not do it. Some people that remembered me from the summer of 2015 and 2016 that I came to visit Calgary for my sister’s wedding, they went up to me and we just stated catching up like we were never apart. They put a lot of effort into trying to relate to me and to find common interests even though our hobbies and personalities are so different, and as a result, friendships were quickly formed and I began to open up myself more. God has been good to me and I know that I can rely on him, even if I don’t understand his plans sometimes. So as I commit myself to follow Jesus, I want to do what LCC did for me, and really represent Jesus to those who are around me everyday. And I am excited to grow deeper into my relationship and understanding of Jesus.

 My grandparents, aunts and uncles continue to be my strongest role models because I am inspired by their faith and how committed they are in reading the Bible, praying, and simply how much they depend on God. Even with simple things, even when unfortunate things happen or things don’t go their ways, they’re always able to think in a positive way that God’s just challenging us and teaching us the hard way but not from human-related factors. The reason why I really admire their ability to do that is because for myself, when things don’t go my way, I’d just immediately blame it on myself or the surrounding factors and it’d be very stressful. But my family members can find peace when they see it through a Godly-perspective. I want to become like them as they are trying to be like Jesus. I would also want to learn from strong Christians within our church, grow stronger in my faith, through the love of Jesus under the roof of LCC.

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Anita Pham

Growing up, my family was very devoted to church. My parents were very dedicated Christians and as a result, I was just blessed to grow up in a home that had role models committed to imitating Jesus. I grew up watching them read their bibles, attending bible studies, being actively involved in the church, and responding to various situations out of their faith. They weren’t the only people who taught me about Jesus, but I learned a lot from attending a Christian school, and Sunday services. However, I didn’t know much about faith. I just knew that there was an invisible God out there and we can pray to him and he hears us. I enjoyed going to church primarily to be with my friends. It wasn’t until junior high that I started struggling with what I believed in. I realized that Christianity was my parents’ belief but I had never made it my own. My belief system remained unchallenged as I felt like there weren’t opportunities to converse with different opinions and beliefs. I knew a lot Christian stories and lingo but deep down, I wasn’t sure if I really knew Jesus. Although I worshipped God, shared my struggles and sins, and served with the community, none of these things truly convinced my heart that God was real and compelled me to want to follow Jesus. 

As I was going through a hard time transitioning between schools, feeling lonely, and facing insecurities, I was having difficulty believing in the goodness of God or that he even cared for me. There was a huge lack of trust and I felt extremely wrong for feeling this way because of the fact that I was essentially “born” to be a Christian. It didn’t really click for me, and it almost felt like a forced thing that I had to do because my parents did it, or because I grew up in a church. In the end, God was faithful. I realized that even though I was experiencing loneliness, God had placed me in a position to see other people’s same experience of loneliness and I was able to really be there for them and create friendships where people felt a place of belonging. From there, my faith gradually grew with moments of growth spurts and then moments that felt like I was drifting away from God. The growth wasn’t always easy. One thing about God I really struggle with in understanding is… how could he love me so much that he would sacrifice his innocent Son for my sake. What do I have that is valuable to him? And while I struggle to understand the complexity of God’s mind, this one thing that I struggle with, it also gives me the most hope. That who I am isn’t built upon what I’ve achieved, or how I look or what I own, but it’s built upon simply the fact that God loves me, and Jesus thinks the world of me no matter what.

My parents have always encouraged the idea of getting baptized. In the past, I’ve always pushed aside getting baptized, never feeling ready, and avoided talking to my parents about it.  To be fair, I never truly understood the concept behind baptism and thought that I can only get baptized when I’m a top-tier christian, or that my faith is 100 percent. Because that wasn’t who I am, I felt like I was never ready to get baptized, and I felt like I’m constantly lagging behind. Lately, what I struggled with was apathy for life… and the whole COVID pandemic multiplied that feeling exponentially. I didn’t know why I was feeling this way, but I had a community that kept encouraging me to feel something, and to even see God’s goodness in every little detail of life. As I did that more, I was able to be more confident in who God is, and his promises. And I’m all in for that. I realize that I’m still in an up and down process of growing and knowing God more but from where I am, I know for sure that I want to dedicate my life to following Jesus, and to make that faith my own.

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David Pham

Growing up, I was completely immersed in Christian environments everywhere. My parents were Christians. My extended family members were Christians. I went to church at least twice a week for years. And on top of that, I was put into a Christian school. And because of that, I never really got the chance to think deeply about my own faith. I often felt like I was missing out on the worldly things because I was way too sheltered. And even though I enjoyed going to church (as I caused trouble for the other kids), I always wanted a taste of something more than just the Christian life. That chance appeared the moment I graduated highschool and became an adult. I was free from the sheltered life. And I was not prepared for it whatsoever. I quickly learned that in this world outside of Jesus, a person only has value if they can succeed and do well. And so I was completely committed to the grind. I started to focus so much on school and work that I began to neglect friendships, mental health, church responsibilities and ultimately, my faith in Jesus. My faith was only for show. It was just a title I claimed, but I was not convinced that God could make my life any better. There were moments where I would try to follow what I felt like God was calling me to do but it would result in disappointment and frustration and so eventually, I just became bitter at God and walked away. 

As I continued to work on my career, I started to find myself very empty inside. And with this emptiness came loneliness and anger. To fight these feelings, I would try my best to just fill the void with many worldly things. And while these things made me feel really good for a bit, that high disappeared quickly. This cycle repeated itself over and over again and before I knew it, I didn’t even feel like myself anymore. Once I hit rock bottom, I questioned, “How much more of this can I take?” Then one day, I remember driving and a thought came through, “Is it even worth it to see it through?” That was when I realized I seriously needed help. So I started reaching out to my old friends. I had to put my pride aside and admit that I was struggling. I had to tell them all my thoughts and feelings so that I could really begin the process of healing. 

This year has been a year of healing and restoration for me, and through a lot of meaningful conversations, I learned that only God can fully satisfy my needs and help me through this cruel world. I also learned that my value doesn’t come from what my career is, or how much money I own, but rather who I am in God. In everything I do, I do it for God. I want to thank my friends for all you’ve done for me. The time you put aside to help me is the only reason why I’m here today. Those conversations were the only thing that kept me alive. I’m thankful that God put you guys in my life. In my darkest moment, God put the idea for me to reach out to you guys, and you guys helped bring me back on my feet. So I’m forever thankful.

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