The April 2014 Beach Baptism was a powerful day for the Cruz family. Mobilization Pastor Garry Abbott baptized Jason Cruz that day, and he had also been the one to baptize Jason’s wife, Christina, at that same place just two years before. Jason felt something change that day. “When I came up for my first breath, it was so much fresher than before I went under. On the outside, I was a man stepping into the chilled water,” Jason explains. “On the inside, I was a broken man looking for God to forgive me of my sins and wash them away.”
Jason and Christina are both from the Orlando area and have been married since 2007. They had their first daughter, Ella, in March 2011. Their second daughter, Lilly, was born in April 2014. Before Ella’s first birthday, Christina had started attending a Mommy and Me group, and someone in the group mentioned that a new church was opening up in the Lake Mary area. That church was Summit Lake Mary, and on the Cruz’s first Sunday there, they immediately felt welcomed. Christina was baptized at the fall Beach Baptism in 2012. She started volunteering in the nursery, they participated in their first niceSERVE, and they started getting connected with other families at the campus. For Jason, this was a brand-new experience.
“I didn't attend church much at all when I was young,” he explains, and he hadn’t really been taught “anything about God or even religion. Christina is the one who showed me that there was more to life than what I had been wasting away.” He felt a disconnect and didn’t understand the joy that Christina and others experienced when attending church and volunteering.
But when Lilly was born, Jason realized something. “I knew I wanted my daughter to have a good father to look up to, but how could I do this, not knowing how to look up to my heavenly Father?” he recalls. “So slowly I began to pray, asking God: What did He want from me, what did He see in me, where was His plan taking me, and how could I better follow Him?”
After watching a Beach Baptism video, Jason decided he wanted to feel the same sense of joy that others who had gone before him and been baptized felt. So, his family packed up the car and headed to Beach Baptism to celebrate his decision together.
As he made his way out of the water that day, Jason knew something had changed: “God would accept me for all that I was and all that I will ever be.”
If you’re a follower of Christ and have never made this public profession of faith, being baptized might be your next step. Our next Beach Baptism is Sunday, October 19th. Read more about the day and register to be baptized at summitconnect.org.
Guest blogger Sarah Joseph is a contributor to the Summit blog, SUMMIT MAGAZINE, and our Sermon Study Guides.