Today’s article by Sister Natalie Shawver is another installment in the series, “The Day He Found Me.”
I never really had any doubts that I would one day make a decision to join The Church of Jesus Christ.
Born into the Gospel and raised by godly parents, I wanted to make a commitment like they had — and also welcome true joy into my life. I never questioned whether it was the right choice to make or not; I simply just wanted to ensure I was making it at the right time, as it isn’t something to be taken lightly.
In 2002, the Cincinnati Branch was blessed to host a Youth In Action (YIA) tour. Many young brothers and sisters from around the country came to spend a week with us passing out fliers, inviting the community to various events we held, and uplifting our small group. I was fortunate to meet new friends and spend a week with others who held the same beliefs as me (even though I wasn’t baptized yet).
I don’t recall the topic of the sermon the final Sunday of YIA or even what prompted me to request prayer and my baptism, other than I just knew I wanted to be a part of something wonderful. I didn’t even really ask the Lord for a big sign, but I did request a small confirmation from Him to know that He was pleased with my decision. I didn’t need a certain song to be sung or a vision of angels — though those would have been amazing!
Instead, He put my face before another of our elders as he was praying one day earlier in the week. He shared that he didn’t know why my face came to him, but God did! Our branch was blessed to have two others ask for their baptisms the same day (and another attendee from YIA for a total of four, including me).
On August 4, 2002, we gathered at the Little Miami River for the baptisms. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I felt honored to know that so many who had attended YIA either decided to stay for another week to witness our baptisms or drove home and returned. I look back on that day with great thanksgiving as both my grandmother and aunt from the Youngstown Branch (who have since passed away) were there watching from the shoreline. I was also incredibly thankful that my father was able to baptize me. I know that is a special privilege for some of us, and I felt grateful that God allowed that to happen for our family.
When I said earlier that I didn’t need anything to let me know I was making the right decision, I meant it. But, doesn’t God always seem to give us more than we need? While my dad raised his hand in the water to baptize me, both my mom and another young brother saw butterflies encircling us. Butterflies have always been significant for my mom and me, so that was a lovely experience for us. God was near, and it was another confirmation for me. Of course, those butterflies don’t appear on the video of my baptism.
When I asked for my baptism, God gave me a certainty in my heart that taking a step in His direction would never be a poor decision. Choosing a life following Him and His doctrine was the best choice I could make — and it still is. I have learned a lot over the past 17 years, and I continue to lean on Him.
I’m blessed to know that my conversion would one day impact my husband with his own. I couldn’t have known that as I walked into the water in 2002, but I’m thankful my choice helped someone else in some small way. God gives us testimonies to share, and it may be years later, but we never know how we may be used. The day He found me, I promised to honor and serve Him the best of my days; the day He found me was a good, good day.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.