’Tis the season to be baptised

Two women share their life-changing journeys

Perhaps it’s the link to new life just around the corner or the final push to clear the church calendar before the end of the year – whatever the reason, it seems the Christmas season is a good time for adults to get baptised.

Eternity has received several reports about dunkings in various churches over the past few weeks, as members take the opportunity to publicly profess their faith.

One of the most striking stories among these converts is that of 21-year-old Teagan Fuz, who came to know the Lord after receiving a Christmas hamper from Newlife Church on the Gold Coast last year.

Teagan spent her younger years in foster care while her mother was in and out of jail. Sharing her testimony at her baptism on 11 November at Newlife Church (in the suburb of Robina), she began:

“I grew up in a non-Christian, divided home and lived a life away from God. A year ago, my life changed. I was given custody of my two youngest brothers at the age of 20, and found myself lost and struggling with the legal system and the new parental responsibility.”

At that time, Newlife Church dropped around with a Christmas hamper. They had heard about Teagan’s plight through her third and older brother, Kyle, who had been adopted and raised by members of Newlife.

“I wanted to encourage a closer family bond between my brothers,” says Teagan. So, when given custody of her younger brothers, she went along to a church service at Newlife for the first time in her life.

“In finding God, I know that there’s always someone there looking after you and guiding you and loving you.” – Teagan Fuz

After her nervousness subsided, Teagan found herself greatly encouraged by the words of the sermon, “that God has a story for everyone and this is the path he has put you on at the moment.”

The next week, she attended another service, which she “really, really enjoyed”.

“From there, I just started going every Sunday, learning about the Lord, understanding that he’s there for you, even though you physically can’t see him,” she tells Eternity.

“Then one Sunday I was praying and I felt shivers running through my body. I knew that was God and that I needed to give my life to him.

“A couple of months later, I decided to get baptised. So, it was really because of the Christmas hamper that I got to know the Lord.”

When asked about the difference her newfound faith has made to her life, Teagan answers: “You feel very lost when you’re in foster care and you feel like you have absolutely no one that’s going to be there for you …

“In finding God, I know that there’s always someone there looking after you and guiding you and loving you. You feel like you do have a purpose in the world. You’re not a ‘ward of the state’. You are an individual and God’s put you there for a reason.”

“I look with hope to the future, knowing that he will always be there for me and that I have a new family in Newlife.” – Teagan Fuz

Part of this reason for Teagan is caring for her two brothers, aged 16 and 13. She is currently working at a local pie shop, then coming home to make dinner and do the household chores, just as much older parents do. Yet while she doesn’t have anyone to practically support her, she describes her role as “a blessing”.

“Because I know the outcome is going to be worth it. It’s made me a lot more mature. I wasn’t a good teenager. I was always out clubbing and doing the wrong thing. So [my brothers] have helped introduce me to the Lord as well.”

In her concluding remarks at her baptism ceremony, Teagan expressed the impact that Christmas outreach had on her life, and may have on someone else’s life:

“The last year has had its ups and downs, but God has been my rock through it all. I look with hope to the future, knowing that he will always be there for me and that I have a new family in Newlife.”

“I’m a new person who trusts God and put him in charge of my life.” – Ana Hofmann

Another baptism candidate, 34-year-old Ana Hofmann, came to faith through English classes at St Andrew’s Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, after she emigrated to Australia from Brazil in 2015.

Ana, who was baptised on Saturday, December 7 along with her husband Fernando, shared her conversion story with Eternity:

“I grew up in a ‘Christian’ family, actually nominal Christians with shallow knowledge and full of religious traditions.

“When I came to Australia I started learning English and found the classes [at St Andrew’s] which also offer Bible study. There I realised that I knew nothing about Christianity and step by step, with the teacher’s help, I met Jesus and decided to be baptised.”

Ana Hofmann

Ana Hofmann

For Ana, not only is baptism itself a meaningful step in her journey of faith, but she particularly wanted full-immersion baptism.

“Being baptised has been a desire since I started to understand God’s word, but [St Andrew’s] does the sprinkling water baptism only. Considering that I’ve seen so many full-immersion baptisms in rivers and pools when I was a child, this type of baptism is a dream and has also a special meaning.”

St Andrew’s obliged by arranging Ana and Fernando’s baptism in a backyard pool in Sydney’s inner west. Although the event was fairly private, for Ana it was a vital step in professing her commitment to Christ.

“It has totally changed my life; I’m a new person who trusts God and put him in charge of my life.

“I always knew the importance of baptism and also that we need to feel it in our heart. I already follow Jesus and wanted to make it official.”