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All In


Having grown up indoctrinated into a very legalistic church, where children are culturally baptized at the age of 8, I was never actually given the choice to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Being pressured to attend church in my youth, I grew up largely apathetic–but still very intrigued by religion. But as my years rolled on, my experiences with religion and spirituality broadened. As a result, I left my faith in my early adult years–recognizing that I had a journey to pursue. I embarked on a truth journey studying Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and the Gnostic Gospels.

I got married to my wonderful wife in my mid 20's and we began searching for a church that would unify our family. Having grown up in the Mormon tradition, and my wife as a Catholic, you can imagine the conversations that ensued. After we had our first child, we could feel God putting the urgency more intently on our hearts. A funny thing happens when one becomes a parent, you begin to see the world through the eyes of your children. Your ears open up to the words they are hearing and how/what they are being taught. We went through several years of going back and forth to her tradition and then mine.

I earlier used the adjective, "wonderful" to describe my wife. That's because she is exactly that. As we went through years of searching for the right church, she always supported me, and I her. At one point, we thought perhaps we found our church family, but the Lord had a different idea.

Work opportunities took my family and I to several states and communities. In retrospect, we see the Lord had a hand in all of those moves. We thought we were chasing a job, when in fact God was simply drawing us closer to His word.

Through all of our searching, God continued to seek us. He put friends and experiences before my wife and I, as a couple, that would reform our understanding of Christ and His gift of grace. Through these experiences, God would teach us about true worship and how praising Him shapes our hearts through the gratitude of His mercy. Through the Holy Spirit, we understood the unparalleled joy that comes with knowing and accepting Jesus–and we wanted that for our entire family!

Through prayer and action, we found Hazel Dell Christian Church–which embodied all of these qualities we desired. Shortly after becoming members of HDCC, we joined a small group where I learned further about the power of prayer. As our first "Baptism Sunday" approached, I asked my small group to pray for me to know if the Lord would like me to get baptized. I had discussed it with my wife previously and really wanted some direction. Being a man in his late thirties, who was already a full participant in my church community, I felt awkward and possibly a little embarrassed at the thought of getting baptized. After-all, hadn't I already been baptized as a child? Looking for further guidance, I also approached my pastor, Mark Wright, and explained my story. He was all ears as he listened and then effortlessly and thoughtfully explained that the decision was between myself and the Lord.

Going into "Baptism Sunday", I was still not 100% sure if I was going to get baptized that day. But as they invited anyone whose heart was compelling them to come up and accept Jesus Christ and to follow Him, I knew. Just the plain and simple realization that this was my own choice to make, hit me so hard. It was finally up to me, and me alone, to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and to follow Him. I had my answer.

After I emerged from the baptismal font on stage, our pastor, Mark, asked me, "Are you all in?"

"Yes" I replied. "I'm all in."


-Brian Thibodeau




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