The Iglesia del Nazareno, Centro de Alabanza y Proclamación (Center of Praise and Proclamation Church of the Nazarene) in Zimatlán, Mexico, celebrated the baptisms of 17 people who were also received as members in full communion. More than 100 church members attended to celebrate and witness this public expression of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The celebration took place at the Los Pinos spa. Before the baptisms, the group celebrated and sang praises to God. The church’s pastor, Juan de Dios González, encouraged the baptismal candidates to continue growing and maturing in their Christian life and to persevere to the end. He emphasized that baptism is not the end of a process in Christian life but it is the beginning of a new life, walking with God in obedience and holiness.

Christopher Castellanos, one of the young men baptized, said that as a  youth, he faced problems and that nothing was going well for him until God had an encounter with him. Through His Word and prayer, the Lord gave him answers he was seeking.

“I realized how much I need God, and from that moment [many] things have ceased to be important to me, such as video games,” Castellanos said. “My passion and desire are to know more about God and always to obey Him.”

Pastor de Dios said he is grateful to God for allowing the church to baptize the 17 people even during the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like most of the world, Zimatlán was closed for several months due to the pandemic

However, according to de Dios, it was more challenging later when the churches were reopened because they had to face a “post-pandemic church.” While the city’s shopping centers and restaurants had returned to normal, the church seemed to be taking time to reactivate.

Little by little, the congregation has returned to normal, and the baptism was a large step toward restoring their sense of normal prior to COVID-19.

“We could see the result reflected now with this time of baptisms because we can see that the church and the work of God are moving forward,” de Dios said. “Seeing people take this step of faith in this very critical time that we have had to live strengthened us a lot and challenges us to continue preaching the gospel of Christ and to make disciples like Christ.”

Source: Juan de Dios González Ortiz, pastor of the Iglesia del Nazareno, Centro de Alabanza y Proclamación (Center of Praise and Proclamation Church of the Nazarene), in Zimatlán and Oaxaca Northwest District Secretary.