This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
– Colossians 1:6 NLT
Autumn is a season of change; leaves turning color and temperatures starting to cool (at least for now!) remind us that change can be a great thing. Colossians 1 tells us that God loves change, too, and brings it into our lives through his grace and truth.
Last Saturday sparked a weekend of change as the women in our church hosted an “Autumn Night,” aptly titled a “Season of Change.” Hundreds of women from around the Bay Area came together for an incredible night of connection, a keynote message about Jesus and the cross, and some inspiring baptisms! Four amazing women made decisions to respond to God’s love and purpose for their lives and were baptized.
Autumn Night baptisms kick off the Season of Change
Gaby Sa, a college student who moved to the Bay Area from Brazil, found our church online as she was working at Stanford. She began attending the campus Let’s Talk Nights and then started attending church regularly with the campus ministry. She began studying the Bible to build a relationship with God. Gaby was baptized last Saturday, was grateful for the relationships in the Silicon Valley campus ministry, and was eager to give!
Ruby Atienza moved here five years ago from the Philippines with her husband and son. Marianne Superio, a member of our church in Contra Costa South, reached out to Ruby and invited her to study the Bible. Ruby began building great friendships with the women there, along with many women in Contra Costa North. Inspired by what she read in the Bible, Ruby reconciled some difficult relationships, had very vulnerable conversations with family members, and began to change her heart and life.
Last Saturday, Ruby was baptized at the Autumn Night women’s event. Her family here in the Bay Area was there to support Ruby as well as her family in the Philippines who joined to watch on Zoom!
Lorena is a teen in the San Francisco teen ministry who was also baptized at our Autumn Night. We are so inspired by her and her sister Sarah’s story, who was baptized last fall at our “Pumpkin Spice Night” women’s event! Lorena was inspired by her sister’s life changes, as well as this past summer’s Teen Camp, which spurred her on to become more serious about pursuing God and studying the Bible. At her baptism, Lorena shared vulnerably about how Psalm 16 taught her to make God her number one source of security and strength, expressing how grateful she was that God has loved her like no one else. This love has inspired her to live for a greater purpose.
Finally, we got to watch Brooke Young, a high school student in the Santa Clara teen ministry, get baptized at the Autumn Night event. After attending our summer Teen Camp, Brooke made a decision she wanted to become a Christian, but struggled to believe that she could change.
After many Bible studies, prayers, and conversations about what meant the most to her, Brooke decided to make some significant life changes to put God first, in the midst of her intense soccer team traveling schedule. At her baptism, Brooke shared how she realized that God gave her this talent of playing soccer not for herself, but for other girls like her, to help them find a relationship with God as well.
Continuing the “Season of Change”
Even after our Autumn Night, several other women decided to let God change their lives. Alamea is a teen from Pacifica who grew up in a single-parent home with her mother Janelle. Alamea was inspired to pursue God and build spiritual friendships from this summer’s Teen Camp.
As she studied the Bible, she had difficulty facing and overcoming the pain of growing up without a father. But through her Bible studies, she learned about the love and vision God has always had for her life, and she was deeply impacted by how her mom’s single parents house church in San Francisco became her second family.
After learning how much God was willing to forgive her and letting go of her own bitterness, she was inspired to pursue and love God, and decided to get baptized last Sunday. Together, she and Lorena have become close friends who are determined to care for and change the lives of their other friends as well.
In Contra Costa South, Erlinda Pagdilao decided to get baptized on Sunday as well. While Erlinda was in the Philippines, she was introduced to our sister church in Manila. She happened to visit that church while Ed and Marianne Superio, disciples from Contra Conta South, were there on a mission team.
Years later, Erlinda moved to the US and went searching for a church but to no avail.
Ed and Marianne Superio, who had long since moved back to the Bay Area, happened to buy gelato at a store in Contra Costa where Erlinda worked. Erlinda recognized them from the time she visited the Manila church.
Marianne and Ed got her tied in with a house church in Livermore, and she started studying the Bible and getting closer to the women there. As she got baptized last Sunday, Erlinda tearfully expressed how happy and grateful she was that God fulfilled her dream to be part of a church and family that could help her find God and build a relationship with him.
We are so inspired by the Women’s Ministry and how powerfully God is moving! We look forward not only to the new Autumn season, but to a season of many more hearts and lives being changed by God’s power and purpose!
Until next time,
Ray & Amy Kim
Lead Ministers, San Francisco