Lipscomb volleyball players Brittnay Estes and Molly Spitznagle were baptized recently during their mission trip in Brazil.
Day seven was a start of a new trip. We started the day with a Catholic mass. When time came for communion, I stood up to be blessed by the Priest. Jewell told me to cross my arms across my chest so I wouldn’t be given the body and blood of Christ, but I would be blessed. That didn’t work out so well. The Priest still gave me communion.
After Mass, we stopped at a buffet, which served all sorts of great things. My favorite had to be the fruit and the yellow rice.
We continued the day to the Tijuca Forest. In the forest there was a small, but beautiful waterfall. We snapped some pictures and hopped back in the van while Molly, Jordan, and Brandon got in the water to get a better picture in front of the waterfall. That’s when Carlos (our bus driver) told Matt that there was another waterfall up the trail.
Everyone pilled out of the car and started to climb up this “easy trail”. Let me just say it was not as easy as it sounded! Everything was amazing on the steep hike up the trail.
Before hiking up the trail, Shannon pointed out a butterfly to me. I told her the night before, that butterflies represent angels to me. When we got to the waterfall, I looked around, took some pictures, then looked at Shannon. “Do you want to do it here,” she asked. “There is nothing like this view and freshwater.” That’s when I said yes to Jesus Christ.
I quickly took off my shoes and jumped in the water! It felt comfortable on my skin and I knew I was supposed to be doing this. When Garner found out what was happening, and that his help was wanted, his face lit up.
“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Garner said. I plugged my nose as Garner and Shannon emerged me into the kingdom of heaven. After I hugged Shannon and Garner, they told me to look around and take it in. There couldn’t have been a better place.
That wasn’t the best part though. Molly decided to hop into the water and it was her turn to be baptized. They emerged her into the water and at that moment we were officially sister in the kingdom of heaven.
What made this additionally special was that Garner shared in his first baptism with us. Shannon was filled with joy for us as well.
After that, we drove further up the mountain. There was a look out spot where you could see almost all of Rio de Janeiro. You couldn’t do anything but look over the railing in awe of this big and beautiful city.
The next stop to the already amazing day was to a church that Shannon had set up. This was a blessing in it’s self because we got to meet two beautiful girls around our aged named Mary and C (as Molly would call her).
I really felt a bond with Mary. She reminded me of myself in a way; she always had a smile on her face and was super goofy.
We soon went to a local public school, where class for the 16-22 year olds started at 7:15 p.m. We got to play a mixture of the men’s and women’s volleyball. After we finished playing, Mary calmed everyone down and Megan explained why we were there. Megan then encouraged me to share my story for the first time about being baptized. Surprising, the group was so excited to pray with us after we got done sharing our story. Garner led us in English and Mary led us in Portuguese. Then a boy from the school wanted to pray for us. This was awesome because everyone decided to join in.
We left the school and went back to the church to sit in on an English class. That class was way too much fun! I of course took many selfies on a student’s tablet. Kaycee found her husband and we met Michael Jackson's best friend.
This was most likely the best day ever!
I have always been a believer. One summer at church camp when the rain was falling hard on the roof of the cabin, I accepted and asked the Lord into my heart. I have grown up in the church, but never really understood the importance of baptism before coming to Lipscomb.
After a couple weeks of being in bible classes and reading more into it, I knew I wanted to get baptized. I have had many opportunities this year to follow through, but none of them felt right. I wanted to confirm my beliefs at the right time and God had it all planned out in perfect timing.
At the start of Day 7, I had no intention of getting baptized. I had talked to Shannon, Garner, and some of my teammates about it, but was thinking I would possibly get baptized near the end of the trip. The team had just finished hiking up a steep mountain and before us was an exquisite waterfall.
The beauty was outstanding, and before I knew it Brittnay, Shannon, and Garner were taking off their shoes and socks and were wading through the water. I instantly got goose bumps and at that exact moment, I knew I would be getting baptized with my best friend.
Stepping into the cold water, I looked up and saw Garner and Shannon waiting to bring me into the life they both live. Moments before, Brittnay had been baptized and was glancing at me with a smile. The first breath after getting pulled out of the water was so special, and when I focused my eyes I saw all of my best friends taking pictures and yelling words of encouragement.
Hugging Brit afterwards was such a freeing and fulfilling moment. She is my best friend, roommate, teammate, and most importantly, my sister in Christ. I have never felt so much joy, love, and happiness surround me. I am so happy to leave my old life and start my new one with the help from my friends, mentors, family, and lastly, the Big Man upstairs.
Though my hourglass in Rio is winding down, there is no doubt in my mind that my mission has just begun. With love and Jesus in my heart, there is nothing I can’t do. Day 7 was just another piece of my puzzle that is slowly but surely being finished, and boy is it beautiful.