A trio of Louisiana Baptists offered witness last week of one thing they know for sure – that God still is in the business of changing lives.
A trio of Louisiana Baptists offered witness last
week of one thing they know for sure – that God still is in the
business of changing lives.
During times of personal testimonies at last week’s
Louisiana Baptist Evangelism Conference at First Baptist Church of
Bossier City, the trio recounted how God had touched – and transformed
– their lives.
The stories were varied.
During his presentation, Bobby Bates from Bethlehem
Baptist Church in Winnfield told how God called him out of a life of
drinking, drugs, fighting and partying to preach the gospel.
“Jesus still saves – you can look right here,” he said.
Bates acknowledged his road to faith was not easy.
“I’ve been shot at, cut at, beat down,” he said. “I
lived life on the edge. … If I had fell not knowing Jesus, I’d gone
straight to hell. …
“The devil pulled on me and pulled on me and pulled on me,” Bates emphasized.
However, on January 11, 2004, after years of
skirting around the edge of faith, Bates said he surrendered his life
to Christ and found release from his previous lifestyle.
Six months later, he answered the call to preach.
For Ivan Guo, the journey was different – all the
way from China, where he was taught science could explain everything,
including things related to God. “It’s very difficult for the people
(in China) to come to know God, …” he noted. “The government still
has many controls over the power of Christianity.”
Speaking through a translator, Guo told how he came
to the United States to study in 2000. There, he met Christians, who
always proved willing to help meet his needs. “One thing I firmly
believed – Christians were good people,” he recounted.
Guo was intrigued and began to learn of Christianity
– not as a means of coming to faith but in a desire to be a better
person, he said.
He began to read the Bible and other Christian material. In time, he came to faith in God.
“Even though my heart is made of ice, God’s love can
melt it, …” said Guo, recounting his decision to be baptized with his
wife at First Baptist Church of Shreveport in May 2003.
“Even though I don’t fully understand the Word of
God, I’m willing to commit my life to him and accept him as my personal
Now, there is a “sweetness in my heart,” Guo said,
urging Christians to be faithful in sharing the gospel message with
others like him.
“We must share this good news with others so more
people will come to know the love of God, …” Guo stressed. “My
brothers and sisters, it’s time to harvest. It’s time to harvest. Let’s
join our hands together and expand the kingdom of God.”
That task also is the focus for Kevin Celestin, a
native of San Lucia and current president of the Baptist Collegiate
Ministry at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.
Celestin told how he fell into a lifestyle of
drinking and drugs in his teenage years – in his native home and in
America as well.
However, through all the years, he said his mother
loved him and prayed for him. Eventually, that influence – and the
Christian conversion of a close relative – finally won. Celestin
agreed to allow God to take control of his life as well.
“The cry of my heart became – ‘God, I want to know you,’ …” Guo recalled.
“And in that moment, he came. … God came.
“He sought me. He bought me.”
Once a student at Nicholls State University,
Celestin said he became involved in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry.
There, he began to be discipled in the Christian faith and to
understand the importance of sharing his life and the gospel with
Since that time, he said he has sought to do just
that – be faithful and share with others on campus, reaching out to
them in gospel love.