Family members often have things in common. Everyone roots for the same baseball team, shares the same favorite local restaurant, or never misses this much loved community event. One family from Houston, Texas, has something rare that they share in common: All 11 siblings were baptized on the same day, May 5, 2018.
“It was an amazing thing to witness. I’ve never seen a line at the baptismal font,” said Faith Brown, Jesus Cares Ministries (JCM) program coordinator at the Abiding Word Lutheran Church in Houston.
During the Sunday church service, Pastor Matthew Brown baptized eight individuals in front of the congregation and family members. Later in the day, he baptized the other five siblings in their home.
“One of the young men, he really doesn’t smile much, but he actually broke into a smile after Pastor Brown baptized him,” explained Melanie Bertman, JCM program coordinator. “We all looked at each other while he was smiling and realized we had never seen him smile before.”
In addition to the 11 siblings with special needs who have been adopted by Sharon Jason, one of their caregivers and Sharon’s granddaughter were also baptized.
“What a wonderful day and great to see 13 people added to God’s family through the waters of baptism,” said Joel Gaertner, national director of Jesus Cares Ministries. “It is great when our JCM programs make such opportunities available.”
The family attends Abiding Word’s JCM program on the first Saturday of each month. The idea to baptize the family began when Abiding Word staff minister Marilyn Miller made an initial connection with Sharon to suggest the idea.
“I’ve always wanted them to be baptized. God had me wait for his time, and it was wonderful to have everyone baptized together,” Sharon explained.
In preparation for the baptisms, Pastor Brown led devotions with each person who was to be baptized. “We talked about baptism, the need for baptism, and the lessons of baptism,” explained Pastor Brown, “I let them know God’s promises to them.”
Everyone was excited on baptism day. “Their excitement is hard to describe. They all have a childlike faith that we should all have. They are blessed in that way, despite their special needs,” said Faith.
“It was very special. Most of us were in tears because it was just such a blessing to have them baptized,” said Sharon.
There are more than a dozen states where congregations offer JCM programs, Bible classes, “Worship at the Cross” services and New Friends programs. For JCM locations, visit tlha.org.