Baptisms on Campus in Fall Semester 2023

December 9, 2023  •  Author: marketing

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5

Since its inception, the Cumorah Academy family has witnessed many miracles. We have seen students overcome language barriers, find better jobs while still on campus, and even witness marriages on campus. The reasons to celebrate are endless. We love our students and cherish being part of their history. At the heart of Cumorah Academy are the attributes of Jesus Christ. His example and teachings are the foundation of what we teach and do on campus, including baptism.

Mariia with friends and the Missionary couple.

We strive to embody Christlike attributes in all aspects of life, valuing both spiritual and intellectual progress. The diversity of our students, who come from different places and various faiths, is a significant part of Cumorah’s beauty. All religions and beliefs are welcome on campus.

Tetiana with the Missionary couple.

We emphasize Christian attributes both on and off campus, promoting Christ’s mission and teachings for everyone and fostering love and support for our fellow human beings. In the book of Matthew, we read the account of His baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist (see Matthew 3). Jesus also taught Nicodemus, stating, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Those who enter the waters of baptism express their willingness to follow Jesus Christ and apply His teachings to their lives. This sacred ceremony represents personal rebirth and commitment.

Typically, one’s journey to such a commitment is not easy. Faith and change are crucial aspects of this journey, but the decision to take this step is truly worthwhile. Last semester, two enchanting students decided to enter the waters of baptism. Here is part of their story.

Mariia and Tetiana

When Mariia stepped on campus, her beliefs differed greatly from what they are now. “I didn’t believe in God,” she said. Born in Ukraine, she came to Cumorah to learn leadership and unintentionally began her faith journey. She mentioned a few people who influenced her spiritually, including Bob Hanson.

Mariia with Bob (both dressed in white) and friends.

Robert “Bob” Hanson served voluntarily as a mentor and impacted Mariia in such a way that she wanted to learn more about the Gospel. He is very modest about his contribution, emphasizing that it was all Mariia’s initiative. “I simply loved them and let them know that my concern for them was unconditional, and they didn’t need to do or say anything to maintain my love,” he says.

Tetiana and Nicolas after her baptism.

Tetiana is also from Ukraine and first came to Cumorah in the Fall Semester of 2022. Initially, she only attended Institute classes held on campus. There she learned more about the nature of God, the Holy Ghost, and Jesus Christ. At the time, she wouldn’t attend Church meetings on Sundays, but those Institute classes had made an impression on her. Terms like ‘serving a mission’ and ‘Word of Wisdom’ had become familiar to her. Tetiana wouldn’t start attending Church until her second semester at Cumorah. “I started talking to friends and having lessons with the missionaries. It wasn’t formal lessons. It seemed more like conversations,” she says.

The Decision to Follow Christ

Both Mariia and Tetiana emphasize that the decision to be baptized was personal; no one pushed them into it. The decision surprised others, including Bob. He expressed, “It was such a pleasant thing. They made the decisions themselves. They simply needed to know that unconditional love existed, and I think God did the rest.” The day was filled with joy and gladness.

Both Mariia and Tetiana shared tender feelings for the Lord Jesus Christ. “I still have challenges, but my life is way better now than it was before. I’m still moving forward, but now I know I’m not alone. I know I can rely on the Savior. I’m more grateful for the blessings I have received.”

Crown Jewels

We believe that Mariia and Tetiana’s presence on campus was no accident. We believe that something bigger had led them to us. They are very special to us and will forever be in our hearts. Tetiana shared a small miracle that happened before her baptism. “A friend of mine, Nicolas, is very special to me. I wanted him to baptize me. When the day came and the missionaries were picking the baptism clothes, Nicolas said, ‘I have brought mine!’ ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Well, I had a prompting I needed to bring with me. I didn’t know why. Now, I get it.’”

It was the Lord’s hand guiding His work. He loves His children and wants them to come unto Him. “They are crown jewels, and I’m excited to see where their life journey will take them. My life was blessed because of them,” says Bob about Mariia and Tetiana. This phrase – “crown jewels” – perfectly conveys how we see each student. They are irreplaceable, unique, and valuable not only to us but also to God.

Written by Fernando Ferreira Jr.

Would you like to explore additional stories similar to this one? Click here to discover more narratives from our students.