by Mike Camire, SBCV Student Ministry Strategist; Parkway Baptist Church Next Gen Student Pastor
On April 9, 2020, at 11:55 PM, as I was trying my best to go to sleep but just could not settle, I received a text from one of my students that simply said, “MIKE.” Now, in my years of student ministry, an all-caps text of my first name usually means something is horribly wrong—that wasn’t so with this text. Stumbling for my phone and thinking the worst, I responded, “What up, bro” and then my student, Cade, proceeded to explain to me that he had just led a hockey teammate (who lived in Ohio at the time) to Christ through a FaceTime call! My thoughts of this being a bad text quickly left me, and I was overwhelmed with joy! This was the first person that Cade had led to Christ, and he was as ecstatic as he could be through text messages.
When I asked Cade to describe the conversation, he said, “On that call, God gave me an opportunity to share what I believed. Bernie asked me the question, ‘How are you able to be so happy even if nothing goes your way?’ At that point, I knew God had opened Bernie’s heart, and I felt like I couldn’t say anything else except to share the Gospel with him.”
When Bernie put his trust in Christ, his life was forever changed. He explained, “Thankfully, I was able to open up to my friend, Cade, and we were able to have a serious and beneficial conversation. That night, I was introduced to something that was different than anything else. There was something about living a life for Christ that intrigued me. I told Cade the next day, ‘feel different bro, I feel weird.’ Over the next six months, I spent time trying to learn everything I could about Christ, and I really started to change.”
By God’s providence, Bernie moved to Richmond to play hockey. He was able to plug into our ministry here at Parkway Baptist Church (Moseley, VA) and be discipled! He also chose to follow his decision with baptism, and since Cade led Bernie to the Lord, we allowed Cade to baptize Bernie!
I asked Bernie, “What was it like to be baptized by your friend who led you to Christ?” He wrote: “Being able to get baptized was already amazing enough to begin with, but then to have Cade, who helped with everything from the start, be the one to baptize me made it one of the most memorable moments of my life. I will never forget that life-changing experience.”
Even more incredible was that the weekend Bernie was baptized, his mom was already coming down to Richmond to watch him play hockey and got to see her son baptized in person!
Bernie eventually moved back to Ohio, but he is still passionate about his faith! He is now sharing his faith with friends and even buying Bibles and giving them to friends back home! He is also in the process of seeking a church that he can plug into there.