A Baptism Letter.
On January 14, 2024, Alex and Anna Ventura were baptized into the saving name of our Lord Jesus Christ. They have been attending meeting in Barrie, ON, Canada, since the summer of 2023.
Alex was joining the weekly bible class on Wednesdays and working through the Learn to Read the Bible seminars online on Monday nights. Anna, whose first language is Greek, was learning online (in her native Greek language) with Brother Steve Petrou from the Toronto West ecclesia.
Included below, by permission, is Alex’s original letter requesting baptism. It was written to Brother Grant Abel, the recording brother at Barrie. Alex’s letter is an inspiring read and The Tidings is so pleased to be able to share it with you.
I am writing this letter to you on behalf of my wife, Anna, and myself concerning our need to be baptized into Christ.
For some background, I come from a Catholic/Orthodox family and only attended church during holiday masses as a child. My parents were not avid readers of scriptures. During my early teens, I strayed into Eastern religions or “new ageism” as it is commonly known. It wasn’t until later in life, when I found myself distant from God and immersed in my sins, that I felt a compelling need for the holy scriptures and a relationship with God.
Anna, raised in the Greek Orthodox tradition, has always been skeptical of the church and attended sporadically. Her mother, a devout Greek Orthodox believer devoted to prayer, had somehow influenced her understanding of the importance of seeking a relationship with God. If it weren’t for my wife’s prayers and God’s will, you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
Anna and I began seeking out different church denominations when we had started reading the Bible only two years prior and had begun attending a local Greek Orthodox church. We then explored Messianic Judaism, briefly attended a Presbyterian church, and eventually settled at a local Baptist church where we had also enrolled our son in school.
Before meeting [Brother] Thomas Woegerer, we had interesting interactions with his wife, [Sister] Wendy, who was convinced that we were mistaken about the deity of Christ. Not only were her ideas new to us, but we were also convinced that this perspective amounted to heresy according to the established church doctrine we were accustomed to.
When we first met Thomas at his home, my intention was to persuade him that his belief in Jesus not being God was in error. Still a novice in interpreting scriptures, armed with the proverbial ‘Trinitarian verses’ and some guidance from a friend at my Baptist church at the time, I felt certain I could change his mind. However, something entirely different happened, something I hadn’t anticipated. It was I who succumbed to the truth of God’s Word.
As we were leaving, Thomas handed me a book which you had given him some time ago called “Wrested Scriptures” written by [Brother] Ron Abel, who, as I understand, was your uncle. This book played a crucial role in opening my mind to the misinterpreted scriptures I had been misled about.
As your uncle Ron eloquently wrote in his foreword, “The chief function of light is that it will shine in darkness.” This is what the truth of scripture does. It shines light into the darkest places for those who are lost. Ron further writes, “It should also be noted that nothing imparts more confidence in controversy than a well-grounded knowledge of what the passage in question really means.”
It became clear we were lost and in need of saving.
Thomas had demonstrated this confidence with zero hesitation that day. It became clear we were lost and in need of saving. Through much prayer and study, Anna and I began to see the errors in our interpretation of scriptures. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our true walk. It was clear to us that grounding ourselves in the knowledge of scripture was an essential and uncompromising foundation for growing in our faith and in knowing the one true living God. Needless to say, Ron Abel, may he rest in peace, was instrumental in our growth through his research and continues to have a lasting impact.
An important part that I had discovered in Ron Abel’s book on the very first page was from a note you had written to Tom. The last part of your note read, “We pray for God’s blessing upon you and His continued guidance in your life and those around you.” To this day, Anna and I thank you for your prayers. Your message really drives home the importance of prayer in the believer’s life. May we never cease to pray for those who are lost and in need of salvation.
I thank God that my wife has always walked this path with me and shares in this new revelation of truth. I understand that this is rare. Despite our many challenges in marriage and life in general, it’s now easier to grow in our faith. There is a profound sense of peace to be able to worship God in truth and to have a clear understanding of the relationship with His only Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Your ecclesia, along with many others, offers this hope to those who are lost, just as we were. This is something very unique and unprecedented. My wife has been studying with Steve Petrou from the Toronto West ecclesia, who has dedicated his time to her weekly on Zoom in Greek. This has been a tremendous blessing we are very thankful for.
You, Grant, along with the Barrie ecclesia, are a blessing and an inspiration to us. We can’t even begin to express how much we appreciate the opportunity to attend your worship and study in truth. Being able to fellowship with true believers has been a precious gift.
We both also understand the importance of baptism and what this truly means to our faith. Our hope is to be baptized into Christ’s family and we ask for your help in making this happen. With God’s will and grace, we pray this will occur soon. We long for that day when we are able to call you our brothers and sisters in Christ. May your ecclesia continue to be a beacon of light to those that are lost who are seeking truth.
Love in Christ,
Alex & Anna Ventura