The Baptism Testimony of Daniela Watanabe

Daniela Watanabe

May 21, 2024

I was raised in a Christian home. I was baptized as an infant, and throughout my childhood and teenage years, I knew so many facts about the Bible. I had a relationship of calling on God in times of need or loneliness, but my head knowledge did not translate much into my everyday life. At home, I saw the Bible frequently misused as a tool to manipulate, control, and emotionally abuse. I had a lot of pain and trauma from my childhood that I didn’t start unpacking until my twenties.

My early twenties were spent walking back and forth, towards and away from Jesus, looking for pleasure and adventure outside of him. But he never left me or stopped pursuing me. I moved to Louisville in the summer of 2017 and attended Sojourn for the first time while doing LTN at the recommendation of my friend Jordan. Only then did I begin to understand God’s grace and how the love of Jesus transforms our lives and actions. My mentor, Taryn, helped me wrestle through my anger and pain. She pointed me towards truth as she helped me learn the basics of getting into God’s Word and prayer. She modeled how to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

After moving back to Louisville in 2020, I continued going to Sojourn and went through Restore. So many women at this church have continued to guide me and show me truth about how Jesus is the only one who can change my heart and identity.

I had been wrestling through the last four years with the idea of being baptized again. Wasn’t my infant baptism enough? In the past few months, I felt God pursuing me to receive a believer’s baptism and publicly commit and submit my life to him in front of my community.

Before, I had always been trying to find the roadmap or steps to healing. What could I do to fix it all? God has shown me that all I need to do to experience the peace, joy, safety and security that I have been longing for since I was a child is simply to abide in him.

Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Now, with my whole heart, I am fully stepping into this new life he offers. Only he can calm my running and escaping—my constantly seeking adventure, new experiences, and pleasure. Only he can slow me down from my busyness and attempts to find a solution on my own. God is inviting me to do nothing but spend time with him; let go of my control; accept his gifts of rest, peace, security, and joy; and trust that his presence is enough to satisfy me.

Daniela Watanabe

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Sojourn Midtown is a part of the Sojourn family of churches. Our mission is to reach people with the gospel, build them up as the church, and send them into the world.

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Sojourn Midtown  1207 S Shelby St Louisville, KY 40203 · info@sojournmidtown.com · 502 882 7780