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Former Mormon Priest is Baptized in Texas

A former Mormon preacher in Texas discovers the true faith through a unique online encounter and is baptized; Youth leaders in the Mountain States prepare for the return to in-person Children's Worship Services.

Former Mormon Priest is Baptized in Texas

[VIDEO STARTS]

RICHIE FERRERA: This week on INC News World, a former Mormon preacher who discovered the Church Of Christ online is baptized. Youth leaders make preparations for in-person worship services in the [Ecclesiastical District of] Mountain States. Your INC News World starts now.

[VIDEO ENDS]

RICHIE FERRERA: Welcome to INC News World. I’m Richie Ferrera, coming to you from the INC Media Studio in Anaheim, California. And we hope everyone is continuing to stay safe wherever you are today. In the U.S., the increase of religious disaffiliation continues.

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And according to a study, the most common reason was due to lack of belief in teachings.

RICHIE FERRERA: And in Texas, we meet a former Mormon priest who, dissatisfied with his previous religion, had the opportunity to learn about the true one.

[VIDEO STARTS]

KENNETH JOHNSON: It’s been a beautiful journey. I’m overwhelmed. It’s probably one of the best days of my life.

RICHIE FERRERA: This is Kenneth Johnson, a retiree living in El Paso, Texas, on the day of his baptism into the Church Of Christ. At Kenneth’s age, finding the truth has been a long time coming.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I’m 70 years old and I’m not dead yet. I still have something to offer.

RICHIE FERRERA: He’s a man who has always wanted to have a close relationship with God.

KENNETH JOHNSON: I’m a singing paramedic who loves God. I thought I knew a lot, I had been a Mormon for most of my life. I rose up to ordained priest, which is deacon/teacher/priest – one step below elder. But I felt abandoned by the church over the last ten years or so. It seemed like it became a church of people and not of God. I was looking for a new start.

RICHIE FERRERA: And it was through a karaoke website and an invitation all the way from a stranger in the Philippines that led Kenneth to the Church Of Christ in Texas. After months of studying the true teachings of the Bible, Kenneth arrived on the day of his humble baptism in El Paso. It was a journey that found Kenneth surrounded by loving supporters.

KENNETH JOHNSON: These people have been just so friendly to me – loving people have shown me so much welcome and support.

RICHIE FERRERA: Support and love coming from Church Of Christ members, like Theodore.

THEODORE GRAY: The guidance I’ve had and the experience: I gave him everything that I experienced in real life and what I’ve been through, and pretty much that [assisting] him on what he was going through. And I knew it was troublesome times.

KENNETH JOHNSON: They’re just very, very good people. And we’re fortunate to have them.

RICHIE FERRERA: And now that Kenneth is in the true church, he’s ready to get to work to share that same message of salvation with others. This baptism, officiated by District Supervising Minister Brother Rey Membrere, in the El Paso area, was one of three conducted across the District of Texas.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Today, when you’re 71 years old, you’re closer to the end of your life on this earth. You want to make sure you’ve got the true church and that you’re ready to move on to salvation. I’ve gained a lot, and learned a lot. I’m ready to go to work.

RICHIE FERRERA: El Paso, Texas, was just one of the places around the world that saw an increase in members inside the Church Of Christ during the pandemic. To learn more about the teachings Kenneth studied, log on to incmedia.org.

[VIDEO ENDS]

RICHIE FERRERA: The virtual learning had been a necessity to conduct proper social distancing.

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HOST CONTINUES: Research shows that students learning face to face gain a greater understanding from teachers while having opportunities to connect and network with other students.

RICHIE FERRERA: And now that COVID restrictions are lifting and in-person learning is taking place, let’s go to the Mountain States to see how a group of teachers are preparing for the most important kind of learning.

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MARIELLE DABU: Shalina, a resident from Arizona, knows how hard it’s been for children during the pandemic with distance learning.

SHALINA KROLL: Some of the kids, if they’re attending virtually online, you know, it’s hard for us to really have that interaction with them.

MARIELLE DABU: As a children’s worship service or CWS teacher in the Church Of Christ. She also points out a more important aspect of a child’s growth and learning.

SHALINA KROLL: That’s really important to instill in them the foundation and the teachings and to make sure that their faith is strong and that they understand fully all of the things that we are teaching in our CWS, our children’s worship service.

MARIELLE DABU: Like many CWS teachers, Shalina’s love for the youth runs deep. Along with being a teacher, she also helps the Church Of Christ online programing through INC Kids, providing content that teaches Christian values. 

SHALINA KROLL: (Thank you, everyone. Thank you so much. You’re welcome. Well, that’s a very kind thing to say. I said thank you. And Audrey said, You’re welcome.) I love my duty. It’s such a great blessing.

MARIELLE DABU: And now, with more COVID restrictions lifting, CWS, or children’s worship services, will be returning to in-person gatherings. A long-awaited occasion that children and CWS teachers have been waiting for here.

SHALINA KROLL: It’s really nice that we’re finally able to have our in-person worship service.

MARIELLE DABU: To quickly respond to these changing circumstances the CWS teachers and officers from the Ecclesiastical District of Mountain States gathered for their first in-person leadership meeting in the locale of Henderson.

SHALINA KROLL: I thought that it was really important to make it out here even though it is a far drive, so that we could fully prepare ourselves.

ERWIN BRILLO (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL): The purpose of this activity is to prepare the officers in the CWS, especially the teachers, to discuss with them some of the important details about going back to our in-person worship services to God.

MARIELLE DABU: And now, with Children’s Worship Services returning to in-person gatherings, Shalina, along with other CWS teachers and officers, are excited to continue fostering the faith of the youth.

SHALINA KROLL: We’re really looking forward to being able to have our worship services with our kids, with the CWS in person, and just make sure that they are able to fully understand the different teachings and that they’re growing strong in their faith as they get older every year.

ERWIN BRILLO (MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL): Leaders are officers, especially in the children’s worship service, are very important, especially the teachers placed by God through the Church Administration because they’re helpers to the Church Administration, especially Brother Eduardo V. Manalo in caring for the young members, guiding them to the right path, and most importantly, to our salvation.

SHALINA KROLL: Especially with what’s going on in the world right now. It’s important that they’re strong in their faith because with the different dangers, there’s different illnesses. It’s important for the kids to know that God will always be with us.

MARIELLE DABU: Despite the challenging circumstances of this pandemic, CWS teachers here and around the world continue to help foster the faith of the youth in the Church Of Christ. For more youth inspiring content, visit INC Kids.

[VIDEO ENDS]

RICHIE FERRERA: And the continuation of this week’s episode of INC News World. A man’s love for long distance running takes to new heights for plans to commemorate a special anniversary. Stay tuned.

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Former Mormon Priest is Baptized in Texas