Take a moment to meet University of Pittsburgh senior Madison Rogers, who will be proclaiming her faith through baptism July 29.
And if God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
My name is Madi Rogers. I will be entering my senior year of college at the University of Pittsburgh this fall, where I am studying Emergency Medicine. I spend the majority of my time at Pitt working as a paramedic for an EMS base, running, and studying. I have been blessed to become a part of Reformed University Fellowship, an on-campus college ministry. I have also had the opportunity to join the Pre-Physician Assistant Club, become a part of the “Stop The Bleed” movement, and sit on the board of the Emergency Medicine Student Association.
This is my story – a story about pursuit and immeasurable love. I grew up with two loving parents, both of who are strong believers. It was more than just your average Christian household; from my earliest memories Jesus was the focal point of our family. It’s safe to say that my brother and I literally grew up in our local church in Southern Vermont. We attended “Godly Play” as young kids, enjoyed Youth Group as we grew older, participated in summer mission trips. Even on nontraditional days we found our way in the secure walls of our church. I remember climbing up the church’s steeple with my brother and dad to change the time on the old clock, a weekly task. I remember late nights in the youth room helping my dad, the high school youth group teacher, set up for the next morning’s lesson. I remember staying late into the hours of the night rehearsing for children’s skits and preparing to serve in Sunday services. I knew of Christ quite well; however, my parents were the backbone of my faith and I did not have a personal relationship with Him.
Right before my freshman year of high school, we moved from Vermont to Maryland. It was a big change for me and my brother. My graduating class size grew from 20 students to 300 students. I certainly felt lost in the crowd. After church “shopping” with my family, we finally came across Grace Community Church. I remember being inspired by how fellow students worshiped and how involved they were in their relationships with Christ. However, after having been exposed to his story from such a young age, I was not in awe of Christ and felt numb to his glory.
At the end of my sophomore year of high school I went on a mission trip to East Asia. I went into the trip hoping to change East Asia, but to my surprise East Asia changed me. It was an incredibly humbling experience to witness first-hand how far believers and nonbelievers alike are willing to go to walk with Jesus. I saw believers who were shamed and persecuted for their religion, and they were some of the strongest believers.
Upon our arrival back to the United States, I broke down. I realized how much Christ was giving to me and how little I was giving back to him. I was in awe of all that Christ was doing in this world and how he had a personal relationship with everyone that believed in him. I yearned for that kind of relationship with him. It was then that I surrendered my life to Christ and took hold of my faith.
As I learned over the next few months that taking my faith into my own hands would not be easy, but it certainly would be worth it. It took time and dedication, effort and energy, but the rewards were incomparable.
When I started my freshman year at Pitt, I didn’t realize how spiritually challenging it would be to maintain a relationship with God at a secular school. I was pretty good at thinking I had shut the door, at least temporarily, until I had figured out my mess. It’s safe to say that I experienced a number of hills and valleys during my first three years at Pitt. However, as I take a step back it is clear that every time I pushed God out, he pulled me back in. Just as Pastor Rich Yauger had shared during one of his sermons, God was right there with me, next to me in fact, looking at my mess and coming up with a plan to get through it all. He never once abandoned me. He never once stopped pursuing me.
Today, my faith journey continues. I would not be here without my friends and family who have helped me to walk in the light. I am continuing to let go and let God. I continue to remind myself to never doubt his plans, stay curious in his glory, be courageous in the face of hardship, and never settle for something less than what he has intended. He has softened my heart in ways I could not have imagined, and I am excited to see how he uses me as his hands and feet.
I have realized I cannot fix myself, so I am surrendering myself to the One who can. Getting baptized is all about giving God the glory and showing my peers how much he has impacted and continues to impact my life. As I prepare to proclaim my faith in Christ. I repeat the verse that has been my reminder through it all. “And if God is for us, who can be against us?” He is for us. Nothing can be against us.
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!