Baptismal Statement by Jason Hensley
College Park Church has been a part of my life since I was born. I grew up going to Sunday school, singing in children’s choir and going to passport youth camp. The kids I grew up with here I still consider good friends today. Stephen, Alex, Marty, Anna, Sarah and Kevin have always been there for me like brothers and sisters. My sister Katie has been not just a sister, but, also a good friend. After Lin became our leader, we started Club Jesus’ and that really brought out my goofy, dependable, great sense of humor! Now, I’ve added, Caryanne, Kate and Hayatt among my list of special people in my church family. Throughout my years of growing up in this church there are many adults that have also had a positive impact on my life. People like Juanita, the Rogers, the Burkheads and Dan and Mildred (just to name a few). They have always been interested in how I was doing in a loving, caring way.
As most of you know, I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 11. Through the years, I have tried just about every seizure medication developed, but, continue to experience several seizures every week. 4 ½ years ago I underwent surgery that I hoped would reduce my seizures and help me to go back to school and get to some kind of normal life. This surgery was disappointing because the surgeon was unable to proceed with tissue removal because of the difficult location of my seizure focus. Since that time, I have been waiting for the FDA approval of a new device that my doctor recommended as the next step. Last fall the device was FINALLY approved, but, I continue to wait for the hospital to adopt that method of treatment. These past 4 ½ years have felt like being on a roller coaster ride with frustration, hope and disappointment. Through all these ups and downs, I have always felt God being there for me and my faith in him has just grown stronger. I believe my patience in this situation has been due to God being there for me and holding me up and keeping my head up (even when my parents were losing their patience with the slow progress!). Living with a disability has helped me to understand other people’s difficulties and problems. For instance, my dad and Uncle Mike have both gone through cancer the last 2 years and I can really relate to the faith needed to get them through. My heart and love have been with them throughout their treatments.
My family has always been so supportive and never giving up hope that someday I will have a life free of seizures. I know that my Nanny and aunts, uncles and cousins are praying for me every day. Even my grandparents that have passed away, I feel like they are looking down on me and thinking of me. My Uncle Jack (the crazy younger brother of my crazy mother) has become more than just an uncle, but, also a very good friend.
We go golfing as much as we can and he treats me like a bud. My best friend outside of my church friends, Joseph Watterson, has been there for me since middle school and is like a brother to me. Even though he got married last year he still makes time to drop over and play some video games and hang out. Without the love and support of all these people in my life, I don’t know how I would cope with my situation. I’m thankful for them all and for this church in my life.
I believe my decision to be baptized today is not just my decision to follow and live more like Jesus. It is more than that, too. It is also my decision to respond to the love of God who has been with me through these difficult years living with epilepsy and to respond to the love of all of you here who have cared for and supported me, my parents and Katie. To me, baptism is one of the ways that I join more closely with this community of people who has raised me and who is my family of faith. You have taught me so much about God’s love through your love. I one day hope to write a book about all I have been through and about my faith, hope and strength in God. I know in my heart and mind that through this baptism (and hopefully, a successful brain surgery not too far down the road) I will experience a rebirth of myself.