Despite the challenges of “social distancing,” men and women continue to be baptized and make Jesus Lord! Many decisions we are having to make right now will affect us for years to come, but other decisions will affect us for eternity. Praise be to God for how He continues to open the door for the Word, how He has allowed us to use technology to study the Bible with seekers, and how the water still purifies from the inside out. Enjoy these stories of celebration within our church family.
Matthew Sawyer got baptized on Saturday, October 3rd! He is a 3rd-year student studying marketing at Georgia State. Matthew is a zealous young man for God. Over the last 7 months of him studying the scriptures over zoom with the brothers, he has consistently turned around and shared the gospel with his friends. We are inspired by his young faith and so grateful to have him as a new brother in the family of Christ!
The Kennesaw State Ministry rejoiced on Sunday, October 18 for Brayden Heacock’s baptism! Brayden was baptized after an on-campus outdoor service following our “local” retreat weekend. Brayden is a freshman at KSU and lives in the freshman dorms. We are so excited to have Brayden as an irreplaceable part of our ministry and to see him bring all the gifts he has to offer!
Ms. Doris Fearncombe is a 97 year old woman who has loved God and His Word for decades. During one of many conversations, Ms. Doris shared that she wanted to be baptized, but wondered if it could ever be possible because of her age. She was asking the same question that Nicodemus asked of Jesus, "How can a man be born when he is old?...How can this be?" As she was studying the Scriptures, and at just the right time, God sent everyone and everything she needed (including warm water) so that she could be baptized into Christ on October 9 in her retirement home! Ms. Doris has a spirit like Caleb, who declared in his old age that God "has kept me alive" for all of these years, and "I am still as strong today" and "just as vigorous" to serve the Lord!
Lynnette Ryan was baptized on September 12. Lynnette Ryan and Cathi Leaman met 17 years ago when their daughters were in kindergarten. Lynnette is married and has two grown children in college, Elizabeth and Jackson. “What I appreciate so much about Lynnette and our friendship is her kindness, openness, and vulnerability. Over the years, she has been seeking God and going to her church. Lynnette first came out to a Women's Day through our family group (Gary and Dena Adams-Deep South). For the last 3 years or so, she has gone to several Women's Days and started studying the Bible and attending midweeks. She goes over her notes, asks many questions, and has been counting the cost ever since. I am so proud to have her as my sister in Christ!” - Cathi Leaman
We rejoice with our new brother Sam Adegboye! He was baptized on September 13, 2020 after studying the Bible these past couple of months through Zoom. Folake, one of our sisters, has been reaching out to her family. A few years ago, she went to Africa and was able to reach out to her parents, Ade and Ester, who are now disciples in the West Cobb/Smyrna Community! Sam, Folake’s brother, began studying the Bible in July with some of the brothers in the Community and had an eager and determined heart to make Jesus Lord. Sam is a part of the West Cobb/ Smyrna Community young professionals! Let’s welcome our new brother!
Josh Estes was baptized on September 13. Josh came to Atlanta to make a name for himself in the film industry by becoming an actor. Little did he know that instead of finding himself in a movie he would soon be finding a relationship with God. He took part in Barbara Benneville's acting class and began having spiritual discussions with her. Barbara then decided to reach out to Andrew Hare to set up some personal Bible studies with him and later brought in Brandy Gallien and other brothers. Throughout the studies Josh was always eager and soaked up the scriptures. After a few months, Josh made the decision to make Jesus Lord of his life. Praise God!
Kelly McCormick was baptized on Sunday, Aug. 2, and is now a member of the Auburn Tuskegee Christian Church. Kelly was invited to church by a coworker, Brian Atkins. She came to a couple of services, and continued to attend virtually during the pandemic. She studied the Bible with several of the sisters, and was always willing to do whatever the Scriptures said. Through building a friendship with the sisters, and great talks, Kelly was able to break free from the issues that were holding her back. She is super excited to live all out for God. Kelly is married, lives in Beauregard, Alabama, and has three grown children.
We rejoice with our new sister Phyllis Gosnell! She was baptized on August 8, after studying the Bible through Zoom starting in May. When Phyllis told Eddie she wanted to start visiting churches this past January, Eddie remembered back 25+ years ago when he was our neighbor and we shared and studied the Bible with him. So he brought Phyllis to North River, where we immediately recognized him in the fellowship, and he introduced us. She also met an ex-colleague from work in the fellowship, Keri Williams. Phyllis has an eager and determined heart to study the Bible and has made building relationships through Zoom a priority. Let's all rejoice with how God works in any and every situation!
We are overjoyed to share that Kate Weber committed her life to Christ on Friday, August 14. Kate and Peggy Beaman met 2 years ago when the Beamans moved into Kate’s neighborhood off Marietta Square. Kate and Peggy quickly became friends and started studying the Bible last year along with Melanie Cicerchia, Kathryn Dillon, Cheryl Touchton, and Lin Ottenweller. The first time Kate came to North River, she said she felt like she had found her home. It has been so encouraging to watch Kate grow in her faith, peace, and purpose as she has studied the Scriptures and put them into practice. She loves God and people deeply, and we are so grateful to be a part of her life.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Jesus and the apostles remind us that God is seeking a harvest. He is searching to restore us to a righteous relationship with Him and there a people who will respond. Meet your new sister, Tania Pierre-Sampson, a woman of deep faith who has responded to God’s call and was baptized on July 5, 2020. Tania is the wife of Dwane and mom/step-mom of five wonderful children (Deondre, Kelis, Ezra’me, Jadonis and Malachi). Tania did not allow trial, pandemic, or any other very real distraction to deter her in her quest to know God. Tania’s cousins Claire Anderson and Sheyla Desir are disciples and members of North River and Cornerstone, respectively, and studied the Bible years ago at ACOC Gwinnett. At family gatherings, Tania would frequently defend the gospel with other family members well before this last round of Bible studies with Claire, Kerling Eldred, and Lorre Nelson. Her husband Dwane is currently studying, as well, although he’s returning to the UK for a short time. Please pray for the entire family and get to know your new sister!
Precious Balogun graduated from Georgia State University this past spring semester. She was met on campus in 2018 on her birthday in a unique way! After hearing people sing happy birthday to a sister in the ministry who shares her birthday, she introduced herself and was invited to have a Bible study. She began that semester but took a break from her studies until the spring of 2020. She reached out this February to continue pursuing her relationship with God. Due to COVID19, all of her studies this year happened over video chats. Despite so many uncertainties in this season, Precious knew she was ready to abandon the world’s way of living and adopt the mind and life of Christ. She confessed Jesus as Lord and was baptized on Father’s Day morning! Welcome to the family of Christ, Precious!!
Tracie Strozier was baptized into Christ on Saturday, June 6. Tracie and her husband, Robert, have known Jeffrey and Sammie Layne for over 20 years. Tracie asked Sammie a question about baptism over a year ago. Since that time, Sammie, along with Debbie Mackintosh and Jean Cimino, has been studying the Bible every week with Tracie. Tracie has been very determined to know what the Bible teaches about true conversion and has been a real student of the Word. Even dealing with many personal health challenges in the middle of a pandemic, her heart and determination to find the truth has been truly inspiring.
Cameron Michael Carty was baptized on April 26, and to God be the glory! He had been studying the Bible on-andoff since his sophomore year at Allatoona High School. He took his time, because he wanted to make sure he was fully committed and all in! “Cameron, we are so proud that you made the decision to make Jesus the Lord of your life. It has been exciting to see the changes you have made and are making as you navigate your way through this new beginning. As you prepare to go off to college, we look forward to seeing where God takes you on this journey. We want to offer a special ‘thank you’ to everyone that has been a part of Cameron’s journey including the middle school class teachers, teen leaders, Campus Ministry disciples, and Cameron’s mentors.” -Love Mom and Dad
Richard Beeman was baptized Sunday, May 31 during of our livestream services! Richard and Trish Beeman, along with their children Ava, Kailee, Ally and Max had been attending North River for several months prior to the pandemic. Due to social distancing, tools like Facetime, ZOOM, and conference calls were essential to continue the work of God during these dark and uncertain times. The East Cobb/Sandy Springs Community group, which is lead by Tom Brown and Steve Adkins, had the opportunity to engage with Richard via ZOOM to spur him onward with encouragement and prayers. Richard expresses his gratitude to Tom, Anthony Petty, and Mike Johnson for studying the Bible with him and sends thanks to everyone for your support and prayers. Please, welcome him to the Body of Christ!
Ashley Porch became a new creation when she was baptized into Christ on June 1! She is in the Sandy Springs singles group. Ashley had a real hunger to get her questions answered. She took advantage of a coronavirus related work furlough to study three times a week for several weeks. She really fought to have a soft, humble heart like David in Psalm 51. Welcome to the family of God, Ashley!
During the campus Spring Retreat on March 1, Sena Andea (middle) made Jesus Lord!! Sena studies Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University with the hopes of becoming a doctor and impacting people in the future. Through studying the Scriptures, she quickly realized that she was not living out true biblical Christianity and became eager to learn more about how to be a disciple of Jesus. God transformed and humbled her heart in incredible ways. We’re so excited to have Sena as our new sister!
It is so amazing to watch God continue to make a way for people to be reconciled to His son, even during this time! On April 9, Haley Combs (right) a student at Kennesaw State University, decided she could not wait any longer to watch the promises in Acts 2 become reality in her life. She was met at a campus midweek in January and has been studying since then. It just so happened that a sister from Kennesaw who has been living at home with her family since schools closed lives 10 minutes away from Haley and her family. God’s timing and power is perfect! Welcome your new sister in Christ to the family!
Gabby Wong (middle), a freshman Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major at Georgia Tech, is a young lady full of passion and joy for the Word of God! She was reached out to during the summer and took on the school year and her Bible studies with much excitement. Gabby decided to make Jesus Lord February 28! This Florida native is a joy to everyone she is around, and if you ever want to explore the book of Acts, Gabby is definitely the girl to see!
Sparticus Griffin is a freshman Art major at Kennesaw State University and a member of the KSU Track & Field team. Throughout his studies, Sparticus has shown great humility and curiosity. Whenever he was unsure or misunderstood anything in the Scriptures, he was never shy to ask questions. We are excited to share that he made Jesus Lord of his life on March 6!
Christian Spalding (being carried) is a freshman at Georgia Tech studying Neuroscience. He was met on campus at the beginning of fall semester by another band member in the ministry and came out to slip-n-slide kickball. Since then, Christian has been studying the Bible and figuring out how to make his faith his own. He has a strong desire to know God and know who God says He is, which has also allowed Christian to build deeper relationships with his family group and other members of the GT ministry. He was baptized March 8!
Armando Rodriguez (III) (middle) is a junior at Sprayberry High School. His parents Armando (Jr.) and Milagros Rodriguez have been longtime disciples. Armando had been studying the Bible for some time and learning to seek God with all his heart. Over the last six months or so, his studies included a teen leader, another fellow teen disciple, and his dad. Together this "youth and family team" joined Armando in the Word and through prayer as he fought to develop his own faith. On March 11, Armando made the decision to be baptized and proclaim Jesus is Lord. He is a tremendous encouragement to the Teen Ministry at North River.
Dylan Bagby (second from right) is a junior at Kennesaw State University and is currently studying Digital Animation. Dylan was reached out to on the Kennesaw campus and began studying shortly afterwards. Dylan responded to the Gospel with an extremely humble and open heart that has truly been encouraging. He was baptized on March 17!
Kathryn Carrico (left) is a recent graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Her identical twin sister was converted in the Campus Ministry five years ago and had been praying for Kathryn to get connected with disciples. Kathryn attended the fall retreat in 2019 and began studying the Bible shortly after. In the last five months she has made radical changes in her faith and deepened her convictions along the way. Although the quarantine forced us to have our last two Bible studies over the phone, Kathryn was eager to have her sins forgiven in the waters of baptism. With less than 10 people present, she was baptized and made Jesus the Lord of her life on March 27! Congratulations, Kathryn, on your new life in Christ!
Kierra Kelly’s life has radically changed in just two months! After meeting disciples on a street near Georgia State University’s campus downtown, Kierra quickly responded to studying the Bible deeper with eagerness and humility. Kierra is a senior Criminal Justice major with a heart for God and for speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves. She was baptized during the Livestream Sunday service on March 22. We are so excited to welcome her as our sister in Christ!