Wilbert Terry, 99, successfully completed numerous missions as a World War II veteran, but he said none of those compared to the assignment he undertook to be obedient through believer’s baptism with the help of Northshore Church in Slidell, Louisiana.
A retired firefighter, a police officer, a former law enforcement officer and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran lifted Terry from his wheelchair and placed him in the baptistry while Pastor Larry McEwen baptized him during the service.
Terry, a U.S. Army veteran who was involved in battles in Europe and the Pacific, had surrendered his life to Christ when he was 15, but he had not experienced New Testament baptism.
Baptism by immersion
When he started attending Northshore Church several years ago, Terry learned of his need to become baptized through immersion.
But health concerns delayed his baptism for more than a year, until Terry finally celebrated alongside friends and family in July when four others were baptized.
“It felt good because when I think of all the Lord has done for me, (most) importantly dying for me, I have to live for Him,” Terry told the Baptist Message.
“To God be the glory. I’d love to see everyone come to Christ.”
Share the hope
McEwen believes God protected Terry in World War II so he could share the hope of Jesus with others. “He knows the good Lord got him home from the battlefield and all the time since was a gift from God,” McEwen said.
“Painting that picture of a new life in Christ through baptism is something he has wanted to do for a while.
“He wanted to honor the Lord for the way He saved his life, not only spiritually but also physically on the battlefield.”
McEwen added, “With Wilbert being a World War II vet, our people love and honor him.
“They gave him a standing ovation, and there was hardly a dry eye in the place. The people singing the song after the baptism struggled to start because they were so emotionally moved.”
Since January, 25 new believers have been baptized at Northshore Church, which averages 566 for Sunday worship.
McEwen said the baptisms reflect the congregation’s passion to see others come to Christ.
Started in 2001 as a plant of Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell, the church has grown
from just a handful who met in McEwen’s living room.
The church has seen hundreds accept Christ and 394 baptized since its formation.
Their outreach has included ministry to first responders, construction of homes in Haiti and Mexico and acts of service by its men’s ministry.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Brian Blackwell and originally published by the Baptist Message, newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.