While it wasn’t by design, a 14-year-old girl from Swainsboro will forever remember her baptism in a special way. She was baptized less than two weeks before her Savior’s birthday.
Kyli Bell, the daughter of Toni and Donnie Kirkland and Bennie and Courtney Bell, attends Summertown Baptist Church. This past summer, her life changed for the better as she asked Jesus Christ into her heart, which would later lead to her baptism.
“Over the summer, our youth group went to church camp. The whole week during services, I had a different feeling. I could tell I was getting closer to God,” she explained.
Sure enough, she was saved at camp.
Fast-forward a few months and she was ready to take the next step, and on December 12 at Summertown Baptist with preacher John Durden in the baptismal with her, she did it.
“I was really nervous as I walked into the water, but as soon as I was dunked under, I wasn’t nervous anymore. I knew God was with me and that I had given my life to Him. Of course, my mom cried, but my whole family was very happy in my decision that I had made.”
Baptisms are sacred and dear to the heart of all born-again believers, but for Bell, that’s even truer because her big day happened close to Christmas.
“Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. Through life, you sin and make mistakes because nobody is perfect. Me being baptized was me being reborn and washing away all my many sins… I couldn’t have picked a better time to do it than near Jesus’s birthday.”
Since she has gotten saved and baptized, Bell has been spending more time studying God’s Word. Today, her favorite verse is Isaiah 41:10, which offers encouragement and support: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
She says she would like to give special thanks to Todd and Angie Robinson for allowing her the opportunity to go to church camp this past summer. Without a doubt, her life would be different today without that trip.
Bell is also extremely grateful for the “little family” that her growing church group has become. (The youth at Summertown Baptist meets every Wednesday and Sunday for those who would like to attend.)
In the future, the ninth grader at David Emanuel Academy hopes to go to college, play softball, and study to become an orthodontist.
When asked what she hopes people get out of reading about her baptism, Bell says she only wishes she would’ve acted sooner because since she has come to know Jesus on a personal level, she has realized just what value He adds to life—and that is something she hopes others come to understand as well.
“Me being baptized was proof I give my life to the good Lord. For a while, I wanted to and never spoke up. Now that I have, I wish I would have sooner. It’s a great experience and something I would recommend everyone to do. A relationship with Jesus is the best relationship you will ever have. He will be with you through everything.”
Bell has four siblings: Kati Kirkland, Dustin Kirkland, Lizzie Jo Bell, and Kane Bell. Her grandparents include: Evey and the late Tony Belcher, Larry and Renee Bell, and Linda and the late Don Kirkland.