The Maplewood Academy school year ended on a high note with a baptismal celebration on May 11, 2013. The messages by Willy Ramos, this year’s Youth Rally speaker, were especially moving. These, coupled with the Holy Spirit, moved upon the hearts of Greg Ratter, Janice Becerra and Megan Chandler, all students of MWA, who decided to give their lives to Jesus. Two others, Cesar Garcia and Katie Ortiz, recommitted their lives and were re-baptized.
One of the students, Greg Ratter, said he had not understood or appreciated who God was when he was growing up. He said that by the time he got into his teenage years, he was selfish and did not care about God or anyone else. He and his friends thought it was cool to rebel–never minding the consequences. After attending Maplewood Academy, however, Greg said he began listening and thinking about things he was hearing–especially during week-of-prayer meetings. He realized that he did not like the person he had become, so he asked God to transform his life. That prayer was answered, and Greg says he has come to love God and have a desire to grow more like Him.
Megan Chandler also spoke of the influence Maplewood Academy has had on her life. She said that the things she has seen and heard here have changed her life. Cesar Garcia said, “Through this journey I walked blindly. But, thanks in large part to Willy Ramos, his messages were very clear and made me realize how important and serious it is to make the right choices in life. I was finally able to let go of the past and prepare for my future with God. Willy said we should come to God just the way we are, so that’s what I did. I know I’m far from perfect, but I also know God can change me throughout the journey. I would much rather take what God has to offer me over what the world offers me. I definitely choose God.”
By Evelyn Swanson
Images by Brad Leavelle
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