An 86-year-old Virginia woman overcame her fear of water so she could be baptized at church, showing others that it’s never too late to receive the Holy Spirit.
Joy Stamey, a member of Liberty Live Church in Hampton, became a Christian at a young age but the thought of being baptized by immersion in water generated too much anxiety — until recently.
According to the Baptist Press, Liberty Live pastor Zac Ethridge assured “Mrs. Joy” that the church would do whatever it could to ensure that she felt safe during the dunking.
“All my life I’ve been afraid to (get baptized), so I just put it off and said I’ll do without it. But as I got older I got to thinking about it, and I just decided to do it,” Stamey explained. “I thought my kids would be proud of me and I knew I had to be baptized eventually, and I’m very happy about it now. I felt really good afterwards.”
Etheridge spoke with Stamey’s family members, who were concerned since she’s wheelchair-bound, and a plan was devised how to carefully perform the immersion.
The Baptist Press reports that the pastor compared the matter to the biblical story of a group of men who cut a hole in the roof of a house to lower a man before Jesus.
“If we have to cut a hole in the roof, we’re going to help anybody who wants to take a step towards obeying Christ,” Ethridge said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Finally, at the end of October, Stamey made a public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ and was baptized. Her family, friends, and church members were there to extend their love and support on that special day.
“It is awesome to have your church family support you like that,” said Stamey’s daughter Julia Dancy. “It felt like it was home, just the way it should be. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and love.”
Liberty Live shared images and video of the ceremony during next Sunday’s church service which reportedly encouraged others to consider being baptized too.
Stamey said she urges anyone who wants to be baptized, not to wait.
“I would definitely encourage them to do it because it’s something that they absolutely need,” she said. “I feel a lot better since I’ve been baptized. It was the best thing I had ever done and I regret not doing it a long time ago.”