My name is Mark Carthon I am now 22 and I live in Milwaukee, WI and I am in my third year of college.I grew up in a Christian (Pentecostal) family.
I read the Bible every day from the age of seven, but I did not begin to have questions about the Pentecostal doctrine until I was seventeen.
At seventeen, I began attending a Oneness Apostolic Church where they teach that Jesus Christ is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. After this, I attended a Baptist church where people deacons smoked cigarettes in front of the building and shouted “Miller Time” before service was dismissed. After this, I attended a Lutheran Church. At the Lutheran Church, I began taking their basic Bible principles class. I asked the teacher why there is one Bible and tens of thousands of Christian denominations, who teach different things, but all profess to believe the one Bible. The teacher told me that ….
“I would have to answer that question for myself”.
I then began to search for documentaries on YouTube that would explain the history of the Biblical canon.
I began looking on the internet and came across the Christadelphians YouTube channels. Since there are close to 10 Christadelphian channels, I was able to see Christadelphian teaching on prophecy and first principles. I spent the better part of nine months watching and listening to Christadelphian Bible teaching.
One of the suggested videos was a video called Armageddon Explained Part One ‘The Purpose’ from Eric Hawthorne. I watched it and I was blown away because I actually understood the information. Pentecostals teach that Revelations can’t be understood. I finished the four-part series on Armageddon and began searching for videos on the Christadelphian vault that give answers to my questions.
- In January 2016, having come to the conclusion through my studies that the Christadelphians were indeed teaching the Gospel Truth, through email, I contacted the Christadelphian YouTube channel administrator for www.Christadelphianvideo.org, to see where i should go from here.
- The Rugby UK ecclesia sponsors the work of these YouTube channels and populate it with Bible preaching content provided by many ecclesias worldwide.
The admin for the sites reached out to two ecclesias in my local area, forwarding My email, asking which of them were closest to Me and able to follow-up with me. Royal Oak was the closer of the two ecclesias.
Bro Greg Muniz then contacted me via email and introduced himself, a dialogue began. in due course, I asked “It is my understanding that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation; I need to be baptized. Can I do this on my own? If so, how is it done? If I cannot do it on my own, what do you suggest?”
Bro Greg replied explaining that it was needful to review my understanding and give me the opportunity to witness my beliefs to others in their ecclesia.
As a way to follow-up with me, we talked and agreed we could utilize skype. We then began Skype sessions for the purpose of answering my question above, reviewing my understanding of the Truth of Bible teaching. These sessions now total around 25 hours, each call was more than two and a half hours.
- I was very committed to doing whatever it would take and he began applying myself further and pushing to ensure we met as regularly as I was available each week, sometimes more than once a week.
- In our first session, it was identified that it would be helpful if i was using the computer application eSword, which i immediately went out and downloaded with several versions of the Bible.
- As these sessions progressed a second Brother in the effort to begin to expose me to other Christadelphians first hand. This also served to confirm my intention and verify my sound and broad knowledge of the Truth of the Bible.
- On a skype session on May 6th we found out that i would have a few days between school commitments that he was available to visit the Royal Oak Christadelphians. The ecclesia agreed to fly me out for three days, so they developed a plan of Bible talks comprising various brethren touching on the subjects as covered by the West Coast Bible Marking lessons, a family night on a Friday evening and a Saturday with more time around God’s word and on things like the Statement of Faith, Ecclesial Guide.
- Saturday, the second day of my visit, beginning early in the afternoon my baptismal interview began. Brethren who had not been involved in any of my earlier instruction agreed to deliver my baptismal interview.
- This went well and the arranging brethren agreed to baptize me. When the interview conversation was over, They explained that my baptism would, God willing, be the next day during the Memorial service.
- After delivering this great news, a brother lead us in a closing prayer and just moments before the prayer ended, I quietly began to sob in relief and joy. This had been an arduous journey and God had brought me through it to the place he had prayed it would bring me.
- Since it was late-afternoon Saturday, Senior CYC was scheduled and we were done with the interview in time to take Me to CYC to meet other young people. I had a great time.
- In the background, with the spreading of this excellent news, the sisters started the process of calling one another to arrange for an ecclesial meal the following day to celebrate with what would be, God willing our their brother in Christ.
- When Sunday came, the ecclesia adjusted the normal agenda to allow for the baptism to take place just after the exhortation and before the memorial meal.
- When memorial service ended, I was met with many brethren and sisters congratulating me and offering their support. I received many books and information to help me on his road. I left on Sunday evening on a flight back to Milwaukee, WI.
I downloaded the Manitoulin Youth Conference booklet, registered to attend keen to meet more Brothers and Sisters.
I got baptized at Royal Oak in May 2016 after five years of searching for the truth. Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.