Pumped on the Eve of Baptism: Alexa Cable
From the November 21, 2015 edition of the Baptist New Mexican.
By Kevin Parker
“So, you’re going to be baptized; you’re going to draw a line, saying, ‘I’m on this side.’ Are you pretty pumped about that?” the interviewer asked. The two sat facing one another across a small round table in a side room at the Christian Challenge of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, the campus outreach of New Mexico Baptists. A silver microphone sat between them as they recorded a podcast for New Mexico Matters.
The answer came swiftly, with no pauses for thought. It was matter of fact. “Yeah. I’m pretty pumped,” Alexa said. She spoke the words through a smile. The same smile appeared every time she spoke about her upcoming baptism, scheduled for the next day.
Alexa Cable is a freshman student at Eastern. She calls Rio Rancho home; her family still lives there. Although she has not yet declared a major, she expresses interest in becoming a high school counselor. She is now a regular face at the Christian Challenge facility, located just across the street from Eastern’s main campus.
Other students watched as she told her story. Crimson Worship, Christian Challenge’s weekly worship and Bible study meeting, had just dismissed, and students were still around talking and snacking. The Christian Challenge is designed as a gathering place. Friends surrounded Alexa. It was busy.
Her story was an intersection of ministries, people, and questions. While actively seeking God on her college campus, she discovered Eastern’s Christian Challenge. That led to friendships with students trained to share their faith and to disciple new Christians. Through her experience, she began attending The Porch, a church plant of First Baptist Church of Portales. The Porch did not have a baptistery, so her pastor arranged for her to be baptized Friday night at First Baptist. That night, all of her friends were present.
The semester had barely begun, so Alexa’s story had unfolded in only a couple of months. Just before classes began, she met Jonathan, Christian Challenge’s assistant director, at a Saturday university community fair intended to introduce new students to campus organizations. Christian Challenge hosted a booth. Alexa recalled their conversation, “He talked to me a little bit about Jesus, and the next day he took me to church.” Two days later, Jonathan invited her to the Christian Challenge where she met Taylor, Christian Challenge’s secretary. They connected, and Taylor began discipling Alexa.
Alexa arrived at Eastern curious about God and Jesus Christ. “I wanted to follow him, but I didn’t have anyone to talk to; so, I didn’t know what to do or where to go,” she said. “I was looking for someone to talk to about God. I didn’t know if it was going to be Catholic or Christian, but I wanted to pursue God.” She grew up Catholic, but her family stopped attending church when she was in middle school. They had only attended occasionally before that. A Christian classmate invited her to go to church. “She’s a Christian,” Alexa recalled, “so, she started talking to me about church.” At that same time, Alexa’s grandparents were still active Catholics and wanted her to attend with them. “I would switch off from week to week. I would go to the Catholic church, then go to the Christian church,” she said.
Initially, the church’s message failed to connect with her. Finally, during her senior year of high school, she started attending the Christian church with her friend every week. “That’s when I started listening to the message of Jesus,” she recalled. “That’s when I was, like, ‘I need to do this; I need to pursue this.’ That’s when it started for me.” Those high school experiences didn’t fade. They followed her to college. Alexa had been exposed to the gospel and began calling herself a Christian, but admitted during the interview that she wasn’t a follower of Jesus back then.
Alexa’s discipleship relationship with Taylor pulled all of the pieces together. “She started discipling me, and now I understand what it is to follow Christ,” she explained. “I grew up Catholic, so I was aware of God, but we didn’t really act on it.”
Taylor and Alexa meet weekly. They read the same chapters in the Bible and then discuss them. They follow a plan that Alexa calls “paperwork or homework.” After they both do their “homework,” they meet to talk it through. Taylor guides the process while Alexa asks the questions. At the time of the interview, they were on week four. They were working on Alexa’s testimony so she could explain to others what’s happened in her life. Next, they were planning to study the purpose of life, from a biblical perspective.
Since the semester started, her life has changed. “The big difference, I’ve noticed, is my attitude towards everything, especially when I’m with my friends who are non-Christians,” she said. As she continued doing things with them, she noticed how her viewpoint had changed and how they were not following God. Her friends are baptized Catholics, but they believe differently from Alexa. She said, “It’s frustrating because I want to share with them, but they won’t listen to me.” She described what’s she’d like to say, “I want to tell them that I found Jesus; rather, he has found me,” she said. “He’s in my heart, and I want to share with you the gospel so you can be saved.” She said she wants to share what it means to be a Christian, not just in words, but to actually follow Jesus. Her faith has affected the amount of time she spends with them, though she still maintains the connections. She commented, “I don’t want to be around them as much.” Instead, she said, “I find myself here [at the Christian Challenge] a lot with my Christian friends. They support me. I can talk to them.”
As for her baptism, she considered herself saved when she arrived at Eastern. “But, I wasn’t saved until I came here. Nobody knew that besides God; that was between me and him,” she clarified. She described her baptism as a departure from that previous secrecy. As a genuine Christian, baptism had new meaning. “This is just a symbol for me to show everyone else that his is the life I’m choosing—to follow Christ,” she said. Her secret was out.
Because her parents are still not Christians, they did not understand why she was being baptized. She was glad they attended her baptism. She hoped “once they come and they meet all my friends, they’ll want to learn more and be inspired.” As she talked about it all, her smile returned. She was still “pumped” about being baptized.
Christian Challenge is a Baptist Convention of New Mexico ministry supported by the Cooperative giving of New Mexico churches.
ENMU student Alexa Cable talks with the Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s director of media services, Kevin Parker, as they record a New Mexico Matters podcast at the ENMU Christian Challenge in Portales.