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Since the release of the three Vision Stories books I have been wearing two storytelling hats. Along with stories I have written, I tell some of my own vision stories, and a number of favorites I have collected like Karen Steineke’s touching personal account here. Now I receive a different kind of response. Almost always someone takes me aside and says, “I had an experience like that once.” They tell it to me in a quiet voice so that no one else can hear. And then they say with a sense of relief, “I’ve never told that to anyone before.” This happens over and over again. I have come to understand that sharing visions is a much-needed ministry. It lets people who have had these powerful, life-changing experiences know that they are not alone.

My Baptism Vision

by Karen Steineke

“It seems like a lifetime ago, because it nearly is. When I was 21, my husband and I chose to become members of the Wauwatosa Avenue Methodist Church. Neither of us had been members of a church growing up, only going occasionally with friends. For me that was extremely rare. I only went a few times. Our minister, Dr. Francis Kerns, suggested that I be baptized, since I had no memory or record of having been baptized as a baby.

We set a date, and I remember being quite nervous, having no idea what it would be like in spite of the pastor’s description of the ceremony. At that time, the chapel was a recent addition to the main building, along with Sunday school rooms. It was so like a dream, remembering it now, but one I recall totally.

As the pastor was performing the rite, I began to feel an all-encompassing warmth, with everything around me suffused and without form. I looked up to see the form of Jesus, with an overpowering light surrounding him, over the choir section and behind the altar. For what seemed like minutes, I was suspended in time and space. I felt such love and awe. I remember my tears, and as we left the chapel I tried to hide them from my husband because I was so overcome with a feeling one cannot describe.

Until years later I never did tell anyone, but it has always been such a comfort to me, knowing that He is with me. I know that many others have had similar experiences, but I feel so honored that it happened in my own life. I have shared it with close friends and family, but only those with a relationship with Jesus are receptive and seem to believe. Perhaps the others are just unable to respond to such an amazing experience.”

John Sumwalt is a retired pastor and the author of “Shining Moments: Visions of the Holy in Ordinary Lives.” He can be reached at johnsumwalt@gmail.com.

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