Journey to Baptism: Rowena's Story

Posted by Joe Muñoz, Contributing Writer, on Oct 12, 2021

Journey to Baptism: Rowena's Story

It was the moment Rowena Soo had been moving towards for years. The studying, the praying, the talking to the Almighty, hoping He’d make His voice heard in her life.

It was Baptism Day.

Decked out in her Batman t-shirt and black shorts, she made her way on stage, smiled at Pastor Eric Torrence and headed for the water.

As she carefully stepped in, she felt a bit of a shock but it wasn’t the Holy Spirit coursing through her. The water in the trough was freezing.

Eric smiled and started speaking. She smiled and nodded, but because the music was loud, she couldn’t hear the spiritual wisdom he was imparting. This wasn’t what she’d imagined.

She followed his cues and before she knew it, in front of hundreds of people, Rowena took a chilly plunge.

She may not have heard Eric, but suddenly, she was tuned in to what she felt God was saying. “Welcome, my daughter.”

It was a sense of everything, my sins, my fears being washed away. I had that ‘Yay!’ moment,” she said. That moment took the edge off any chill she had that morning.


FIRST TIME WASN’T THE CHARM

Rowena grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the older sister to two brothers. Dad was Buddhist, and Mom was Catholic.

Dad allowed her to attend Catholic services, but there wasn’t a whole lot of deep diving with things like Bible studies.

She attended a girl’s school that was spiritually diverse. A nun ran the school and Rowena was taught by professors who were Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and various Chinese religions. On one hand, she said that was a great thing. “We always had days off!” she joked. “Chinese New Year’s, Hindu Diwali, there were Muslim holidays and Christian holidays.”

On the other hand, with so many faiths, teaching about Christ wasn’t something all professors were proficient at.

When Rowena was 15, some of her friends were being baptized. “I figured I might as well go with the flow so I did, but I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” she said.

Not long after, Rowena’s dad told her during an argument that the baptism hadn’t taken…she was still strong-willed.


KUALA LUMPUR TO KANSAS

That strong will motivated her to leave Malaysia when she was 21. Fed by years of watching the TV show “Family Ties” and immersing herself in American culture, she moved to the United States and attended Wichita State University where she earned a degree in Journalism.

She also took a theater class, where she was drawn to Kit Chan. “It was his eyes,” she reminisced. Their teacher, a psychology lecturer, must have noticed something because they were cast as a married couple in a play. “Who knew?!? We ended up as one…” she said.

When a call came from Dallas offering Kit an engineering position, they jumped at the opportunity, settled in and made new friends.

But something was lacking—and it made her angry. Christian friends would speak about “aha moments” when God spoke to them, or point out the ways God worked in their lives daily. “I felt I didn’t have a story to tell. I started to think my antenna was broken,” she said.

After visiting church after church, they found Chase Oaks. “The Worship Team drew me, the music. It was also the church’s ‘come as you are, be transformed’ DNA that I liked,” she said.

Though these things fed her, and she poured herself into volunteering, something was still missing. So she did what Rowena does: she was very open and started asking people “Why am I feeling this way…am I broken?”


THE PLAN’S SLOW REVEAL

Rowena got in touch with Pastor Todd Baughman and flat-out said, “I think my antenna is broken, I’m not getting God’s signal!”

Todd recalled the conversation. “Rowena is a perfect example of how we can all feel at times, and the perfect example of how to respond to those feelings of brokenness.”

He guided her to Ekklesia, a class that provided the deep spiritual dive she had needed. “That’s where I really started my journey with God,” she said. She started to see where the Father been alongside her throughout her life. And she started feeling a desire to receive a second baptism, one meant to celebrate her love of Christ.

“I wasn’t following a trend,” she said. “This time it would be different. I also knew I’d ask Eric to baptize me because after 23 years of marriage I didn’t know how long my husband would hold me underwater!” she teased.

So on February 10, 2018, Rowena stepped into chilly water, not able to hear a word Eric said. But with her eyes closed, she put her faith in God, and...“I felt fulfillment,” she said.

Christie Huckaby, former First Impressions Director and Rowena’s mentor, spent a lot of time with her after she was baptized.

“Rowena has so much light in her, and some of that comes from her baptism,” she said. “She wasn’t sure where her path was headed, but God knew how he was going to use her. Since the baptism, she started to see God had bigger plans for her.”
“Even though I’m almost fifty, I feel like I’m in my 20s. I feel renewed,” Rowena said. “God has plans for all of us, no matter your age. He’s knocking. You just have to answer.”

Interested in getting baptized? Find out more, including upcoming dates and locations for baptism, here.

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