Revival in California—Part 2
Story by Margot Bass and Tom Price
Photos by Tom Price
This is Part 2 of Calvary Chapel Magazine’s cover story from Issue 85 in Fall 2020. In September 2020, Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, CA, and his staff baptized 1,000 believers in Newport Beach. Part 2 shares testimonies from some who were baptized that morning. To read Part 1, click here.
Determined to Be Baptized
From the first moment young Eileen Sanchez heard about the upcoming baptism while at CC Chino Hill’s Spanish ministry, she continually badgered her mom, Gloria, to allow her to attend and be baptized. Gloria kept putting her off, concerned that her daughter wasn’t ready. Pandemic restrictions and her parent’s divorce two years before had caused Eileen to experience depression and anxiety. She had been acting out negatively and feeling the separation from her friends.
When the cost of repairing a flat tire threatened to stop them from attending, Gloria reminded Eileen that God would need to make a way for them. He did, providing an inexpensive way to fix it. At Pirate’s Cove, undeterred, Eileen played in the water near Pastor Jack, watching for the best opportunity to catch him. Since the baptism, her mother noted that Eileen’s outlook has improved and that she’s moving forward.
Eric Baber drove his family of four kids and his wife to the baptism at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills (CCCH), CA, in September 2020. They drove from Englewood, CO, 1000 miles, so that he and three of his children could be baptized by Pastor Jack Hibbs. Eric attended CCCH before the military moved him to Colorado. He and his children pose with Pastor Jack.
Giant Baptism, Intimate Moments
After hearing about the upcoming baptisms during an online CC Chino Hills service, retired U.S. Air Force officer Eric Baber drove his family over 1,000 miles from Englewood, CO, so that he and three of his children could be baptized at Pirate’s Cove. Eric and his wife Heidi grew up and dated in Chino Hills, attending Jack’s church for years before moving to Colorado. Their family trip to California had been planned but almost cancelled because of pandemic closings. “With the baptism, we said, ‘Let’s do it!’ The trip [changed] from going to see Disneyland to focusing on the baptism and just glorifying God,” Eric said.
Their experience was still personal, even though so many were baptized that day. “These giant baptisms can seem like they’re not intimate, but the Lord spoke through Pastor Jack,” Eric emphasized. Jack prayed individually for each of them. “Somehow he ‘knew’ things about my kids [and me] that you could only know by knowing [us] for years.”
A young woman reacts with a big smile after being baptized.
Jack had dedicated 12-year-old J.J. as a baby. Not knowing that he sometimes struggles with following “the world,” Jack prayed over him “that when the world comes knocking, he would not answer that door.” Lorelei, 10 years old, struggles with anxiety, Eric related. “He prayed over her for her strength.” And 8-year-old Travis has physical strength and always has been “tough,” Eric added. “Jack prayed that he’d use that strength for the Lord.”
Pastor Jack’s prayer for Eric was insightful. “He must have picked up on the fact that life has been hard for me,” Eric shared. Eric is a 100% disabled veteran, and in 2019 he suffered a devastating bicycle accident leading to massive facial trauma. Unaware of that, Jack prayed over him, “When life punches you in the face, lean upon the Lord.”
Each pastor or elder took the time to be sure each person understood what they were about to do in being baptized.
“The Best Birthday Party”
Brison Shiel turned 12 years old on the day of the baptism. His mom, Susana, recounted, “He asked to be baptized to show how much he loves Jesus and decided to push his birthday party to the following week. He hugged me that day and said, ‘This is the best birthday party I’ve ever had. Thank you for the beautiful day.’ This is what it’s supposed to be all about when the Holy Spirit comes in.”
Susana, her husband Brian, and Brison drive an hour each way to attend CC Chino Hills, their new church. They had been attending another church, which was shut down for the pandemic. “We’re going to drive to the ends of the earth to worship the Lord. It’s only [an extra two hours] of our day to be with others who are like-minded and worshipping the Lord,” she observed.
How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 84:1-2
A woman leaves the water wearing a big smile after being baptized.
Celebrating Baptism Together
Susana was baptized that day with her friend—new believer Aimeé Donahue. Although baptized 15 years earlier, Aimeé now understands it wasn’t a true conversion to Christ as she fell away from the Lord and steeped herself in New Age practices. She began attending Calvary Chapel Chino Hills a few months ago and has been mentored by loving women, including Susana.
The Sunday after Hope for Today’s Prophecy Conference: The Book of Revelation, held at CC Chino Hills in late August, Aimeé surrendered her life to the Lord. “The conference was the [final] brick that needed to be placed for everything to make sense [to me]. Seeing that the prophecies … were written all those years ago, you can see there are clear correlations, unless there’s a wild coincidence,” she stressed. “If CC Chino Hills hadn’t been holding services, I don’t think all of this would have happened to me. The freedom, values, and example of courage they’re showing us as Christians just can’t be valued enough.”
Susana confirmed the change in her friend. “Aimeé is a single mother with a 4-year-old daughter, trying to make ends meet. She has all the reasons to be upset. She’s more empowered than ever because of what God has done.”
Many family members were emotional after witnessing their loved ones profess their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Two young women happily leave after being baptized by Jack.
Many people had their photos taken by family members to remember the day.
Pastors, elders, and leaders came together at the end of the event to praise the Lord for all he had done throughout the day.
Many best friends and family members opted to be baptized together and celebrated becoming a new person in Christ.
As the event went into midday, more beach goers ventured over to watch what was going on. In the background, teens enjoy dropping off of a rock into the water.
All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.