Meet The Baratta Family
August 4, 2007
The latest edition of From The Pastor's Desk:
Growing up, I always knew there was a God and that the Bible was His book, but nothing more than that. I always thought that doing good things was how I was going to get to heaven and that is what I wanted to do.
My parents and I moved several times while I was growing up. I was born and raised in New York. When I was 7 years old, we moved from New York to Florida and were there for about 5 years before moving back to New York.
After we moved from Florida to New York in 1999, we had to live with my mom’s parents for a little bit until we could get a place of our own. Since my grandparents attended church service on a regular basis, I decided I would go with them.
There was one service, about a month into my church going experience, where the pastor preached from Isaiah 53 and explained how that prophecy related to Jesus. He gave an invitation to trust in Jesus Christ that very day and I did just that. At that point, I believed Jesus took the punishment for my sins and that He is my Savior.
After being saved, I would make it a point to attend church with my grandparents until we moved out of their house. In fact, they even bought me my first Bible! After we moved, it didn’t occur to me to find a local church where we lived, so I would attend church a couple times a month with my grandparents. One day at school. I was invited by a friend to attend a youth group event: capture the flag. After that day, I started attending the church where I would begin to grow spiritually and be discipled by a great youth leader and friend, Dan Gill. The church was West Endicott Baptist Church. While I was saved throughout my time in high school, I was still very impacted by unsaved friends and the things of this world. However, the time that Mr. Gill spent with me, prayed with me, and asked me about my life and struggles was enough to keep the Lord as my focus during the tough times. Due to his influence, I was baptized in August 2002.
Not long after that in 2003, I dedicated my life to serving the Lord while being challenged at a youth conference that our group attended. The days following that major decision were not easy. For a majority of my junior year I had wrestled with what I wanted to do with my future. My options that I considered included a career in the medical field, firefighting, and joining the Army. Now, I had this burden to serve the Lord with my life and needed to try and figure out in what capacity. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I decided that I would spend one year of my life studying the Word of God and contemplating my future. That year would be spent at Word of Life Bible Institute in Pottersville, NY.
Well, one year turned into two and my future ambitions wavered from wanting to be a youth pastor to being a missionary in France to being a pastor of a church to teaching and all over again. Needless to say, the Lord was obviously leading me into ministry but to what specifically, I was not sure. During that two year time period, I met the woman who would become my beloved bride and wonderful mother to our five beautiful children.
After my two years at WOLBI and our wedding in August 2007, God led us to Beckley, WV and Appalachian Bible College. It was there that I completed my Bachelors in Bible and Theology, majoring in pastoral studies with a minor in Greek. It was clear that God was starting to reveal His will to us.
After graduating in May 2010, He was leading us to move to Maine. Since arriving here, we have been part of numerous ministry endeavors. From a pastoral internship to AWANA to youth group to teaching Sunday school to a variety of leadership positions, God has used many avenues to shape our family to serve Him.
Beginning in April 2014, I served in the pastorate of Hilltop Baptist Church in Cornish, ME until September 2017. God used that experience to teach me a lot about pastoral ministry and how to serve people well. From September 2018 to June 2021, I was a full-time history/science/Bible teacher at Ossipee Valley Christian School. In February 2021, while still serving with OVCS, I was called to be the pastor at First Baptist Shapleigh and commenced my full-time position after the school year concluded.
It has been over 15 years since I committed my life to serve the Lord and it has taken many forms. I have learned that ultimately, as my wife likes to say, “Wherever you are, be all there.” While I would have liked to know God’s will for my life right out of the gate, I am thankful for the years He has allowed me to grow, both, in my relationship with Him and my relationship with others.
The Bible has taught me a lot of truth and wisdom. But there is none more important and convicting to me than Romans 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.