Marvin Johnson after being baptized last Sunday (Oct. 4). (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

It’s possible to do something a second time and experience it as never before. Marvin Johnson is a witness.

Johnson was baptized in 1970. Last Sunday (Oct. 4.), he did it again, this time at Safe Harbor of Memphis – “A Church of Refuge.”

Pastor Eldridge “Deon” Williams (right) and Chaplin Joe Pipken baptize Safe Harbor of Memphis program participant Floyd Williams. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Pastor Eldridge “Deon” Williams (right) and Chaplin Joe Pipken baptize Safe Harbor of Memphis program participant Floyd Williams. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Gary Fisher was among those baptized Sunday at Safe Harbor of Memphis at 3620 Jackson Ave. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Gary Fisher was among those baptized Sunday at Safe Harbor of Memphis at 3620 Jackson Ave. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Lamar Reynolds Jr. emerges from the baptismal pool. (Photos: Shirley Jackson)

Lamar Reynolds Jr. emerges from the baptismal pool. (Photos: Shirley Jackson)

Marvin Johnson pictured with his mother, Luerunia Johnson, and his daughter, Marquetta Johnson, during the baptismal service at Safe Harbor of Memphis on Oct. 4. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Marvin Johnson pictured with his mother, Luerunia Johnson, and his daughter, Marquetta Johnson, during the baptismal service at Safe Harbor of Memphis on Oct. 4. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

Pastor Eldridge “Deon” Williams and Chaplin Joe Pipken baptized Johnson and three other men – Floyd Williams, Gary Fisher and Lamar Reynolds Jr., all of whom made their way through a program designed to aid those battling alcohol and drug addictions.

“When I was young, I didn’t know the reason for being baptized,” said Johnson. “The reason is to be born again just as Jesus did when he died on the cross. He resurrected and I was resurrected by water, cleansed of all unrighteousness so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in me.”

Johnson is 54 now. The effects of his choices have affected his family and he knows that. He reflects that understanding with this observation:

“With the ups and downs of life experiences and my thirst for knowledge to understand more about Jesus Christ, I can honestly say to my mother, my daughter and the rest of my family that I really feel good about being baptized again with the understanding I have to day.”

Safe Harbor of Memphis is anchored at 3620 Jackson Ave. The mission statement speaks to “reaching men.”

“The goal is to help make sure they (the men) are closer to Christ, gainfully housed and employed,” said Pastor Williams, the director. “We are not looking for temporary fixes. The way to keep what you have is through Christ.”

Williams says all involved in the outreach ministry try to live by Matthew 6:33, citing it this way: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Family, friends and supporters of those baptized were in in attendance for Sunday’s baptisms.

Reflecting on Johnson’s journey, Pastor Williams said, “I’m honored Marvin beat the fork in the road. I’ve been overjoyed having him here and happy to see him leave; yet sad. Jokingly, I told him, I was going to football tackle him at the gate (on the way out).”