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Churches Celebrate Spring Baptisms

Churches Celebrate Spring Baptisms

During the second weekend in March, baptisms were celebrated in several churches across the Oregon Conference. In Scio, Oregon, members and friends of the Vivid Adventist Church stepped into chilly river water as they readied themselves to baptize four young adults who had long been preparing for their special day. Pastor Pochy Montes shared the story: “Sabbath, March 9th, was a high Sabbath full of joy and blessings. We had four young adults ready for baptism that afternoon, but then two more jumped into the water! These decisions were largely the fruit of organic friendship and consistent study of the Word. For four of them, this had been a journey of a year. But at the end of the Sabbath service that day, we called for a prayer of dedication and one more young man, Gavin, decided to be baptized. He expressed the emotions and conviction that led him to this decision – how after three years of wrestling, he knew it was time to say yes to Jesus completely. When we gathered at River Park that afternoon, I was surprised to see a crowd of over 60 people there for the occasion despite the wind and cold water! I asked two of my leaders to join me in the water because the current was strong, and the crowd sang Amazing Grace as began. I made another call for anyone who wanted to take a step of faith and Jasmine, the big sister of two of the young men being baptized that day, came running down to the water in her church clothes!” With laughter, joy, and tears, the people came together to support and celebrate the six young adults – Renato, Epe, Ethan, Gavin, and Jasmine – on the next step in their journey of faith.

Meanwhile, up at Meadow Glade Adventist Church, Pastor Rosemary Andrykanus waded into the baptismal tank alongside 13-year-old Arrianna Rapisarda. “Arrianna is one of the friendliest young women you’ll ever meet,” shared Pastor Rose as they stood together. “As I’ve studied with her, Arrianna’s eagerness to learn, the depth of her understanding of God’s Word, her love for Jesus, her love for her family and the deep care she has for her friends became evident as we studied week after week. It’s been a joy getting to know her as a person and I’m just really excited for the plans I know God has for her.”

For Pastor Rose, studying for baptism is far more than memorizing doctrines and reciting Bible verses – it’s about relationships. “It’s about being genuinely interested in someone as a person,” she shared a few days after Arrianna’s baptism. “We didn’t just meet to do a Bible study. I looked forward to connecting with Arrianna because I’d get to hear updates about her life – her volleyball games and stories about her friends and family vacations. We would meet after school, and I would always have snacks and sometimes even a hot chocolate. We would talk about school, and she would open her bag and share the things she was working on. I think it’s important to connect people into community, not just beliefs, and that helping them find community at church is just as important as leading them through their Bible studies.”

Down in Vancouver, the church family at Oasis Christian Center prepared to celebrate the decisions of six people to give their lives to Jesus. Pastors Jose St. Phard and Rachel Swanston stood alongside Bernie, Gloria, Michael, Jerry, Austin, and Kathy as they prayed over their decisions and the life ahead of each of them. Before each was baptized, a short video of their story played – tracing their life experiences and the vital moments that led them to that place before they stepped into the baptismal with Pastor Jose. When each had gone under the water and headed back to their church family, Pastor Jose closed with prayer, “The best decision I ever made at the age of 17 was to say yes to you. You’ve completely changed and shifted my life. My prayer now is that you would speak to the heart of the person you are calling into your eternal family. Show up for them now. Help them say yes and bless their journey. Let the six people that gave their lives to Jesus today show up in this community and transform this world and bless our church.”

No matter our location or our circumstances, God continues a powerful work in every life. Let’s join our church families in celebrating the many decisions still being made for Jesus!

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