Why not try this? …Ask an interest “Is there anything that would make it difficult for you to be baptized & join the Seventh-day Adventist Church?”

“Hello, Mr. Serns!”

I turned to see the smiling face of Diana Aparicio, one of the young people who had graduated from our academy in Wenatchee, Washington when I pastored there.

“Well, hi, Diana. I haven’t seen you in a long time. How are you doing?” I asked as I held my tray in the Walla Walla College cafeteria.

“I’ll graduate from here in March with a degree in International Business.”

“Wow! I sure am proud of you. What do you plan to do after you finish here?”

“I’d like to work for the church, maybe for ADRA.”

“Your international business degree and the fact that you’re bi-lingual could really help you with something like that.”

I remembered how Diana had been a leader at the academy and participated in mission trips. But through the years, each time she was asked if she was ready to be baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist church her response was always the same- she smiled and said “No thanks, I’m Catholic.”

Now, as I stood with my food tray in the cafeteria, she was telling me she wanted to work for the Seventh-day Adventist church. “By the way Diana, have you ever been baptized and joined the Seventh-day Adventist church?”

“No.”

“Is there anything that would make it difficult for you to be baptized and join the Seventh-day Adventist church?”

“No.”

“Great. Then let’s plan on it soon.”

“Okay.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.”

“Then let’s go for it! I could baptize you or I could arrange for someone else to.”

“I’d like you to.”

“Would October 29th work? That’s three and a half weeks away.”

“Sure.”

“Awesome! I finish meetings here today at 5:30 pm. I’d like to visit with you for about an hour this evening to be sure we’re all ready for this. Can my friend Tom and I meet you in the lobby of your dorm from 5:30-6:30pm?”

“Sure.”

I could hear Diana’s enthusiasm building in her voice as she realized it was time to make one of the most important decisions of her life.

That evening we had a wonderful Bible study, reviewing the major Bible truths and filling in places where she had questions. We talked about what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist living in the last days of earth’s history and what we hoped for her first six months as a new member of a rapidly growing worldwide family. At the end of the hour she was clear on what she was committing to and I was clear that she understood the privileges and responsibilities of joining the Advent movement.

“Now let’s each pray before Tom and I head back to Portland. Diana, why don’t you pray first, then I’ll pray and Tom would you close?”

Diana began, “Lord, you know how I promised not to miss any more chapels…” I tried not to start laughing, remembering some of my own struggles in college many years ago. She continued, “But You know how I was impressed to go to the cafeteria today so I could run into Pastor Dan and get ready for baptism…” It was a simple, beautiful prayer from the heart of a young lady who was determined to do what she believed Jesus wanted her to do.

Diana decided she would like to be baptized at the Walla Walla College church where she had many positive influences over the last few years. She also requested that her church membership be in the Wenatchee Seventh-day Adventist Church, where her family lives.

On Sabbath, October 29, 2005 Diana shared her testimony from the baptistery of the college church, while the Wenatchee congregation was watching back home via an internet audio/video connection. As soon as she was baptized the voice of Pastor Mike Aufderhar of the Wenatchee church came over the college church sound system congratulating her. Then he and the Wenatchee congregation voted her into church membership. Terry Mace, Wenatchee’s first elder, had come to Walla Walla and presented Diana with a gift basket from her home church earlier that morning.

Following her baptism many of her friends and new brothers and sisters wished her the best in her new walk with Jesus, including several families from Wenatchee who were in Walla Walla for Parents Weekend. Also present was her former principal, Doug Brown, who had come all the way from Lodi, California to witness the answer to many years of prayer.

“…There are many who are reading the Scriptures who cannot understand their true import. All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” {Acts of the Apostles p. 109.1}

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

Acts 10:2 He was a devout man who feared the God of Israel, as did his entire household. He gave generously to charity and was a man who regularly prayed to God.

Related Story–

Gleaner January 2006, page 16

 

  

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Filed under Pastoring, Soul Winning, Why Not Try This?, Youth Ministry