Catalina Perez, 17, began her new life with Jesus at Washington Adventist Camp Meeting on June 20, 2009, where she testified through baptism she was ready to meet Jesus. Catalina is now waiting the resurrection morning when she will awake to eternal vigor and health as cancer claimed her life on Friday afternoon, July 17, 2009.
At age 11, Catalina and her family started Bible studies with colporteur, Gerald N. Retzer. About this same time, Catalina was diagnosed with cancer. Her family continued Bible studies off and on due to Catalina’s illness and frequent hospitalization. Of the entire Perez family, Catalina was the one who showed the most interest in Bible studies. One day she told Retzer, “The more we study the Bible, the more interesting heaven becomes.”
Catalina and her family began attending White Center Spanish Church in Seattle, Washington, in December 2007. She started Bible studies with Pastor Benjamin and Marcela Figueroa who talked with Catalina about giving her life to Jesus. “I would love to,” Catalina said.
Two more years went by and Catalina’s desire to get baptized grew stronger. Every time she was scheduled for baptism, Catalina ended up in the hospital the day before her baptismal appointment.
In June, Catalina told Pastor Figueroa, “It is now the time to give my life to Jesus.” Catalina had recently had a chest surgery and had been running high fevers but she called Retzer and Figueroa early that week and had told them it was time to get baptized.
Because of her recent chest surgery, there was some concern about Catalina being submerged under water for baptism. The pastor offered the option of joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church by Profession of Faith. “No, I want to give my life to Jesus,” Catalina said with determination, “I want to be baptized.”
At Washington Adventist Camp Meeting, White Center members surrounded Catalina and lifted her, wheelchair and all, into the baptismal tank. In the audience, the entire camp meeting Earliteen department, for ages 13-15, filled the front of the auditorium to show their support for Catalina. Throughout the week, these teenagers had prayed for Catalina’s health to allow her to be baptized during camp meeting.
After Catalina’s baptism, the audience in Rainier Auditorium gave this young woman a standing ovation welcoming her into the family of God.
Later, as Catalina prepared to go home, Pastor Figueroa asked her “How do you feel?” With confidence, Catalina replied, “I feel with God!”
Catalina is now at rest and waiting the resurrection morning when she will awake to eternal vigor and health. Catalina’s story is a witness and example to her peers and other people whose life she impacted.