by Benjamin Orian, Pastor of the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship Church
I’m always concerned about opening night. Will anyone show? Is anyone coming? But we’ve prayed about it, we’ve prepared, we’ve advertised, we’ve reached out to our active interest list—which at present is about 600 individuals. What will we see?
We mailed 20,000 brochures, as well as our interest list. I was hoping for 40-50 visitors on opening night. We got 23.
Norma came and told me she has been receiving our mailers now twice a year for the past four years. Every time she received one, she thought, “I should go,” but never did—until this time. She was quite spiritually hungry as she came each evening, commenting how much she appreciated that we preached the Bible and the Bible only. “Other churches,” she told us, “claim to do this, but we truly did.”
On the evening I was preaching on the state of the dead, I couldn’t read her. She looked as though she was struggling. My Bible worker, who was sitting with her that evening, later told me that while I was preaching, she became angry and wanted to leave. It was too different from anything she had ever heard before. But, then, she said she prayed and asked God to lead her. She said everything she had heard prior—including the Sabbath—was Biblical, this must be too. So she asked God to give her discernment and to take away her anger. He did. And she said afterward how relieved she was that she had stayed—it made sense. While Norma has not confirmed a date for her baptism or profession of faith, she has stated to us and to her children (whom she is encouraging to come to church and check us out) that she considers us her church now.
At our meetings last fall, with Pastor Tyler Long, one of our attendees, Rose, was baptized on the final Sabbath of the meetings. She brought with her, her Catholic friend Verna to witness her public baptism. Verna has been attending ever since, but because of her elderly husband’s poor health, cannot come out at night. So Verna got a copy of my DVDs from previous meetings and has been going through them by herself and with Rose. She comes to church and we discuss what she’s learned. This past Sabbath as I was wrapping up the series—preaching on heaven during the 11 o’clock hour, I made an appeal. Verna will be baptized!