One of the things that I love about being part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that I can find believers around the world that share my thoughts and beliefs, and sometimes even challenge me and help me grow. I have been so blessed to be given the opportunity to stay with an family here in Berlin that I can go to church with and enjoy in a different and unique way, the fellowship that comes from worshiping together.
Today was particularly special because two individuals, a couple, had decided to give their lives to Christ and publicly announce their decision through baptism. Church members piled into cars and we drove from Berlin to Reichsburg, near where the couple lives, to have a Sabbath celebration of their decision.
Despite the cold and rain that we sat through during song service and the sermon, the joy in our hearts eventually was manifested in the sun shining brightly as we walked towards the lake, singing all the way. Three guitarists and an accordion player accompanied us, adding to the festive sounds of celebration and excitement for the new chapter these candidates would be starting in their lives. It seemed like the singing would never end and in all honesty, I don’t think any of us wanted it to. It was such a glorious event to be a part of.
The potluck that took place after also deepened our ties with one another, and allowed me the chance to interact for the first time with several members of the church that has become my family away from home. It is an international group – Kenyans, Koreans, Americans, Germans, English, and others. All I could think was how this must be a small portion of what heaven must look like. Everyone, of every race, creed, and tongue joining together singing the praises of God and fellowshipping with Christ and one another for eternity.
For those who are not aware, Seventh-day Adventist believe in baptism by immersion. This takes place once an individual is old enough and cognizant enough to be able to make a personal decision of having Christ as their Lord and Savior. The full immersion of the baptism signifies entering into the death that Christ died for us and consequently entering into a new life, as Christ did when He was resurrected and pardoned us from our sins.
Before the baptismal ceremony, candidates must go through Bible studies with a pastor to ensure that they understand what they are getting themselves into – because being a true Christian means you pay the highest cost: a life of living for Jesus and spreading His gospel. It may be a high cost, but it is also the best thing you could ever pay.
After completing the bible studies, candidates must also proclaim the baptismal vows on the day of their baptism. Some churches do this in private, between the pastor and the candidates alone, but I prefer it when it is done as it was today – publicly, in front of the church body. This is when the true presentation of faith takes place – verbalization of a belief can change one’s whole perspective and sometimes even that of someone else. It is a moment to be a witness in a way we seldom get the chance otherwise.
I am so glad to have been able to participate in today’s events; I was blessed and reminded of my own baptism in a river in the jungle of Belize and what that meant for me and my life. My prayers are with the candidates as they now start anew with new birthdays and fresh beginnings.
Please click here to enjoy our singing as we walked the candidates to the water.
If you are interested in learning more about what Seventh-day Adventists believe in baptism, please click here.
God bless, and until next time – safe travels.