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Adventist Mission


Balking at Baptism

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, May 4.

By Andrew McChesney


ioleta didn’t feel like she was ready for baptism when the Seventh-day Adventist preacher made an appeal during an evangelistic meeting in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

Her knowledge of the Bible seemed too small. The preacher’s call for people to give their whole lives to God seemed too big.

“I can’t do that!” she thought. “I won’t do that!”

Violeta had been worshipping with her mother at an Adventist church for some time. The two had completed Bible studies together with a small group.

Then the president of Zaoksky Adventist University, the church’s seminary in Russia, came to Tashkent to lead evangelistic meetings. When he appealed for people to give their hearts to God in baptism, Violeta’s mother was the first to go to the front. Then Violeta saw the 14-year-old son of their church pastor go up. After that, a third person went forward. But Violeta didn’t budge. “No,” she thought. “I’m not going to get baptized at this time.”

The next night, the preacher made the call again. Violeta remembered that a church friend had been encouraging her to get baptized, saying, “If you have finished the Bible studies, you can get baptized.” But she didn’t feel ready. She didn’t think that she knew the Bible well enough.

As the preacher made his appeal, he seemed to be looking directly at her. She firmly shook her head no.

On the last night of the meetings, the preacher made a final appeal.

“Who would like to give their hearts to Jesus in baptism?” he asked.

Violeta wondered what to do. She was convinced that the Adventist Church taught only truth from the Bible. But she still didn’t feel ready.

The preacher invited people who had responded to his appeals on previous nights to come forward again. Violeta’s mother and about a dozen other people went to the front. The preacher welcomed them, but he didn’t give up. He made another appeal.

“There must be someone out there,” he said. “Does anyone else want to come forward?”

He called and called. Each time he spoke, Violeta felt like he was appealing directly to her.

“Should I go up?” she thought.

Before she knew it, she found herself getting up and going to the front.

“That’s it,” the preacher said. “That’s the person whom we have been waiting for.”

But Violeta wasn’t the last person to go forward. When she reached the front, a 60-year-old man came up and stood beside her. They had attended Bible studies together. “I was scared,” he said. “But when I saw you go up, I found the courage to come up, too.”

Violeta was astonished. She had never thought that her inner struggle and ultimate decision might affect someone else. Joy filled her heart.

Today, Violeta is happy that she got baptized. She said that she realizes there was no reason to wait. She didn’t need to know the whole Bible to get baptized. All she needed to do was give Jesus her whole life and to believe in Him with her whole heart. After all, when the jailer asked Paul and Silas what he needed to do to be saved, they replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31, NKJV).

Violeta also is thrilled that God was able to use her decision to encourage the 60-year-old man to get baptized.

The impact of her decision continues to grow. Now her 9-year-old son also wants to be baptized. “I want him to grow up on the right path,” she said.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help open the first Seventh-day Adventist elementary school in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where Violeta’s son and other children can learn about God. Thank you for planning a generous offering on June 29.