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Taming Wild Waves

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, July 15.

By Andrew McChesney


piro watched the huge waves crashing onto the beach in the early morning light. The boy looked over at the eight people waiting to get baptized by a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Adriatic Sea. They couldn’t enter the water because the waves were too big. The waves would wash them away.

Spiro wondered if the Seventh-day Adventist Church was God’s church.

“If this is God’s church, He wouldn’t allow such big waves at the baptism ceremony,” he thought.

The year was 1941. The eight people on the beach were about to become the first Seventh-day Adventists baptized in what is today known as Montenegro.

Before this early morning gathering, young Spiro had joined the eight people in studying the Bible. The eight people included his mother and sister.

In studying the Bible, Spiro believed that God’s Sabbath is the seventh day of the week, not Sunday as many other people believed. He believed that God asks people to return a tithe of 10 percent of their income. But he wasn’t sure that he wanted to become an Adventist.

Nevertheless, Spiro went to the beach with the others to watch the baptism. The ceremony was planned for 5 a.m. because it was a weekday and some of the people getting baptized needed to go to work soon.

Now, as Spiro stood on the darkened beach, he saw that nobody could get baptized because of the enormous waves.

As the small group stood helplessly on the beach, the Adventist pastor raised his hands toward the sky.

“Lord,” he said, “please quiet down the sea just for a moment so these people can be baptized.”

At that moment, the crashing waves ceased. While big waves continued to roll 40 to 50 yards (meters) away from the shore, the water near the beach became a great calm.

Spiro could scarcely believe his eyes as the pastor entered the still water. All eight people were baptized.

Then Spiro spoke up.

“Can I get baptized as well?” he said.

The pastor looked at the boy kindly.

“If you believe, come,” he said.

Spiro believed. He had faith in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was baptized right then and there.

Rather than eight people as planned, a total of nine people gave their hearts to Jesus in the Adriatic Sea.

A real miracle took place that morning. God calmed the sea and won the hearts of eight adults and a boy. It was a miracle that opened the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Montenegro.

Spiro was 16 when he was baptized. He lived a long and happy life with God and died at the age of 86.

Although he died more than 10 years ago, he is still known as a hero of faith in Montenegro today.

“Spiro was a man of great experiences with God,” says his 76-year-old son-in-law, Ilija. “He was a highly appreciated man. Even today, when I met someone on the street and say I am the son-in-law of Spiro, people stand up in respect.”

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help build a new Pathfinder camp at the site of the Seventh-day Adventist church where Spiro and other Adventists once worshiped. The site is near to the beach where Spiro and the eight others were baptized. Thank you for planning a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering.

By Andrew McChesney