PROFILE

Pastor Baptizes Man Who Had Led Him to Christ

Baptismal ceremony highlights importance of never giving up on another person.

One of the most wonderful moments in the life of a local Seventh-day Adventist church is when a person accepts Jesus as their personal Savior and asks to be baptized. While every single decision for Christ is important, in the last few months, Adventist Review has reported about baptisms surrounded by extraordinary circumstances, such as the church elder who baptized his mother after a 30-year wait, or the church elder who serves as a police officer and was blessed to baptize a colleague. Below is another powerful baptismal ceremony story, in this case, of a pastor who baptized the same person who years before had led him to Christ.—Adventist Review

When John Chaparro was baptizing Samuel Soto at Poinciana Spanish Church in Poinciana, Florida, United States, on March 25, I was holding the microphone. I even offered half of the prayer, but I thought it was best for Sammy to be baptized by the pastor he had led to Christ.

How did it happen?

“I clearly remember it was a Friday afternoon,” Soto told me. “When I approached John to invite him one more time to attend the Adventist Youth meeting that night at our church in Añasco, Puerto Rico, I really didn’t have my hopes too high.

“John didn’t even believe in God,” Soto explained, “so, I didn’t expect much. Even when he said he would go, I was surprised when he actually showed up!”

Chaparro not only attended church that night, but he kept attending and was eventually baptized. Later, he decided to accept God’s call to be a pastor, and many souls have come to Christ thanks to his ministry.

Twelve new Poinciana Spanish Church members, pictured with their pastor and church elders, hold certificates after their baptism on March 25. Third from left is Sammy Soto, who was baptized by the same man he had led to Christ years before. [Photo: Wendy Reynoso, Southern Tidings]

One day, as Chaparro was preaching, he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to tell his church members how Soto had led him to Christ, and, later that day, he sent Soto a thank-you text. In the meantime, Soto had left his faith and stopped attending church.

Perhaps Chaparro didn’t imagine how deeply God would use his text message to touch his friend’s heart.

Ultimately, Chaparro had the opportunity to baptize the man who led him to Christ several years before. I interviewed them both at church, and everyone was excited and praising God for His wonderful work.

Soto and his wife, Stephanie, were the last ones to enter our local church’s baptismal pool on March 25. A total of 12 people gave their hearts to Jesus and were baptized that Sabbath at Poinciana Spanish Church. Each one of them represents the story of a miracle:

Excited, María stepped into the water along with her husband, Luis.

The Pathfinders marched along the main aisle when Felix was baptized.

Johanna, who had prayed for years that her husband, Uber, would give his heart to the Lord, saw her dream come true that day.

Hector and Wanda were baptized along with their teenage children, Michael, Bryan, and Mimi.

The baptismal ceremony was unforgettable. To God be the glory!


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