[Photo Courtesy of the Euro-Asia Division]
Rostov, Russia | Information Department of the Caucasian Union Mission

Saturday, September 5, became a happy day both for those who were baptized and for many witnesses of the holiday on earth and in heaven. On this day, nine different people, from Rostov, Russia, with different stories, life experiences and histories of conversion became part of God's big family, making a covenant with the Lord and receiving baptism by immersion. This bright and joyful event was preceded by a thorough preparation and study of the Bible through lessons and spiritual conversations with the pastor. 

For one of the married couples, it took a long time to come to the decision - almost 9 years - during which they constantly questioned the correctness of their chosen path. For another family - a couple and their eldest daughter - the conversion was swift. In just six months, their lifestyle has completely changed. For some, the time of restrictive measures in connection with the coronavirus pandemic had become an additional waiting time for baptism or a test of faith, while for others it is just an opportunity to learn more about God and his plan of salvation. Among those baptized were individuals of all ages.

Many knew that baptism was planned in the First Rostov community on the first Saturday of September, so there were many guests in the hall. But when the pastor and head of the Rostov-Kalmyk association, Mikhail Oliynik, began inviting candidates for baptism, nine people came forward, and for many this was a big surprise.

The second surprise was offered by God in the weather. The baptismal ceremony was scheduled to be held in the suburb of Rostov-on-Don so that more people could attend, but the winds that raged in the region in the first days blew out water in the coastal zone and it was almost impossible to perform baptisms. The event had to be urgently moved to the territory of the Christian recreation center, where the baptism of another community had already taken place on the same day. Despite the fact that they had to go further and longer, everyone who wished to attend the celebration was able to get there. Later, everyone realized that they were able to spend time resting in nature after the event, which they couldn’t have done in the strong wind at the original location. For this reason, they were grateful for the change. 

The third surprise awaited those already baptized, during the reading of the biblical text: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy people, people taken as an inheritance in order to proclaim the perfections of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light; once not a people, but now the people of God, once not forgiven, but now have mercy”(1-Pet. 2: 4-10). At that moment, “angels” in white robes appeared on the path and put “golden” crowns on the heads of those who chose the path of God.

Of course, many were impressed by the pleasant moment when the pastor and minister of the Caucasian Union Mission Fyodor Koltuk baptized his third daughter, Elizabeth, who was the first to enter the water that day.

The inspirational celebration of the birth of a new spiritual life impressed all participants and guests. It ended with words of congratulations to the newly baptized and a large fellowship dinner in the stunning beauty of Rostov-on-Don’s great outdoors.

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