After months of Bible studies and anticipation, four South Shields Church young people got baptized on September 10, 2022 at Britain's best beach.
The weather looked bleak in the run-up to the baptism, with a chance of rain and high winds predicted. However, this did not stop Pastor Dan Majaducon from proceeding with the planned North Sea baptism of Arnold Joseph Fortuna and three brothers: Leano Lemuel Samwinga, Luendo Lehae Samwinga, and Levi Liron Samwinga.
The baptism was held at South Shields' Sandhaven Beach, an idyllic paradise that was recently named Britain's very best in The Sunday Times Beach of the Year 2022. One by one, starting with Arnold, the oldest of the four, Pastor Majaducon led each candidate to be baptized in the boisterous sea, after which, he brought them safely back to the shore.
Although each candidate had his own unique story, Arnold's testimony was arguably the most remarkable. After previously attending another denomination, he started searching for the truth. Despite not knowing any Adventists, God led him to the right people as he started accepting biblical truths. Over time, Arnold found and watched Amazing Facts' online Revelation Now series by Pastor Doug Batchelor, which further deepened his faith and understanding of Adventist doctrines such as the state of the dead and the Sabbath.
Finally, on 29 May 2021, Arnold attended an Adventist Church, even though the services were still being held virtually through Zoom as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the South Shields Church, he joined the Young Adult CARE Group, which is not just another small group but a place where he further deepened his faith.
Arnold also learned how to grow in trusting and loving God and reflecting this in genuine relationships with people, especially other seekers of truth. This was an answered prayer for Arnold, who had asked the Lord to lead him to the right people who would help him grow spiritually. Now, he is on a mission to bring many people to a saving knowledge of Christ. He's thankful that his mother has since started regularly attending the South Shields Church, in Tyne and Wear County in North East England.
The three Samwinga brothers got baptized on the same day. Last year, the two older brothers, Leano and Luendo, wanted to get baptized. However, the plans were put on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic at the time. Earlier this year, when the plans were revived, 12-year-old Levi also decided he wanted to be baptized and joined his older brothers in the baptismal classes with Pastor Majaducon.
Earlier in the week, the pastor went through what to expect on the day of the baptism with the candidates. They also provided their favorite Bible texts, which were shared with the congregation before they took their vows.
This baptism will be remembered for a long time, not only because it took place at an idyllic beach but also because it was held two days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and a day before the Great North Run. More importantly, it was a very special moment to witness four young people choose to follow Jesus as their Master and Savior.
Remarkably, the North East England weather did not disrupt the baptismal event; it only started raining again as soon as members got back to the church from the beach. That was such a welcome token of God's favor, power, and grace.