Tony Dames, a former bodybuilder living in St Peters, Missouri, is in his mid-30s. Though retired from active competition, Tony is still very particular about what he eats and continues to work out on a regular basis. But as much as Tony is concerned about his physical health, he also pays attention to his spiritual health.
One day in the fall of 2011, he received a flyer in the mail advertising a prophecy seminar to be held at the Mid Rivers Seventh-day Adventist church, located on the west side of St Louis. Tony attended almost every night of the series. At the time, he was attending a large non-denominational church in the St Louis area. But as he studied the Bible at the prophecy seminar, questions began to rise in his mind.
One of his biggest questions concerned the seventh day Sabbath. If the Bible teaches the importance of the Sabbath and if God gave it as a special gift for mankind, why do so many people ignore it?
When the seminar was over, Tony continued to study the Bible and began asking the pastor of his church questions. But he wasn’t satisfied with the traditional answers anymore.
Tony started attending the Mid Rivers Adventist Church every Sabbath and continued coming for two full years. Then one Sabbath morning, Pastor Vic Van Shiak made a call to join God’s remnant movement, and Tony responded and went forward. A few days later, not knowing that Tony had answered an altar call, I called him on the phone and asked him if he’d like me to baptize him the next time I spoke at Mid Rivers. His first question was, “Did you talk to Pastor Vic?” I respond, “No. Why?” He then shared with me the events of the previous Sabbath. Tony was convinced this was God’s leading in his life—two pastors inviting him to be baptized in one week!
So on Sabbath, February 1, 2014, Tony was baptized at the lay-led Mid Rivers Adventist Church. His family and friends filled up two entire rows of pews as they celebrated Tony’s special moment.
David Klinedinst is an evangelist in the St. Louis metro.