Baptisms, music and heartwarming reunions made up the Sabbath service on Feb. 25 at the Boulder Adventist Church. Two young people, Aisha Lopez-Portillo and Emmanuel Bakom, were baptized after completing baptismal studies with former associate pastor J. Murdock.
There were happy tears in the sanctuary as those in the congregation witnessed both individuals publicly accept Christ as their personal Savior. “Well, I’m just crying a little bit,” shared Jackie Hayes, elder at Boulder Church, who read a Scripture verse preceding both baptisms.
Pastor Murdock, now a residential chaplain at Adventist Health, flew in from California to baptize Aisha. “It’s good to be back here and to have the best seat in the house for this morning,” remarked J. from the baptismal tank. Emmanuel was baptized by his father (also an elder) Thomas Kooh. He continued, “This has been Emmanuel’s church community ever since he was a little boy. Most of you have been participating in his growth by teaching and mentoring him now.”
Musical guests during the service were the Ambassadors for Christ, most commonly known in Spanish as the Embajadores de Cristo. Well-known to the Hispanic constituency across the Rocky Mountain Conference, the musical group plays Rondalla-style Christian hymns. Most of the members of the musical group are from the Aurora Hispanic Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The group chose this special occasion to perform in English for the first time, 17 years after its genesis. “Sorry in advance if we mess up the pronunciation,” the lead singer stated with a chuckle. “We don’t speak English.” The guitars strummed the familiar notes of the beloved hymn “Because He Lives” while the vocalists beautifully sang the inspirational lyrics.
Juanis Portillo, Aisha’s mother, dreamed of having the group play for her daughter’s special service. “I want to thank everyone for making this a possibility,” remarked Juanis Portillo during the service. She publicly thanked the pastors, audio team, friends, family and the Ambassadors for Christ for collaborating during the service.
The service ended with a prayer of dedication by Pastor Geoff, senior pastor of the Boulder Adventist Church, and a membership vote led by Dr. Mark Johnson, chair of the church Vision Board. “I thought it was a really great [service],” remarked Brigitta Beam, a member of the Boulder Church. “I always love baptismal Sabbaths and I love the diversity that was presented today. It was one of my favorite Sabbaths this year.”
A potluck was hosted to celebrate the two baptisms and to celebrate Aisha’s 10th birthday. The meal concluded with the chance for children to swing at two piñatas.
Pastor J. Murdock plans to return to the Boulder Church in May to baptize three more youth.