baptism sda

For 10 new Navajo believers and the La Vida Mission Seventh-day Adventist Church congregation, Sabbath April 29 was a truly unforgettable day. 

Among those who stepped into the baptismal pool were five students from La Vida Mission, three temporary staff hired for emergency needs at the mission this year, and tw

o Navajo community members. Six of them attended our Native Impact Bible Prophecy Revival in Crownpoint, New Mexico, during September 2022. Following the meetings, they expressed a desire to prepare for baptism and continued the Bible study series given by the Mission Outreach team and La Vida staff. 

However, unexpected things happened to test our faith and our hold on God. On that Sabbath morning one of the candidates traveling with his family had three flat tires, a mother of one of the students nearly ran out of gas, and our district pastor conducting the baptism sent us a message an hour before Sabbath service saying he woke up with a high fever and a sore throat. He suggested postponing it until a later time, but the candidates for baptism and their families were coming from different places in the community and were already on their way. 

Postponing did not seem to be a good option. We had to try finding a pastor to baptize the candidates. The next chapter of this story unfolded with calling three other area pastors. But, with little time and short notice, none could be available. We prayed. I believe the Lord impressed VJ, the church outreach director, that his father, Pastor Polly Panganiban, could do the baptisms since he is an ordained pastor. But there was an issue to tackle. 

Pastor Panganiban had not baptized since 2017 due to his physical disability. Seeing the great need, however, he was compelled and consented to do it. But he knew that he wouldn’t be able to lift the people back up from the water with his condition. A plan came together were VJ, his son, would join his father i

n the pool and assist him in lifting the candidates. This plan was presented to our district pastor, and he was agreeable.

Pastor Polly said he was praying the whole time for God to give him strength during the baptisms, and the Lord worked everything out. It was very quiet, very

 solemn, in the sanctuary during the baptism ceremony. The congregation prayed for both the candidates and Pastor Panganiban and were in tears seeing him do this with his son. 

A La Vida staff member, who started attending our church 10 years ago and was baptized, said, “I was praying for Pastor Polly and also saying in my heart, dip me again in the water.” A Navajo woman who was also baptized said, “I had really wanted Pastor Polly to baptize me, and God granted my wish.”  

Dorie Panganiban is the La Vida Mission office manager.