October 10, 2019

Disabling Disease Not a Hindrance for Baptism

Becoming ill with a rare spinal-cord disease was not going to stop John from getting baptized. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, his father and another church friend carried him into the sea for the special ceremony on Monday, September 2, 2019. Adding to the joy of the service, his father joined him in being baptized at the same time, along with another friend.

What helped these three individuals make a choice for Jesus? They are all members of a Bible study fellowship that has been meeting for more than a year at the Seventh-day Adventist Church community center in Katerini, in northern Greece.

Considered what might today be called postmodern people, the three men were attracted to study in a group that is free from the formalism that is often found in an organized church structure. While meeting in this way, they found that they were motivated by love for the Lord and a growing closeness with other members of the fellowship.

John’s father and a friend from church help carry him after his baptism in the Aegean Sea. Members said they were delighted to have witnessed the ceremony. [Photo: Trans-European Division News]

“Every Sabbath afternoon they engage in Bible study, discuss, raise questions, and seek answers while on a common journey of spiritual growth and maturity,” local church leaders shared. “It was something that led three of the group to make a choice for God.”

Meeting on Katerini beach, and joined by friends — including a filmmaker from a Greek Christian TV channel, Bible Media TV — they officially and publicly gave their hearts to Christ.

Church leaders shared that the Bible study fellowship is just one part of the services offered by church members in Katerini. At the other end of the spectrum, Messy Church — an initiative primarily intended for children — is very popular with parents and children across the community, while members are also connected with community projects and the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the country.

The baptismal celebration was a joyful moment for all present, leaders said.

“All members rejoiced with the newly baptized, praying for them on their continued spiritual journey, for healing for brother John, and for continued opportunity to share God’s Good News in this beautiful coastal town,” they said.

The small local Seventh-day Adventist church in Katerini serves a community of around 86,000 people, an hour’s drive south of Thessaloniki.

The original version of this story was posted on the Trans-European Division news site.