Twenty students from a Seventh-day Adventist academy near Washington D.C. were baptized after a week of prayer unlike any that they had ever experienced.
The baptisms took place at Takoma Academy, a school of about 200 students in Takoma Park, Maryland, at the conclusion of the spring week of prayer led by Willie Ramos, a pastor from Florida known as the “ghetto preacher.”
“The Holy Spirit moved freely as God spoke through speaker Willie Ramos,” academy principal Carla Thrower said.
Ramos, a former gang member who preaches the gospel to teens, made an appeal for baptism halfway through the week of prayer, on a Wednesday. Thirty-two students accepted, walking to the front of the academy chapel. Many students wept as they came forward.
On several occasions, Ramos, thinking that no more students were coming forward, said, “Lets pray.” Every time he said that, more students came to the front.
After that chapel, the whole atmosphere changed in the school, Ramos said.
“Instead of discussions about sports and academics in the halls and classrooms of the school, it seems that everyone was talking about what had happened at chapel,” he said. “This feeling lingered — and grew — through the week.”
The week of prayer culminated Friday morning with a celebration. Out of the 32 students who originally came forward, 14 were baptized during a special program that lasted almost two hours. Academy chaplain Luis Camps and religion teacher Dunbar Henri conducted the baptisms.
Six other academy students were baptized at their local churches so their family and friends could attend.
Another group of three students from John Nevins Andrews Elementary School, also in Takoma Park, Maryland, attended the week of prayer and also decided to be baptized.
During a last call after the baptisms on Friday, another eight students expressed their desire to prepare for a baptism ceremony planned for the end of the school year.
“God has truly blessed us with such a response from our students,” Camps said. “This is what it's all about.”
Interestingly, Camps originally had invited Ramos to lead the spring week of prayer last year.
“But it was impossible at the time,” Camps said. “I see now that God’s timing is always right.”