As he came out of the water, 103-year-old Carlos Ortiz García raised his hands in victory, rejoicing at having accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. Church members at the Youth Center of the East Puerto Rico Adventist Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, celebrated with him as they witnessed the baptismal ceremony on August 11, 2018.
“Jesus is my life, and it is He that strengthens me,” Ortiz said, speaking about his decision. Born in 1914, he was just 24 days shy of his 104th birthday on the day of his baptism. His decision came after he attended an evangelistic series in his wife’s church, San Jose Adventist Church, in the capital city of San Juan.
It took years before Ortiz decided to join the church. His wife, Victoria Clemente, had been a member of the church before she passed away in 2004.
Ortiz, who is in good health and walks around with a cane, said that for several years he accompanied his wife to church every Sabbath to please her. After her death, visits to church stopped.
But everything changed when Dulce Martínez and Victor Arriaga, two members of the San Jose church, began visiting Ortiz and talking to him about the hope in Jesus and His infinite love. Both Martínez and Arriaga eventually brought church pastor Gibbs Pierre to visit and talk to Ortiz.
“I was surprised that Carlos knew the church for so long through his wife and had not been baptized,” said Pierre. “I finally told him: ‘Carlos, God has extended your life so that you can give your heart to Jesus through baptism.’”
Ortiz answered, “This is what I have been waiting for.”
Pierre invited Ortiz to the upcoming evangelistic meetings that would take place in July and told him that his baptism could take place on August 11. “He memorized that date, because every time he saw me he would say, ‘The 11th is my baptism, pastor.’”
Ortiz rejoices at his decision and attends church every Sabbath.
Carlos Ortiz García has one son, two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several great-great-grandchildren.