The Internet, so often used by Satan to destroy families, was used to unite two church families Sabbath, Oct. 29, 2005.
When Diana Aparico, a senior at Walla Walla College, made her decision to be baptized and unite with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, there were questions about where the baptism should take place. Should she be baptized in the Wenatchee (Wash.) Church where she first learned the message in the local church school? Or should she be baptized at the college, where she made her decision to commit her life totally to Jesus? Or was it possible for both congregations to participate in the experience?
Why not both? As Diana was making final spiritual preparations for her baptism, church leaders in both churches were making technical preparations as well.
When the day came, a Web link was in place, enabling the Wenatchee congregation to see on a large screen what was happening at the Walla Walla College Church, and the College Church to hear what was being said in Wenatchee.
From the baptistry of the College Church, Diana shared her testimony of God's leading in her life and her commitment to make Jesus and His Word, the Bible, first in everything.
Immediately after she was baptized, the voice of Mike Afderhar, Wenatchee pastor, came over the College Church's sound system. "We're proud of you, Diana. And we're glad you have asked to be a member of our congregation. Do I have a motion to accept Diana into membership of the Wenatchee Seventh-day Adventist Church?" It was moved and seconded. "All in favor say 'Welcome!'" Through the Internet connection, a loud chorus of voices from Wenatchee came over the College Church speaker system: "Welcome!"
When Diana went home to Wenatchee for Thanksgiving vacation, she attended her new home church for the first time. Many of the members there were able to say, "We're so glad we got to see your baptism. We were there via the Internet. Did you hear us say 'Welcome?' Now we have a chance to show you how welcome you are."
And Diana was able to realize in a new way how the Adventist Church family truly stretches around the globe, united by one Spirit and one message.