Gaston Holds Creative Baptism

Robert Ellis' baptism will always be remembered by the Gaston Church for many reasons.

The church's first connection with him started as a result of the church holding Vacation Bible School and picking up his five stepchildren to attend. After the VBS was over certain members of the church kept taking turns picking up the children to come to Sabbath School to learn more about God. Bibles were purchased for each child, plus for the other kids who were also being picked up from their mobile home park.

This continued for years. Seeing the care of the church for the kids, Ellis asked Dick Hoey, the church's Bible worker, to begin studies with him and the family. As he learned so many new truths he had never heard before, the Holy Spirit moved upon his heart to join the Seventh-day Adventist believers who lived by the Word of God.

Then the next challenge arose for the church. This would not be a normal baptism of the candidate walking up the stairs and stepping in and out of the baptistry. Years ago, Ellis was in an accident that left him with paralyzed legs and limited use of his arms and hands.

The elders prayed and thought about the logistics of the process. They at last came up with the idea of using some old, stored-away hospital equipment.

On Jan. 11, 2020, the church family gathered in the fellowship hall at the end of the service and waited for those behind the curtains to hoist Ellis and lower him into a hospital tub. The curtains were pulled back. Bob Mix shared a few words of joy about Ellis' decision to commit his life to Christ and tried not to talk too long for the people who were helping to hold up Ellis on the lift. Then they lowered him into the spiritual grave of burying his past life and resurrecting into newness of Jesus' full and free abundant life.

No, the church will never forget Ellis' baptism and the joy he felt to commit his life more fully to Jesus and to join the church that would go out of their way to help him become a part of the body of Christ.

Featured in: November/December 2020