Albany Prophecy Seminar Brings Decisions for Christ During Pandemic
Although COVID-19 has impacted a great deal of life’s activities, Oregon's Albany Adventist Church actively planned to share Jesus Christ with the community. To enrich the lives of the church family, church leaders decide to host an in-person evangelism seminar at the beginning of 2021. Brian and Heidi McMahon were invited to share the good news of "Prophecy Unsealed" with the community and church family. The series began Feb. 13, 2021.
Multimedia promotions throughout the community led to positive responses, both directly to the local church office and via online registration. Staffing for the meetings was arranged, an active prayer team was set up to cover both staff and meetings in prayer, musical offerings were appointed, and mailings were sent forth. Everyone was eagerly waiting to see how significantly COVID-19 would actually impact attendance, while trusting that our God is in control of all things.
When the opening night arrived, both guests and church members were very enthusiastic about the meeting — the air seemed electric. Church member Mary Gaslin commented, “I joined the Adventist Church many years ago through a Revelation seminar. I have never seen our church members as excited and involved as we are now.”
The COVID-19 precautions in place were noted and welcomed. Masks were available for those who forgot theirs at home or didn’t have one. Deacons actively seated the guests while they became accustomed to our pew-coding system for distance seating. Overflow seating, with closed-circuit TV, was used for meetings that had a larger number of attendees.
During the three weeks of meetings, the prophecies of the Bible were laid out in logical order, each subsequent topic building onto the previous topics. Brian McMahon calls his style of presentation "teaching," rather than "preaching."
People attending expressed serious interest in getting to know Jesus and His Bible better. Response cards filled out during several of the latter meetings showed that many guests were convicted on the topic of the evening, whether about the Sabbath or other core Bible truths. Barry Taylor, Albany Church pastor, and Brian McMahon followed up on questions, interests or requests for visits, either in person or via phone.
As the baptismal candidate list developed, it portrayed a wonderfully diverse representation of God’s children. Some were completely new to Adventist beliefs. Others were youth in Adventist families and previously baptized Adventists who had slipped out the back door and eagerly wanted to rejoin their church family. There were husbands who had faithfully brought their families to church but vowed “church isn’t for me!” Twin sisters, a mother-in-law, a daughter-in-law, father and son, spouses — the Holy Spirit was not discriminating by race, creed, home status or previous belief system.
One such person, Robbie Gomon, was raised in a nonpracticing Catholic home. When he was "encouraged" to join the military as a way out of some trouble in his life, he did. In the military he was also encouraged to take advantage of the Sunday church services because, as the sergeant stated, “You won’t get any other time off.”
With his previous background, Gomon joined the Catholic lineup, but his Protestant buddies urged him to join them in their line, which he did. In those nondenominational services, he learned about a loving God. His heart was stirred.
After Gomon left the military, he attended various Protestant congregations but would leave them as he discovered they were not adhering to all of the commandments, in particular the fourth. His employment situation changed, and he and his wife moved to Albany, where she attended church sporadically and shared about the Sabbath this church observed.
Gomon was intrigued. Here at last was a church that obeyed all 10 commandments. Gormon attended all of the recent Albany Church meetings. On March 13, he was joyfully baptized into a loving church family.
Gomon was one of 12 seminar attendees who have joined the Albany Church family through baptism as a result of this series of meetings. Others continue to study, and some may join by profession of faith or membership transfer. Please join us in continued prayers for additional victories over evil.