Tag: baptism pictures

RC and Ashley’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

This summer saw some more baptisms from my baptism classes at Tampa Adventist Academy. 


RC (Third back on left) attended my TAA baptism class last year. This year RC is in my 5th and 6th grade Bible chain referencing class, where he has been enthusiastically chain referencing his Bible so he can share his faith with others.


On July 21st 2015 RC gave all of himself to Jesus through baptism because Jesus had given all of Himself to RC. RC was baptized by Pastor Rex Frost in the Brandon Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

RC Writes,

I wanted to be baptized and give my life to Jesus, because He gave His life for me, and offers me a better life thank I could live for myself.

Ashley William

A couple of years ago, while Ashley was in the 6th grade she wanted to have personal Bible studies with me. She had also been studying with her grandmother and family, and enjoys studying the Bible with anybody she can.

Ashley writes,

I want to be baptized because I want to give my heart to Jesus. Baptism to me means to die to your old self and to become a new person, a person of God. I love to learn more about God. I always learn new things when I read the Bible and I always have questions I ask also. I am very curious when it comes to the Bible and I love doing Bible studies. When I get baptized I will feel more accepted in the church like I belong. I want to give my whole life to Jesus Christ. I want Him to lead me on the right path. I want to be an example of God and want to Change. I want God to be proud of me. I am so DSCF0222very excited to get baptized and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me.


Today, August 22 Ashley was baptized by her great grandfather Pastor Obed Graham. Pastor Graham served as pastor of the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church when the church our present church was built. After serving as president of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Graham as retired, and is still in the Florida area. Ashley was very happy that her grandfather was available to baptize her today!

Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you give yourself to the One who gave Himself for you. If you are in the Tampa Bay area I would love to talk to you and study with you as you make this decision. If you are in another corner of the world I would like to help you find a Bible based church in your neck of the woods. Either way feel free to contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net

Natalie’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

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When I first came to the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, 11 years ago, Ailyn (left) and Alexander’s (Middle) mother asked me to have baptism studies with Ailyn, who was about 12 at the time. Shortly after Ailyn’s baptism her mother introduced me to another family in the neighborhood that wanted to have Bible studies. And thus begun my longest continuous study group ever, lasting 9 years!


Gus, Ana, Eneida, Natalie, Stephanie and Kimberly are the family Ailyn and Alexander’s family introduced me to. This picture was taken back in 2007. Kimberly, the youngest did not know how to read when we first began studying, and would bring her picture Bible to our studies. When I would have everyone turn to a verse, Kimberly would ask me to show her the verse in her picture Bible. Of course the verse was not in her picture Bible but I would find a suitable picture and tell her that was the verse, and she would be satisfied. Kimberly recently turned 16. She still talks about her picture Bible and me helping her find the right “verses.”


Over 9 years our study group had many other members, and venues. Here you can see Natalie, who was just recently baptized, in blue, enjoying my enchiladas at my apartment after one of our Bible studies back in 2008.


Occasionally our group would take advantage of the Florida scenery for our Bible study venues. This picture was taken in 2007. While Natalie already has found the verse, you can see Stephanie helping Kimberly find the right verse in her picture Bible.


On November 8, 2014, Natalie, her friend Leo, and family went to Chilis to celebrate Natalie’s sister Enedia’s birthday. The fact that Eneida was actually 1,400 miles away in Texas, serving for us in the military did not keep us from still celebrating her birthday. During our 9 years of having our study group together, there would be short periods of times that members would get distracted and we would stop studying together for a while. Were will still family though, and would keep hanging out together. Eventually Natalie’s family would tell me while we were hanging out that they wanted to start the Bible studies back up and again and we would.

Once, after Natalie and Leo graduated high school I met them for lunch at Taco Bell. Being the “grownup” I assumed I was paying. I was used to always paying when hanging out with the youth unless their parents paid. I was very impressed when Natalie and Leo insisted on buying lunch that day. I appreciated the fact that they valued their time with me, and saw me as a friend. They were hanging out with me because they treasured our friendship and not because I was “paying.”

Natalie is already quite mature and responsible. Last year when we were celebrating her sister Stephanie’s graduation, their mother told the waitress to put all her kids on her ticket. Natalie, said, “No. I am twenty. I pay for my own food.” I told her, “Don’t tell my parents about that rule!”

Even at an early stage of her adult life, Natalie has learned financial responsibility, and has a mature and sincere appreciation for family and friends.

When this picture was taken above, after 9 years of Bible studies, Natalie’s family was coming to church. It was at this dinner, while we were hanging out that Natalie asked to be baptized. This is why friendships and relationships are so important. It was not during a Bible study that she asked to be baptized, but while we were just enjoying our friendship hanging out together.


So Natalie and I began our Bible studies preparing her for baptism! We used our cell phones to study the In Light of The Cross Bible Study Guides. 

Natalie writes:

I want to thank William for baptizing me and for being my friend the past nine years. He was not only a friend but a follower of Christ who brought me closer to the Lord. He influenced my decision to live the rest of my life for Christ who died for our sins. Before meeting William, I did not know too much about what it meant to be a seventh day Adventist and how important it is to seek God for every situation but now I know how important those two things are. One day at Chili’s with my family and William, I decided to become baptized and I told William about it. Every Thursday morning after that, William and I studied many important concepts in the bible such as death, salvation, stewardship, and etc. These study guides were tremendously helpful and I learned lot from reading and studying it with William. After we were done studying the study guides, I was ready to complete my commitment to Jesus. On April 11th on a Saturday morning, I was baptized and it feels amazing to know that I had accepted Jesus into my heart and that I have a brand new family, the church.


 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Galatians 3:26-27 NLT 

When we first began our study group with Ailyn and Alexander’s family, Natalie was 11 years old. When Natalie was baptized this April she was 20 years old. I thank God for the privilege of being a part of Natalie’s family for these 9 years and the joy it has given me to see her grow up making such wise and mature decisions all the time. I think this was her best decision ever!


The story does not end here. My Bible study and friendship with Ailyn and her family led me to meet and begin a 9 year Bible study group with Natalie and her family. After studying for several years with Natalie and her family, they introduced me to their cousins, and we have now been studying on Friday nights for two years now. We have up to 11 members in our study group and a few of them have just recently started coming to church on Sabbath!

If you are in the Tampa Bay area and would like to start a study group like the ones you have just read about I would be glad to help you. Just email me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area still contact me. I can find a study group for you in your neck of the woods!

Nicholas and Emily’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

March 28th 2015 was another special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, as two young people gave all of themselves to Jesus, because He gave all of Himself for them.


Nicholas was in my Baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy. During the course of the class, I had a devotional skit for the Adventurers Club. I needed Nicholas to play the part of Peter when he denied Jesus. Nicholas told me he would do it, when he understood the reason for the skit, but he let it be known, he totally detested having anything to do with denying Jesus! He told me, “I don’t want to deny Jesus!”


Nicholas definitely did NOT deny Jesus, but professed his love and loyalty to Jesus by his public baptism.

Vows Morgans

A couple years ago I had Bible studies with Mark, Marian, and their daughter Cecilia before they got baptized. Last fall Cecilia’s family and I started a group Bible study. We invited Emily and her mother Doris who enjoyed coming. Emily greatly enjoyed the studies and told us she wanted to be baptized. Her aunt told me, every morning after the Bible studies, while she drove Emily to school, Emily would share with her all the wonderful things she was learning as we studied God’s Word.


 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 NLT. 

The night before her baptism, I told Emily about a young married couple who gave their hearts to Jesus one night at a tent meeting long ago in North Carolina. They were so in love with Jesus that they decided to become missionaries in Africa. While in Africa the wife caught malaria and died. The husband faithfully finished his term before returning to the states. When he got home his family and friends comforted him, by telling him how proud he should be of his wife who gave her life to God and died in Africa. The husband corrected them. “She did not die in Africa” he said. “She died in the baptism tank in North Carolina.” It was there that she gave up her own life and said goodbye to her self, and Jesus started living His life in her. I asked Emily if she was ready to say goodbye to herself and live for Jesus. She said that she definitely was!

Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you give your life to the One who gave His life for you. I would love to talk to you about giving your life to Jesus. You can contact me at 813-933-7505 or laypastor@tampaadventist.net

Celeste’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.
Celeste at Camp Kulaqua after responding to an altar call.

Celeste writes:

I have grown up in a seventh day adventist home since I was born. I followed the rules and did what was expected of me. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I really realized why I’m here. I realized that God had a special purpose and plan for my life and that it was my duty to fulfill it. But I was still scared. I still had that little thought in my head that I’m not good enough just yet. So I waited. Waited to find a change in myself before I found myself “worthy”.
A few weeks ago, I went to the annual high school bible retreat at camp kulaqua. It wasn’t until then that I really realized that I’ll never be worthy of the grace of God, but that’s okay because in his eyes, I am. I felt him calling me, so how I felt about myself didn’t matter anymore. I am “Unfinished” but God tells me that he’s that missing piece to complete me.

Pastor Claudette enjoyed studying with Celeste a couple years ago, using the In Light of The Cross Bible Study GuidesCeleste is an outstanding young lady both in our church family as well has her school where she is a high school senior. Still Celeste had not made her decision to baptized, and while Pastor Claudette and I invited her to, we did not want to pressure her. Baptism is a personal decision one must make on their own. As Celeste wrote, a few weeks ago I went as one of the chaperons to the high school Bible retreat. The theme was “Unfinished” and how we all are unfinished and imperfect without Jesus. I was very happy when I saw Celeste respond with several others to an altar call for baptism. I know the theme for the retreat was designed by God, and Celeste took her stand.

Many people, like Celeste think they must wait to be better to come to Jesus. But as Celeste realized, this is not so.

Do not listen to the enemy’s suggestion to stay away from Christ until you have made yourself better; until you are good enough to come to God. If you wait until then, you will never come. When Satan points to your filthy garments, repeat the promise of Jesus, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. Tell the enemy that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Make the prayer of David your own, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7.Christ Object Lessons, Page 205-206 

If you see your sinfulness, do not wait to make yourself better. How many there are who think they are not good enough to come to Christ. Do you expect to become better through your own efforts? “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23. There is help for us only in God. We must not wait for stronger persuasions, for better opportunities, or for holier tempers. We can do nothing of ourselves. We must come to Christ just as we are. –Steps to Christ, Page 31


Before the baptism today at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Brad went over the baptismal vows with Celeste.

Celeste 1

When Celeste decided to be baptized she chose November 1st as her date to be baptized as she did not want to wait any longer to give her life to Jesus.

Behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

Celeste 2

 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 

Celeste 3

All smiles! All beautiful smiles!

I am writing today from somewhere in beautiful Florida.

Please don’t let the sun set on your life before you give your life to Jesus. You will never be compete or “finished” without Jesus! Wherever you are, whatever your situation is, you can come to Jesus and He will accept you just as you are! Jesus will accept you even if you feel you are still a great ways off. God will run to meet you where you are.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 

Jesus loves and accepts unfinished and incomplete people!

If you want to come to Jesus and want someone to talk to or pray with, you can always contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net or (813) 933-7505.

Triniti and Destini’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

There was much rejoicing in heaven and at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church today when Triniti and Destini both gave their entire lives to Jesus. Instead of waiting till they got old, and just give Jesus what is left of their lives, both Triniti and Destini have been taught in their home and church about Jesus giving all of Himself for them, and so they chose to give all of themselves to Him.


Rachelle, was the Bible Worker who studied with Triniti and Destini’s mother, Gail, when she got baptized, and so it was a wonderful privilege for Rachelle to also get to study with Triniti and Destini as they prepared for their baptism.


Pastor Brad went over the baptismal vows with Tiniti and Destini, as well as with Alexander who was already baptized at the pathfinder camp in Oshkosh, but was welcomed into membership today with the girls.


Triniti writes: The main reason why I want to get baptized is that I finally came to realize,  I don’t live forever. Also it’s not guaranteed I’m going to wake up tomorrow. It’s a gift. So I want to live my life in honor of the man who died for me and helps me wake up every morning. I’m glad I’m getting baptized. I know it’s time. I also know it is the kingdom of the bronze and clay and when the boulder strikes the statue I want to go with God to heaven.

Right before Triniti’s baptism we prayed a special prayer for her, and asked God to baptize her with the Holy Spirit as I baptized her with water. 

Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him.  I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’  I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.” John 1:32-34 NLT 


Destini writes: I wanna get baptized because I want to start a fresh new life. I want to start a new life with my Savior so when He comes He’ll take me with Him. 

Right before Destini’s baptism we prayed that God would always be with her, drawing her close to Him each and every day. Today Destini chose to follow Jesus, but God never turns us into a robot, so every day we are free to choose who we want to serve. Our prayer is that Destini will always choose to follow Jesus, just like she did today, and every day while preparing for this moment. 

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 NLT 


We had a special fellowship lunch today, where we prayed for those being baptized and awarded them with their baptism certificates. Liam, who was baptized in Camp Kulaqua, received his certificate as well today.


Please don’t let the sun set on you today before you too make your decision to follow the only One who died to save you. Maybe you chose a long time ago to follow Jesus but have not been making that choice lately. I invite you to make that choice again today. Maybe you have never made that choice but would like to make it now, or would like to learn more about Jesus before you make that choice. I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Alexander’s Baptism Pictures and Testimony

Oct. 4 006

This is a picture of Alexander several years ago in our neighborhood Bible study group. Alexander and his family have always been very active in sharing Jesus with their friends and neighbors. Several years ago, while we were all studying the Bible, Alexander told me he wanted to be baptized one day.

Now, several years later,  his parents were using the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides, to help prepare him for his baptism.  Years before, Alexander was already in love with God. One day when he was little the family had been saving up their spare coins in a huge jar. As the jar got full the family realized they now had quite a bit of money in there. One night at dinner they started discussing ideas of how they could spend their hard earned and saved money. Disney World? A vacation to the beach? An expensive video game? As they sat at the table discussing ideas, Alexander and his sister Ailyn came up with an idea. “Let’s give it all to the church to help others learn about Jesus” they said. And that is just what they did! Alexander knew that God had given everything He had when He gave us Jesus, so Alexander wanted to give God everything that he had!

Last Week at Oshkosh Pathfinders camp in Wisconsin, Alexander once again gave all of himself to Jesus because Jesus had given all of Himself for Alexander.



Pastor Brad, our senior pastor at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church was on hand to baptize Alexander at Oshkosh.

Alexander writes: “The reason I wanted to get baptized was because at Oshkosh the preacher on the third night said something very powerful that moved me. Near the end he said, “If you would like to give your life to God, tell your director and come to the front at the end. We did but nobody was there, so we prayed with this kind guy that was standing there.

After that everyone went back to camp. Everyone was tired but I was excited to give my life to God! So I went to the charging station to charge my I-pod so I could get pictures for the baptism that started at 7:30 to 9:30 in the morning. So we woke up  I was excited. We all left we got there and there were so many people giving their life to God I was surprised we went in line again when you get up there they ask where you’re from and your name and I go into the water feeling and thinking of all the wrong things I have done in my life, and thinking that God gave His life for me that we would one day see Him that one day He will come to pick His children and I want to go with God. I want to live an eternal life with Him that I want to go to heaven. Then I go to the pastor, look around , and there under the water I saw the sun shining  directly on top of me and I heard that God said, “Welcome my son I have been waiting.” 



I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

God’s love is shining on you just like it is shining on Alexander! If you too, would like to give all of yourself to Jesus, because He has given all of Himself to you, I would love to hear from you. You can reach me at Laypastor@TampaAdventist.net

Issay’s Baptism Pictures and Stories

Today was a very special Sabbath at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, where Pastor Art Grayman, of Port Charlotte, was given the privilege of baptizing his grandson, Issay. Issay has been a member of the young adult Sabbath School Class at Tampa First. I made contact with him several months ago when he told me he wanted to be baptized. Chad, is also a member of the young adult Sabbath School Class, and has received training on how to give Bible studies. I put them together and they really hit if off. Please enjoy their pictures and stories.

After Sabbath School and church, Issay and Chad met together faithfully for Bible studies leading to Issay's baptism today.
After Sabbath School and church, Issay and Chad met together faithfully for Bible studies leading to Issay’s baptism today.

Chad shared with the church family today, right before the baptism:

“I have always enjoyed giving Bible studies and becoming friends with the people I have the privilege of studying with. I had started a Bible study in November 2012 but I had to give it up to the William, the Bible Worker at Tampa 1stbecause our schedules didn’t allow us to continue. I started praying that God would send me another Bible study in March, 2013 and also that He would send me a new friend as well. I didn’t think that within a week of praying that prayer that God would send me both a Bible study and a new friend all in one. In addition God worked it out for us to study when both of our schedules permitted. During the next 6 months everything went with very little problems. Issay and I have developed a friendship and I have seen him grow spiritual over our time of studying together. Seeing my friend get baptized gives me great joy!” -Chad


Right before the baptism Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows.


Issay shared his testimony:

“Testimony – How God brought me back to Him

I was blessed to be born in a pastoral family. As a result of my father being a Seventh Day Adventist Pastor, I got to see in first hand all the good things God can do for his children and the love he has for us, even when we take it for granted. But ironically that same blessing of being a pastor son was also tough for me because people expected the very best if not perfection from me at all times.  In my late teen years I didn’t deal well with the pressure of being the “the perfect Christian” so I started to do things that were not good, I started to spend more time with my non-Christians friends, therefore I started to act, talk, eat like a non-Christian. However I kept going to church every Saturday and trying to be what people expected from me, basically I was living a double life.

I wasn’t happy with my double life, it never felt right for me, because I knew that God didn’t want that life for me. So I started to truly pray to God and just be honest to him about my life I asked for forgiveness and for a second chance. I truly believed that God brought me to Tampa for a reason.  I’m thankful that I met Chad and Shaunda because they have been a good support during my new chapter in my life.

The truth is that I never stopped loving God. Now I know what it really means in Proverbs 22:6 “Instruct the child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it”.  I am very thankful for the family that God gave me because they never stopped praying for me and they were always there during my hard times.  Today I am very excited to renew by baptismal vows and I’m looking forward to keep growing with my new family here in Tampa First.”  -Issay


But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 NLT


And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Galatians 3:27 NLT


The Collegiate/Young Adult Sabbath School class at Tampa First has embraced Issay in fellowship and Bible study, and celebrated with him today, with a class luncheon.

Bradenton 018

Please don’t let another day pass before you give your heart to the One who gave His heart and life for you on the cross. If you would like to know how to get to know Jesus better I would love to help. You can contact me, William Earnhardt, the Bible Instructor at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net or call me at 813-933-7505.