Carlos Alvarez Is Baptized
Amid smiles and tears of joy, Carlos Alvarez was baptized by Pat Milligan, Hood River Church pastor, making April 9 a very special Sabbath for his friends and relatives in the Hood River (Ore.) Church. Many prayers had been offered and answered for a very special couple, Carlos and Amanda (Benton) Alvarez and their two small children.
It all began Oct. 25, 1999, when Carlos arrived from Mexico, encouraged by an older brother to find new opportunities in the United States. Carlos learned English easily and got a job at Rosauers Market. He applied himself diligently to his work and education. His entry into the States was contingent on school accomplishment.
Amanda was interested in the mission field. Before meeting Carlos, Amanda spent a month in the Philippines doing children's ministry. Following this assignment, Amanda taught English and computer for a year in Cambodia. For further studies and preparation, Amanda attended Weimar College for two summers.
To defray some of her expenses, Amanda started working at Rosauers Market, where Amanda and Carlos met. A friendship grew, and they started Bible studies. Amanda said, “After we started dating, I bought Carlos a bilingual Bible. He started reading it more and more. I showed him answers in the Bible to all his questions. He became consumed with Christian videos, music and books."
During this time, Carlos was still working on Sabbath, but when he could get Sabbath off, he would faithfully come to church with Amanda.
They were married. A beautiful baby daughter was born. Then disaster struck! Carlos was ordered back to his home in Mexico. His visa was no longer valid. He returned to Mexico with his wife and baby.
True to his habit and lifestyle, Carlos witnessed to friends and family back home in Mexico. He continued to study with Amanda and watch the Doug Batchelor videos. While watching one on baptism, Carlos gave his life completely to God and wanted to be baptized.
Word came that it might take three or four years for another visa to be issued. Finally Amanda returned to the States without Carlos. Daily and weekly, fervent prayers were offered on their behalf. Then, miraculously, Carlos was granted permission to return to his family. It had taken about five months instead of several years.
Continuing studies with the pastor, a date was set for the baptism. Meanwhile, Carlos faced his employer. In strong spirit and faith he put it simply. “Due to my religious conviction, I can no longer work on the Sabbath. If this cannot be understood, then this is not the workplace for me,” he said. Pastor Milligan also talked to the manager. Carlos had always been a hard worker, and Rosauers' manager wanted him to stay.
As God worked on his heart, Carlos felt called to pastoral ministry. Carlos will be transferred to another Rosauers Market near Walla Walla College where he plans to continue his education for ministry.