Ketchikan Couple Celebrates New Marriage, Baptisms

Tom Paul and Debbie Schmelling were baptized on April 10 into the Ketchikan Church. Schmelling had been an Adventist but had become discouraged. Paul had been raised a Catholic from childhood, but he’d never given his beliefs a lot of thought. However, when in his adult years he became more personally interested in studying the Bible, he began questioning some of the beliefs he’d been taught.  

While working on board the Alaska Marine Lines ferry Columbia, Paul became acquainted with Schmelling. They both had gone through some hard times. As they shared their past experiences, Schmelling also shared her beliefs in the Lord. Although she had quit going to the Adventist church long ago, she still believed it had the truth.

With Schmelling’s help, Paul gained a clearer understanding of some of the beliefs that had troubled him in his former church. In time, they were attracted to each other and started attending the Ketchikan Church when their ship was in dock.

They decided to unite their lives in marriage and wanted to have God in their union. They started Bible studies and premarital counseling in November. On April 11, the day after their baptisms, they were united in marriage. They want to serve God wherever He leads them, but it is Paul’s sincere desire, at some point in the future, to go to Andrews University and train to be a lay pastor.

Robert and Alma Stauffer, Ketchikan Church interim pastoral couple

September 14, 2015 / Alaska Conference
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