Baptisms Follow The Dalles Youth Park Evangelism

November 01, 2010 | Lynda Durbin

An amazing adventure in God’s Word was promised to local youth, ages 9–12, in The Dalles, Ore., during the last two weeks of June. An amazing adventure it was, not only for the youth, but for 17 church members who participated through leadership, registration, support and an on-site prayer team.

To study God’s Word sitting on the cool grass in a shaded corner of City Park on very hot summer days is as close as one can imagine to sitting on the mountainside as Jesus spoke to the multitude.

More than 30 young people attended during the 10-day series, where they opened the Bible and found what it has to say about real-life topics. Study sessions were led by Mid-Columbia Adventist School teacher Bruce Schmidt and Chelsea Shinner, 2009 graduate of Upper Columbia Academy. Students also learned new songs of love and dedication to Jesus through the enthusiastic leadership of Jon Griebel, Longview (Wash.) Church pastor. Del Griebel, The Dalles Church pastor, dressed in a flowing robe and with artificial gray hair and beard to portray Old Man Wisdom as he told personal stories to reinforce the lesson of the day. A touch of fun ended each day as Joyce Browne, Evangelism in the Park director, and her team of enthusiastic young people channeled everyone's energy into fun and games.

Hearing the sounds of healthy laughter, seeing the smiles, the building of relationships and the growing awareness of what is real were tremendous rewards. The depth of the series may well be expressed by three of the students who, midway through the series, individually requested baptism.

On Aug. 21, after a very special church service of heartfelt music, words of dedication and blessings were pronounced on these three young people, Ab’cde Ufita Fa’amausili, Armani Edward Selu Enesi and Tiliama June Sioni Paulo were baptized in a quiet, secluded cove along the Columbia River while members of The Dalles Church watched from the banks.

Reach up, reach out, reach across. This experience reminds us we can each tell the world about God's Word, one friend at a time.