AAA Students Surrender All to Jesus

Three baptisms unexpectedly became the sermon for the day on May 31 at Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) Church and provided a capstone for a school year that witnessed 10 student baptisms.

Just as the children’s story was winding down, Jeff Carlson, AAA chaplain, entered the baptistery with Tyler Masden.

“I know God is real, good, alive, active and that He loves me,” said Masden, AAA senior from Kent, as he shared how his mentors helped him in his spiritual growth journey. “My baptism is a public declaration of my love for God. This is the beginning of a chapter.”

Roving microphones in the congregation allowed the church community to share their encouragement, affirmation and support for each student being baptized.

Julia Nam, a junior from Korea, felt God calling her at the beginning of the school year to be baptized. Throughout the school year, she asked questions, carefully studied the Bible and went on a mission trip to Belize.

Flynn Chae, a senior from Korea, stood in the baptistery for 45 minutes with Tom Decker, AAA principal, as peers, teachers and church community members recounted how he had changed in the last three years. His classmates in Sylvan, the academy’s elite singing group, gathered around the piano to sing “I Surrender All.” Chae joined in singing from the baptistery, with tears streaming down his face.

Three years ago, Chae came to Auburn from Korea as a confirmed atheist. He had never felt the love of God before and felt self-reliant, defiant and hopeless. He attributed everything bad to God.

“God brought me here to Auburn Adventist Academy where I found Jesus,” Chae says. “I realized recently that God has been there all along [in my life].”

In his time at Auburn, he transformed from a shy, quiet student into a young man who the church community knows because of his involvement in church events, singing engagements, Bible-study and prayer groups, and the academy’s Belize mission trip.

The trio of baptisms closed with an invitation for others to consider baptism. Chae’s classmate and friend Nutt Noppakaosaengnimit, a senior from Thailand, stepped forward from the cluster of Sylvan singers as the congregation thunderously applauded his decision and the three baptisms of the day. One week later, during graduation weekend, Noppakaosaengnimit was baptized.

The Sabbath when the baptisms and a decision for baptism became the sermon is sure to be a defining memory in the history of the Auburn Adventist Academy family.

July 24, 2014 / Washington Conference