Declared Love for Jesus in Pendleton
Sabbath, Nov. 2, 2019, was a special day for the Pendleton Church and Harris Junior Academy (HJA) in Pendleton, Ore. Seven individuals publicly declared their love for Jesus and their desire to follow Him by being baptized.
Six of the newly baptized members are students from HJA. One student, Jack Frear, was baptized with his father, Devin Frear. “I feel great about it,” says Jack Frear, a fifth grader. His mother was voted in as a member transferring to the Pendleton Church on the same day, and his sister was baptized this summer at Oshkosh, Wis.
Ava Cook, also a fifth grader, said her favorite part of the day was when she went under the water. Her brother, Kenny Cook, an eighth grader, said the best part “was seeing all my friends and family standing for me.”
Family and friends seem to be an important factor in this special day. Brothers Kolton and Khoda Brown, fifth and sixth graders, were also baptized. Khoda said he wanted “to start a new life with God.” “God in my heart” helped Kolton decide to be baptized.
Gary Gibson, Pendleton Church pastor, was a factor in several of the students' decisions. This fall Gibson has been coming to the school to do weekly Bible studies with the students. He says, “It’s a blessing to have spent time with each person before baptism. I look forward to seeing how God grows and uses each one.”
A highlight for Gibson was to baptize his own son, Jonathan, a sixth grader. The younger Gibson says he’s glad he committed his life to Jesus and thinks his example might influence his siblings and friends to do so also.
On that special Sabbath, Shannon Whidden, HJA head teacher, said, “Days like today are why I do what I do. Seeing my students make the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior is the greatest reward for me as a teacher.”