July 4th was Independence Day, and it was also independence day for three individuals who joined the Park Avenue Church in Valdosta, Ga., both by baptism and profession of faith.
Leah Ulmer met Jack and Lori, members of the Tifton, Ga., Church. As their friendship developed, Ulmer asked for Bible studies. Praising God for their friendship, she decided to join the Park Avenue Church because it is closer to her home. She joined the church by profession of faith.
Emanuel (Manny) Selever, baptismal candidate, shares his testimony:
My name is Emanuel; it means God with us. Through my experience this saying is true. I am 18, and just graduated high school. I’m looking for guidance in this world for what we call life. Life is funny sometimes and other times it’s serious, and baptism is a very serious commitment.
Leah Selever’s shares her testimony:
As a child I was always close to God, I followed all the rules and commandments and loved my Father in Heaven. One day I fell into the influence of some people and took the wrong path. Confused and afraid, I turned to substances, which at the time made sense to me. It numbed the pain of my traumatic childhood. The devil had me in his grip, but the Lord never gave up! Even through my troubled childhood, He gave me wisdom and kept me out of trouble.
Fast forward a couple years, I became an atheist. I turned away from God. I was mad at Him for putting me through a rough childhood. I kept abusing substances and thought I could live my life this way forever. Eventually, like the story of the prodigal son, I became poor. I was poor in mental health. The substances took a toll on my brain.
Seven years of bottling up emotions, and they came out when I told my mom I didn’t want to live. [There were] sleepless nights and telling myself I wasn’t good enough. There was also pressure in school. I couldn’t take it anymore.
A couple months ago I started praying, asking God for forgiveness. It was like it says in the Bible, He is a loving and merciful God. He loves His children. It is written, there is more joy in Heaven for one sinner saved then 99 righteous.
God saved me and freed me from addiction. He can save you too. Today I choose to follow God with all my heart, mind, and strength. God, my Father, created me in the womb and knows all the hairs on my head. He is faithful and forgives all sins through repentance. Thank you Jesus for saving a wretch like me.
A third candidate, Shannon Campbell, joined by profession of faith, and shares her testimony: My grandmother joined the Seventh-day Adventist faith when my mom and her siblings were young. When my generation came along, the family was already Adventists, and that is how we were raised. I was 13 years old when I was baptized. I always had faith in God. I knew He was with me. I have health problems, yet I am still here. He has brought me through a lot. I know He is with me always.
My mom moved to Valdosta, Ga., in August of 2017. She was there for two weeks by herself before I arrived from Florida. Within a couple of weeks, mom had a stroke and aneurysm. She was taken to the hospital and then transferred to Tallahassee, Fla. I was told that mom would not leave the hospital.
I praise the Lord for getting me through that day — talking with family, getting my mom’s car, going home alone, and my brother getting a flight from Wisconsin. I knew it was the Lord watching over me. During the past six months I have had health problems, and He has seen me through. I was raised Adventist and will always be Adventist. God has given me the Park Avenue Church with kind and loving members who welcome me into their family. Now I have a family in Valdosta. Thank you!
Even though the world feels like it is in lock-down from church and other activities, it is amazing how God continues to work and lead people to His church.
Georgia-Cumberland | October 2020