Heaven rejoices over just one soul who gives his or her life to Jesus and is baptized. So, can you imagine the rejoicing that was happening in heaven on Sabbath, May 1, when 40 people were baptized in the Salt River in Mesa, Arizona?
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV), and Pastor Ed Anderson and the Chandler church have done just that.
What started out as a baptism for four candidates quickly grew to a much larger number. So how did four grow into forty? “Jesus asks us to follow Him, go, teach, and baptize by casting the net out. That’s what I did,” said Anderson. “And Jesus drove the fish into the net. I had enough faith to cast the net and hold it.”
It is not uncommon to see large baptismal events during foreign mission trips, but Anderson believes that the baptism in Arizona is “proof that the Holy Spirit is working powerfully and that these types of results are not just confined to places overseas. I believe that we are in the end times and signs are being fulfilled. The gospel is being preached faster now than people realize!”
COVID-19 has made baptisms in church difficult, so Anderson looked for somewhere outdoors that would be a safe place for many to gather. “We found the [Salt] River that reminds us of the Jordan River, in a place similar to the Holy Land,” Anderson said. Arizona Conference President Ed Keyes and Executive Secretary Jorge Ramirez assisted Pastor Anderson with the baptisms, and it was a joy for the two administrators to be part of such a wonderful celebration. Ralph Robertson, interim pastor of the Chandler Fil-Am church, was also invited to assist.
While the candidates were baptized in the waters one by one, “friends and families rallied together and sang melodious hymns from the riverside. The waters were cold, yet everyone’s faces radiated with warmth,” recalled Jacqueline Battistone, who attended the event. “I was immensely blessed to witness such an inspirational, moving, and transforming ceremony.”
The Arizona Conference rejoices along with heaven in the baptizing of so many precious souls for Jesus. What a glorious, powerful event to be a part of in these difficult times—and a reminder that God continues to work in Arizona and around the world. Anderson invites everyone to “get ready for Jesus’ second coming, because the latter rain has begun!”
By Kerysa Ford