It’s no secret that many rural Adventist churches appear to be dying. The members who have worked tirelessly to keep the churches open and running are getting older, and many churches have no one to come behind and fill in the gaps. As the oldest church in the Nevada-Utah Conference, Fallon church has not been immune to this malady. Fortunately, there is a solution: training the youth today to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Jose Karry, volunteer lay pastor of the Fallon church, has a real burden for the youth. Even before becoming pastor of the church, Karry revived the Youth/Young Adult Sabbath School class. On June 5, Kamden Wesner-Steen, Khloee Rodriguez, and Willie Cross, three students from the Sabbath School class, were baptized.
Pam Moore has been faithfully bringing her grandkids to church and Sabbath School for years and was thrilled to watch Khloee and Willie dedicate their lives to Jesus. “Our sincerest appreciation to Kathy Melendy [a former teacher] and to our pastor, Jose Karry, for helping to bring these kids to Christ by being an example of joy and love,” Moore said. “These kids were so excited to dedicate their lives to Christ. They’ve made a promise to join Mrs. Melendy in heaven to swim with the dolphins.”
Kamden’s grandfather, Mike Wesner, an elder in the Fallon church for many years, was a great example of God’s love in Kamden’s life. Mike’s influence was one reason Kamden wanted to get baptized. Sadly, Mike passed away earlier this year, so he was not able to witness Kamden’s baptism. However, Kamden said he can’t wait until resurrection morning to tell his grandpa about being baptized!
The next Sabbath, Pastor Karry had the privilege of baptizing two more young people with whom he had been studying: Ian Hamilton and Roziada Reedy, students at Fallon Adventist Christian School. Roziada’s grandmother, Theresa Reedy, understands the value of Christian education and fellowship. Because of this, she drives about 60 miles every morning to bring her grandkids to church and school.
Before Pastor Karry agreed to baptize any of these young people, he had a question for all of them: “Why do you want to get baptized?” Some answers included, “Because I love Jesus,” “I want to follow Jesus,” or “I want to be saved.” Then he asked, “Are you getting baptized because your mom or dad asked you to do it?” All of them said no. Pastor Karry exclaimed, “Then in Jesus’s name, I will do it!”
John F. Kennedy once said, “The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.” And even more important than the future of this nation is the future of God’s work. May we all strive to support the youth as God’s future church. Congratulations Ian, Kamden, Khloee, Willie, and Rozaida.
By Moriah Ward