6th August 2018

Giving a testimony at a baptism has to be one of the most personal experiences anyone can have, and sharing it with a church full of love, makes it so much more special. Testimonies give congregations some insights into the questions and challenges the young men and women face today, and, significantly the answers, peace and hope they found in their relationship with their Lord and Saviour. Giving a testimony of how God had saved him when he was a terminally ill baby, Kanyembo proclaimed "It is by the grace of God that I am still alive and well today; I thoroughly believe that through God a mystery doctor…saved my life so that I could go on and live it to fulfil my purpose in life, which is still unknown to me. But I feel that getting baptised today would mean I would get one step closer to that reason"

Paisley Seventh-day Adventist Church is a church with a difference because it is a family. There is a warmth within this church family that comes from a genuine love, care and consideration that members have for each other. While the family is close knit, it has arms wide open for visitors and the community around it. So it was not surprising that, on 23rdJune 2018, when five of the young people that have grown up in the church - were to get baptised, the family came together to support its children. The candidates were Kanyembo Kabaso (15), Lamal Manase (15), Samiya Tushemerirwe (14), Sakhile Dube (16) and Clancy Nabaiki (18). The love and support permeated throughout the baptism service; it was a baptism service like no other. The presence of the Lord and His spirit could be felt amidst the congregation. The service was made even more poignant by the contributions from the baptismal candidates’ family members and the candidates themselves. For each candidate, the service of order begun with a sharing from the candidate’s parent(s), which was followed by the singing of their chosen favourite hymn or special song. 

Claudiu-BaptiseChiefly, each candidate was then given the opportunity to talk about why they had decided to get baptised. The testimonies that the young people gave were soul searching personal meditations that showed the maturity with which they had approached their decisions, and the thought they had given to it. This is a great commendation to Pastor Claudiu Popescu, who spent a lot of time with these young men and women, studying the Bible, mentoring, guiding and supporting them in their Christian walk, and growth untill the day when they decided to get baptised.

Reflecting her early walk with God, the youngest candidate, Samia recalled how by her church attendance to Paisley Seventh-day Adventist Church for Sabbath School and Pathfinders, she had actively influenced to her mother who eventually stopped attending the Church of Scotland and got baptised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She concluded by saying "I want to give my life to Christ because he has blessed me with the gift of life and he has led me to the truth”.

Asking herself that well known question "Who am I?”, Clancy responded saying “I could not tell you confidently who I am because I’m still trying to discover that myself”, but in a moving statement she continued, "I want to get baptised because I need to… because I want to be able to feel that God is working in my life. I know that God has been working in my life, but lately I have been feeling like He has been slowly drifting away from me and if I don’t grab on to Him now, I might just lose him forever”. This powerful statement perhaps embodies the cry of every Christian at one point at another.

Once each baptismal candidate had given their personal testimony, they went to the pool to get baptised. Pastor Claudiu requested a personal statement for each candidate, an indication of the relationship he had with the youth of Paisley church. For each candidate, that moment when they went into the water was unique and special. You could sense the Holy Spirit come down and dwell on each of them. There was no shortage of tears of joy, thankfulness and praise to the Lord in the room, as each young man or woman was buried in that watery grave, dying to their old self, and they rose out of the water a new creation, alive in Christ. As the congregation broke out in song, you could imagine the angels drawing closer and joining in in their songs of praise to their Lord and Saviour. Handshake-Cake

What a blessing it was to see members of Paisley’s sister church Irvine present to support the candidates. They came filled with love and presented each candidate with a special gift to commemorate their day. 'Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above’. A special thanks also to Glasgow Seventh-day Adventist Church for their support and hospitality, hosting the baptism. 

At the end of the baptism service, those who had come to support the church family expressed just how special and moving the service had been. For one visitor, this baptism service was the first they had ever attended a Seventh-day Adventist Church. Having seen the baptisms, the Lord spoke to him and he later met with Pastor Claudiu and expressed their desire to get baptised as well. Praise and honour be unto our Lord for the blessing of this person! 

The baptismal candidates shared a cake made by one of the church parents, who is fondly called Auntie Sue. But the cake held a symbolism beyond that which met the eye; holding the knife together to cut the cake, these five special young men and women began a journey together that would bind them to each other for the rest of their lives. As church leader and elder, Brother Gibson Kabaso looked on, and he counselled the candidates to remember that moment and to be each other’s keeper in their newly began spiritual journey. He advised them to treasure that moment as the start of a spiritual brotherhood. 

HandshakesReflecting on the experience a few weeks later, Sakhile confessed that baptism… "was an eye opening and joyous experience. Being baptised in Glasgow church meant a lot to me as that was the first church I had attended, and had been a member there from birth until 2009 when Paisley church was founded. The entire service from start to finish was something I won’t forget and it was an honour to have the pastor of my home church baptise me that day”. 

As a new-born Christian, Lamal recollected his baptism and said "When I was baptised I thought of it as a second chance to do the right thing in every situation of my life, a chance to change my ways and get closer to God. Slowly, bit by bit, I am changing my ways and changing my outlook on life, such as the way I talk, the way I interact with people and the way I think”.

Indeed, baptism is a special moment in any Christian’s life, but as Lamal and the other candidates are learning, it is only the beginning. Often, it can be the start of a targeted attack from the evil one, an experience we can learn from Christ after His baptism and the ensuing 40 days in the desert. Paisley Church will continue to support these young people that have made a life-changing decision in a world where Christianity is dying. May the Lord bless you all – Kanyembo, Lamal, Samiya, Sakhile and Clancy. 

[Kanyembo, Lamal, Samiya, Sakhile and Clancy]


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