Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Five years ago, Victor Rivera was given a diagnosis of cancer and told he had six months to live. Prior to his death in 2020, his prayer to see his son grow to at least 8 years old was answered.

Miracle in a Bathtub

Story by Cynthia Mendoza

A little over five years ago Victor Rivera was given one of the most dreaded diagnoses; cancer. He was given no more than six months to live.Though at the time he did not belong to any denomination, Rivera asked God for a seemingly impossible blessing: that God would give him five more years, long enough to see his son grow to at least eight years of age. Against all medical odds, Rivera didn’t die after six months.

Four years after his terminal diagnosis, Rivera experienced a horrible relapse that sent him to the hospital. One of his close friends contacted a church member from the Potomac Conference's Seneca Valley Spanish church in Germantown, Maryland, who visited Rivera in the hospital. She prayed with him and offered Bible studies. For nearly a year, as his physical health rapidly declined, Rivera studied the Bible faithfully.

He then asked God for yet one more seemingly impossible favor: to grant him just one day of perfect health in order to have the physical strength needed to give his heart to Jesus through baptism. God granted his request again.

On the morning of March 30, 2020, Rivera woke up energetic, in good spirits, and pain-free. He immediately called pastor Roberto Morán and told him he wanted to be baptized.

This was right at the same time COVID hit when the country started going into lockdown, which meant he would not be able to be baptized at church. But that didn’t stop him. He asked to be baptized in his own bathtub at home. Morán happily obliged. Though cramped and a bit uncomfortable, Rivera got baptized.

He had the chance to be a Seventh-day Adventist for three months, and in his own words at the time, “the best three months of my life.”

Sadly, Rivera, who was the only Adventist in his family, passed away on June 4, 2020, but not without having enjoyed the blessing of watching his son celebrates his 8th birthday at the end of March, just as he had asked God.

“He told me he was going to get baptized even if he had to do it in his bathtub,” Morán reflected on Rivera’s determination. “He told me ‘I’m not getting baptized because I’m afraid of death. I’m getting baptized because I love Jesus.’”

Rivera’s final request? To be buried in his baptismal robe.

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