Pray, Plan, Plant and Baptize
Story by Tamyra Horst
“Believing in the Lord was one thing; getting to know Him though has been life-changing,” shares Amanda Stevens. “I am not the same person that I was even three months ago. I have yielded my life fully to Jesus. And I love Him. I love reading the Bible and doing Bible studies. I love being around other believers and seeing His light shining through them. And I love that the Lord has provided me with a church family.”
Stevens was recently baptized along with Kathleen Amadio after studying with Leah Crosby, the conference’s assistant church planting director. Crosby is planting a church in the Media, Pa., community—an area with a large population and without a Seventh-day Adventist Church presence. She moved into the area in 2019, and is persistently looking for opportunities to build relationships with people.
She met Stevens at her apartment complex. The two chatted. Crosby offered her Bible studies, and the two began studying together. Eventually, Stevens began attending both the small group meetings on Sabbath and a mid-week Bible study Crosby leads at the local library.
Amadio learned about Crosby’s group through her sister right after the stay-at-home orders were issued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. She immediately accepted an invitation to join the Sabbath worship service through Zoom and expressed an interest in being baptized during one of the discussions.
“A couple weeks later, we talked over the phone about her interest in baptism and set up a time to begin baptismal studies together,” Crosby says. “Kathleen was very dedicated—making multiple appointments with me per week to prepare for her baptism. It was beautiful to me to see her eagerness to study God’s Word and prepare as best as possible for her baptism.”
The two women are the first baptisms of this new church plant group, and both are already sharing their faith with others. Stevens assists Crosby in giving Bible studies to others and is not afraid to share the truths that have changed her life. Amadio invited her siblings to attend her baptism and was surprised when all who lived locally attended. One individual has even attended the mid-week Bible study with her.
“Amanda and Kathleen’s baptisms are a great example of why we plant new churches,” states Gary Gibbs, conference president. “These are two women who otherwise may not have been reached for Jesus. Starting new congregations in areas that have no churches allows us to connect with people in new places and in new ways.”