Washington Adventist University’s community continues to be a community of prayer and faith. During this challenging time in history, distance is ideal in preventing infection; not so ideal in fellowship and communal worship. Despite the challenges, the Holy Spirit has been working to soften hearts and lead individuals to commit to a life in Christ.
On two consecutive weekends, a student and an employee of WAU have made this commitment publicly through baptism at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of WAU. Sligo has made special COVID-19 accommodations for baptism to minimize the chance of spreading infection. During each baptism, the church community, friends, and family who could not attend in person can attend virtually via zoom. The zoom windows are projected onto the church screens, and the baptismal candidates can communicate with their friends and loved ones on the screen. Pastor Charles Tapp said, “We want to ensure that everyone feels as safe as possible while still allowing each candidate to share their commitment with their loved ones and friends.”
Rodrigo Lima, a senior student, working in the admissions office, was baptized after being nurtured by fellow students and WAU staff. Rodrigo came to WAU from Brazil and wanted to be baptized ahead of traveling back to his home. “I believe there is no greater honor than to commit my life to the service of God.”
Director of Admissions and Recruitment, Wanda Canales, played a large role as a leader with Rodrigo. “We’re overjoyed that Rodrigo made this decision. The admissions office has been a better place because of his presence, and this choice just drives home the fact that we all are accountable in leading others to Jesus and showing the way.”
Antonica Neto was baptized on a second weekend to allow for time to take the needed preventative measures between candidates. Antonica is a recent addition to the WAU Staff, joining the Admissions and Recruiting team in October of 2020. Antonica is Angolan but a long-time resident of the D.C. area. She is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. During her baptism, she used each of these languages to express love and thanks for the support that led her to make this public commitment. “I can’t explain the joy that I’m feeling right now…”
WAU’s VP for Marketing and Recruitment, Bill Jackson said, “We honor the decision made by our admissions staff and students. These moments of joy lift us all and energize us to bring more and more souls to a place where they will find what they need to make these great life-altering choices.”
WAU President Weymouth Spence is encouraged by these public decisions. “Our intent at WAU is to create committed, distinctive, moral leaders that will make a difference in the world around us. These decisions are a bright light in a world dimmed by death, destruction, and uncertainty. WAU wants to bring more of these bright lights to be a witness to one of the core aspects of our mandate as an Adventist University.”