- Rachel Beaver
20 Years of Study: Tommy’s Story
Tommy Hill, a retired railroad engineer from Wilmington, NC, had been studying the seventh-day Sabbath and was convicted it was the true day of worship. He was resistant to join the Adventist church, however, and 20 years passed by.
At age five, he began attending the Southern Baptist Church. He recalls dedicating his life to the Lord and being baptized very early in life. He grew up and moved to the Charlotte area and, at some point, became interested in Biblical prophecy. Soon after his marriage in 1980 he came across Amazing Facts. He found himself coming home from church on Sunday and being excited to watch the Amazing Facts broadcast.
“So Tommy was convinced of the seventh day Sabbath and all the other fundamental beliefs,” says Scottie Deal, pastor of the Concord, NC, church. “However, after being convicted, Tommy expressed anger toward God.”
For 20 years, Tommy struggled with conviction. He couldn’t understand how a church that he loved so much could be wrong. He finally surrendered and decided he was going to find an Adventist church.
Just down the road from his house was the Concord Church. He called the church and talked to an elder.
“The first thing out of his mouth was ‘I’m a Southern Baptist and I want to transfer my membership to the Concord Seventh-day Adventist Church,” says Deal.
The elder established a relationship with Tommy and invited him to join the Enquirer’s Bible study class. Before the COVID shutdown, he came to every class every week and soon expressed his strong desire to join the church.
Deal offered Tommy a choice between baptism or profession of faith (if he felt that his first baptism was still relevant to him). He said, “No, I want to start fresh.”
At long last—along with his friend, Eva, from the Enquirer’s class—Tommy was baptized.
“Tommy studied for 20 years,” Deal shares. “[He] admitted that he was upset with the Lord, so this was a high day for him.”
Tommy had been witnessing to his family, particularly his wife and daughter, but naturally they
have not been as accepting of the message because it is new to them. But on the day of his baptism, they were there to support him in his decision.
Some people can go through Bible studies and decide to join the church quickly. Others, like
Tommy, need much longer for the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. But thankfully, we serve a patient and loving God who will welcome us with open arms, no matter how angry we were, or how long it took before we accepted Him.
—by Rachel Beaver