One day, when the Liberty Mission Group was holding a business meeting, Pastor Mark Kent felt an odd impression to make a call for baptism and rebaptism. When he did, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Carla Phillips stand up.
Carla grew up as a Catholic, joined the Baptist church and then drifted between churches and denominations for most of her life, always seeking to know more truth. One day at work, a woman told Carla about the seventh-day Sabbath, a concept she had never heard of before.
The woman began to invite Carla to church, and over to her house for Sabbath afternoon lunches. Carla soon decided she wanted to be a part of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
She did Bible studies in her home, and was baptized in 1998 at the Wilson Church.
Carla later got married. This and other life changes caused her to drift away from attending, but she never stopped wanting to be a part of God’s church.
“She began to visit different Seventh-day Adventist churches,” says Pastor Kent. “Finally at one point, she prayed ‘God, if you want me to come back to church, would you have someone invite me to church?’ And that happened in a very strange way,”
Carla had ordered some materials from the Adventist Christian Book Center. One of them was a Steps to Christ audiobook. When she got the package, she realized she’d been sent
the wrong item. Inside the package was a phone number and she called it. The number was for the pastor of the High Point Adventist Church, who invited her to come and worship with
his congregation on Sabbath.
It took her several months to realize that God had answered her prayer. Carla and her husband decided to visit the High Point church. They learned of a church plant in Staley, NC, which they joined since it was very close to where they lived. That group soon merged with the Liberty Mission Group.
Thus it was that upon Pastor Kent’s call from the pulpit, Carla decided to be rebaptized. Pastor Kent and the group leaders organizing her baptism proposed the date of November 14th as a potential date. As it turns out, November 14th was the same date she had been baptized at the Wilson church 22 years ago. She had chosen that day in 1998 because it was the closest Sabbath to her birthday and she wanted to always remember it.
“She said, ‘Now I know that God wants me to be baptized,’” says Kent. “She had been struggling with feelings of rejection, knowing that she had left God.”
The significance of that date, for her, was God’s way of telling Carla that He loved her and that He never forgot her. “I’m so thankful that God is a God of details, and he works in ways that we aren’t even aware of in that moment.”
—by Rachel Beaver