Toronto, Canada—Our church in Eastern Canada will remember the summer of 2021 as a summer that was different from any other. In the beginning, everything looked promising: The COVID-19 measures became somewhat relaxed, allowing for the planning of several youth activities. In July, the youth went on a camping trip to the scenic Algonquin Provincial Park in Northern Ontario. By the middle of August, the conference organized a lovely summer youth retreat at Shalom by the Lake.
However, in the weeks that followed, the COVID-19 cases rapidly increased in the general population and in our church community. Sadly, two dear souls within our church succumbed to the virus and were laid to rest in Jesus. The outbreak of illness caused us to cancel the annual spiritual conference scheduled for the Labor Day weekend (September 3-5). At the annual conference, we had planned to conduct a baptism of several young souls.
As we prayed and sought divine help, God’s mighty hand brought healing to our people. Autumn arrived, but our young baptismal candidates did not give up on the outdoor baptism. God granted us warm weather as we entered early fall. On short notice, we scheduled the baptism for the Sabbath of October 2. For the baptismal site, we chose Lake Simcoe at Innisfil, Ontario. The day of the baptism was just perfect – sunny and unusually warm for the season.
Over eighty members and visitors gathered on the shores of Lake Simcoe to witness the water baptism of three young souls – Jacob, Marta, and Irina (Ina). The baptism was performed by pastors Marian Sirbu and Walter Lukic with the assistance of pastors Dorin Burca and David Zic. In the service that followed at the Toronto Church, the three young members were received into the church fellowship. Pastor David Zic exhorted the new members to take the rights and duties of the church membership seriously and to use every gift given them by God to support the body of Christ in its mission. The program was enriched by beautiful instrumental and vocal music. The brethren felt that this wonderful event in some way substituted for the annual conference.
This summer our church in Eastern Canada faced a major trial, yet the fall brought much joy. We express deep gratitude to the Lord for restoring health to our brethren, and particularly for bringing into His fold three young, dedicated souls. Our experience could be well expressed by the words of prophet Isaiah: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” ( ).