Heaven rejoices when we surrender our hearts to Jesus; so, it was double the celebration on Sabbath, September 26, 2020, when sisters Rihanna and Tiara Freeman confirmed their commitment to follow God by getting baptized into the Rutland church in Rutland, Vermont. The Freeman sisters have now added to the growing list of newly-baptized members to have recently joined the church. Tom Ferguson, the church’s newly-appointed pastor, performed both ceremonies.
In getting baptized, Rihanna and Tiara followed in the footsteps of their guardians, Ron and Cindy McFarland, who were baptized into the church in October 2019. Cindy McFarland expressed immense satisfaction in seeing the sisters dedicate their hearts to God. “I am so proud,” she said. “Rihanna and Tiara have been with me since they were babies. I am blessed to have raised two lovely ladies that love the Lord.”
For months leading up to their baptisms, church members Mike and Heather Yendell studied with the sisters to prepare them for their walk with God. Both were ready to get baptized from early Spring, but their ceremonies were delayed due to a number of interferences which led the Yendells to believe that the devil was trying to discourage them.
Problems and challenges beset the sisters, ranging from not being able to fellowship in person with like-minded believers due to the pandemic, to a death in the family, and a series of other personal issues. But Rihanna and Tiara remained resolute, fulfilling the words of Jesus in John 16:33 (NKJV): “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
The sisters entered the baptismal pool smiling as they confirmed their commitment to walk with God. They described the experience as “amazing,” and expressed joy and happiness to know that Jesus loves them and died to save them from a sin-cursed world. The Yendells are equally happy. “Rihanna and Tiara were our first baptismal candidates. Both girls enjoyed the studies we did with them and it was apparent that Ron and Cindy had been studying with them. Having Bible studies with Rihanna and Tiara was a blessing to both of us,” Mike Yendell said.
—Karrie Etzler, communication secretary, Rutland church