Discovering Revelation: Kelli’s Baptism and Unexpected Reunion

By Georgia Schulze -  March 1, 2024


Discovering Revelation: Kelli's Baptism & Unexpected Reunion

God works in ways that we cannot imagine. 


Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-known and often quoted verse in which God reveals His thoughts toward His children. He says they are, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give [them] a future and a hope.” This is a beautiful promise and one that becomes even more amazing when God’s thoughts and plans are personally experienced. Recently, the Kalamazoo church witnessed God’s hand working in the life of one specific individual as she was led to truth and to her new church family. 

Pastor Moise Ratsara recalls arriving extra early for the first night of the Discovering Revelation series. After working on preparations for about 30 minutes, he noticed a car pulling into the church parking lot. Pastor Ratsara didn’t know it at the time, but the driver of that car, Kelli, was going to be the subject of an incredible story, one which would serve as a testament to God’s love and guidance.  

Introductions took place between Kelli and Pastor Ratsara, and Kelli explained that she was looking forward to the seminar that evening. She was aware she was 40 minutes early, but was willing to wait, and eager to learn more about the book of Revelation. Pastor Ratsara and several other members were immediately curious about how Kelli had learned about the meetings and what had led her to the Kalamazoo church. This was an especially interesting part of the conversation to them because although the church had been advertising both through online media and mailed flyers, there had been difficulties with the mailed materials. Many of the handbills had not arrived at their intended addresses. It was a surprise, then, when Kelli revealed she had received one of the flyers in the mail. Looking back, Pastor Ratsara states, “As far as we know, she wasn’t supposed to get a flyer, but she got a flyer and the flyer had all the information, my picture, everything.” 

When Kelli reflects on her experience with God before the seminars, she says that although she had “always had a relationship with God,” it was “not necessarily the right one, or in the right way.” She was consistently looking for more, looking for truth, and looking for a loving church family. “There was always something keeping me out of the church. Nothing would draw me there.” When she looked at the mailer, and read that the topic was Revelation, she was more than eager to attend and see what the seminar was all about. The flyer was a special invitation to Kelli and offered an opportunity for her to explore Revelation in a way that she had always wanted to.  

That first night, Kelli received a very warm welcome. Kelli says, with great emphasis, “Those people made me feel like I had been coming there for years! I was greeted, [and] I was welcomed.” Almost immediately, the Kalamazoo church felt like the home she had been searching for. The Kalamazoo church couldn’t have agreed more. Pastor Ratsara mentions specifically the connection between Alma, one member of the church and Kelli, saying, “Alma sat with her…through all the studies and everything.”  

The comfortable and accepting atmosphere of the church, the companionship of the members, and the well-presented message by Pastor Ratsara were all tools God used to help Kelli find the truth she had been longing for.   

Kelli continued to attend the series faithfully, asking more questions and making more comments. Pastor Ratsara notes with awe, “We were just amazed that every question she asked would be [answered] in the next presentation.” It was as if the presentations had been written specifically for Kelli. 

When Pastor Ratsara made an appeal for baptism, Kelli was interested, and she began attending baptismal classes with the same fervor she had during the Discovering Revelation seminars. Throughout the entirety of the classes, God guided conversations, and Kelli became confident in her choice to commit her life to the Lord through baptism. Pastor Ratsara explains that although several dates had been considered for the baptism, earnest prayer led them to choose November 4th, 2023, as the Sabbath Kelli would officially become part of the Kalamazoo church family.    

This decision came with yet another choice for Kelli. Some members of her family did not share her beliefs regarding Adventism. Although this was to be a joyous occasion, and one she was whole-heartedly ready for, Kelli made the difficult decision not to tell any of her family. Kelli, however, along with the entire Kalamazoo church, was in for another incredible demonstration of God’s interest in the lives of His children.  

The week of November 4th, Kelli’s father, a longtime Adventist, had been mulling over an idea. Longing for his daughter to become closer in her walk with Jesus, and unaware that Kelli had taken baptismal classes, he decided to gift his Bible to her along with a copy of the current Sabbath School quarterly. At the time, however, he didn’t have a quarterly. His thoughts were led to the Kalamazoo church where he had once attended. Pastor Ratsara refers to this part of the story saying, “Only God can do this!” 

Kelli’s father determined that the Kalamazoo church would be the perfect place to retrieve a quarterly. He decided that if his son was ready for church on Sabbath morning, they would attend their usual church, however, if his son was not ready, it would be a sign that he should go to the Kalamazoo church.  

On the morning of Sabbath, November 4, Kelli’s father had his answer–his son wasn’t going to attend church that day. With the ultimate intent of acquiring a quarterly for his daughter, Kelli’s father headed to Kalamazoo. When he pulled into the parking lot, he was puzzled to see his daughter’s car. Inquisitively, he entered the church and sat down. Pastor Ratsara comments, “The next time he sees his daughter is when she’s in a baptismal gown.”  

Unaware of her father’s presence, a newly baptized and spiritually revived Kelli joyfully made her way to the back of the church. Moments later, Kelli heard what seemed to be a familiar voice outside the changing room. When she exited the room she saw the loving face of her father.  According to Kelli, they “hugged and cried and laughed.” Instead of giving her his Bible as he originally intended, Kelli’s father was able to present her with her baptismal certificate. There, in her new church home, with her heart closer than ever to her Heavenly Father, Kelli was welcomed to the Adventist faith by her earthly father.  

There is one more detail that supports this incredible story. About halfway through the Discovering Revelation Series, Kelli and Pastor Ratsara discovered that Kelli’s father had brought her to the Kalamazoo church as a child. To the amazement of all involved, Sharon, one of the first to greet Kelli at the meetings, had also welcomed her years before. Kelli’s relationship with the Kalamazoo church had come full circle. Small, yet significant pieces of Kelli’s story reminder her that God has always had a plan for her.   

Kelli is excited to continue her journey, growing in her relationship with God and with her new church family. The Kalamazoo church is excited to have Kelli as a part of their family as well. The whole experience exemplifies God’s special plan for each individual and how He is working to fulfill those plans through each and every detail of our lives. As Pastor Ratsara reflects, “God works in ways that we cannot imagine.”