By: Ely Lagajino
And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also…the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)
Adventist faith begins its ministry in the town of Sorsogon, during the 1930s. The evangelistic opening night becomes a disaster because of the stones thrown on the tent.
The next day, the preacher requests for a security guard—a robust, almost six-footer officer from the Philippine Constabulary (PC) dispatch in the area. News spread about the presence of the security officer of the tent meeting. He has quite a reputation; people in the town of Sorsogon tremble at the mention of his name, Sgt. Saturnino Lagajino, who happens to be my lolo or grandfather.
The second meeting ends peacefully. Every night the tent meeting is jam-packed as Sgt. Satur sits at the back guarding while listening to the preacher.
After three months, many accept the truth through baptism, including the stone-throwers. Sgt. Satur is convinced of his newfound faith too, even if he does not join the baptism.
Later he gets assigned to a dangerous mission so he goes to the Adventist head office in Bicol and requests for baptism. Since the preacher is on vacation, he asks for anybody to baptize him, but the pastors present hesitate. They urge him to undergo rigid Bible study, but the soldier explains that he attended the meetings.
“If you don’t baptize me today, I’m sure God will judge you if I die in my mission, “as he picks up his long rifle and leaves. Almost simultaneously a pastor comes running toward the office and shouts, “Sir, wait, we will baptize you.” They proceed to Legaspi beach.
Right after baptism, Sgt. Lagajino continues his mission. He finds a suspect hiding behind a house trembling in fear of the Sergeant while holding his powerless “anting-anting”, a talisman or magical amulet.
“If only I knew what baptism could do to my enemies I should have requested a special baptism in the middle of the meeting,” my Lolo declared. Soon he offers his house just beside the PC compound as temporary SDA church where members met for twenty years.
Soon the PC commandant assigns to him all criminals with “anting-anting.”