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Potomac Member’s Quiet Witness Leads Seven to Christ
Story by Dan Jensen
All seven members of the Sutherland family ready for baptism.
After watching Rex Hugus, a quiet coworker read his Bible on lunch breaks, Larry Sutherland’s curiosity finally got the best of him. “I finally had to ask Rex some questions,” Sutherland said. “I was intrigued with his background and found his habits to be different from most [people] I worked with,” said Sutherland.
Sutherland, who says he was searching for the truth and a church family, started to spend more time with Hugus, a member of the Potomac Conference’s Pearisburg (Va.) church. He also felt closer to God’s calling. “Of all the things I learned to appreciate about Rex, there is one thing that stands out—every time I would ask him a theological question, he would say, ‘Let’s see what the Bible says about that.’ It’s easy to argue with another person’s opinion—it’s another thing to argue with the Word of God.”
The light shining through Hugus had a slow effect on Sutherland, but soon his family started to take notice. “At first he was really quiet and he said very little about what he was learning,” said his oldest daughter, Matricia. “But we could see the impact those discussions were having on him. One night he just opened up and started sharing the truth he was learning. We all sat in stunned silence.”
As the months went on, the Sutherlands started to have family Bible studies together and attend the Pearisburg church. Soon, Sutherland shared his desire to be baptized and then one by one, each family member acknowledged, they too wanted to be baptized. As they looked back on all the positive changes that had taken place within them, and through them, they all agreed this would only make them a better family.
One can imagine the look of surprise on Pastor Don Elswick’s face when the head elder of the church came up to him the following Sabbath, leaned over and said, “Pastor, would it be possible to baptize the Sutherland family today?”
After speaking more in-depth with the family of seven, it was clearly evident they were all ready for baptism. “I’m so proud of the Pearisburg congregation,” said Elswick. “Rex was used by God to bring the Sutherland family to Christ; the congregation has assumed their role in disciple-making and thus the cycle continues. We are all called to share ‘the testimony of Jesus.’ Edification, exhortation and comfort, that’s what it’s all about.”
Rex Hugus and Pastor Don Elswick flank Larry Sutherland in the baptistery.
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