Mekhi Bramucci decided to leave Christianity when he was a teen, but he did not leave religion. He began a spiritual search, and when he graduated, he announced he would be leaving Adventism. Shortly after, he started practicing New Age theology.
But his mother, Nicole Harvey-Williams, the Seaside Community Adventist Church pastor in Seaside, California, never gave up praying for him. She continued to beg God to help her son. While praying, she finally pleaded with God, “I did everything I can. What more do you want me to do?” The response she felt from God was Leave him alone. “For me, that meant, ‘I’ve got him. I’ll take care of him.’ That gave me some comfort. I knew God would take care of him,” said Williams.
God did not leave Bramucci alone. Bramucci continued to struggle with his religious views, wanting to find more out of religion but not knowing where to turn. Bramucci lived in New York City while Williams lived in California, but they would communicate often. Williams would send her son messages of comfort through texts or phone calls. She mentioned to her son once that God is following him. He could not get away from God. God loves him and has a plan for him.
The belief that God wouldn’t leave him alone continued to be evidenced in Bramucci’s life. Once when he was on the subway in New York City, Bramucci was feeling depressed, crying to himself. He called his mother and told her, “Mom, I’m not doing too well.”
“While I was listening on the phone,” Williams explained, “I heard a lady come out of nowhere who said to him, ‘Dig deeper. Dig deeper. You’re looking on the surface. Dig deeper.’ I knew that was God. I asked him who she was, and he said, ‘Oh. A homeless lady.’”
Bramucci dug deeper. He began reading the Bible and asking questions. He gave up some of the habits and practices that were holding him back. He would have hours of studying on the phone with his mother. “Then one day he said, ‘Hey, Mom. I want to get baptized, and I want you to do it.’” Williams was shocked and relieved.
Fill Every Baptistry
Conference-wide baptisms are one more item that has been affected by the difficult pandemic. This is due to the fact that outreach programs decreased during the pandemic, there have been fewer people attending church, and there has been more focus on immediate problems.
But addressing a complicated problem like COVID’s effect on outreach requires multiple steps, and the Central California Conference took one of those steps recently. The Fill Every Baptistry program encouraged the churches to simply fill their baptismal tanks on a specific date twice a year so they were ready for a baptism, regardless of whether or not they had a baptismal candidate.
The program was launched last December, and the conference provided financial assistance and training programs to the churches to encourage them. Antonio Huerta, vice president for Mission and Ministries for the Central California Conference, explained, “In October of last year, we launched the idea of setting up a specific day to have every baptistry throughout our conference territory filled with water. Whether we have baptisms or not is up to the congregation, the pastor, and the work of the Holy Spirit—but the idea is: Let’s have every baptistry filled on a particular date.”
They scheduled training seminars, preaching seminars, and evangelistic programs to encourage churches and help members and leaders with the program. There are approximately 150 churches in the conference, and about 90-95 churches were involved. This resulted in over 200 baptisms last December, and the program was held again this April.
One of the baptisms on April 30 was Mekhi Bramucci, and his mother baptized him. “When you’re controlled by God, nothing can ever stop you from being who you’re supposed to be,” Bramucci said. “Out of all my years searching, I never felt such love in my life before. I no longer live my life for myself; I live it for God. I’d rather be a servant to the Most High than a slave to things I can’t even see.”
The Fill Every Baptistry program will be held again this fall. It is planned to be conducted twice a year and will include preaching and evangelism to prepare for the event. The next Fill Every Baptistry event will be at the end of this coming October.
By Brennon Hallock