By Pastor Murray Miller
“Something clicked. It was seared into my mind – there is a God. I’m not alone. It’s mind-blowing thinking about that moment. It was certainly not me deciding there is a God. It was Him saying, ‘I’m here. I found you. Come to me,’” recalled Ethan Conger in his baptismal sermon.
The story of Ethan Conger begins when he was a small child at the Alturas church, one of the conference’s northernmost places of worship. As Conger explained, “I never understood what I was told [at church] or what all of it meant. I drifted away and eventually stopped going altogether.”
Away from a relationship with Jesus, his goal was to be “strong, fast, and as mean as possible” to defeat his opponents, and violence became a way of life.
The Holy Spirit sent Conger on a quest to find the “truths of the earth” after he heard a podcast about the flood. Considering the validity of the worldwide flood led him to “completely re-evaluate every conclusion about how life, my place in the universe, the time we’ve been around – everything shifted! I wasn’t exactly trying to prove the Bible, but it certainly was a biproduct of my journey into the truths of the earth.”
To channel his aggression, Conger advanced his fighting skill and became a professional cage fighter in Redding. He also continued searching for the truth. The Holy Spirit led him to an Adventist family who shared a documentary about Noah based on the Bible. With this newfound truth, he added reading the Bible to his daily activities. He came to realize, “at the very core, we have a God who came down to teach people to love – a God crying out to the world to come to Him!”
Conger reached out to his grandma, Joy Evans, Alturas church head elder, who connected him to his childhood pastor, Bruce Blum, now Angels Camp/Escalon/Manteca district pastor.
Coming full circle, on November 12 at the Alturas church, where Ethan’s journey began, he was baptized.
His journey continues with a calling to ministry; as Conger explained, “I’m dedicating my life to a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Wild, eh? I want more people to experience this. I want people on this train. This is the single greatest thing that I’ve ever experienced. We’re in the last few moments of the world, and everybody needs to know God. It is time to get ready. Get in your Bibles. Do not look back, and remember that God is love!”