When Aidan Siano’s buddies finally persuaded him to join them at Prestonwood Students Beach Camp this summer, they never imagined they would help transform a family.
“Going (to Beach Camp) was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” said Aidan, a 15-year-old student at Prosper High School. “I went to church a couple of times, but honestly, it was because my friends were nagging me about Beach Camp that I said I’d go.”
Aidan Siano is baptized by Junior High Associate Kevin Flattmann in the Gulf of Mexico during Beach Camp.
But once he arrived on Okaloosa Island near Fort Walton Beach, things began to change. He was surrounded by his Christian friends, taking in the messages and soaking in the worship, hearing clearly about the meaning of salvation. And then Aidan made the most important decision of his life: asking Jesus to be his Lord and Savior.
Soon after, David Siano received a completely unexpected text from his son.
“Aidan said, ‘I want to be baptized. Is that OK?’” David recalled. “I was happy for him, very happy.”
So Aidan joined the other 59 students and waded into the Gulf of Mexico to be baptized by Prestonwood Students ministers. They turned to face the shoreline, and one-by-one, they slipped beneath the surface and then rose again, having made a public profession of their newness of life.
Aidan’s friends went wild.
“That’s what really touched me—they all cried and I just felt like they’d been trying to get me there for so long, and I finally did, and it was such a special moment,” Aidan said. “And they just mobbed me with hugs and stuff.”
Kevin Flattmann, Junior High Associate at the North Campus, helped baptize Aidan.
Aidan Siano celebrates with his father, David Siano, after David was baptized recently during Worship Service at the North Campus.
“Man, it was great! It was awesome,” Kevin said a few days later. “Aidan was thrilled to death; he was just ecstatic! He got out of the water and bear-hugged me!
“I’ve been praying for this family for over a year,” Kevin said. “I reached out to Aidan and tried to get him to come to church—I’ve known him since junior high and I met his dad 10 months ago. I invited them and invited them, and then I told the high school boys that I’ve done all the inviting I could do.
“I told them, ‘You need to get him to camp.’ All the boys, they were thrilled.”
Aidan’s decision sparked something in his dad, too.
“We come from a not-very-religious background,” David said, “and I’ve had my struggles with that. I think I’d been set in my ways. It was easier to do that than to accept that something is going on that I can’t explain.
“But I thought that if one of my kids wanted to (be baptized), maybe it was a great time for me to jump on board.”
So on a recent Sunday morning, with the young minister at his side, David was baptized, as Aidan looked on.
“Aidan was thrilled, overwhelmed to see what had happened to his dad,” Kevin said. “He was completely excited.”
David Siano rejoices with Junior High Associate Kevin Flattmann after his baptism.
Kevin added that the family has quickly become engaged in the life of the church as David prepared to go to New York to help with the High School Student Worship Ministry Mission Trip.
Beach Camp is undoubtedly one of the most effective opportunities we have to reach students, said Jeff Young, Minister of Spiritual Development. The regular ministry budget at Prestonwood—supported by the tithes and offerings of our members—helps pay for Beach Camp, which otherwise would be cost-prohibitive, he said. Knowing that some students still may not be able to afford the cost, members with a heart for this ministry make it possible by providing scholarship funds.
The Student Ministry also challenges its students to take a step of faith and invite friends.
“One of the major goals is to get students to bring unchurched, lost kids with them, so they can meet Christ for the first time,” Jeff said.
This year, he said, God moved in a profound way, and students such as Aidan made life-transforming decisions.
Asked if he felt differently, Aidan immediately said yes.
“I’m happier now, knowing that I’ll get to spend eternity with Jesus in heaven,” he said.
“It’s a heck of a feeling!”