A Laborious Baptism
Did you ever think you helped strengthen the faith of new believers in the Middle East this month? A very special family came to faith after hearing a radio broadcast. After learning more about their new faith in Christ, they asked to be baptized, and plans were made.
But this baptism didn’t happen easily, or even well, some would observe. You might say it was like giving birth; one labour pain at a time. As one of our team said about the day of the baptism, “It was wonderful and it was terrible; nothing went as planned!” Nothing. The opposition was so bad it was quite noticeable. Our entire team and their families fell ill for the better part of last month as the baptism was being planned. Confusion seemed to reign. A new baptism tank ordered two months before, was not just delayed, it was constructed incorrectly with TWO bars welded crossways making it impossible for anyone but a small child to climb over and get inside the tank! It was much heavier than planned, and too big to fit through the doors to the room where the baptism was originally planned, so the men had to drag into another building. It arrived on the day of the baptism an hour before the service. The baptism was almost called off, fearing the heater which had been hand carried from the US wouldn’t have time to heat the water. It seemed this family wouldn’t be baptized after all.
But the service, which now consisted of the several more, was held and the singing began. Later, as John Cook preached, someone brought in a welding torch and one of the men fired it up cutting through the metal obstacle course. Our team silently prayed, the baptism class material which Craig and John had shared with the baptism candidates earlier in the week was carefully laid out and gone over; what baptism is, who should be baptized, how and when should a person be baptized. John went on to share that it is a beautiful symbol of a believer’s death to the old life and to sin, and a resurrection to a brand new life in Christ. To the heart of a cultural concern, he addressed the difference between infant baptism and believer’s baptism which Christ led us in example. The very moment the sermon was finished, miraculously, the tank was ready.
Problems continued, however: As the baptism was being transmitted to the church from the other building, the electronics stopped working for “no reason.” And yes, the water was indeed icy, and yet, no one really cared. Through it all, God brought the victory and got the glory; it was a precious time. Several from the majority religion were baptized and this service signals an answer to many, many prayers. After the service, several asked if they too could be baptized soon. The battle for souls belongs to the Lord, and we praise God for our prayer and support partners – YOU! – who are just as much a part of this and many other victories in ministry; thank you for being a special part of this day.