Yesterday morning we looked through the fence as we went by –fair week –and reminisced about how exciting it used to be when the kids were little and we paid way too much for them to wait too long in line for a few carnival rides.
In the evening, we drove to Flathead Lake (the biggest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi) for a baptismal service. On a long stretch of private beach, we stood in a circle while our senior pastor explained this first step of obedience to Christ, being submerged like Christ in death and raised to walk in new life.
My preacher husband entered the water, followed by our senior pastor, and in tandem they baptized fifteen people.
The newly baptized believers dripped lake water, and I dripped tears.
This is better than the fair.
And I remembered a hot day on the shore of Lake Victoria, when we waited patiently for the longhorns to leave the area before our team baptized over 90 Ugandans who had called Jesus Lord that week.
The Ugandans lived barely an hour from this beautiful lake, but most of them had never been to it because they couldn’t afford the taxi fair and couldn’t afford a day off work earning money for food. There’s no summer fun camping along the lake shores in Kampala. Just trying to live so you can eat for the day.
They lined up, men and women. The pastors raised right hands and said, I baptize you, my sister…I baptize you, my brother…in the name of Christ.
Down they went.
Up they came, wiping eyes and looking happier than teenagers walking off a roller coaster.
I stood shin dip in Lake Victoria and gave instructions until the dozens of Africans were soaking wet. Then I walked up the hill to where everyone was waiting, and I stopped breathing when I saw all of those Africans on their knees in the red dirt, sobbing and crying out joyful thanks to the Lord.
It was the same feeling at Flathead Lake. A mom was baptized. A dad was baptized. They stood close to the pastor while he baptized their son right there in between them.
One woman leaned over to me and said, Makes me want to be baptized all over again, just for the joy of it.
That’s me in the hat.
Definitely better than the fair.
“…the dead are raised…” (Matthew 11:15 NIV)
Sometimes we just need to reminisce. I would love to hear your baptism story!