Okay, so a former prostitute, a motorcycle taxi driver, and a missionary kid walk into a baptist church . . .
Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke right? Wrong! It was anything but a joke today when that unlikely group publicly acknowledged their professions of faith by following their Lord in baptism. Each of the 14 people that were baptized today has such a different story to tell, and each have been saved from a variety of sins, but today they were all equal as they stepped into the same baptismal waters in obedience to their Savior.
Today was a special day for our church and ministry because it was the first time that we had used the new baptistry that has recently been built. After spending years of baptizing in small pools, rivers, and other offsite locations, it was great to finally be baptizing in our own church. Of course it was especially special to us because our son, Carson, was being baptized. But not only that, it was also special to us, because a number of others that we love and have worked hard to see saved were also baptized in those same waters today. (Click the pictures to enlarge them)
One of those special people was the first baptism of someone that has been reached through our “Brownie Night.” Back when we were in the States in the fall, we received a txt message from one of the school teachers and she told us that Geraldo had gotten saved! It has been great to see him faithfully attending church and being discipled and learning so much week by week. We are excited to see how God uses Geraldo in the future.
Another person that got baptized today is one of our dear friends and a huge help to our family, Morena. Morena has been helping us pretty much since the day we moved here. She is basically a nanny to our girls and helps Julia around the house so that Julia can be more involved with ministry and has time to learn Spanish. Morena has become a VERY special person to our family and has really become part of our family. Almost exactly a year ago to the day, she accepted Christ as her Savior and it has been a real blessing to watch her grow. It took her some time to fully understand and embrace baptism, as she has a Roman Catholic background and wanted to make sure that she understood everything before she stepped into the baptismal waters. After several months of working with her and daily watching her read her Bible that Julia gave her, she was finally ready to follow her Lord in baptism today. We were so happy for her and excited to see her growth.
Also, one of Carson’s good friends from church got baptized today. Sebastian is the son of Hector and Odalis, who have been very good and kind to our family since we moved here almost 2 years ago. Almost every week for the past 6 months, we have gotten together with their family on Thursday nights to spend time getting to know them, and working on our Spanish. It sure was a blessing to see this young man and good family friend follow the Lord in Baptism.
The first week we moved here, we hired a man come and install 2 small air conditioners in the kids rooms. He brought a young man with him to help him, named Wester. Since we had only been here for a couple of days, we basically spoke zero Spanish, but we did our best to invite Wester to church. He told us that he would like to come. To our surprise, Wester showed up and after many weeks of sporadically coming to church and multiple visits from different missionaries and church members, Wester accepted the Lord as his Savior. He too came from a RC background and wanted to really make sure he knew what he was doing before he was baptized, so today he was ready and followed his Savior in baptism. Please pray for Wester’s wife, she has not yet been able to break free from her RC upbringing and has yet to follow her husband’s lead and accept Jesus as her personal Savior.
Another baptism that was very special to us today was that of one of Steve’s former students, Yosfranchy. Last year when Steve was teaching at the school, he had the privilege to preach in chapel one afternoon. Yosfranchy’s hand went up after he was done preaching when he asked if anyone would like to get saved. Another missionary lady had the privilege of leading Yosfranchy to the Lord and has been working to disciple and mentor her. Yosfranchy too made today the day that she followed her Savior in baptism.
You may remember a blog post from a couple of months ago when I told you about Franci’s salvation. Franci is a motor taxi driver who has become a good friend to us and many others in the ministry here. The other day, I called him because Julia had to go to church early to sing in the praise team and she needed a ride. Franci showed up about 30 minutes early and sat patiently and waited for Julia to get ready. He proceeded to take her to church, but then would not take her money when she tried to pay for the fare. He said that he just wanted to be a blessing and help us by taking her to the church. What a joy it is to see his growth as a Christian and what a blessing to see him follow his Lord in baptism today.
Several more followed the Lord in baptism today as well, including: 3 former prostitutes who were reached through our women’s ministry, a sweet mother named Wendy and a student who were reached through the Palms Christian School, and 2 men who have been reached through the church.
Probably the thing that stuck out the most to me about today’s baptisms was the variety of people and the variety of ways that those people have been reached. It reminds be of the verses in 1 Corinthians 9
18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
Keep praying for Team Dominican, God is working!!