Sunday, April 22, 2007

Buried in the Waters of Baptism

A week ago, Monday April 16, Daniel and Suzanne were baptized.

The service was led by Dave Totman, youth pastor at Sahel Academy and for the wider English-speaking community. It came together rather quickly when the Totmans found out they needed to go back to the USA for the birth of their 3rd child.

There were 11 Sahel Academy students and one Peace Corps volunteer baptized. The baptism was held in the back yard pool of a family who graciously opened their home to us. (If you're counting heads...two of the dads with younger kids got in the pool with their kids.)

Pastor Dave explained the whole process of baptism and the seriousness of the event, then the candidates entered the water together. One by one he asked each young person if they had accepted Christ as their Saviour and if they were determined to live for Him. He then baptized them. What a beautiful and vivid picture of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection! Afterwards somebody the young person had chosen prayed individually for them.

Daniel and Suzanne were the last to be baptized. It was an exciting moment for them as well as for Mom and Dad. In the past two years we have seen them growing stronger in their faith and making it their own faith instead of something they do because Mom and Dad do it. So we knew they were ready for this commitment.

At first they had asked John and me to pray for them. But then Gary and Joy Freeman, who we had invited to come, were able to come in from their bush village, so we suggested to Daniel and Suzanne maybe they would want them to pray for them. They agreed that that was a good idea, so we arranged for Gary to pray for Daniel and Joy to pray for Suzanne. That was really cool since they have known Daniel and Suzanne all their lives. In fact, they held Daniel in their arms when he was just a few hours old and Joy and Daniel share a birthday. They've known Suzanne since she was just a few months old.

After the baptism there was a time of fellowship with snacks. Of course! The coolest thing was three young men (two students, one on staff) who were going around praying with each of those who had been baptized.

The baptism was in the afternoon, so later we went out for supper to celebrate. We went to an outdoor Chinese restaurant that has superb food. We turned out to be a big crowd: us, two other sets of parents, and about eleven teens, for a total of about 17 people. There were plenty of tables, but once we all sat down, there weren't many chairs left for other patrons! I had tried to call to warn them we were coming, but they had moved to a new place and I didn't have their new number. I think the waiter (notice waiter, not waiters) was a bit overwhelmed, but he did a great job. As far as I know there was only one meal that didn't show up and one extra bowl of rice that was served.

All in all it was a great day.


Cindy said...

What wonderful news! It is exciting to watch God work through the lifes of our children. We continue to pray for you guys everyday!
Thanks for your encouraging words!
Love Cindy

aunt_gwen said...

thanks so much for visiting my xanga. I hope you'll come back! I recognize some of the photos from your dd's xanga :o) So I'm guessing she is in Africa with you? My daughter Joy is also in Africa right now. She stayed home from college this year to earn the money to fulfill a dream of volunteer at an orphange. She is in Uganda for 4 months and LOVES it. She said if she had enough $$ she would just stay there. About creating without supplies....actually, in the art of "book altering" we usually try to do it with just found objects.....if you can get your hands on an old book that nobody wants and a gluestick, you'll be in business! Then just keep your eyes out for interesting scraps of paper, press some flowers, use markers or crayons and so on.......thanks again for stopping by and may God continue to bless you ministry.

Carol Wilson said...

What a fabulous day that was! Sorry to be so late checking your blog. I'm rejoicing with you.

Dusty Penguin said...

Our children's baptisms is one of the most special moments of our lives. It is exciting to see them take that step of faith on their own. I remember what a huge deal it was for me to decide to be baptized. You got some beautiful photos. I was very impressed about the boys who went around praying with the others. That's beautiful!

Hannatu said...

Yeah! We got baptized together, remember that? It was a very special time, for us and I'm sure for Mom and Dad. I remember Uncle Dave and Aunt Gerry and Jeff and Julie came even though it wasn't at their church as well as Grandma and Grandpa Hall.