Sunday, April 17, 2016

Blessed by Baptism

Last Sunday we baptized two people: Martha Cruz, and my daughter, Sulmi.  I had been talking with both of them for over a month about what baptism means and why we do it.  They were both ready to take this step of faith.

We started at out church where we sang and had testimonies about what God is doing in our lives; words of encouragement or just how we sensed Go walking with us.  Afterwards we always take a short bathroom break, eye break (tough for Deaf to watch for an hour or so) and had a snack and juice.  After about 15 minutes of fellowship we piled into the van with some sitting on laps and headed to the hotel with a pool right up the street.  The owner has been a friend since I came to Belize.  Because we were neighbors...she let us use the pool for the baptism for free.  (How nice!) 
 When we got to the hotel/pool we sang, prayed, and Martha and Sulmi told stories about their faith and made a confession, or acknowledgement of their sins.  For us as Mennonites, baptism is for the remission of sins, but even more than that it is a commitment to walking with Jesus.  On Saturday, the night before her baptism, with tears in her eyes Sulmi said, "I'm not good enough.  Sometimes I get angry.  I'm not mature enough.  I am afraid that I will stray from the Way like many people have done who are already baptized."  What a great conversation we had about never being good enough, about making a commitment, like marriage.  The wedding is not a magic moment that makes the man and woman stay together in a loving relationship forever.  No.  They have to work at it and re-commit to it everyday.  So it is with baptism.  She will need to re-commit to give herself as a living sacrifice to God in thankfulness for his mercy everyday. (Rom.12:1)  Baptism isn't magic.  It isn't something that *poof* makes us holy.  But through our faith we receive God's Spirit and his help to continue in paths of righteousness. So on Saturday night we prayed she could depend on God's spirit to help her keep her commitment...forever and to ask for forgiveness when she fell away.  I thank God for that moment or honest soul searching from Sulmi.

After they shared their testimonies we entered the pool.  Sulmi was first.

 It's a nice pool because the "children's side"is just the right depth....not to shallow and not too deep.  There I told them how I saw them walking with the Lord and encouraged them to continue to grow in faith..and I baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

 Afterwards we all ate picnic peanut butter and jelly, but some wanted cerviche so I ran out and got some.  It's not expensive here $2:50 US for a good portion.
 Then we swam for the rest of the afternoon...and relaxed and just enjoyed being together on a hot day.
 Minelia.  She wanted to be baptized with Martha her friend for 55 years. Minelia is walking very intentionally with God.  But she was raised Catholic.  When I asked her if she wanted to be baptized about 8 months ago, she said yes. Her mother said, "No!" Then her mother died a few months later. Minelia feels that to be baptized would be hurting her mother's wishes.  Although I think adult believer baptism is being obedient to Jesus' commands to be baptized, I also think God in his mercy understands Minelia's heart and knows it is torn between confessing her faith through baptism and her desire to follow her mother's wishes.  I know that God is merciful.  I also know that Minelia is faithful and loves God.
           Some of the women after lunch.

 The teenagers

 Kristel fixing someone's phone.  She's good at that. Nicole is watching.


 I think they are a little big for the baby pool :-)

 This is Zion, Nathanael and Springs 3rd child.

 Abigail and Zephaniah

 Zion on Selah

 Evelin and Alma

 They were very proud to pile up three people high.  Nicole is trying to lift Zion to make it FOUR!

Gineli resting with her phone.

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