Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a Baptism Service!

Sunday was phenomenal. I was privileged to baptize 8-year old Heather Jackson and her grandmother Patricia Watts. In the first picture you see me praying for Heather, then the next two show her baptism.

Mrs. Watts, a wonderfully sweet woman, has breast cancer. Even though her legs were weak, she made the decision to request baptism by immersion. Heather had prayed for some time that her grandmother would come to know Jesus as her Lord and Saviour.

The story of her conversion causes my eyes to well up each time I tell it.

Heather came forward one Sunday about 4-5 weeks ago to make a profession of faith. Because her grandmother who practically raises her was ill and taking chemo, I wanted to schedule the baptism service on a Sunday when she would be more likely to be feeling better.

One afternoon the end of May, I made it to her home with deacon Thurman Brewer, and as we walked into the house, Mrs. Watts was standing in the kitchen with tears running down her face. I asked her what was wrong.

"The last of my hair fell out today." I just hugged her.

After we talked a while about her illness, I prayed with her about it and asked her about a time that would be good for her to schedule Heather's baptism. She decided on Father's Day.

It occurred to me to ask Mrs. Watts what church was tending to her needs. She said there wasn't one. I asked her in what church she was a member, and she said he was married at Mountain Creek years ago. I told her that a church would see to her needs now, but I had a much more important question for her. "Has there ever been a time when you have made a real commitment to ask the Lord Jesus to take control of your life. Have you given yourself to Him?" She answered that she went to church as a little girl and walked the aisle once, but she was not sure where she stood before the Lord.

I led her through Romans from 3:23 to 5:8 to 6:23 to 10:9 showing her how to become a follower of Jesus Christ. She agreed that she needed Christ and wanted to give her life to him right then, so she did! Hallelujah! But that wasn't the end of the story that day.

Little Heather was jumping all around and told me that she had prayed a long time for her grandmother to be saved. As I continued to talk to Pat, Heather offered me some crackers. I told her thank you darling, but I was talking with her grandmother. Maybe later. Then she offered me some juice. I told Heather what a precious hostess she was, but that I was talking with her grandmother right now. Perhaps when we finished. Then out of the blue came, "Mr. Gene, do you not want to have the Lord's Supper with my Granny?"

"Honey, bring those crackers and juice RIGHT NOW!" I said with a smile. She scurried up into the cabinets and came back with four coffee cups, a honey graham cracker which she broke into four equal pieces, and napkins for everyone. She was worried that the white grape juice would not be OK for communion. "Darling, you hold the cups and I'll pour," I told her. Heather said she had wanted to take communion with her grandmother first.

I presented Mrs. Watts to the church which voted to receive her into the community of the redeemed, and we went back to the baptismal pool. Roy Laney, a big strapping Confederate reenactor in the church who works for Granville County Schools to pay the bills, assisted me in the pool. He somehow placed himself strategically out of the photos.

Below you see Mrs. Watts, an example of obedience for many who have not followed Christ's command of believer's baptism, being baptized by immersion.

O happy Day! When Jesus washed my sins away!