Remember Sebastien from last Saturday’s post? He’s the young man who got married and with whom I stood as witness. Well, as good as it was for him to get married… his week got even better!
Service and Dinner
This was the last Sunday that Sébastien and Ting-Ting would be with us for a couple of months before heading to China to be with her family. As such, we wanted to have them over for dinner to squeeze out a bit more time with them.
Dinner was raclette and one of the elder ladies of the church joined us as well. Since Liz brought back a waffle iron from Belgium, waffles were on the menu for dessert (first time in months… someone say amen!). As the kids played outside Sébastien asked me, “Do you think you’d have a bit more time later this afternoon?”
His request sort of surprised me a bit because they were to leave the next day and I supposed that they’d have a good deal more things to prepare prior to their departure. “Sure,” I said “What’s on your mind?”.
He responded that he thought maybe we could spend a bit more time in prayer and then asked what I’d think about him being baptized…
Off to the Lake
There was no question as to how I felt. He has been extremely diligent about preparing himself spiritually, searching out God’s word, etc. I knew that he knew what baptism was about. Still, he went around the room and asked if we thought he was ready… there was no doubt in any of us… next thought… where?
The baptistry at church doesn’t have a built-in tap so it must be filled in advance, using a hose, and then a heating element installed for several hours in order to make it comfortable.
There was a bathtub upstairs but Sébastien is long, lean & lanky… he might not fit comfortably so… one fairly simple option left, the lake. I called Asst. Pastor Christian Kabasele (pictured with Sébastien & I) so that he & his family could meet us there.
The lake and the attached forest are a haven for Châtellerault residents on a beautiful Sunday afternoon… people flock there; but no one else was there to do what we were planning to do…
Since it’s a fairly shallow lake, we walked out until it was about knee deep, he sat and I got down on one knee beside him. We baptized him in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins as instructed by Peter in Acts 2.38 and he literally bounded up out of the water, praising God and thanking Him for making him “tout blanc” (all white). Spiritually speaking, all of his sins were washed away and he felt the lightness of spirit that remission brings.
Newness of Life
To someone who has spent a lot of time carrying baggage (and we all carry baggage) the lightness of having been able to unload all that weight is incredible. It was definitely visible in his reaction. Romans 6.4 explains it pretty well…
By being baptized, we were buried with Christ into his death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father’s glory. And like Christ we also can live a new life. (Romans 6.4, NIRV)
His reaction reminded me of another verse, this time Acts 3.8 where another man had his life completely changed by the power of Jesus; things he’d dealt with for years and years. His reaction?
And he, leaping up, stood, and walked, and entered with (Peter and John) into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3.8, KJV)
There’s no other word to describe the feeling of being part of this baptism. Of course nothing can top being able to have baptized each of my three kids, but aside from those… this one was incredibly special.
- Our first one in France
- My first one in “open water”
- Sunny & 27 degrees, late afternoon – early evening…
An already great day was capped off so incredibly by experiencing the unfiltered joy of someone experiencing for the first time, complete forgiveness of sin… There’s nothing like it! (…until God fills him with His Spirit)
Thinking of getting involved in missions? This is the kind of thing that you could find yourself involved in and I guarantee… it’s so worth it!
To all of you who support us financially and/or prayerfully… Thank you! …Thank you for helping us be part of what God did this week in Sébastien’s life. Together we are truly Partners in Mission… Sébastien’s victory is your victory as well.