So now that you have a little bit of background I can move to the middle, about the power of Psalm 116 in my life. And this is sort of the crux of my current assignment, relating something I’ve learned in my current class, Old Testament Survey, to something relevant now. As I wracked my brain ablout what to do, realizing I couldn’t really use what I had been working on when I tried to take the class at a different school, I was just coming up blank. Then I started thinking about how I really got here, to the place where I have to do such a project, and what REALLY affected me on the path. (And was it from the Old Testament!?) And I thought of my baptism.
I was sprinkle baptized as an infant, though I had to go back to the church where it happened because when I asked my Mom about it, she couldn’t remember. They found me in “The Big Book,” and even gave me a certification that it had happened. But now, in my new life in Christ, I felt the need to publically profess my faith and get the full dunk. While there is great contoversy, the form of baptism really doesn’t matter, in fact, in extreme situations, it doesn’t even need to happen. Consider the thief on the cross next to Jesus at His crucifiction. The man said, “Remember me,” and Jesus told him that by the faith of his statement he would reside in Heaven.
OK, so that was a baby bunny trail, now back to my point, a public declaration of my faith. I felt I wanted to do it, I felt I needed to do it, but where and when, exactly, were questions spinning in my mind. At my home church, the church that my Grandmother (yes, the Gramma from post number one) was brought up in, and her parents and their parents as well? (That whole story is for a different post, but quite a story it is!!) Or someplace else, sometime else?
Alright, I guess I need to go down another bunny trail to give you enough background to understand, really, where I was at during this time. You see, the whole reason I was even at this church was because a drinking buddy of mine went on a mission trip to Africa. It was conversations with him about where he went and what he did and why, that made me start questioning where I was at in life, and what was I really doing and why. And it was through those conversations, both before he left and after he got back that I started thinking that maybe I was missing out on something. Maybe, just maybe, there was something more “out there” for me. And in one of those conversations he talked about this little church that they went to in the town of Kigoma, Tanzania. It was one room, but full of happy, loving people. One of the things they did on their trip was to encourage the people of that church, worshipped with them, prayed with them, sang and danced with them. And it was amazing to me that this guy that I had known since high school would do something like that, and I was intrigued.
So now, we take a giant leap forward. Don’t worry, I’ll backtrack and fill in a lot of the gaps I’m creating, but this tme, rather than hopping down a bunny trail, we just got sucked into a worm hole and we’re catepulting ahead in time. It’s five years later, and I’m in Kigoma, Tanzania. As I said above, I’d been thinking about getting baptized so I could make my public declaration of being a follower of Christ, but I didn’t know by whom, when or where. Then it struck me, since it was my buddy’s trip to Tanzania that started my on my path, wouldn’t it be cool to get baptized in Africa?!! As I talked about it with the guy who runs the ministry we went to help, (Joy in the Harvest), he thought it would be a great idea. That little, one room church in Kigoma just happens to be the only United Methodist church in Tanzania with a full dunk baptismal!! And so my baptism was planned to be a part of that mission trip….
To be continued….