Sunday, we had the great privilege of baptizing 4 people: two teenage girls, the mother of one of the teenagers, and one of our Chinese students. All of them have become Christians within the last year.
Two of them shared absolutely beautiful testimonies. One, the mother, explained that when she met our friend Elena Willey about a year ago, she realized that something was different about Elena. She saw God living inside Elena and wanted God to live inside her also.
Our Chinese student explained that when he started attending our church, also about a year ago, God began to change him from the inside out. He noticed that some of his bad habits started to fade away and his attitudes started to improve. Seeing this internal change as a direct result of his involvement in Christian community, he decided that he wanted to commit his life to this God who was already transforming him into a better person.
Last fall, when we had our baptism service, we went to a nearby church with a baptistery in their basement. It was a nice place for a small service, but the room was completely packed with 30 people. Our church has grown quite a bit since then, so we wanted a larger place.
The pastor of True Love Baptist Church contacted me early in the fall to explain that they had built a baptistery on the roof of their church. (Most roofs are flat here.) After I got out there to take a look at the situation, we planned a baptism service for as soon as possible, November 11. I was concerned about the weather because the baptistery is in open air on the roof. It has been steadily progressing into fall, with highs in the 50's and 60's. But the pastor assured us that the water would be heated. I was still nervous. If it were cold or rainy, I was prepared to change the whole thing to a pouring (instead of immersion) service right in our own sanctuary.
But November 11 came, and the weather looked nice, so we went ahead as planned. There was just one catch. The heater system didn't work. They had set it up on Saturday night, expecting it to be ready for Sunday afternoon, but something went wrong, and the water was kind of cold. They brought up pots of boiling water from the kitchen. That helped, but it was still pretty cool.
All in all, though, we had a beautiful service celebrating the new life of Jesus in these four people. This is definitely one of the best parts of being a pastor!
Nathan, who is just visiting Korea for a few weeks, took a slew of pictures. He said his philosophy is quality through quantity, so I'm sure you'll see enough to get a good feel for it all.