If I (John) could only come to India for one day on these visits, I would insist that it be convention Sunday. There is so much rich and glorious worship, fellowship, love and encouragement packed into one day. It is the sweetest exhaustion that we go to rest with tonight.
Baptism: I will never get over the weight and joy of the baptism celebrations here. To describe it in writing would not do the experience justice. I imagine that watching a video even leaves something missing. The totality of the experience heralds authentic submission, elated union, and corporate sanctification.
Continue reading “The Climax of Convention Sunday”
This morning we arrived at the college for our last convention session. It was a very pleasant morning. I suppose it was only 75 degrees rather than the normal 90 degree mornings we have been having.
As usual we were greeted with giant smiles and warm hand-shakes, along with the usual “praise God” salutation which is the only English most of them speak.
They were in the midst of the baptism class when we arrived. We noticed that some of them where those who had made a decision for the Lord the previous evening. As soon as the class was over we went down to the third terrace level where they had a concrete outdoor baptismal filled with smoky brown water. It was almost impossible to make my way to the baptismal as the believers had crowded around it and filled the staircases that descend to that level. Babu was shouting for me to come down but I really had to struggle through the crowd to get to him.
Just before we started, they determined that the baptismal was filled too deeply for a couple of the young girls who were being baptized. So two men quickly took to bailing water from the pool to lower the level. Babu and I entered the baptism which was set into the ground. This put us at about foot level with the others watching and as you looked up from there in almost every direction people were clinging to the sides of the building and terrace wall from staircases.
All were singing joyously a praise song as we gathered around to start the baptism. It was moving to feel the energy and enthusiasm for this solemn event.
One by one the new believers walked into the baptismal, declared their faith in Jesus and their Lord and Savior. We prayed for each one before and after and the believers sang songs of praise as they came and went from the baptismal.
One particular girl who was baptized today was a orphan that Babu took in when she was 5 years old. I believe she is 14 now and they have recently found her mother and she has accepted Christ now as well. It was such a Holy experience! All of the girls who were baptized changed in to wedding dresses to symbolize that they have become the bride of Christ in the church. Several were quietly crying as they publicly committed their lives to Jesus. It was difficult to hold back the tears with them.
Following the baptism we held our last convention worship service. We took this opportunity to say our good-byes to the group, express our appreciation for welcoming us to their convention, and share our hopes and prayers for them as we part ways. We prayed to bless several new pastors and missionaries. We prayed with several families. And we must have had our pictures taken 1000 times.
It was sad as we drove away to have lunch with Babu’s family. We all hope that God has it in his will for us to return.
Today we had a wonderful day of worship. We started at 10:00 a.m. and ended at 2:00 p.m. No one left early to catch the football game. In fact it seemed the longer we worshipped the more powerful it got.
Probably the most stricking thing of the morning was the baptism. It was emotional. It was hard to keep the tears back watching people confess their belief in the Lord. After the baptism the girls wore dresses that resembled wedding dresses. We have a picture up on the “Pictures” page.
It is a great reminder that when we come into the Church through the blood of Jesus we become his loving bride. We wait for bridegroom to return so that we can be with Him.
Come Lord Jesus, come!