In short – 2 different days, 230 Pal men, women, and teenagers declared publicly their faith in Jesus Christ.
During the first half of this year we taught through the book of Acts sharing with the Pal people how God’s gospel spread from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. They eagerly listened (and many read it for themselves) as the gospel spread and thousands of people, Jews and Gentiles, heard God’s Word, believed, and were baptized.
As we finished up the book of Acts in August we taught about what the act of baptism meant – obedience to our Lord, the picture of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection which we now share with Him (Romans 6), and the public declaration that we now stand with Jesus. We taught again and again over the next little while about baptism, working with the Pal people to throw out the old false beliefs and grasp a hold of the truth of God’s Word.
Most of the people in our area had been baptized as infants, and the belief – prior to God’s Word entering their lives – was that they were saved through that act of baptism. Then we invited the people to come talk to us if they desired to be baptized, and oh did they come.
We met with many people, listening to their testimonies, rejoicing with them for what God had done in their lives, and discipling them further in the truth. It was wearing and tiring and there were days I did not want to speak with another person, but the Lord carried us through and on November 1, one hundred forty people were baptized. Rain poured on us during the baptisms but few people ran for shelter as the light of God that filled them from the inside was all the warmth and comfort they needed despite being wet and cold.
In the days following the baptisms we thought about the few believers who had been sick, and a few who had been away at the time, and missed getting baptized. So, we decided it would not be much trouble to zip down to the creek following Church some Sunday and see those few get baptized.
We made an announcement and invited any others who were interested to come talk to us, fully expecting not more than ten or twenty more people to be baptized. We were blown away and overwhelmed as over one hundred more people came and talked to us sharing their faith in Jesus Christ. Some we had to ask to wait and continue to listen to God’s Word as they lacked an understanding of salvation by grace through faith alone and a relationship with our almighty creator, but many clearly professed an understanding of the gospel of God’s grace and exhibited a relationship with their Heavenly Father. On November 29, another ninety Pal people were baptized.
Now our goal was not and is not to see every Pal man women and child baptized. Our desire is to see them enter into a relationship with their Maker and grow in that relationship as He remakes them in the likeness of His Son. We are rejoicing in the declaration that so many have made but please pray for them that it does not end there for them. There is much work to be done, and we know that they are in the hands of our all-powerful all-knowing God. Pray that they will rest in those hands and allow His will to be done in their lives.