One summer while attending Bible School in the late 1960’s, I accepted a three-month summer ministry in a local church in a citrus-growing farm area in Southern, California. Not knowing anything about ministry, I decided to go from farm to farm to invite people to church and look for opportunities to share the Good News of Christ.
At the very first farm I came to, Don, the owner of the property, came to the door, and I introduced myself as the Summer Intern of the local church. He immediately became very angry, started swearing and demanded that I leave his property. As I walked off, I thought “This is crazy.” I turned around and said “This is very embarrassing. I am new to ministry, and the very first door I come to inviting you to church, I get cussed at, and asked to leave. I didn’t do anything. What’s wrong?”
He calmed down some and explained how he hated the local church because they treated the former pastor (one of his friends) very badly.
As he talked, his anger subsided, and soon we were inside the house, having coffee. He introduced me to his wife, Lisa, who was bed-ridden dying of cancer. She was as bitter as he was. She was angry at the church, and also very bitter because of her illness. We talked for awhile, and I asked if I could read them some Scripture and pray for her. Reluctantly they agreed. I prayed, read from God’s Word and then left.
I returned a few days later and began to make it a daily stop, especially around coffee time. We continued to read, and Don and Lisa would ask me to read certain portions of Scripture. After about three weeks, Lisa came to faith in Christ and really began to grow in her faith. After several weeks of studying the Scripture together, Lisa suddenly announced she wanted to be baptized, not sprinkled, but to “go all the way under.”
I was perplexed. “Lisa, you can’t get out of bed. Your skin is very sensitive to the touch and no one can touch you because of the pain. How can we baptize you?”
She insisted that she wanted to be baptized and her husband wanted to find a way to do it. Her church was a Community Church and did not have a baptistry, but there was a church about 30 miles away that did have one, so the leaders of the church arranged to use it on a Sunday afternoon.
Several others had come to faith in Christ and wanted to be baptized. We had a wonderful service. When it came to Lisa’s turn, the ambulance drivers picked her up from the stretcher, put her in my arms, and I carried her down into the baptistry holding her as carefully as I could. Because of her pain, I could not move Lisa around much, so I decided to go under the water with her.
When I said, “I baptize you in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” both of us went under.
So, I have been baptized two times. What about you?
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, nasb). He commanded us to be baptized to symbolize the death and burial of our old way of life and our resurrection to new life with Christ.
Lisa went to Glory several weeks later in extreme pain, but rejoiced in Christ. She desired to obey Christ in all things she could think of to bring glory to Him, and her courageous baptism expressed love for the Savior in all that He had done for her! May we follow her excellent example of obedience to the glory of God!