For me, getting baptized in the Takutu River was a personal experience which happened on the 16th November, 2014.
“I wasn’t always a Christian, even though I was born in a Christian family. I’ve studied not just the bible, but many religious books for many years, and prayed for years to God for guidance. The decision to get baptized did not come overnight, but as a result of God revealing his signs to my heart. For those of you who are already baptized, I congratulate you; and for those of you who aren’t yet baptized, I’m not telling you to jump into it, but to pray about it.”
That was the testimony I gave at the request of Pastor Jenny.
Pastor Jenny had told me the week before to prepare for the baptism on this day. The morning of November, 16, 2004, when I went to church, we reminded ourselves of the arrangement for 3 O Clock that afternoon. After the church service was over at around 12:30 PM, I went home, had lunch, rested, and then headed back for the church. There, Pastor Jenny, brother David and some other members were waiting for me. When I arrived at the church, the Pastor noticed that I didn’t bring along changing clothes. Indeed, I was going under the water, and my skin would be soaked. I would need some new clothes to change into so as not to drench the car full of water on the way back. The Pastor dug into a box and pulled out a pair of white jeans and handed it to me. It fitted perfectly. This would be my “baptism jeans” and I hope to cherish it for as long as possible. I put the other pants in a plastic bag. This should do the trick. We didn’t require too much conveniences; just as long as the occasion was fulfilled comfortably. I got into the car with Pastor Jenny and some other members and we headed off for the Takutu River. Brother David went ahead with some other members as well.
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There weren’t many people at the gathering: just around ten people were present; and the only person being baptized was I. I had missed the original baptism two weeks ago because of a unexpected trip to Manuaus, so the pastor of the church re-scheduled a baptism just for me on this day.
The Takutu River is one known to be invested with the dangerous and deadly electric eel, so Pastor Jenny and Brother David took a stick and beat the water as they waded into the river. They found a good spot and then I followed. I stood between the two, looking out to the river bank as they instructed me how to squeeze my nose shut as I go down under the water. They said a short prayer. As Pastor Jenny and brother David put their hands on my chest, I was a bit confused as to whether they were going to push me downwards or pull me backwards. I’ve seen pictures of baptism where people were pulled down backwards with their faces up, but the Pastor’s position on my back left me a little confused. Nevertheless, I was prepared for any direction of movement. I let myself relax and I splashed backwards into the water. As I sank under, I wanted to make sure that my whole body went under, to bury the old man with Christ, and come up a new creation with Christ. I felt completely submerged under the water for a few seconds and then I was lifted out suddenly. I was back on the surface, standing and looking out at the small crowd at the river bank. It was a refreshing experience; and a few troubling thoughts that once plagued my mind before the baptism seemed to disappear.
After that, we came out of the water and prayed, sang and thanked God for a while. Pastor Jenny said that all the angels of heaven was rejoicing at this occasion; and I knew she was right. Indeed, all the angels of heaven rejoice, and the whole of heaven, when one soul is saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.
From here, I hope it will be a journey guided by God, and if I make errors, I pray God will be with me, to instruct me, and teach me and guide me even further.
As children of God, we must accept His way of doing things, if we are to enjoy the life He intended for us to enjoy in the first place. Remember that every good thing comes from God; and anything that is not of God is not good; even though it may sometimes appear good. As David put it in the book of Psalms, “we did not make ourselves, God made us”.
I do not think that only people who are baptized can go to heaven; after all, all things are possible with God, and “there is no unrighteousness in God”.
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Nevertheless, water baptism is a final step in a person’s acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior, and a sign that they now put their complete trust in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As it says in the bible, after baptism, we “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.