Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baptism: A Step of Obedience

candidates for baptism with the four pastors

This past Sunday, ten men and women from our church were baptized in the Pacific Ocean. The decision to hold the baptisms at the beach was a last-minute one and resulted in a new experience for many of us. (If you remember, our very first Sunday in Iquique we attended a special baptism service but it was held at a pool and picnic area in Los Verdes instead.)

We believe the Bible teaches baptism as a step of obedience for believers in Jesus Christ. We do not believe baptism saves a person but that it is a public proclamation of a personal decision to follow Jesus.

In the Bible, baptism was practiced by immersion so that is how our church practices it as well. In Romans 6, Paul describes believers as having been baptized into Jesus' death, buried with Him and risen with Him. As the candidates for baptism are immersed in the water and then lifted from it, we can see a picture of this commitment about which Paul writes.

one of my Sunday School students, Francisca

baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

joyfully celebrating her decision to publicly share her faith

For Pedro and me, one special moment in the service was seeing Emilio baptized. He is married to Mayi, my friend and neighbor whom I met when she approached me on the second day of pre-school last year. Both Emilio and Mayi professed faith in Christ shortly after Easter last year. Please pray for them as they grow in their faith individually and together.

Emilio with Pastor Alejandro and Pastor Hugo

As I mentioned, a baptism service in the ocean was a new experience for many of us. On a humorous note, it was a challenge for the pastors to time the "dunking" according to the arrival of the waves. The pictures below illustrate that fact!

a big wave is a bit startling when you can't see it coming

After the baptisms were complete, the whole church was invited to a casual lunch at the beach with chicken and shared salads. To be perfectly honest, trying to feed a family of seven (including two toddlers) on a beach blanket in the sand and sun is not my idea of a relaxing afternoon, but ... it really did turn out to be an enjoyable time of interacting with the brothers and sisters in Christ who have become our family here in Iquique. I am thankful to have been able to witness ten of them take this step of faith before the Lord and to have been welcomed into this sweet fellowship of believers in northern Chile.

our church family at Los Lobitos, March 2010

5 comments:

Melissa said...

What a praise to see!

John and Perla said...

That was wonderful! Thanks you so much for the pictures.

klmd said...

wow...what a beautiful place for a baptism.....God's church in His ocean waters!!!.....thanks for sharing...

keri

Sarah Beth said...

Mrs. Garcia, there are at least two hotels that I know of that have pools here in Tacna. The Gran Hotel de Tacna (http://granhoteltacna.com/) and a Holiday Suites. Hoped that helps! Depending on how long you'll be in Tacna there are some activities that your family might be interesting in participating in. Like, an hour from Tacna are some really neat baños calientes heated by volcanoes... I'd be glad to help you guys out in any way you need! Just let me know!

Smiling for Jesus,

Sarah Beth

Amanda said...

beautiful!