by Betty Barkman
PANSY, Man.—A winter baptism on Jan. 14, 2018, planned for six people turned into an impromptu baptism for an additional 16. After the six candidates (Sarah McQuade, Ginette Morgan, Sandy Gobeil, Brad Wiebe, Jordan Reimer, and Aaron Barkman) had been baptized, as per our custom of many years the invitation was given to anyone else who would like to take this important step.
It didn’t take long and people starting coming forward and, upon confession of their faith, an additional 16 received baptism that morning, a mix of regular attenders and some visitors. As the stage became littered with towels, shoes and dripping clothes, and people went home in dry shepherd costumes, it made us wonder what it was like in Acts 2:37-41. When 3,000 were baptized in one day, there must have been a lot of wet clothes and shoes lined up on the beach. Our hearts were full. What a privilege to be a part of the work that God is doing.
Our baptisms typically take place in summer (including a five-week New Life Class leading up to the service) when the creek behind the church property can be used. This winter several people expressed an interest in winter baptism, so with the use of a baptismal tank (thanks to Urban Life) a winter baptism was planned.
There are, of course, many other ways God is working in our midst. We could tell about the pre-Christmas rush of sending shoeboxes in record numbers or of the regular Christmas concert that turned to a highlight this year. Or we could describe the seven-week Hearing God study that amazed us. There is so much to learn about hearing God throughout the Scriptures as well as in life.
One surprise happened with that that none of us could remember seeing before: a midweek traffic jam on Road 21N. Plus the sessions may well have been the catalyst preceding the unusual service on Jan 14. Who knows what God may do?
Or we could recount the Ensenada Missions stories involving YUGO and building homes for the needy in Mexico. It thrills my heart to think that God is able to use us to go build house after house for someone deserving and waiting. And again, that God could use us to help certain other groups who did not yet have the blessing from their own church to go, but together we could make it happen. Wow! I remember a time way back when our churches were not blessing missions yet and someone helped us move forward, and look to where we have grown. So now it is our turn to help move others forward.
The thought of missions makes me wish I was young again and I could go. And do more. Perhaps I would choose to go to Cuba with ASSIST. Their needs are so great. Wouldn’t it be neat to get involved hands on?