On that hot Saturday afternoon the river was full of families camping out, children swimming in the water, people grilling, and spanish music playing; it was buzzing with the sounds of summer. I stood on there on that river bank watching as my sweet friend Bettina, dressed all in white, walked across the little bridge to the other side. With her walked Rachael, Pastor Eduardo, and the other woman who was also going to be baptized, each dressed in a long fresh white tunic. I looked around and realized a crowd had formed around me at the river’s edge; each person had come from their campsite and the church congregation now surrounded me. As they reached the other side of the river, a man near me started playing the accordion, accompanied by the loud passionate voice of the woman next to him, Pastor Eduardo’s wife. The others joined in clapping their hands, singing songs of praise and joy, praising Jesus for the cross, for their Salvation! One by one those in white on the other side of the river entered the water. As my leader Andres took his place in front of the people, the singing stopped and he began to preach. He spoke about the meaning of baptism and about this new life that we can live in Jesus Christ. He prayed for these women, blessing them as they were both about to take a great step of faith. When we lifted our eyes after the prayer, we fixed them on Pastor Eduardo in the water. First, the other woman was dipped into the river. When she came up from the water the riverbank erupted in a song of praise! Next was Bettina. When she walked up to Pastor Eduardo he laid his hands on her and began to pray. I will never forget the look on her face as she bowed her head and folded her hands together in prayer.
So at peace, so calm, yet so full of life and joy. Even though I couldn’t hear anything the Pastor was saying from where I stood, my heart was full and my vision blurred with tears. Pastor finished his prayer and gently laid her back into the water. In an instant, she rose from the water with the biggest smile on her face, hugged Pastor and then raised her arms in praise. At once the congregation began to clap and sing “Jesucristo me salvó!” loud and proud to declare their faith to all within earshot. Some of these moments I captured with a camera, but I’m not even sure I needed to. The emotions and the faces and the songs of this day are memories that I am sure I will carry with me forever. Thanks Betty for letting us be a part of your special day!
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” – Romans 6:4