There are several different places in the Bible describing water baptisms. I am quite sure that none of them were done in a church baptismal tank! Not that anything is wrong with that, but the examples in the Bible do give the freedom to use many different ways and opportunities to baptize those who are ready to take that step of faith.

        I have seen many people baptized in the ocean, as in the early days of the "Jesus Movement". Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, CA would baptize scores of people at the Corona Del Mar beach. I have seen people baptized in the Bay in San Diego, CA. And there are many other examples that could be given of baptisms.

        But, let me tell you of three unique baptisms from the trips I have taken to other lands.

        Our team was invited to a house church meeting in a restricted country. Restricted meaning restricted from more than a few—usually under about eight meeting together in one place; restricted from meeting for religious purposes; restricted from having children under the age of 18 being in a religious meeting; restricted from having foreigners leading or teaching anything religious, etc.

        Anyway, we were invited to this house church meeting in an apartment in a large complex where a lot of people were coming and going. We followed the directions we had been given and entered the apartment which was already getting crowded with the people who normally attended this meeting.

        We were the only foreigners. We didn't know what was going to take place when we went, we only knew it was a house church meeting. There was enthusiastic singing, accompanied by a guitar. We knew some of the melodies, so we could at least hum or sing quietly in English.

        This worship was followed by a Bible reading and comments about it. We jotted down the references so we could look them up later.

        One person gave his testimony of how God had saved him and changed his life. Someone sat next to us who could quietly translated what he was saying.

        Others followed. These were not short two- or three-sentence testimonies, as we so often hear in our home country, but they were ten to twenty minutes long, giving confession of the past and testimony of repentance and how God had changed them inside, as well as their lives on the outside.

        They were very moving, encouraging, and inspiring! And, of course, it was very moving to also realize that their jobs, education and even their very lives were at stake to attend such a meeting.

        Following that time of sharing, two women went in the bedroom and changed clothes, then were taken one at a time into the bathroom where the tub had been filled two thirds full of water, and they were baptized!

        Then it was the time for the three men, following the same procedure. All five were glowing with joy as they returned to the small, crowded living room. Much more joyful singing was followed by having food together.

        The whole time lasted about four hours, after which we left in twos about five minutes apart. Wow! What a joyful experience and one that caused much reflection afterwards.

        Another baptism, another time. I can recall it was in the same country, although we only saw the physical evidence afterwards. We never saw the people who were baptized. We were staying in a hotel for two nights and we were asked by our local contact if they could use our room to baptize some new believers while we were out to dinner that evening.

        We were happy to share our room with them. This was a major city in a part of the country that had very tight security, but they knew how to function in the situation. We had two room keys, so I gave one to our contact, who was a trusted friend. He told me that they would go to the room one at a time, several minutes apart until they were all there. In this case there would be no testimonies, no singing, no praying aloud, as they expected the room was "bugged", as most rooms were in hotels where foreigners could stay.

        The only evidence we saw when we returned to our room was sopping wet towels. But we were blessed that we could provide a place that had a bathtub and was relatively safe for them.

        Another time we were blessed to witness a unique baptism. Neal and I were on a trip in a country where the religion was/is Islam.

        The missionaries had a ministry to predominantly fifteen- to twenty-five-year-olds.  It was providing a place to eat, play games, fellowship, have Bible teaching, music and discussions with these young people.

        This all took place in their house, which they had built to be conducive to these activities. There is SO MUCH more I would like to say about this amazing ministry, but these are stories about baptisms.

        They rented a bus to take us along with the kids in their fellowship on an outing to see a National Monument. Along the way we noticed the leaders were looking at the little lakes, streams, and rivers that we were passing. Finally, they picked a road where they could turn off. Carefully the driver inched the bus fairly close to a rapidly moving river.

        There was a little bit of searching for a calmer inlet to the river, although all of the inlets were pretty muddy. A place was decided on, then we all gathered for a brief reading from the Bible and teaching on what Baptism meant: a commitment to follow Jesus.

        After that, the leader said they had some old clothes along to get baptized in and a few towels and asked who wanted to make that definite commitment and be baptized in the river? There were three girls first - they changed in the bus. Then back to the bus to get changed back into their regular clothes.

        Then three guys stepped forward and went to the bus to change. It was a blessed time, along with testimonies and singing. All of these young people were from Muslim families. I asked if their families know what goes on in their house? Do they know where their kids are, sometimes even four evenings a week and many daytime hours on the weekends? Yes, most knew they were at the Americans' house. No, the parents didn’t care, as long as they didn’t get in trouble, and they came home at night!

        We continued on to the National Monument for a great day!


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