Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Baptismal Certificate

Sharon sharing the story of Jesus 

One village we went to,  we found a large majority Christians there.  We met those that were Lutheran, Roman Catholic, African Inland Church, African Anglican Church, and 7th Day Adventist.  When we got back to the trucks there was some disappointment since the baptism numbers were much lower and some were saying how this was a tough day. 

 Even though we didn’t baptize as many as previous days, it was wonderful to see an area that Christianity was thriving.  This is where one of my favorite stories happened.  We had baptized a lady and her family.  We continued walking and sharing Jesus with others in the area - meeting many already attending a local church, and those that already knew Jesus. Those that knew Jesus were astonished that we had come so far to teach others about Jesus and they just wanted to tell us thank you for coming.
After probably an hour or so, a lady came running up to us and she wanted to know if she was getting a Baptismal Certificate.  I was a little taken back and asked if I needed to write her out a certificate.  I then learned from the pastor with us that a Certificate of Baptism is written out for everyone that was baptized.  That is why a scribe is with each team to record the tribal  name of the person and the Christian name they take at baptism. The local pastors and workers have a certificate made for each person with their new Christian name,  date, and the  pastor that performed the baptism.   The evangelists in that area also invited those who were baptized back to the area church for worship.  If the area does not have a church yet, the evangelist  will return to the homes and give them their certificate.

 This was truly amazing to me.  Our mission trip baptized 1093 individuals during the week.  These certificates mean so much to those baptized.  I think about how I have my Bible from the day I was baptized and my certificate; I think about my daughter’s baptism certificate as well as her Confirmation Certificate.  These items, although only paper, are a reminder that God picked me to be one of his children.  Some people think their diploma or a work certificate is the most important piece of paper, but to a Christian the day you received Jesus into your heart is a true sign of faithfulness.  This lady that was so excited to receive a Baptism Certificate!  The pastors and area evangelists are truly hardworking and diligent to these duties.

 Sharon Hyde
Memphis, TN