A Pool for a Pool
What do you do when you don’t have a place to baptize people?
There are lots of innovative ways to help people follow and obey Jesus in baptism on the mission field, depending on where you are located. Yes, the logical conclusion is to use the baptismal pool in the church building. But in Mexico, many people are intimidated by the evangelical church because it’s not common to them. There are very few Evangelical churches here, and most people have never been inside one. They don’t even know anyone who has been inside one. When they were growing up, they were taught to stay away from the “Hallelujahs” (evangelicals). Papa (the Pope) once said that the only real true church that exists is the Roman Catholic Church, and that all other churches are from Satan. So sometimes, you have to find another way to baptize them, and form a new family of believers outside of the church building.
Who knew that baptizing the people that you lead to the Lord could be such a challenge? Some missionaries out in the field use a bathtub, but bathtubs are rare in Mexico. When confronted with this challenge our first year here, we purchased an inflatable children’s pool and blew that baby up! Our first baptism was a lady in her 80s at the ranch. Another challenge. Where would we get the water for the pool, and how would we get it into the pool? Thankfully, it was in the fall of that year, and our Christian friend at the ranch has a cistern that had collected plenty of rainwater from the rainy season that had just ended. You see, the ranches in Mexico are like deserts, dry and dusty, with very little rain. Most do not have a local well, nor any potable water. So they collect rainwater for washing clothes and around the house use, and for their animals, and they store it in cisterns. For drinking and cooking, the people have to purchase bottled water, which most can’t afford.
You know that where God directs, He always provides! We used buckets to fill that children’s pool from our friend’s cistern, and after many bucket trips back and forth, it was full! Now it was time for the Bible study. Some people came who never come, just to see this lady get dunked! I’ll never forget the emotions I felt when I held her by the arm and helped her step into the cold water in that pool. She was so anxious to follow and obey her new Savior in baptism. She didn’t care what others thought, or what persecution she may face from family, friends, and neighbors. She sat down in the water, and after some words, Phil leaned her back, and under the water she went. I cried as I helped her step out and make her way to the outhouse to change into dry clothes.
The reaction of the onlookers was joyful. They were smiling and talking about this experience. The lady’s husband said, “I really like that!” But sadly, he hasn’t truly surrendered to Christ, and still holds onto his “little saint” that he keeps by his bed for security. It’s so difficult for the people here to turn away from what their parents taught them growing up. We just keep loving on him and laughing with him, waiting on Jesus to do His magic!
Though this inflatable pool has served it’s purpose for the last two years, we have been praying for quite some time for a real baptism pool. One that is collapsible and portable, and small enough to take in our SUV. This need had been posted on our website for many months, then out of the blue, I received an email from a second cousin that I hadn’t seen or talked with in many years, asking if that need had been met. “No, I said, it’s a costly one…$850 plus shipping.” He went on to tell me that he and is brother and sisters want to meet that need!
Now, as it often happens when we are serving God and praying for something, Satan wants to get in the way. This man’s credit card had just been compromised, so he couldn’t use it to order the baptism pool. So we waited. And God pulled through, like always, after we’ve learned patience! Then, the shipping company said the address was wrong. So we waited. And God did it again! The delivery was made today to our friends in the states who are bringing it on the plane with them to Mexico! As of today, the pool isn’t here in Mexico yet, but should arrive on July 4 with our friends.
Now, for the rest of the “pool for a pool story”! My cousins aren’t sitting on a stack of money, so how could they afford this baptismal pool? God has such a sense of humor! As it turned out, one of my cousins had a house on some land in a rural area of Georgia, and he sold it. Problem was, there was an in-ground pool (his family used when they used to live in the house) on some family-owned property that bordered the house property. So now, the pool just sat alone as time went by. Then, the couple who had bought the house approached my cousins wanting to by the small area of property with the pool. My cousins are strong Christians, and they wanted to be a good witness to this un-churched family, so they deeded the pool over to this couple for $1.00. A few days later, a knock came on my cousin’s door. It was the couple who bought the pool, and they gave him a check for $1,000! They said they just didn’t feel right about paying only $1.00 for a pool!
For days, my cousins prayed, “Lord, how would you want us to use this money for your glory?” Then, one of them told the others he had just been on our website and saw our need for a baptismal pool. That settled it! They agreed to purchase the baptismal pool for the people of Mexico!
You know the rest of the story! Stay tuned for more stories of God transforming lives with His amazing grace, here in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and beyond!
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