Baptisms and Birthdays

Baptisms and Birthdays

My feet slid in the slippery mud and I waved my arms madly to keep my balance. If I fell I would be muddy and bruised, but it wouldn’t matter. If that poor 80-year-old lady who was bent nearly double, fell on her way to her baptism in the murky water, it could be a serious thing!

But one of the church deacons had the matter under control. He grasped her under her arms, picked her up and hauled her into the water. I watched in alarm, as he carried her. She looked so fragile and breakable. But he deposited her, apparently unharmed, in the water.

The crowd on the bank of the stream opened their hymnals and began singing a hymn while I continued to worry. The song seemed to have at least eight or nine verses, and a Lisu Christian would not consider dropping off a few. Would our new convert be okay standing through all those verses in the swirling brown current? I knew she could hardly stand up at the best of times. I hoped she wouldn’t collapse.

At length the song ended and Paul carefully immersed her with the help of the deacon and her pastor. She came out of the water with a beaming smile and continued to smile as her helper again lifted her out of the water and carried her to the shore.

Baptisms are always a blessing, but seeing one who is on the edge of eternity follow the Lord is extra joyous. This lady frequently came to our tailgate clinics when we visited her village. Dingy strings tied around her wrists and neck showed she was a spirit worshipper and lived in fear of the evil spirits that controlled her life.   Matthew, the pastor of the church in her village, faithfully told her of the Lord and He mercifully saved her. What a joy to see her free of the strings and ropes of idolatry!

Another woman – this one a young lady – stepped into the water for baptism next.   She has been coming to church regularly for months, and we were happy to see her follow the Lord in baptism. This young Christian has a lifetime to serve the Lord. We pray that her life will be a light to the people living around her in this dark land.

We traveled back over the bumpy road to the church building for lunch and to do medicine, then were back on the long trek to our home in the city. We were tired, but not too tired for pizza. We had two birthdays to celebrate. Andy turned 14 on that Sunday and Bang would become a teenager just three days later. It’s become a tradition to order pizza for birthdays. It’s a real treat, as it’s far too expensive for ordinary days –especially when your family is made up of so many teenage boys! We had gifts, then cake and ice cream to round out the celebration.

Both of these boys have been with us for nearly three years and are close to our hearts. Please pray for them, and for us as we guide them through these challenging teen years to manhood.

All but one of the kids – Danny – are teenagers now and I have to say that we have a fair share of drama at our house! On the positive side, the kids speak English so well that Paul and I have to resort to pig Latin now when we want to say something we don’t want overheard. We have a couple of strugglers, but all of them are reading and we are so proud of their progress!

But our hearts desire is that they be saved and serve the Lord with their whole hearts. Please pray with us about that.

Rusty, Shelby, kids and Susan at an outing to a waterfall.

We took Shelby and the kids to see a waterfall the next week.  It was called a “sticky” waterfall because the calcium deposits gave the rocks traction.  We could climb up and down on rocks that weren’t at all slippery. It was fun — but was a little much for this old lady, especially after running five miles the day before.  I’ve hobbled around on sore knees ever since, but am finally back to normal, I think.

Last Sunday we traveled to Pa Saak 2 for services.  It was a blessing to see our friends there again. Shelby particularly enjoyed Pastor Guido’s cats.  He has about a dozen or so, including these cute kittens.

She taught Sunday School to the kids while Rusty and Paul helped me do medicine. We’re certainly going to miss her when she returns to America!

Our Australian friend, Rusty Van Der Net, is in Thailand for a year or so to learn the language. He has a passion for missions and is eager to help in the work.

We look forward to Kimmy Hasselbusch coming next month to help with the kids. She’s from one of our faithful supporting churches, Winton Place Baptist Church in Cincinnati.   She’ll be with us for about eight months or so.  We’re so thankful the Lord always supplies what we need — including willing helpers for the work!

He is a gracious God and abundantly provides all our needs.  What a privilege to serve Him here in Thailand!