Photo submitted by Sam Byers, pastor at First Baptist Church of Elsberry. Shown in main photo, from left to right is Joe Nothstine, Jessica Robinson, Ezekiel Byers and Sam Byers. Secondary photo shows Nothstine getting saved in the waters of Christ.
Memorial Day weekend was the opening date for many community pools in our area. And while swimmers in those pools were sure to enjoy a chilling surprise upon entering the water, it was no comparison to the frigid temperature experienced by the three individuals baptized Saturday in the creek beside Page Branch Park. “It’s so cold I think I’m going to cry,” said six-year-old Ezekiel Byers, accompanied by the laughter on onlookers. However, the beautiful scenic view of Page Branch Park and the natural running creek water made for a memorable experience topping that of any indoor baptistery.
“Baptism is a big deal, biblically speaking,” said Sam Byers, one of the pastors at First Baptist Church. “According to the Bible, baptism doesn’t wash away our sins, but rather it shows that our trust is in Jesus to wash away our sins, to adopt us into the family of God, and to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit. This changes a person, both their identity and their destiny, and we wanted to do something special to draw attention to it.”
The church had originally planned to barbecue under the pavilion and hold the baptism in a large trough or tank. Donnie Kinsler, a member at First Baptist, had a better idea though.
“I just looked at that creek and thought, that’s God’s water—all natural. I thought it would help make the evening really special for those getting baptized to be in that creek instead of a simply using a tub.”
Kinsler not only grilled all the meat for those in attendance, but also helped orchestrate the preparations to make the creek a suitable baptismal pool.
Church member Carole Tobias, who was re-baptized in the Jordan River during a trip to Israel two year ago commented, “Memories of the Jordon keep flowing thru my mind.” Carolyn Shaw, another member of First Baptist remarked, “It looks like Jesus should be standing over there, doesn’t it?”
Although it had rained intermittently on Saturday, prayers were answered and it was nothing but sunshine by 6 p.m. for the cookout and baptism. “Nothing was going to stop me. I was ready no matter what,” said Jessica Robinson, who was baptized along with Ezekiel Byers and Joe Nothstine. “This was one of my proudest moments, besides giving birth to my daughter.”
“What a great day,” said Kinsler. “Praise Jesus.”
More pictures from the event can be found on First Baptist’s Facebook page at facebook.com/firstelsberry.
For anyone wanting more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Sam Byers, please call 573-795-1432 or email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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