In the Wet

On Sunday 6th of May we had a short service of baptism after the main service at our church, Shenzhen International Fellowship (SIF). We had five candidates of different nationalities and yours truly was “doing the honours”. The other elder who was helping me was Adam and he did the prayers and the Bible reading. I was the one who actually got into the water (a large inflatable paddling pool) and put them under the water. I first asked each one, “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour?” and then I said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.
SIF is a non-denominational church. Yes, we do believe that the Bible is God’s word, but apart from that we try not to tie our fellowship to any particular denomination. (Part of the reason for this might be that the authorities in China get particularly nervous about Chinese churches that are linked to foreign organizations.) About six weeks earlier, we had arrived for the Sunday morning service to find about twenty security guards outside the theatre. The good news was that they were not the official Police, just security guards, and so they did not come in and interrupt the service. Then there was a big thunderstorm. By the time the service ended, the storm was over and there was no sign of the security guards. I was more than relieved, as I was the elder who was leading the Holy Communion for that Sunday.
The baptism service on Sunday nearly did not happen. I went back just before the end of the service, to find that one of the bungs on the inflatable paddling pool was not closed properly, so the thing had partially deflated and the floor of the whole room was decidedly wet. Not exactly Noah’s Flood, but a bit awkward. Some quick action with mops and the worst of the water was cleared up, but the water level in the paddling pool was now rather low.
The good news was that when two people got into the pool, the water level was just high enough for a full submersion. Baptisms are happy occasions for the church family. After the candidates had got changed into some dry clothes, we gathered round them and prayed for them, read Bible verses and encouraged them in different ways. It was a happy and, in some ways, symbolic way to say “goodbye” to our old location, which has been SIF’s “home” for the last two years. Just as we were moved on from SIS in Shekou, so this time we were told that we had to leave once more. 

And then, of course, we had lunch with our dear friends, Bill and Julia, at the cheapie noodle place, just round the corner from the Bank of China towers.


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