by Will Schirmer
Last week’s service was attended by 180 people at the Keeler residence. There were a few changes from previous years. We assembled in Brian and Diane’s back yard, higher ground than the creek-side area that rainstorms left muddy. Our brothers and sisters from Centro de Alabanza were back after a one-year absence due to COVID. Centro’s worship team led us in praise songs with Spanish lyrics. Our service included Luke 15:1-7 being read in English by Pastor Matt and in Spanish by Ponci Canaviri. Pastor Fernando delivered the message in Spanish with Gina Canaviri translating it in English. When it was time for baptisms, the congregations walked down to the creek-side as four people were baptized. Despite the creek being approximately 5 feet higher and almost up to the banks on Saturday, the water level dropped close to normal level on Sunday, but there was still a stronger current than we usually experience.
The four people baptized were:
Jake Bolado –When his neighbor Aaron Leatherman reached out to him and shared the Gospel, Jake attended Towamencin Mennonite, and earlier this year prayed to receive Christ.
Omar Martinez – Omar’s girlfriend shared consistently about Christianity. When he started participating in discipleship with Centro de Alabanza, he realized that it was the time to follow Jesus.
Daisy Diaz – As a longtime member of Centro de Alabanza, Daisy attended the first shared outdoor service, where her sister Brenda was baptized. She wanted to be baptized in the same place, which was a great blessing for her.
Jenny Smith – Jenny and her husband traveled from California to be baptized by their former pastor, Matt Raley.
Our tradition of outdoor baptism started about 22 years ago when Briana Keeler and Jason Knechel wanted to be baptized by total immersion, instead of the usual sprinkling. They picked a location in the creek, so a lot of brush was cleared away and modifications were made to provide access, plus stones were moved around in the creek to create a deeper area for the baptism. We are grateful to the Keelers for starting this tradition and providing their home for this service each year. Thank you to all the members who work set up for this event!