Though over 75 believers were baptized after a Saturday church meeting several weeks ago, there are still many, many believers from Mibu, Beng, and Tariknan who have not yet been baptized. Some simply missed the service. Others are still feeling unsure about the meaning of baptism, and are wisely choosing to wait. Some feel upset that they were baptized as infants by a visiting local “pastor”, and are feeling pressure from outside groups to not get “re-baptized”. The reasons are varied, but the church is being strengthened as they are working out their beliefs based on what they know already from the Bible lessons. We are continually refreshed and encouraged by their progress, both as a group, and as individuals. Sometimes giving them the freedom to have time to think about and make their own decisions, and even disagree as they are figuring things out, is as hard as parents letting go of children. But watching them come ultimately to correct conclusions is pure elation!
In between the many knocks at our door three days ago was a knock from a young man named Weung. (Way-ung) He wanted to let us all know that he was ready to get baptized. Joey and Geoff were happy to attend, though it was other believers closer to Weung who actually did the baptism. Another step of faith for them, and an exercise in letting go for us. It turned out that not only was Weung baptized, but about a dozen other Christians were waiting for the opportunity as well, and took it that day.
After the baptisms, Joey received a message to meet Keteng at his hut just up the trail. (For those of you who have visited us, you realize that this sounds very close, and actually is not. 🙂 Keteng had been mulling over an illustration from the church meeting the previous Saturday, and the “root of the tree” of his thinking (i.e. the “crux of the matter”) is that he wants to know what it means to walk with God. To let God empower him to live a life following after Him. The next half hour was spent discussing what it means to walk with God in this life, which was the perfect prelude to the study on the book of Romans. And it will give Keteng plenty to fill and stretch his mind around lying in his hut at night.
We are more thankful than ever for all that God is doing here in Mibu, but please don’t read that to say we no longer need your prayers!!! We covet them just as much, if not more. We all have so much to be thankful for, but the work is far from done!
Love in Christ,
Joey and Brooke Tartaglia