Baptism and Body Surfing

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Sunday was a very special day. Aeng Jin Lee, had traveled from Canada to be baptized Mrs. Lee’s daughter Kim and her husband Gerry have traveled to the Dominican Republic on several occasions, on their second trip they found New Life Church, the English-speaking ministry of New Missions in the DR. They have made New Life Church a regular stop on their trips to the DR. As they were planning this trip, Kim’s mother said that she wanted to be baptized in the ocean. Mrs. Lee is turning 90 soon. She has been a Christian for many years. She had been introduced to Christianity as a child, and remembers a Christian missionary in North Korea encouraging her to sing. However, as an adult, she practiced Buddhism, but converted to Christianity before moving to Canada over 20 years ago. However, she had never been baptized Kim and Gerry contacted Pastor George and Jeanne to discuss the possibility of her mother being baptized in the DR. We have been planning for this day for about a month, but Pastor George and Jeanne had to return home sooner than expected and were unable to officiate the baptism, and the honor came to me. Some of the background to the trip, first of all Mrs. Lee made the robe she was baptized in for this occasion. She bathed for three-hours before their trip, because she did not know that she would have access to a bath or shower during the trip. She had thought she would be sleeping on the floor or in a hut. She came any way, and was determined to be baptized in the DR. Her friends cautioned her fearing for her health and safety. She responded to them, “I’d rather die attempting to get there, than to not even attempt it.” Wow, what a message of obedience!!! I decided that I wanted to baptize her in her native language, Mrs. Lee speaks very limited English, so I contacted a Korean Church in the States. The person who I spoke with not only sent me a phonetic pronunciation, but attached a sound file. I was able to say “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” in Korean. I practiced with Kim several times as well. We had a nice beach side service; however, the waves were a little rougher than normal as the aftermath of Tropical Storm Noel. We got out to the water with some splashes in our face, as we turned around for the baptism, one wave went over our heads. As we went backwards for the baptism, the water became very shallow, a sign to what was coming. We came back up and steadied ourselves for a few seconds, but were suddenly toppled by the next wave. Mrs. Lee went under, and Kim was pushed to the shore. Mrs. Lee came up laughing, and once we quickly got to the beach, she was hugging and laughing, and all smiles. She said, that she hopes to live to be 120, and she will never forget her baptism as long as she lives. Gerry tells me after the baptism that neither Kim nor Mrs. Lee can swim, and that they are actually afraid of the water. You would have never known. It was a great honor to be involved in this event, and I believe this is just the first of many baptisms we will participate in here in the DR.
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