Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jesus is in his belly: A Teachable Moment

I come bringing good news to you tonight from Natal, Brazil. Francisco, a man who began studying in the LST program while my parents' team was here, was baptized tonight. Francisco was riding his bike past the church building one day and saw the sign for Let's Start Talking. He stopped to ask what it was about and we got him signed up for reading sessions with my dad. Soon after they began their studies in English, Francisco began Bible studies in Portuguese with John, one of the missionaries. Since June Francisco has come two to three times a week for English reading sessions and twice a week for Portuguese Bible studies. Francisco has had a hard life and has been though way more than any one person should ever have to experience. It took a lot of study, a lot of conversation, and a lot of scripture for Francisco to understand that yes, even he is included in God's offer of love and forgiveness. We rejoiced (and I cried...a lot) with our new brother. GOD IS GOOD!

In related news, my friend Andy (age 3) called me into the auditorium yesterday to look at the baptistry. He noticed it was filled with water and wanted me to notice it, too. So I took the opportunity, since I am a missionary after all, to see if he had any level of understanding about what the baptistry was for. I said "Andy, do you know what this is?" and he responded "Yep. It's for people to get bat tized." "Good," I said, "so, what happens when someone is baptized?" "They go to God." "Oh yeah?" "Yeah. They lay down, they look to the sky, and that's when they see God."

Well done, I thought. That's pretty good theology for a three year old. I was quite impressed and even went to his mom to brag on him a little bit. Little did I know the more detailed explanation I would get just a day later. Tonight after Francisco's baptism, Andy called me over again to look into the baptistry. I said "Andy, what happens in there?" "A guy just got bat tized in there." "So what happened when he got baptized?" "He got Jesus." Then, with a gentle pat on his tummy, Andy declared "Jesus is in his belly."

"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15

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