A few weeks ago, Tim was privileged to participate in another huge baptismal/communion service at the bush chuches he's been helping to encourage over the past several years.
Last year, he said the watering hole smelled like laundry detergent - this year they had to chase the goats and cows out of the water before the service started, so...
Over 40 adults took this public step, professing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!
...and only in places like Niger do you get to baptize brothers and sisters in the faith...
wearing your shades!
Believers from 4 or 5 different churches participated
and the baptism was followed by a communion service at an impromptu-ly arranged other church. (The original plans changed because there were too many people - they couldn't all fit into the building - so the church elders asked another church from a different denomination if they could borrow the building and fellowship together for this one special day.)
Tim was asked to preach - also on the spur of the moment. Good thing he took some sermon notes with him, just in case. You'd think that something like that had happened before, wouldn't you?
Sharing a meal afterwards - a common plate, 6 spoons, and everyone dug in from their side. Tim decided that psychoanalysis could be performed on each person, based on their style of "attacking" the "maca and sauce." :-)
As they were eating, the more experienced missionary couple who had helped with this baptism/communion service shared the story of an earlier service they remembered, at this same watering hole. (And if our missionary friends would happen to read this and notice that the details aren't exactly correct, I promise I've related them just as they were related to me... I didn't get to attend this baptism because of Brendan and Rebekah's commitment to helping with Sunday School at our chuch. I stayed in town and took our gang to our regular church service.) After the baptismal part of the service had finished, the group moved under a nearby large tree to conduct the communion half. A group of nomadic women, seeing that the watering hole was free, decided to do their laundry... and bathe at the same time. After they had finished washing themselves and their clothes, they stretched them out on nearby bushes in full sun to dry. Then, the wind picked up and several dust devils blew through, picking up the clothing and scattering it everywhere... the partly clothed women and their children scurryied around trying to recuperate their laundry as quickly as possible. But the most amazing part of all - none of this fazed the folks in the church ~ it was only the missionaries who found it distracting....
...but don't you just wonder how God has used that public sign and profession of faith and commitment followed by worship through communion made by fellow Nigeriens in the lives of those women who were next in line at the watering hole?
I'm thinking about what public profession the Lord might be asking me to make... How about you?
What public statement is the Lord asking of you today, one that if you obey, might speak volumes to a watching world?