57 + 1

Our Memorial Day cookout and baptism turned out well, with 58 warm bodies in attendance.  We hosted folks from our Friday night fellowship, a couple other AIM families, some friends of friends, and students from two AIM mission trips that start tomorrow.

The baptism – Nicky, Lilly, Emily, and Courtney – was to be held at Big Rock, and therein lay the challenge:  how to transport 50 people plus lawn chairs and miscellaneous photographic and swim gear half a mile down the creek road to Big Rock?  Some of the folks are older and have health issues that preclude such a walk.  They would need to be driven.  The young people could walk, but there are places where the dips in the road are so deep and wide that they stay full of muddy water (all the way across the road) year-round.  They could walk down Coffee Road instead, but then they’d have to cross through the Lane’s yard, and we’d need to get the Lane’s permission for that.  It’s also illegal to park your vehicle at any point along the creek road, so if people were driven down in, say, vans, they would have to be dropped off, and the vans driven back.  Which would leave the drivers of the vans at the house and not at Big Rock for the baptism.  It was a lot like the puzzle about how to get the chicken and fox and bag of corn across the river two at a time in one canoe.

So we ended up loading a lot of chairs and stuff and then driving a bunch of vans down to Big Rock.  Passengers and gear were disgorged, drivers drove back to our house and then around to the Lane’s, where they left the vehicles, then cut through the Lane’s yard and hiked back down to Big Rock.

Meanwhile, we non-drivers sat and stood around on the gravel beach, duly NOT getting in the water (no swimming till after the baptism), visiting, and sweating.  And waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting a while longer for the driver guys to re-appear.  Which they eventually did, and so we were finally ready for the baptism.  Except that the Bible and notes Scott had asked us to pick up for him as we left the house in someone else’s Suburban were still in the Suburban, which was probably parked at the Lane’s house.  Ah, well.

Scott was good to go, but then Kristi got a call from Amy.  Amy and family were driving in from a two-week vacation in the Chicago area, and they were specifically trying to get back in time to see Kristi’s two kids (Nicky and Lilly) be baptized.  They were “ten minutes away.”  Okay.  We guessed we’d wait.  After all, what’s a little more standing around in the hot sun with no water, no bathrooms, and 50 people (some of whom we’d never met), when you’ve already been doing it for over 30 minutes?

In the mean time, Scott talked with the folks who were going to be baptized (ages roughly 8, 6, 15, and 17) and explained what would happen and the added little fact that after he had them affirm their salvation, they would need to give a testimony of God has done in their lives.  I think they were a bit intimidated by that.  Amy’s family arrived, and we all then rushed down to do the baptisms before the sheriff arrived to give them a citation for parking their van illegally along the creek road.

Scott gave a good three-point talk on why believers are baptized, and then Jorge baptized Nicky and Lilly, and Dave baptized Emily and Courtney, while Ryan and Kristi shot video, and Sue and I took pictures.  All went well, and there were even a couple folks on four-wheelers on the far side of the creek who we are pretty sure watched the proceedings.  Not sure if they watched because they were curious or because they were hoping to get us all arrested for trespassing, but in any case, we did have the baton in hand.

With Eva, Mildred, and Bob, I made a quick escape in the one van that was available.  Meanwhile, I guess Scott ran back, because when we arrived at the house, he already had the charcoal smoking.  The rest of the troops wandered back eventually, having had a glorious time swimming, jumping off Big Rock, and enjoying the company of one (probably severely traumatized) snake.

Over the next hour, much setting up, talking, frisbee throwing, cooking, cuppers tossing, and ladder-ball playing occurred, followed by prayer and 57 people diving for FOOD!  (Actually, they all lined up quietly, ladies first.)  The lone dog in attendance, Sasha, quivered at the end of her leash, but politely abstained from the delicacies.  All ate well and there was much rejoicing and few leftovers.

After the meal, the young people (all 25 of them!) played a rousing game of kickball next door, while the men engaged in a heated cuppers tournament.  We ladies sat around, were beautiful, and cheered our menfolk on.

The party ended about 9:00 PM.  And Scott looked at all that we had done, and behold, it was very good.

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