I was standing on the edge of the only river in Turkana. It is too dirty and polluted for drinking. But it is just right for baptisms.
As I looked down the river, I could see colorful little dots coming at me. I knew who they were. It reminded me of the baptism scene in “O Brother, Where Are Thou?” But this group of people were not dressed in white. They were dressed in the most colorful robes and gowns you have ever seen. The women wore bright colored beads all up their necks. The men had wrapped themselves with bright blankets and were carrying canes. You could hear them coming because the drums were beating with each step. High-pitched Africa trills accompanied the oncoming crowd.
We had just met outside for church under a tree. (If you know my story about the children under the tree, this was the church we started there a little over a year ago). I remember the chief who gave me land at this place asked me— “Do you think all of my people should become Christians?” Well, about a year later, hundreds of them were coming to church. And after my sermon, we invited them to come to the river.
Exactly 30 people were baptized in that river. Markson, our CRF evangelist in Turkana, had the privilege of baptizing them. Turkana is so hot (literally a desert) that I thought about jumping in with everyone else. I have never experienced drums, dancing, yelling, singing, and rejoicing like they do at a baptism in Turkana. All of this started a little over a year ago when we drilled a well in this place. We drilled a well which led to a farm which led to a goat ranch which led to a town which led to a CRF school which led to a church which led to 30 baptisms today.
What a story!
Jim Shelburne, who preaches at Washington Avenue Christian Church in Amarillo, said—“It was a perfect day!” Jim was correct.