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Thank you!

Two Believing Couples Baptized in Toboland!

You heard that right! For the first time in 22 years of our ministry among the Tobo people, I (Chad) had the privilege of baptizing four Tobo believers while I was in Stone Village in January and [February]!

It started shortly after I had finished teaching a brief course to the church on believers' baptism. The course included an overview of salvation and our position as children of God. We then walked through what the significance of baptism is, what it is NOT (a means to our salvation or a way to "get right with God" or identification with a specific church denomination) and what it IS (a mark or a picture of our salvation and a way to show that we are a child of God because we have believed in the finished work of Christ).

The course was well-received. Afterwards, Ambox and his wife, Nailen, and Ambox's brother Rams and his wife, Nenare, all expressed the desire to get baptized right away! So, we hiked about 10 minutes up the mountainside to a dense patch of jungle where a small calf-deep mountain stream was flowing through a steep ravine. In short order, Ambox made a small clearing overlooking the stream and then hopped down the bank and expertly dammed up the water using rocks and large blocks of clay taken from the cliffs lining the small brook.

About a dozen men, women and children were on hand to witness the ensuing event. I began by baptizing my dear brother, long-time friend and co-worker Ambox. It was such a joy for him to be able to share his testimony, and then, through baptism in the cold, clay-colored waters sprinkled liberally with colorful flower petals, he publicly demonstrated his faith in Christ in front of his family (some physical, some spiritual, most of them both). After I lifted him back up to the surface, we shared a long embrace and, yes, not a few tears were shed!

Ambox then helped me, and we baptized his brother Rams. ... It was very special to hear this brother's testimony and to witness his quiet and heartfelt joy.

Next, Ambox and I baptized Nailen, who gave a loud and clear testimony of her faith in Christ. It was touching to see the tender affection that Ambox showed his wife during and after her baptism, in ways that are rarely seen between spouses in public in Tobo culture.

Finally, Nenare came to get baptized. Her soft voice quavered with emotion and was barely audible over the sound of the waterfall upstream from us as she said through tears, "I have been a bad woman, and cannot save myself. But I believe and know that Yesu rescued me from the payment of my badness. He died for me and rose again and gave me life!" As Ambox and I plunged her beneath the chilly waist-deep water and then brought her back up again, it was difficult for me to hold back my own tears as I reflected on our many years of ministry and our waiting for this opportunity, this privilege, to be part of something as special as seeing these two dear Tobo couples take this huge step of faith. The Tobo live in an area where false teaching, syncretism and cult activity are rife. So many lead lives fueled by desperate attempts to curry the favor of God and the spirit world by hard work, crushingly burdensome rules and rituals, and the constant fear of not knowing one's ultimate level of success or failure in all of those efforts. These four men and women have truly been freed, and they gratefully chose this picture of baptism to identify as believers in their Rescuer.

Tags: Establishing Churches, Ethnos360 Magazine,
POSTED ON Jul 08, 2024 by Chad Mankins