While in Cubati I received the wonderful news that there was going to be a baptism in Campina Grande. This is the first person to give her life to Christ in the beginning of a new church plant. You may not realize this but the first conversion on the mission field is very important and usually the hardest, and most exciting. It is usually hard to convert the first person where the Church is just beginning. There is no one to testify to her that the church is not a cult or a sect. There is not anyone to encourage her and no family or friends with connections to the church family. The first person is testing new waters. Since there is no one to encourage her, no ties with friends or family, her decision is solely faith based. I am not saying that yours or my decision to follow Christ was not one of faith. I am saying that most of us were blessed to begin a spiritual journey that friends or family were already living.
Odete was invited to study the Bible through the campaign we did back in early April. She took the course and eventually began studying one-on-one with Isac. The Wednesday before she was baptized, she told Isac that she wanted to be saved from her sins. Isac did not know where he would be able to baptize her, since there was no ocean nearby and the schools the missionary team's children go to do not have a swimming pool. Odete told Isac that her life was in his hands now. He had to find some water. After searching for two days he found a school that would let him use their swimming pool to baptize her.
I arrived on the day she was baptized. The joy on her face, the clarity and reality of her decision in her eyes, and the childlike energy could not be contained as she gave her life to Christ. It was contagious. After being raised from death to life, she immediately began encouraging another to follow her lead, asking a visitor who has also been studying the Bible if she was not ready to give her life to Christ.
That night I gave the Bible study to Odete, her sister and son on grace. I could see in Odete that the message of Christ dying to save the World would not remain hidden inside her. I imagine that it is feeling like a fire in her bones, like a treasure that she has to share with friends and family. I received an update on Odete just yesterday. Her husband, who has not been to a worship service in six years, came with this new babe in Christ last Sunday. Praise God for His wonderful and marvelous mercy and grace.