As we preach the Gospel, teach in home Bible study groups, do street evangelism, conduct conferences and training seminars, and organize Christian camps, God brings many to salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through His Word, they become followers of Jesus. One of the first steps a new believer is encouraged to take is baptism by water. After giving their personal testimony of trusting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior, they are baptized and become a church member. The Lord is birthing new churches throughout Moldova.
We have new believers in cities and villages where we did not have churches previously. Because these congregations are new, most do not have a church building and must meet in rented public buildings. Since there are no facilities in these buildings to accommodate a baptism service, it is not possible to organize services for every congregation. Therefore, we hold baptismal services in one city and bring people from other locations that want to be baptized. Sometimes we hold baptism services in our Cupcini Church building. Often we rent a portable baptismal pool from another denomination. Other times we baptize our new brothers and sisters in lakes, rivers, or rent a swimming pool or even rent a spa that has a pool. However, since hygiene requirements are always changing and becoming more strict, renting a pool is becoming more and more difficult.
When we conduct a baptismal service, it is a wonderful celebration! It is a time of great joy for the local church as well as for the other congregations that come bringing the new believers for baptism. Our baptism ministry team prepares everything beforehand, like installing tents for changing clothes, checking the bottom of the lake in order to find a good place for the baptism and organizing transportation for teams from other churches.
The baptismal service begins with worship songs followed by a sermon explaining the meaning of New Testament baptism. Every newcomer into God’s family is encouraged to give his or her personal testimony. After each testimony, spontaneous applause from the entire congregation fills the air. Pastors and the new believers then go into the water for the baptism. After all new believers are baptized, we have a concert, and then testimonies from the congregation are given. Towards the end of the service, after a short message explaining its significance, we serve The Lord’s Supper. Our young people then congratulate every new church member, and each one receives a bouquet of flowers and a Bible study book. Everybody wants to takes photographs with the newly baptized brothers and sisters, so for a long time no one leaves.
Often people are curious and just stop by to watch the service. Many times these celebrations have led people to repent, trust Jesus, and ask if they can be baptized during the next baptismal service. These baptismal services are truly a celebration of God’s victory for the whole community to witness. For our church family, they are a great time of celebration as we see God’s work being accomplished in the lives of so many people that so desperately need Him.