Baptism Celebration (and Time Change!)

On a cold day in November, a special–heavy–delivery arrived in front of Grace Bible Church. With the help of five strong men, and a bit of extra pushing up the steps from the camera-woman, our church welcomed its first baptismal into the sanctuary.

baptistry delivery

We have had an annual baptism and church picnic in the summer for many years. But we cancelled this event the last couple of years due to heavy rains and a swelling river. With our new system, we won’t have the worry about weather or river safety, and from now on “baptizees” will enjoy the added benefit of heated water! We hope to use the baptismal on a regular basis, and are very excited to have this option available at Grace as people continue to put their trust in Jesus and desire to make a public declaration of their hope!

The baptismal was made in and shipped all the way from Virginia. For the last few months, Brian has been adding coats of stain to the exterior and we now have a beautiful match to the rest of the mahogany-stained wood in our building. THANK YOU, Brian, for everything you have done to get us ready for our first use this coming Sunday.

That’s right! Grace Bible Church’s first in-house, full immersion baptism will happen this Sunday, March 8, as part of our 10 AM worship service. Don’t forget to set your clocks one hour AHEAD so you will make it in time to join the celebration!

march8baptism

If you are interested in learning more about baptism, please talk to any member of our Elder Team. See you Sunday!

Mercy Ships Update: New Life following Childbirth Injuries

This week, Mercy Ships will begin fistula repair surgeries on board the Africa Mercy in Madagascar. VVF, or vesico-vaginal fistula and ensuing complications, are the cause of the daily humiliation, rejection, and abandonment experienced by more than two million women in the developing world. Most commonly, VVF follows violent rape or complications from prolonged childbirth. Jackie writes to us this week:

“Some women are too young to birth children or they may have an extremely long, difficult labor which many times ends in stillbirth. They not only lose their baby, but are left with multiple female issues. The largest problem is a continually leaking bladder which makes it impossible to lead a normal life. They have an unpleasant odor and are almost always shunned by family and isolated from their communities.”

Fistula repair surgeries are offered free of charge by Mercy Ships onboard the Africa Mercy. The surgeries are complicated, and some women may require multiple surgeries before they begin the long process of recovery at the Hope Center, a facility about one mile from the ship.

fistula repair patients

As they enter the ship the day before surgery, the women wear white gowns, “walking into the unknown and hoping for a better life,” says Jackie. When they have recovered they are given beautiful new dresses as part of the Dress Celebration. The Africa Mercy staff help them to dress, put on makeup, and tell their stories as the women sing and dance in a celebration of their new lives.

Please pray for the women of Madagascar who will be receiving fistula treatment on Africa Mercy this week and in the weeks to come. Also pray that Jackie would be matched with just the right woman in a “Befriend a Patient” program on board. She has requested to be paired with a VVF woman and we look forward to hearing more good news from her soon!

To learn more about VVF surgeries, you can read a Mercy Ships fact sheet here, or watch this beautiful video!