The Baptism of Charlotte
My quiet reading time was continually being interrupted by the
whirlwind of action going on around me. As I sat in the sunshine and read my book, my daughter was scooping up water in her cupped hands and trying to walk as fast as possible toward her best friend, Charlotte, without spilling the water. Charlotte was not as keen on the likely outcome of this idea, and
continually ducked and scurried out of reach just as the water leaked out of
Sarah’s cupped hands. Frustrated, she would run back to the water bucket, cup her hands, and again scoop up as much water as possible, turning and speed walking again in the direction of Charlotte.
“What exactly are you trying to do with the water?”, I asked.
“I’m trying to baptize Charlotte”, was the innocent answer. Now, at this point in the story, I should probably tell you that Sarah’s best friend Charlotte is actually a dog. Sarah continued with her quest to carry the water to Charlotte and ‘baptize’ her.
I smiled and considered the scene that I was watching. Sarah was chasing down her target, and Charlotte was doing everything she could to stay just out of reach of the water.
“Sarah, it doesn’t appear to me that Charlotte actually wants to be baptized”, I said.
“Well why not? It’s just water”, she argued.
Eventually, Sarah was able to coordinate the carrying of the water, the fast walking, and the cornering of Charlotte.
Charlotte was ‘baptized’ in the corner of the yard when she finally had nowhere else to turn. Poor thing… cowering in the corner, she relented to the inevitable and played along, allowing Sarah to dump water on her head (just a couple of tablespoons, by the time she finally captured her). Sarah was quite proud of herself and decided to go for a second baptism,
this time setting her sights on our big yellow lab.
“Sarah, why are you baptizing the dogs?”
“Because that’s what we need to do.”
“But why? What is baptism?”, I probed.
“It’s when you put water on someone’s head”, she said, looking at me like I had suddenly lost my memory and had gone temporarily insane.
“But why? Why do you put water on their head?”
“I don’t know. You just do”, was the innocent reply.
Oops… somewhere we missed a very important explanation and teaching point! So I began to explain about baptism and what it means and the symbolism surrounding it. And finally, I explained that you can’t force baptism on anyone – it is a personal decision. You can’t just attack someone with water when they are cornered and have no way out. It is a personal
discussion with Jesus and a personal choice to accept Him in your life. Sarah sat and listened and pondered all that was said. Her response to the lesson was, “Well, I’m sure that if Charlotte could talk, she would say that she wants Jesus to be her Father. So, I’m baptizing her.”
Well… okay. Who am
I to stand in the way of an eight-year old missionary determined to bring her
best friend into the Kingdom?
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!