Baptisms are pretty special occasions where we publicly declare that we want to follow Jesus. But what if baptisms can’t be held because holding them would be too dangerous?
That was the issue facing Pastor Habib’s growing church in south west Bangladesh. Around 500 believers are spread out among 23 house groups. But being in a predominantly Muslim context, it’s very difficult for new believers – many of whom are young – to get baptised.
There are no public places where they can conduct baptisms without risk. If these baptisms of new believers are discovered, local people are likely to respond aggressively. Baptisms can be done secretly, but if this involves many people then a pool is needed – and small churches can’t afford this.
“We had been praying for a long time and had requested many people to pray about a baptism pool for us,” shares Pastor Habib. “It was very important and necessary for our church.”
Their prayers were soon answered when, on hearing of the need, Open Doors local partners helped build a small baptism pool in the church premises – and it’s already being put to very good use.
Image: Pastor Habib baptising new believers in the new pool
“We are very thankful to the partners,” says the pastor. “Now we can baptise our new believing brothers and sisters freely and without any fear or panic. We can do the baptism ceremony with joy and peace, singing worship songs. No one will keep us from baptising new believers.”
“We have already baptised 49 newly converted brothers and sisters,” continues Pastor Habib, who could not stop smiling as he thanked the partners, such is his overwhelming joy. “We now do our baptism ceremony without any trouble. This really is a great experience and a joyful time.
“Before, I used to baptise people with fear,” he adds. “I always thought of persecution in my mind. I thought someone might see our baptism ceremony and the mob might resist us. I know how difficult it is to baptise a newly converted believer in the open place.”
The pool will continue to bring enormous blessing to the church – a blessing Pastor Habib is keen to share with other churches. “I would like to share this provision from the Lord with many other Christian brothers and sisters,” he says.
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