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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: The Baptism At Lester Richey's Farm
By Sharlyn Guthrie
09/05/06


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Andy was a druggie in a gritty hard-rock band.
Carl was a warlock there, in Iowa’s heartland.
Both of them found Jesus and vowed to take a stand.
They wanted to be baptized and follow Christ’s command.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
come down to the river. Bring your neighbors and your friends.
We’ll be shouting “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end
as our brothers there are buried, then raised to life again.

Jill’s daddy was the mayor of our tiny little town.
Delaney went to homecoming and came home with the crown.
They gave their lives to Jesus along with Polly Brown,
and they’ll wade into the river to lay their egos down.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
come down to the river. Bring your neighbors and your friends.
We’ll be shouting “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end,
as our sisters die to self, and are raised to life again.

Ricky went to school but he didn’t really care.
Johnny sat behind him and blew spitballs in his hair.
Kevin was so stoned he had an empty, haunting stare.
They all have been redeemed, so on Sunday, they’ll be there.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
come down to the river. Bring your neighbors and your friends.
We’ll be shouting “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end.
These lives have been transformed, though it’s hard to comprehend.

Oh, we gathered at the river on that thirteenth day of June.
We listened to some preaching ‘til it was almost noon.
We sang “Amazing Grace” while Andy strummed the tune.
Twenty-six were baptized. It ended way too soon.

As I watched, mesmerized on that farmer’s sacred shore
God’s Spirit seared the memory on my heart forevermore…

Waist-high in the water and ankle-deep in mud
they told how Jesus cleansed them with His life-giving blood;
then as the preacher lowered each saint beneath the flood,
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were entreat-ed.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
We came down to the river, brought our neighbors and our friends.
We shouted “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end.
God made us all one body, a holy, perfect blend.

Whenever folks are baptized I drift back to that morn,
surrounded by the soybeans and endless rows of corn.
Our hearts to God were yielded, and allegiances were sworn,
to follow Christ and live –as one who’s been reborn.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
we came down to the river, brought our neighbors and our friends.
We shouted “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end.
My doubting soul was buried, then raised to life again.

Now I’ve recited liturgies and prayed the hallowed prayer.
I’ve been to a tent meeting out in the open air.
I’ve visited cathedrals, but nothing can compare
to that gathering by the river and the Spirit’s presence there.

At the farm of Lester Richey, just past McGuire Bend,
we came down to the river, brought our neighbors and our friends.
We shouted “Hallelujah!” and the joy will never end.
It was there that many died, and were raised to life again.





This poem is based on an actual baptism that took place near Stratford, Iowa on June 13, 1971. God moved mightily through Carl and Andy after bringing them both to salvation. The Bible studies they began drew hundreds of teenagers from several nearby communities.

Those of us who already knew the Lord experienced amazement, humility, and great joy as friends and classmates came to know him, too. The baptism at Lester Richey’s farm was only the first of several such baptisms.

Carl is now a missionary. Andy is an elder of the church that began as a result of that summer’s events. God continues to work through a number of others who believed and then were baptized in the river near Stratford, Iowa in 1971.


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This article has been read 978 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson 09/08/06
Your title snagged me, and your poem got me. This is pure delight, both the message and the format. The rhythm swings like it needs to be put to music. I can almost hear my favorite, Johnny Cash, strumming his guitar and singing your story!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/09/06
A delightful set of lyrics for a song! I can hear it now...in my mind. The rhythm is perfect in some verses, but off meter in some others, but the message is positively there LOUD and Clear. Loved it. Thanks for sharing.
Donna Haug09/09/06
This was terrific. I loved reading it, from beginning to end. And then to know it was real was a great encouragement too. Good work!
david grant09/11/06
Not a perfect song, but certainly a fun one. Good job!
Marty Wellington 09/11/06
What a great message and encouragement set in a unique style. Great fun and wonderful knowing it is based on fact. Blessings to you.
Birdie Courtright09/11/06
I was having so much fun down on Lester Richey's farm! I too, wanted to sing and enjoyed the little history at the end.
Joanne Sher 09/12/06
I REALLY enjoyed this! My toe was definitely tapping to the beat! And what a message - and based on truth, too! How awesome is that!
Crista Darr09/13/06
Okay, I love this! Top 10? The breaks in meter didn't matter to me except "entreat-ed" threw me off for a moment.
Edy T Johnson 09/14/06
Congratulations, Sharlyn! I'm glad to see this exquisite "song" recognized for all to see. I hope you pursue this all the way to the Music Hall of Fame :)
Jan Ross09/14/06
Congratulations on your "Highly Commended" win! God bless you as you continue to grow in your gifts and talents! Very, very well done!
Cheryl Harrison 09/14/06
I loved this! Congrats on your achievement. This one is a keeper. Blessings.
william price09/15/06
Sharlyn, excellent job and congrats on your HIGHLY COMMENDED!! Your placing put a smile on my face.
God bless.