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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)

TITLE: Alice in Waterland
By Kathy Bruins


Alice wondered if she would be able to do it. Here she was, a grown woman, a Christian for 25 years, yet she is about to embark on, or rather, dive in to be baptized. Not just a drop of water on her forehead, no. She is going for the major dunk in Lake Michigan. She wasn’t even really fond of water, but something told her that this was the way to do it.

This all came up when she went to a friend’s baptism at the same lake a year before. It really was a beautiful service. Her friend had been baptized as a baby, yet she desired a baptism where she was fully aware of her decision. So that’s what her pastor did.

Now Alice, on the other hand, was unsure if she was baptized. Her dear mother thought she was, but there is no evidence of it, and other family members have no recollection of such an event. So why wonder? Alice went and spoke with the church board with her request, and it was approved.

Now what do I do, she wandered. What do I wear? Who should be a part of it? Who should I invite? What will people think? these thoughts of panic started to distract her from the special meaning of her decision.

Pastor Ray told Alice not to worry about these things. Both pastors would have a part of the service and be on both sides of her as she “went in.” If she was good, they would even let her come back up out of the water. Alice smiled and realized she was getting all frazzled over something that was her special sign to God of her love and devotion to Him.

The day came. The waves were nice, about 30 invited people came, and about 10 people who were on the beach observed. Alice prayed that this would be a good testimony to them about an awesome God that she loved so much.

Alice decided to wear a conservative bathing suit with a covering. The music from a few guitar players that volunteered led the group into worship on the beach. After the music, Pastor Ray shared a special message on the meaning of baptism. He then looked at her and asked, “Are you ready?”

She nodded and started towards the waters edge. The whole group followed quietly behind. Pastor Ray and Pastor Doug walked with me out in the water until it was almost waist high. Her husband also joined them, along with some of the group finding their own vantage spots in the water. Then it was time. She hoped she wouldn’t get water up her nose…that wouldn’t be very reverent.

The pastors each grabbed an arm…Alice thought she stopped breathing…guess that’s a good thing before going under. She heard, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Actually, the last part was a little garbeled to her as she visited the water wonderland backwards…but she knew what they were saying having heard it many times before. When they pulled her up out of the water, she looked for the dove ascending from the sky…she saw a seagull…good enough. She hugged her pastors and her husband, and gathered many hugs on her way back to shore. Her face was smiling brightly. It felt so good. She was baptized!

Pastor Doug came up to Alice, “Would you be offended if I took a dip in the lake? The water really is nice.”

“Be my guest,” she smiled. “It is a day of celebration. Break a wave for me.”

The people on the shore who watched came over to congratulate Alice. “That was really neat. Does your church normally to baptisms out here?”

“I pray that someday, we will see a line of people waiting to visit the dunk lake in praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus. Thanks for helping to make my day special.”

It was fun to give wet hugs to those who chose to stay on dry land. Alice felt it made them a part of the event to wear a big wet spot on their shirt. Now the celebration with friends and family with food, including a special cake was about to begin. What a great day of celebration. Jesus is the reason to celebrate. For what He did, she did dunk.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 10/26/07
Cute title!

Some of this reads more like "telling" than "showing", and I was a little confused by this line:

The whole group followed quietly behind. Pastor Ray and Pastor Doug walked with me out in the water until it was almost waist high. Who is the "me"? Is it Alice? The 1st person POV isn't used anywhere else in the piece.

I appreciated the main character's desire to be a witness to others on the beach--quite nice.
Joanne Sher 10/27/07
Like the title a lot, and the conversational tone. A nice telling.
Gregory Kane10/30/07
There were some nice touches here: the seagull, the wet hugs, the panic. The story is marred by the odd misspelling and verbal confusion. I know what’s like: the moment my story has been written, I’m keen to submit it straightaway. But I have learned to do a thorough edit the following day so as to pick up any clangers