Celebration of Baptism in Gemena

Rev Jules Mboka baptizing a new believer

168 new believers were baptized here at Bokonzo last Saturday as a part of the Big Sunday gathering at the end of the year. As you can see from these few pictures it was quite an event.
The candidates for baptism parade from the church about 1.3 miles down a dusty road to the stream we cross going into town.

Everyone crowds around lining the road and crowding to the water’s edge and in to see as best they can.
There were 5 pastors baptizing the candidates. It was fun to watch.

Family and friends also want to be close to greet the newly baptized right after their baptism. In this video just past where the pastors are standing you can people rushing forward to hug the newly baptized. Their excitement to congratulate their family or friend is understandable on one side and confusing on the other. I can understand that they want to celebrate with the person’s public statement of their faith in Christ. At the same time to me the extent celebration also seems way over the top, like they are celebrating that now this person is truly a Christian when in fact their decision to follow Christ was made some time previously.

a deacon working to keep the crowd of family and friends away from the pastors as they baptize people

family and friends congratulating the baptized person

I went with the truck to take the pastors who were baptizing and so I could have it there for a better vantage point for photos. The believers are from 7 different churches. Following the baptism we returned to the church for communion. The newly baptized went first. In total 1,069 were served communion. It was a JOYOUS celebration. Everyone was very excited.

Sunday after the baptism was the closing worship for the Big Sunday. 6,000 present, more outside than inside and the church inside was packed! Thankfully the day was slightly cooler than other days during the week.

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