Chapter 16 (church) continues…
[Part 2 of 2]
The preacher is at my house. I don’t get to hear much because I have to go to my room. The last thing I hear is, “We’ll see your family at services tonight. Come a little early.” Then he’s gone.
The church is special pretty tonight … the sun still shines in the huge windows, but you can’t see through the glass because it’s all kind of colors. I listen to the organ music. Mom made me wear a white slip under my dress. Not sure why, the church isn’t cold. Anyway, I did. We find a spot everybody can sit close, and Dad goes off to find the preacher.
We’re waiting for everybody else to get here. Seems like they just keep coming in … a bunch a kids and babies too. Not too many kids come on Sunday nights. The choir loft is full, just like on Sunday mornings.
I love the choir. Someday I want to be a singer too. The singing is over and the music gets so low you can’t hear it anymore. The Deacon says some things, now it’s the preacher’s turn to stand at the … podium. Sorry, that word is hard to remember. It looks like a tall table to me!
He starts talking about appreciating what we have and thanking God for it, how we need to trust God because he loves us. He’s not using his preachy voice – he’s talking to me. I can feel it.
“Brothers and Sisters, I believe there’s been an intervention from the Holy Ghost today.” Everybody is quiet and waiting. I’m wondering what he’s talking about.
He picks up the mike and walks to the edge of the stage to get closer to us.
“How many believe with all your heart that God is your Heavenly Father?” I hear amen all around me.
As Mom takes my hand and tells me it’s time to go to the back to be baptized, I can hear, “How many of you know God’s angels?”
We’re in the dressing room and mom slips off my dress and pulls a white robe down over my head. It’s a little long but it is the smallest one. I have to hold it up to walk around, so we sit down while other people use the dressing room. Hmm, I can hear the preacher if I pay attention.
“The Holy Spirit spoke to me today through the voice of a child just eight years old. She declared she knows God’s angels, talks to Him a lot and wants to be baptized,” he pauses. I hear other voices, but they’re too low to understand.
“Our Little Jane Williams wants to have her name added to the Book of Life. Amen. I know this is not our usual service; but, can you guess what she said to me this morning?”
“She said, ‘I want God to remember my name.’ She already knows his angels and talks to Him a lot.” I’m sure he was loud enough for anybody to hear!
“Every man and woman here tonight seeking baptism understands that – I want God to remember me. We have a child that understands and I believe her. Our plan is to make that happen tonight unless someone knows a reason not to. She has requested; her parents have approved. Please, let me know.”
The congregation is buzzing with whispers, and shouts of amen are random. No one stands to object. The preacher is reciting the Lord’s Prayer as organ music softly plays. He leaves the congregation to personally conduct the baptismal; the lights are dimmed.
I ask Mom where the towel is – my hair will be wet. It’s so long, I have to wrap a towel around my head to soak up the water.
The lady says I’ll go first, so she holds my hand while I step up on the wide ledge. The baptismal pool is huge and painted pale blue … the water is the most beautiful color I’ve ever seen with bright lights shining through it. I can feel the heat coming up to my feet.
The preacher in his white robe walks down the steps into the water, and tells me to wait until he takes my hand.
When the curtains open, I don’t know where I am because I’m everywhere. Clearly, I see the bright lights and a little girl standing there – in a long white robe and waist-length straight brown hair flowing across her shoulders. It’s as if she’s floating in light.
The preacher takes her little hand and guides her down the steps into the warm water. I hear the people crying and praying for joy. The Holy Spirit moves around every soul like a wave of energy that envelopes and caresses.
The minister starts to sprinkle the water over my head.
“Oh, no, that’s not enough, you have to lay me down in the water – my head has to go under the water while I hold my breath, then I can breathe again. That’s the only way I’ll know for sure that he accepts me.”
I can see the tears flowing down his face. I hold my nose with both hands – as he supports my body and lays me back under the water for a second. When I take that first breath, I know God hears me. I raise my hands to heaven, and as loud as I can, “Thank you – I love you.” That, everybody heard!
A big man wraps a huge towel around me, picks me up and carries me to the dressing room with my mother.
The line for the waiting adults grew as more people came forward to claim their place with God. A record twenty-three people were baptized that night. That was my miracle day.