“Redemption in the Shade”


While on an island in Lake Victoria, surrounded by like minded believers, I was told, “no”. I was warned that I should not enter the lake to baptize the locals that recently crossed the line of Faith. This cut me to my core, for I wanted nothing more than to participate in the ceremony that would take place the next day.

The lake water was no good for my fair white skin. It contained bacteria that would most definitely make me sick. The local pastors had no such worries for they grew up in these waters.

The next day I was only a spectator while the new believers walked out into the deep and professed their new faith. I wanted so bad to be part of this. In the middle of my wanting I noticed a crowd of men under a few trees. They too were observing the baptisms. As dozens of villagers where being dunked behind me, I walked over to the men watching from the shade.

Under those trees I met the town drunk. He offered me a drink from a dirty bottle, I declined. I explained to him I didn’t need the drink anymore because I found something better. He then threw his half empty container and lifted his hands into the air saying he wanted what I had found.

I wrapped my arms around the man and began to pray for him. As my prayer left my lips, tears filled my eyes. He felt the same Holy Spirit that I did, for when I finished praying, he had tears running down his cheeks as well.

He said he wanted Jesus, then turned and walked back into the village. A few minutes later, my new friend emerged with clothes prepared for baptism. He walked out into the lake and with a local pastor by his side, he asked Jesus to save him and was baptized.

As he came to the shore, he told the crowd that his old name was gone. He was now a new creation. From now on, the man formally known as the town drunk would be known as, “Blessing”.

A pastor from a nearby church told me that this man had plagued this island for twenty years. All it took for his redemption was for someone to hug him and show him the love of Christ.

Written by : Ben Whitehead

Uganda 2019

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