You Can Bring a Horse to Water…
Tim & Diane Fonderlin – Singapore
It is hard to try and capture the beauty of the day on paper: wide-open blue skies dotted with wispy clouds that stretched on for miles; a wonderfully fresh breeze wrapping itself around us; low-lying mountains running a perimeter in the distance and separating us from Russia; and the sounds of children laughing and water splashing. Sitting some 20 ft. above a river gorge located in the plains of Mongolia, we couldn’t help but to throw our heads back and allow the warmth of the sun to wash over our faces.
As lovely as our surroundings were, our attention was really drawn to what was happening in the river below. Twenty-one people from a local church were taking turns stepping into the clear blue water and waiting to participate in an immersion baptism. The pastor, an Alaskan transplant, was standing in the river wearing shorts and a t-shirt and one of the biggest grins we had ever seen.
A Mongolian woman from the church sitting next to us on the river bank told us a little something about each person and how they came to know Jesus Christ. As we listened and watched, our interpreter pointed out a grandmother beaming away as she watched the 17-year-old grandson she had raised from his primary school days being baptized; a grown son helping his aged father step into the water; two sisters holding on to one another until it was time for them to step forward individually…
Suddenly, in the midst of this joyful act of embracing a new life, a team of wild horses wandered into the river bed. They drank thirstily and, when replenished, threw their heads up and whinnied as they watched the scene before them. The horses were not frightened by the presence of so many humans but, in fact, seemed curious about the gathering of people standing in the very same water from which they were drinking.
That simple act of immersion baptism in one of the world’s most remote locations was for us a spectacular glimpse into the richness of God’s creation. We quickly realized the privilege we had been permitted as we watched a people whose language we did not speak, whose culture was so very different from our own, sharing in an act of obedience that transcends all boundaries.
As churches in the U.S. begin to focus on World Communion Sunday this October, we hope our story of baptism and wild horses will remind the faithful of a Creator who delights in the unusual. Indeed, who would ever have imagined that we would see the Lord’s majesty in a riverbed in an isolated country landlocked between Russia and China?
Like you, we will be celebrating this day of remembrance by partaking of the bread and the cup. We’ll also be remembering a rugged people in a far-off land and how our hearts were connected through a water act and a God whose love is beyond human understanding.
Tim and Diane Fonderlin
Tim and Diane Fonderlin are serving as missionaries in Southern Asia while living in Singapore. Tim and Diane both work on building relationships with the local churches in Asia Pacific and the USA.