Guam church holds beachside baptism service
Guam First Church of the Nazarene recently baptized 12 people from its congregation in a beachside service after being delayed for more than a year due the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges.
The church had planned to hold a baptism service around Easter in 2020, but when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the island, the church could not meet and the beaches were all closed to the public.
As the church began to meet again in 2021, God had new plans. Pastor David Ackerman asked the congregation one Sunday morning how many would like to be baptized. Several people expressed interest. Ackerman and the church board decided to hold a special service at the beach, setting a date in May with the hope that the restrictions would be lifted.
The following Sunday, Ackerman invited people interested in being baptized to a class. Twelve people showed up, ranging from an 8-year-old child to several adults. Ackerman then contacted the Parks Department to obtain a permit to use one of the park shelters and learned that 50 people were the limit for this type of event. This was a problem because the church has been running over 70 people.
The event faced yet another problem as heavy rains poured on the island prior to the planned service. According to the forecast, it was supposed to rain the whole week, so the church members prayed for the service to be able to take place. The day before the planned service, the governor increased the limit to 100 for mass gatherings. And for that Sunday, all the rain stayed to the east, allowing the whole congregation to attend.
“God touched this special event in so many ways,” Rhonda Ackerman said. “It is special to me because this is the first time I have participated in such an event. To stand beside my brothers and sisters who decided to follow Jesus and assist my husband in baptizing them was a joyous experience I hope to share with them again soon.”
God is working in the lives of those who were baptized and of the church family. After a year of struggle for so many, including the church, 2021 has brought a refreshing wind of the Holy Spirit.
Some of the newly baptized asked for Bibles and are working through the Basic Bible Studies. The church would like to hold another service like the beach baptism, so they are praying that God will continue moving among the people, drawing new people to the fellowship and bringing revival and renewal on the island of Guam.