By Anonymous VM leader
This story was shared with us by one of our Vineyard Missions leaders who needs to remain anonymous because of the high-risk location he visited.
A beautiful island nation just south of the U.S. experiencing a new-found freedom and change, is growing and stretching out of old ways of thinking--well some of them. I was informed that there are many spies in there. They go around listening to what preachers are saying.
I spent the second half of the trip on the north shore of of this island, where I’m excited to say, we now have our first official La Viña in this nation! Although Vineyard is not a recognized denomination there, the congregation has started to call themselves, La Viña Casa de Amor.
On one of those hot summer days, I was doing some outdoor preaching on the Parable of the Sower. While I was talking, a man sitting on a blanket next to our group watched me very intently. I knew he was not part of our group and wondered who he was. My mind was flashing back to the “there are many spies in (this country)” conversation I’d had earlier. As I drew the message to a close, I asked two questions: "How is your heart?” and “How do you want it to be?"
After the sermon, the pastor invited those who were scheduled to get baptized to come forward. To my surprise, the man I had dubbed a spy immediately got up and said that he wanted to be baptized!
The La Viña pastor asked him if he realized that by getting baptized he was making a public profession of faith in Christ before all the people on that beach. (It was hot and there were many people at the beach that day). He said yes he understood and he still wanted to go forward with it. My “spy” was baptized, along with 8 other people that day, and is now my brother.
Nine baptisms on a beach in (that country)! How great is our God!