By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
COUSHATTA (LBM) – The baptistery at Liberty Baptist Church in Coushatta was the perfect setting for a recent reunion of people close to James Hester, pastor of Social Springs Baptist Church in Ringgold.
Hester cancelled Sunday evening services for his Ringgold congregation, Sept. 28, to be at the Coushatta church in order to baptize his mother, LaWanda, with the blessing of Liberty Baptist Pastor Harry Bamburg.
Then Hester was blessed to witness the baptism of his brother Jerry, nephew Zach and his nephew’s wife Jessica, all officiated by Bamburg.
A MOTHER’S JOY
“My heart was full and I was in awe of the goodness and faithfulness of our awesome God, and so thankful for His amazing grace,” Hester said. “She has lived longer than either of her parents and I thank God daily for Christian parents who raised me in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Hester said he praised God for the
honor of baptizing his mother, and that his mom told him hers was “an even greater honor – being baptized by the youngest of her five boys.”
“God is good,” he told the Baptist Message.
A SON’S LOVE
The catalyst for the multiple baptisms was a revival Sept. 3-10 at Social Springs Baptist.
After the first service of that multi-day event, Hester’s mother shared with him how she felt and she had only gone through the motions of repenting as a child. She told him that it was years later when she was a young wife and mother that the Holy Spirit truly had drawn her to trust in Christ.
Then she dropped a bombshell, revealing that although she was saved, she had not ever been obedient with regard to believer’s baptism.
“I never told anyone,” she said. “I realized then that I needed to make it public and follow through in baptism.”
Hester said, initially, he and his dad were shocked by her news, but not by her humility. But, he added, their surprise quickly turned to celebration and plans were set in motion for her baptism.
Moreover, his mother’s obedience convicted the other family members of their disobedience. All three were professing Christians but needed to be baptized.
Her step of faith during the revival led to their growth as believers, too.
AN AWESOME GOD
Hester has had the pleasure of celebrating 18 baptisms so far this year with his Social Springs congregation that averages 72 in Sunday worship services.
But, he said, there was something special about being part of his mother’s baptism with the Liberty Baptist congregation he was part of as a child.
“Being at my home church and seeing my mother and other members of my family pass through the baptismal waters was an indescribable feeling,” Hester said. “Truly, we serve an awesome God.