David du Plessis

(1905-1987)

 

 

THE BEGINNING

 

My boyhood memories are filled with images of mountains--beautiful blue mountains--around my father's farm. We were nestled in a corner of the mountains, a "hook" they called it. And I remember so well the farms of my grandparents not far away. My dad's father was a wheat farmer and lived in a big old South African farmhouse, situated near a large pond, fed by deep springs that provided good water for the sheep and cattle.

On the other side of the family, my mother's people lived along the mountain where they maintained beautiful vineyards. Again, that home stirs memories of the blue mountains set against the plains, a scene of security and comfort linked in my mind with happy family visits.

I was born on February 7, 1905, near Cape Town at a place called Twenty-four Rivers, a commune of Christian believers that grew out of a revival led by a Norwegian evangelist. I was the eldest son of parents descended from the French Huguenots. My father and grandfather were members of that commune with their families. It consisted of a huge farm, stores, shops, everything needed for living.

One time, before I came along, some of the brethren prophesied that Christ's return was imminent and that there was not time to harvest the wheat. The residents planned to drive the cattle into the wheat fields and let them have the crop.

But my paternal grandfather, who was in charge of the wheat farming, had other ideas. He took a big rifle, got on his horse and proclaimed, "Anybody who tries to drive cattle into the wheat fields, I'll shoot, cattle and all." He preserved the harvest and, of course, the Lord didn't come. As I understand it, they produced a record crop.

But my grandfather had had enough. He demanded to be relieved, was paid a handsome amount for his share, and went to live on his own wheat farm, the one with the lovely old house that I remember so well.

Impressed in my mind are the visits by horse and wagon to my grandparents in those days. Early in the mornings, while we children were thought to be still asleep, we could hear the older folks gather for their morning devotions. They met in the big farmhouse kitchen--my parents, grandparents and anyone else visiting, along with all the servants and hired workers. The servants would arrive early, but before they started working they would come in, most of them sitting on the floor, and join in the prayers and the songs. The farmers in those days were keenly aware of their responsibilities toward their workers. They made sure the gospel was heard. I remember clearly how good the relationships were between blacks and whites in those days. Of course, we were all under the gospel and that was the difference.

My father was a little man, five-foot-six. I'm five-eight. I never saw him without a mustache and goatee. And the goatee was very reddish, practically red. But his hair was jet black, and to the day of his death at the age of eighty-five, his hair never grayed.

My mother, who was about the same size, was different. Her people grayed at the age of thirty. So all my recollections of her are of a very motherly woman, a wonderful mother, with gray hair. And she tended toward the plump side, while my father was lean and compact.

They were both very quiet people. They didn't believe they had to be talking all the time to make themselves known and understood. Furthermore, they believed that children ought to be seen, not heard, so we had a very quiet family. Altogether they had twelve children, but two girls and one boy died, leaving nine boys, and I was the oldest.

Mother and dad were strong disciplinarians. They had to be with a family like that in the environment of those days. My best description of my father came the day I was studying Tennyson and found the line in "The Charge of the Light Brigade"--"Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die...." That was my dad. That should have been his motto. And this was important to me then, and throughout my life. It instilled in me a sense of respect for my parents. Today, I can see that if that had not been built into my character, I would not have done what the Lord commanded--and in a hurry, too. With God, a command is a command. I learned to obey immediately, exactly as I was told.

But my father did not apply discipline to us boys that he did not apply to himself. And consequently, he was extraordinarily conscientious in everything he did. In his work, as a carpenter and builder, as well as a preacher, he was especially meticulous. Once, while I was in high school, I was helping him with the interior of a house. That was my main extracurricular activity in those days--that and gardening.

I was working away by myself, building a door. And I used a piece of lumber with a knot in it. But I put it in with the back on the wall side, covered it up, and no one could see it. It wasn't long before dad walked over, noticed I had used part of the wood with the knot and asked, "What happened to the piece with the knot in it?''

"I put it behind, where no one can see it."

"No one can see it?" he exploded. "The Lord can see it!"

Rather shamefacedly, head hanging, and mumbling to myself, I did the whole job over. I was careful never to use knotty pine again, even to this day when I'm doing work around my home in California.

My father maintained the discipline and meticulousness right up to his death. One day early in 1961 he said to my younger brother, Justus, one of the three of us who became preachers, "David may come to South Africa again this year, and, if you write him, tell him, if he is coming, to make it before Ascension Day. I've asked the Lord to take me home on Ascension Day."

Justus was startled. "You can't do a thing like that, dad!"

"Well," father replied, "I don't say I'm doing it; I only discussed it with my heavenly Father. And if He approves, that is my desire. And I'm going to prepare for that day."

Dad's getting senile, thought Justus, and he never wrote to me. Neither did any of the other boys.

Late in the morning on Ascension Day, a few months later, a pastor came to the house to pick up some of his camping gear that had been left there. He stopped to talk to dad.

"Grandfather (everyone called him that), do you still have some communion wine?" Dad loved to grow grapes, and his vines were magnificent. He made unfermented communion wine that was a favorite of everybody.

"Yes," dad said, "I've got a gallon left and you're welcome to it."

Then he said, "You know, this is Ascension Day."

"Yes."

"Well, I've asked the Lord to take me home today."

The pastor assumed he was joking. "In that case, grandfather, please bring me the wine before you go."

Dad went into the house, fetched the wine and gave it to the pastor, who paid him for it. Then dad said, "I won't go to the garage with you. It's open, and you know where your things are. I feel just a little tired, and I'm going to sit down."

"That's fine," the pastor said, and walked away. After only a few steps, he heard a strange little sound---a "hallelujah." He looked around to see dad slumped in his easy chair. The pastor rushed over to him in the bright sunshine of the morning and found dad unconscious.

Just then, mother came out of the house, peaceful and serene, and walked toward them. The pastor was excited, "Grandma, grandpa's fainted."

Mother, smiling and calm, continued her slow pace toward them. "No, pastor, he hasn't fainted. He's gone home."

"But, grandma, you take it so easy!" he nearly shouted.

"Oh, it's all right," she said gently. "I expected it. You see, he said goodbye to me at breakfast. He said the Lord might call him and he wouldn't be able to come and say goodbye."

 

I was at Kennedy Airport in New York, calling my wife before heading off to Jerusalem. "I've got some bad news," she said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"A cable came this morning that your father has passed on."

I paused for a moment, but felt absolutely peaceful. "That's just like old dad," I said half-aloud. "He waits until Ascension Day, and he goes up, too."

 

My parents came under the Pentecostal influence in 1914, while we were living in Ladybrand, a little town of 4,000 people at the foot of a rocky hill called Flat Mountain in the Orange Free State, only a few miles west of Basutoland. That's where I began my schooling. It was a comfortable place to grow up; everybody knew everybody else, the population being about evenly divided between Europeans and natives. It was a lot like the small agricultural towns in some of the western mountain regions of the United States, except for its many distinctive cream-colored sandstone buildings.

My father invited a Pentecostal minister--they called them "faith healers"--to come and pray for my grandfather, who was suffering from heart disease. It was strange. My grandfather was not healed, but both he and my father had such deep experiences with the Lord in praying for healing that their lives were thoroughly changed. The next thing we knew, my father was saying such things as "The 103rd Psalm--`Who healeth all thy diseases'--is still true." And then came the other gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in unknown tongues.

It was promptly announced from the pulpit of the Dutch Reformed Church that my father had come into false teaching and was now a wolf in sheep's clothing. He and my mother were expelled from membership.

As for me, I didn't understand much of what was going on, but I was impressed with dad's belief that the Lord would heal our diseases and keep us in good health. My mother explained that to me in the kitchen one night, when just the two of us were talking, "If that is what dad believes," I declared, "then I don't have to take castor oil any more." That ugly, greasy stuff was a regular part of our diet. "That's right," she said, "no medicine." I was all smiles. Mother told that story many times to show how glad I was that we had come into this new light.

We lived in that town awhile longer, joining a little company of Pentecostals who had all been pushed out of their denominational churches. We had people out of the Anglican church, one out of the Methodist, some from the Dutch Reformed. One of the old brothers in that small, hardy band of Christians was constantly worried about the diversity of our backgrounds. He was convinced that a critical part of the Scripture describing the early church was "these all continued with one accord." He had the idea that the "one-accordedness" was the crucial factor about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost rather than the day itself. He constantly disturbed the congregation with his complaint that "we are not one, we are not one."

Then, the Lord in His mercy gave him a vision that provided a great lesson for the old man and for all of us. In a dream, he found himself in a room with a gathering of strangers, dressed in Middle Eastern garb, all talking different languages. Next to him stood a man, dressed in the same fashion, who said to him, "Do you see where you are?"

"I'm in a very strange place," he said.

The man continued, "I want to show you what Pentecost was like, and you will understand the conversation. Listen."

From there on he understood what they were saying. One stood and declared, "Brethren, we were five hundred when Jesus ascended, and I just counted: now we're one hundred and twenty. The others are gone. We're losing, and I feel it is because we've lost our leadership. Jesus is gone. We have elected Matthias in the place of Judas. We must find somebody to take the place of Jesus."

After a moment's pause, he added, "And so, I would nominate Brother Peter."

Another man got up and said, "I couldn't second that because I haven't forgotten what Peter did. The Lord knows I love Brother Peter, and I admire him, but how can he be the leader when he failed so badly?"

So, down goes Peter.

Another one gets up and says, "Well, we need a man of great love and I would suggest John as that man."

Someone else protested, "How can you want John? He wanted to sit on Jesus' right hand and lord it over us. I wouldn't vote for John."

"Well," said another, "we must have a man of faith, and James is a man with great insight into faith. I nominate James."

"But," came the argument, "he is the brother of John and he wanted to sit on the left hand of the Lord."

Then someone else said, "What we need is a very cautious man who will not accept just anything. I nominate Thomas."

Another declared, "Thomas is not cautious; he's just a doubter. He'll get us all doubting."

Then Peter got up and said, "How far are we going with this? If we begin to expose everybody's failures and weaknesses, who of us is any good at all? I do not feel qualified to stand in the shoes of the Master, but I want to suggest this: Anybody in this meeting who feels so qualified, stand up and I will follow you, and I'll call everybody else to follow you."

No one stood up. At last, they were in one accord.

That old brother's vision helped me in later life to understand that the accord necessary for God's blessing does not center on how good we or anyone else may be, but rather on our willingness to acknowledge and accept the weaknesses and failures of each one, including ourselves. This stopped the disturbance in our little congregation and we were humbled. We knew that we were no good at all and that even Jesus had said, "I can do nothing of myself" (John 5:30). So we trusted the Lord to help us.

That was the kind of spiritual education I received in that little town of Ladybrand.

 

CONVICTION

 

Late in 1915, a family of missionaries from England came into our midst, setting off a series of events that were to change my life profoundly. David Fisher, a successful mill owner in England, was touched by the Lord, converted and baptized in the Holy Spirit, and then directed to Africa as a missionary. Giving up all his business interests, he and his family set out with two elderly ladies determined to establish a mission station in southern Africa. They came to our little town of Ladybrand, knowing of James Moody, a descendant of the Scottish royal family, who as one of three elders in our little church had been so instrumental in shaping my young life. And very quickly our congregation was flooded with British influence, which added greatly to my efforts to become thoroughly bilingual.

But we were not to remain in the snug, comfortable fellowship of Ladybrand. As my father grew closer to David Fisher and the vision for a mission station sharpened, Basutoland drew more and more into focus as the site. At last the missionary prevailed upon my father to cross over the border into the British colony, and help him build a sixteen-room mission station in a small village where Christian believers had already established a foothold.

The Basuto village, one of several in the area, was situated on a high mountain ledge, with beautiful, dark-hued valleys all about it--a wide expanse of flatlands, alternately deep green and tan and brown, revealing cornfields and meadows and wild growth.

Mother, father and we four boys--the fifth boy, Justus, was born during our stay there--moved into two African huts, one very large one containing the living room and room for us boys. The other one, which was for mother and father, included the family dining room. A third hut held only the kitchen, in which the cooking fire was built right on the dirt floor. Between these three round structures, with adobe walls and straw roofs, was a yard where we could spend time as a family, talking, reading, praying. It was a primitive life, but clean and pleasant, not choked with the filth and disease that is so often associated with native villages in the heart of Africa.

We in no sense felt alone. Evangelists had been there before and there were many believers among the Africans. We also had brought workmen with us to assist father in building the large mission station--to quarry and dress the stone, and to erect it. We found great, close friends among the black villagers. We and the two Fisher boys were the only white children there, and most of our days were spent playing with the village children, learning intimately the African ways, the customs, the language.

These were peaceful and kind people; life as a child among them was very good. The kindness and concern for one another were greater than in more advanced societies I have since known.

The polygamy among them was difficult for many of us to adjust to. Indeed, the missionaries began to educate them and agitate for them to drop all of their wives but one and then to officially marry only that one. It seemed only right, but it wreaked havoc among the natives. The wives that were dropped inevitably became prostitutes. A polygamous society in which there was happiness and virtually no divorce was transformed into a monogamous one filled with meanness and immorality.

Even in later years I never agreed with the missionaries on this. The Apostle Paul insisted that a church leader be the "husband of one wife." If he had meant to exclude only single men he would probably have used the term "married," but instead he used this odd phrase. To me it shows that there must have been those in the church with more than one wife. There's no indication that they were put out of the church. They merely could not be elders.

Time went by in idyllic fashion and I was approaching my eleventh birthday. It was Sunday, and we were gathered for worship with the villagers in one of the sheds dad had erected to store materials. I sat on the wooden bench with my family--we always sat together, dad, mother, all the boys strung out like ducklings--and I studied those ignorant black people in my ten-year-old manner. "These people cannot read, they cannot write, they are illiterate. . . ." Their singing swelled, untrained, rough, but full and free. "They are illiterate," I said angrily to myself, "but ...." I didn't even like to say it. "But they know Jesus.

"Those two other there, that man and woman," I thought, talking this out to myself, "they've completely changed, almost overnight. How can this be? Why didn't I see it with the whites?

"Of course," I rambled on, "the whites all came out of churches. They've been taught, and they know, but they don't show it so quickly. How can these natives change so quickly when they don't even have a catechism, or any regular course of teaching? All they hear is the teaching in our meetings."

There was the case of the witch doctor. And I looked right at him. He had been terrifying, the fear of the people. But now he was gentle, loving, kind--a wonderful man.

And so many of those simple people had experienced such power at their baptisms. They knew that Jesus had been baptized in the river and they insisted on being baptized in a flowing river; a pond would not do. Again, my eyes swept over the sixty-five people crowded into the small shed. "Was it their simplicity?" Jesus received the baptism in the Spirit when He came up out of the river, and they expected the same thing to happen to them. They expected Jesus to do for them what His Father had done for Him. I had heard many of them make such statements. And sure enough, they came up out of the river speaking in tongues. "How can this be?"

My thoughts were interrupted when the singing died down and one of the missionaries stood to ask if there were any requests for prayer. The old wife of the leading chief in that area--actually she was just one of several wives since the bigger the chief, the more wives he was likely to have--rose slowly to her feet to ask everyone to pray for an old friend who was lying desperately ill at that moment. She had stopped at her but to see her on the way to the meeting and felt that she was dying. The missionary leading the meeting moved forward and said, "Let's pray for her right now. "

So they began to pray and that shed was ringing with prayers and weeping, and then the rising chorus of "Hallelujah, Hallelujah for the Cross; it will never suffer loss." Then the old wife of the chief began to march around the shed to the singing, and she marched right out of the building with the people following her. In a minute or two, the place was empty and the people were marching in single and double file, strung out for some distance among the village huts, toward the hut of the sick woman several hundred yards away. My father and the other missionaries had no choice but to follow. I went along too, still mumbling to myself about the faith of these ignorant people.

When they got to the sick woman's hut, they continued singing and marching around the hut, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah for the Cross." It was a strange sight. My father, the chief's wife, and two of the missionaries went into the hut. Two or three minutes passed, although it seemed like considerably more, and suddenly the old woman who lived there, the sick one, came whirling through the door with her arms lifted up, smiling and laughing. "Hallelujah, Hallelujah for the Cross; it will never suffer loss." The singing soared louder and higher, and the people, dancing and happy, wound their way with her back to the shed.

Back inside the church, we had a great old-fashioned service. The Lord had done another miracle. To those people, that was the only way. That's the way the Bible told it, and that's the way it was.

My youthful mind raced on, troubled and almost desperate. "These poor people are too dumb to know it's impossible, so they never argue that this can't happen. `God can do it,' they say." I had seen the truth of the Scriptures in action.

I was almost crying inside in my exasperation. "Why don't I know Jesus like that?" I'd been getting up at dawn every morning all my life, reading the Scriptures and having devotions. At the age of not quite eleven, I had read the Bible through. From the time we boys were old enough to do so, father had awakened us at fivethirty. We washed and got dressed, and were sitting before our open Bibles by six. First, there were devotions, and then systematic reading of the Scripture, a chapter or two every morning.

"I know the Bible," I anguished. "I know all about Jesus. But l don't know Him." When I prayed, or my parents prayed, to me it was still a recital. God was always far away in heaven, never here. But for these people, these poor black villagers, He was always near at hand.

"If only I could know Jesus the way they do," I thought, my youthful heart hurting.

 

CONVERSION

 

Basutoland is often called the Switzerland of South Africa because of its mountains, high ones whose peaks retain deep snow throughout the year. Our mission station was halfway up one of those beautiful mountains, eleven miles from the village where we purchased many of our goods. There also were the blacksmith's shop, and, most important to us, the post office. In the clear, sparkling air of the mountains and the valley below, you could almost see the post office from our Mount Tabor Mission. But it was a long way--one mile down the steep, tricky mountain side and then onto the flat lands, through corn fields and narrow footpaths into the Basuto village.

Almost every family in villages like ours had a horse to be used for trips such as going for the mail. We missionaries had one, too, but a young, newly-arrived Swiss missionary, Reinhardt Gschwend, had a special horse, which he had bought from one of the neighboring chiefs. Reinhardt was a kindly young man who struggled hard to learn the Basuto language, which he finally mastered. He went on to become one of the great missionaries of Africa, publishing more literature in African languages than any I know of. Millions of pieces still come off presses that he started in South Africa. His two boys carry on this work and are becoming as famous as their father.

That bright February day, Reinhardt said in his thick accent, "Take my horse to the post office." That sent my eleven-year-old heart floating, for that was a real horse. He was dark brown, sleek and strong, a racing horse. Together, we would soar across those fields and through the narrow paths. That animal reduced my weekly chore to a great sport.

We made our way carefully down the mountain path. It was impossible to do more than walk until we reached more level ground. As the horse moved easily out onto the flat lands of the valley, I sat back in the saddle and looked over the fields, fully relaxed yet keenly aware of everything around me. I was learning to read nature, not only the approach and departure of the seasons, but the condition of the soil and its effect on nature's growth, the prevalence of animal life thereabouts, nature's reaction to mankind and the changing environment. I was learning from the Africans to read things in nature that others did not notice. These Africans thought other people were foolish. "They read books," they said, "and they don't read nature." Meanwhile, the people who read books thought the others were foolish. It was a crazy circle, and they both were a little bit right.

We picked up speed as we passed through the rows of the corn fields, which were reaching their autumn raggedy tan look as the harvest time neared. Summer in South Africa was almost over. The day was hot but still clear, and the ride was exhilarating.

At the little one-story, brown adobe post office, I gathered the mail into the saddle bag without event. Nine letters and two shoebox-size parcels, an average amount. When I stepped back into the open and began to mount the horse, I noticed the sky was clouding up quickly. Huge, rolling thunderclouds swept in toward the mountains, the same direction I was heading. The sky was suddenly almost totally overcast; it was beginning to streak with lightning farther out in the valley.

"Maybe I can outrun the storm," I said half-aloud to no one. I didn't want to stay there. I still didn't know my way among the villagers very well. I swung the saddlebag into place, secured it, and scrambled onto the horse, which was moving about the hitching rail, ever so slightly nervous. "I must get home," I said. "I don't want to get caught in this." I had gone through two or three Basutoland rain storms, and they were king-size. I swung the racehorse away from the rail and moved at a fast canter up the village path and out into the fields, where I stretched the gait into a gallop and urged him on. The wind blew fiercely, and the day seemed to turn into night. First the wild, streaked lightning; then the terrifying claps of thunder, cracking and slamming and rolling across the meadows to echo in the foothills. Then torrents of rain, sloshing down in sheets of solid water.

I had covered less than a third of the eleven-mile trip when lightning struck the ground right in front of me, flashing and spitting in a way I'd never seen before. It sizzled, and I smelled sulphur. I was virtually blinded for a moment. It was no more than twenty feet in front of me. The horse stopped instantly--from a gallop to a standstill in a split second. Then came another deafening thunderclap. It's funny how thoughts come to you at times like that. I remembered the saying, "If the lightning strikes you, you won't hear anything." Well, I heard the thunder, so I knew I wasn't dead.

The abruptness of the horse's stop almost threw me to the ground. I slid the rest of the way off and fell to the soaking earth. My trousers drenched and muddy, I knelt in the corn field, which was being beaten flat by the storm, and I cried aloud: "Jesus! Save me! Save me!"

It's strange. No appeal to surrender to the Lord Jesus had ever penetrated the crust around my young soul. I had sat through dozens of such appeals. None had touched me--at least enough for me to respond. But there I was, kneeling in the roaring, raging wind, rain and lightning, scared into the very arms of Jesus.

And, at once, I knew I was saved. I knew Jesus had accepted me. I was no longer afraid of the storm, continuing all around me. The lightning flashed, the thunder roared, the rain swept down. But I was as frisky as a young colt. I looked up into the sky and said, loud enough to be heard: "Wouldn't it be wonderful if Jesus came on those clouds right now." He's going to come on the clouds, according to the Scriptures, and I wanted to see him come right then. I wanted to see Him face to face. I knew He was real.

After returning the horse and getting him dried and rubbed down, I went into my mother and father's hut. Mother was alone. "How'd you get through the storm?" she asked.

"Well," I replied, with the nonchalance of an eleven-year-old, "Jesus saved me."

I saw her head snap upward ever so slightly, but she made no big show of emotion. She merely turned her head toward me, and kindness and love poured through her smile.

"The storm scared me," I continued, "and I cried to Jesus and out there He saved me."

It was as simple as that.

 

Mother apparently told my story to dad sometime before supper, for that evening after our regular devotions, he looked up from his Bible and said to me, "I believe you had an experience with the Lord today?" My father was the kind who would wait to see the Christian life before he would commit himself too fully as to whether anything had happened to me.

"Yes," I said rather solemnly, with all the wisdom I could muster, "I can truthfully say that I prayed today and talked to Jesus like the Africans do. Not up in heaven or some far-off place; He was right there next to me."

I paused. And there was silence around the table. Everybody watched me. My dad's clear, sharp eyes stared straight into my face.

"Something happened there," I said quietly. "Now Jesus is real to me. "

 

It was not long after my conversion that my family's work at the Mount Tabor Mission station was completed, and we returned to our little fellowship of Pentecostal believers in Ladybrand. My father resumed his work as carpenter and preacher, and I returned to school, filled with wonderful tales of life in an African village.

Spiritually, I had one burning concern--baptism. When was I to be baptized in water? Didn't the Scripture say, "Repent, and be baptized"? I wanted it badly, convinced by my dramatic conversion that I was ready. My father said no; I was too young. I didn't understand the meaning of baptism.

So he and the other elders in our congregation began talking with me at length about baptism and its meaning. They worked especially with me on Romans 6--"You are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." You have to live a new life, they insisted; and everybody seemed concerned that I wouldn't. I waited. And I waited. No baptism.

One day--it was 1917 and I was twelve years old--the church elders announced a baptismal service the following week for two elderly people just recently saved. They were going to be baptized in a creek outside of Ladybrand. The Caledon River bordering Basutoland was four miles away, too far, but this creek had a nice wide pond at one point, more than adequate for baptizing.

Again, I asked, "Can I be baptized now, please?" I had no confidence as to the answer. But, surprisingly, it came. "Yes. We are convinced you are ready for baptism."

I still remembered those Africans over in Basutoland and the way they came up out of the water, expecting to be baptized in the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ. I was sure that would happen to me.

It was a quiet, peaceful Sunday when we gathered at the creek outside of town. But, contrary to custom, a large crowd gathered with us. The service had been publicly announced and literally hundreds of children, many of them my school friends, were there. Nobody wanted to miss it. Other such services had been held privately at a nearby farm. But this was a public baptism by immersion. The Dutch Reformed, the Anglicans, and the Methodists would just have to wag their heads.

The elders baptized the elderly couple first, and then came me, the first youngster to be baptized in that manner in that town. I came up out of the water, and nothing else happened. No baptism in the Holy Spirit. Just hundreds of wide-eyed faces, staring curiously at me.

But one thing was certain for me: I had been buried with Christ and raised with Him to newness of life. The most significant evidence of this was in the new power I found in the Scriptures. They referred to me. I had become an heir of all they talked about. This was mine. This was for me.

That night as I lay awake in my bed, looking through the darkness up at the ceiling, I had it clear in my mind, "I am buried with Christ and now I will live a new life. I will find the way in the Scriptures."

 

From: A Man Called Mr. Pentecost by David du Plessis, pag. 7-26, 1977, Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield, NJ

 

 

Index