Sometimes there’s something you can’t wait to write down. This is one of those times.
Just rejoice in the long-suffering of God. He IS long-suffering, not willing that any should perish! Jesse Partridge and his son, Jesse Neal, were baptized into Jesus last night. Jesse has been coming to West Huntsville for many, many years. If you know the people at West Huntsville, you know that many have encouraged him through those years to become a New Testament Christian. Now Jesse is 93 and pretty ill. He is in remission from cancer. Remission from cancer, for Him, was a chance for the other, better remission— of sins. The second kind of remission is infinitely more valuable than even the first. But it took the first kind of remission to give him another chance for the most important second kind. We are so very joyful. Our new younger brother is 93
Jesse’s son, Neal, is suffering with stage four lung cancer. He’s been watching the livestream with his parents, now, for some time and he has been a great, great influencer of his dad. He determined that they both needed to become Christians and he did not stop discussing this with his father. Jesse, Sr.’s family had been very instrumental many years ago in beginning a congregation of a denomination, donating the land and the cemetery to this group in the state of Mississippi. It was very hard for Jesse, though he could see truth, to step away from that family involvement. He waited. And he kept hearing gospel preaching. God was waiting, too. I’m so thankful for his mercy.
Finally, last night, around 8:15, we all met at the building, along with Paul and Tami Owen, the Barber family, Tony Anderson, and a few relatives of the Partridges. Paul and Tami worked hard boiling huge pans of water (because our baptistry water was frigid. Got to get that fixed post haste!) while Glenn discussed the power of the burial in that increasingly warm (but still cold water. Within a few minutes, father and son became brothers. These baptisms were labored. There was a wheelchair at the top of the steps and a chair placed in the water. Three men were in the water with both of these men. It took more than one attempt to fully immerse them, but they were determined to be saved and God was providing a way. Ali’i Barber led our little crew in some songs beginning with “I have Decided to Follow Jesus.” Their decisions were firm and their lives have been changed. I have never seen anyone any happier standing beside the waters of baptism than Jeanette Partridge It was a relatively quiet little singing, but we could hear with faith the rejoicing angels. On nights like this one, I always come home with renewed zeal and deep gratitude to our God, who is “long-suffering, not willing that any should perish.” In the days of Jesse, God waited.