By Carl Stagner
Anderson University squirrels—or any squirrels, for that matter—aren’t as sweet and cuddly as they may be cute. They can, in fact, do a lot of damage with those razor-sharp teeth, much to the chagrin of homeowners, electricians, and the power company. On one fateful Sunday morning in May, one of these four-legged troublemakers sunk his teeth into more than he’d bargained for. The unsuspecting squirrel fell prey to the electrical surge, but so did the worship services scheduled that morning at Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana. No light and no power meant no baptism in the church’s sanctuary. How convenient that the family of one of the soon-to-be-baptized had an inflatable water slide already set up in their backyard!
Chelsea Walker had been investing in the lives of Ellie and Hallie since she started as Kids! Ministry director for Church at the Crossing in September 2011. For several months, they’d had this particular Sunday morning on the schedule for the girls’ outward expression of an inward reality. These girls were walking with Christ, and their families couldn’t wait to witness this special day. Relatives had come from as far as Michigan, and everything was going swimmingly until—Mr. Squirrel.
“There was no way I was missing this sacred moment—after all, these girls had invited me into their faith journeys and asked me to officiate their baptisms,” Chelsea explains. Chelsea was actually at the church when everything went down. Her first thought: “Are you kidding me!?”
Putting the safety of the congregation first, the staff made the very difficult decision to cancel the morning worship services. There was no indication as to when power would be restored, and too much work and preparation had been put into this special day for the girls. Neither Chelsea nor the families would be deterred. Chelsea quickly loaded her car with all the necessities—baptism certificates, robes, etc. After a brief planning huddle in the church parking lot, they all decided to reconvene at the Ellie’s home, where a water slide had been set up for a post-baptism family get-together. Little did anyone know this water slide would be used that day for more than entertainment purposes. In a pool at the base of a water slide, in freezing cold water, Ellie and Hallie were baptized. “God has a sense of humor,” Chelsea reflects. “I’m confident those girls will never forget their special baptism day.”
So what will Chelsea remember about this unusual day in her ministry career? “The joy that they had was so clear. I’ve been reminded that we don’t want to underestimate the faith of a child and that their connection with God is so filled with joy and wonder,” Chelsea reflects. “We did a class together for a couple of weeks for baptism, and their readiness and understanding of God’s Word is incredible—they have a special connection with God. We can learn from that.”
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