Swimming and Baptisms- Irrigation Ditches.

This is part two talking about How technology isn’t the best. On the first one I mentioned that I will be about living in Hyder and my faith and baptism. Since we didn’t have anything to watch, computers or ways to talk to friends unless they lived by us, we had to come up with ways to do things and use our imagination.

baptism1

I’ve shared this experience about my faith and about my baptism before. But, I’m more than happy to share again.

I remember watching some members of the Nazarene Church in Knox Indiana getting baptized. I wanted to do that so bad. It wasn’t just because of how they got to go swimming, it was because I know how important and pleasing it is to God to be baptized. My grandma Grace would tell me about how we need to be baptized in water and by the Holy Spirit. I didn’t quite understand what she meant by being baptized by the Holy Spirit since, well, He’s a Spirit. But, I figured God knew how to do it spirit and all, so “here I am”.

church-service
Stock Image of a church

Since I went to church at a Nazarene Church, they won’t baptize anyone until you get 14 years old. It doesn’t matter if I fully understood or not, the pastor said that I would have to come back and ask then. If Jesus could speak to the Elders in the temples when he was 12, I would think I was good to go and be baptized.

I would have had to get permission from my parents in order to get baptized, even if I was old enough. The only reason I even got to go to church was because my mom wanted us out of the house and someone from church would come and get us. I won’t go into the reasons on why we needed out of the house, but it was for the best.

Our family moved away from Indiana and I think at some point we moved back there and again back to Arizona. There are a number of years that I don’t remember. My sisters can remember them and some family members do, but I don’t. They have all told me that it was good to forget.

irrigationditchBut, anyhow. at some point, we moved to Hyder, Arizona. It was in the middle of nowhere. It was hot, not just hot, but it was a preparation for Hell. There wasn’t anything we could do and it was so hot, we couldn’t do anything outside unless it was 6 am or after 7 pm. But, we did have irrigation ditches.

  • WHAT IS AN IRRIGATION DITCH?
    Irrigation ditches are man-made channels that deliver water to homes, farms, industries and other human uses. Most ditches divert water from natural creeks and rivers and bring it to other areas.
sulfure
This is the color the water turns when sulfur is in it. 

When we moved to Hyder and we seen these ditches, we were curious. My dads boss who was the owner of Thompson Farms told us that we can swim in them, but be careful. They will add sulfur to them once in a while. They do that to fertilize the cotton and I would think to kill bugs. He told us to never go in or by the water if they are adding surfer to it. With sulfur it is yellow and stinks really bad. I would think it would be dangerous to even inhale. Those irrigation ditches was right in front of our trailer, so we could smell it all the time.

Sulfur is mentioned many times in the Bible. Anytime I’ve read anything in the Bible about sulfur it isn’t a good thing. Here are a few verses;

  • Luke 17:29- But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
  • Revelation 9:17 – The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur.
  • Revelation 20:10– And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Since I knew that sulfur is bad, I had no problem staying away from it. Jerome told us kids that if the water is clear and no sulfur is in there, that it is safe to swim in and just stay away from the tubes or we can get sucked into them and we would die. OK, so let’s thinking about this for a second.

We moved to AZ when I was in the 4th grade and I became involved with a little Baptist Church that met in a trailer in Hyder AZ. The baptisms from Indiana still stuck with me and it was something I wanted to do so bad.

  1. DON’T go in or near the water if there is sulfur in it. If it is yellow stay away from it and if it smells like surfer, stay away from it.  He said it could and more than likely kill us as in dead and gone and we will be left for the rattlesnakes. Now, that’s a heck of a deadly warning isn’t it?
  2. Don’t go swimming through the little tunnels because we will drown since the holes are just big enough to fit a body and we would get stuck in the hole. There would be nobody around to save us. There were no police in Hyder. The closest officers were over 70 miles away. There were no Dr’s, paramedics or firemen either.  So, if you want to stay alive, don’ play in the tunnels or the tubes.

After he told us those things, he started to leave and told us we can go swimming and just pay attention to those rules. Egads, that was horrible. But, we did get enough courage and we went swimming in the ditches. We stayed away from anything that could suck us into a hole and we didn’t swim in yellow water.  I always knew about yellow snow, but this was a whole other learning curve lol.

There was this family that came to welcome our family to this middle of nowhere and invited us to church. I was super excited. My parents of course were not. My sisters didn’t want to go to church. They only went because mom and dad knew we would be out of their way. My bother wanted nothing to do with it. I begged my mom to go. Even though my parents don’t believe in God, they finally told them that they can pick me up. After the family left, my parents told me that they didn’t want me to say anything about church, God, what I learned or anything else. If I did mention anything church wise, I would pay the price.

The first Sunday at this little Baptist Church, the pastor was talking about the importance of Baptism. Baptism was the top thinking that I have been wanting for so long. I asked him about what age I would have to be to get baptized. I didn’t have to be 14, but I would have to have my parents approval. I knew there would be no chance in asking. I’m sure I had tears in my eyes. There was absolutely no way I could even say God in my house yet alone ask about Baptism.

So, my little 10 or 11 year old mind and heart came up with a solution. But, I needed help with it. We had the irrigation ditch, which has water. And on most days it was clean and clear water. On other days it was the kind of water that will kill ya. Since there was nothing else to do in Hyder, we would swim for hours. But, before we went swimming, I would ask my friend Kim Thompson and my sis Joyce if they would like to be baptized. baptismquoteThey gave me some really stupid looks. Kim’s family is Catholic and our family is, well, nothing. I’m a Christian and that’s as far as it went.

I watched many baptisms. I didn’t have a Bible of my own, so I had to say what I remembered that the pastor would say. I would stand in front of them and then I would ask Joyce and Kim  these things. I’m sure the words aren’t exact since it was so long ago. But, this is what I asked them and in turn they did that with me.

  1. Do you believe that Jesus is the son of God?
  2. Do you believe that He died and was raised to life?
  3. Do you accept Him as your Lord and Savior?

And then I would have them hold their nose and close their mouths and then dunk them. I didn’t realize way back then that once you are baptized, you are saved. So, every time we went swimming before we did anything else I wanted to be baptized. I don’t think they wanted to all the time. I just didn’t want to take any chances.

During that part of my life, be having the many baptisms gave me peace. It’s hard to explain. As a child my life wasn’t very good and most days I didn’t know if any of us kids would survive. But, because of being baptized so many times, I felt different. I always knew God was with me, but during those times, I just felt complete. Over the years I have always wondered if my true baptism that I got on the day I turned 14 in Willcox was my actual baptism. Or if even though I wasn’t baptized by a pastor and I was baptized I would think close to 100 times, if that was my true baptism. There was no service, pastor or documents. But the feeling I had, I 100 percent meant every word I said. God gave me so much love, grace and mercy in my life.

While Hyder had nothing to do at all. What it did have been an irrigation ditch that could kill a personal easily and that ditch had life-sustaining power.

I would love to hear your experiences of when you got baptized. I would also like to hear about what you think when it came to my baptisms in irrigation ditches.

I will share more about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on a future blog since this one is long enough.