I finally got baptized on Sunday, the 25th of November, and yes, it was COLD! Pastor Bower took a van load of us and a few cars out to just south of Promontory point on the south side of Chicago. If you know anything about Chicago, you know that lake Michigan never warms up, and at the time of year is even colder. It was an overcast, rainy day, the sky was Chicago grey and the colors of the skyline where damp, the copper patinas on the Museum of science and industry and extra deep green. I wish I could describe the colors of the water... it looked warm, but we knew it wasn't. Pastor Bower, jovial as usual, led us with his gray hair, gray belly in a gray bathing suit with palm trees on it. A Hispanic lady named Belen and two others where also going in today, along with 20 other folks wearing winter jackets. I had on some shorts, black socks, a black bath robe and black dress shoes... yes, I was looking very Polish, or as they say down here, Poland representin! Taking off my shoes and socks, I could tell I hadn't planned this out that well. Stepping barefoot onto the cold wet sand was like getting a tattoo, you may not enjoy it, but you keep on going. My Mom would have loved this water. When we'd go on vacations and stay at motels with pools, she was always the first into the water and would tell us the temperature was fine. we would jump in and not be able to breathe till we got back out. This time there was no turning back for me, I was committed. Each fridged wave caused me to involuntarily make odd noises that I hoped weren't swear words, lol. We all let Pastor Bower bravely lead the way as we weren't about to go out any further than absolutely necessary. The waves battered him around, so I had to help him dip the others under. He'd tell them to use one hand to plug your nose and grab onto us with the other, but being so cold, hands where flailing, lol. When it came my turn I was really worried I'd pull him under, or worse yet, not get all the way under and have to do it again. Grab my nose, grab his arm, tilt waaay back, feel the liquid go over my eyes... and then I'm up and reborn into my new life! My first impulse is to get out as fast as I can, but instead I raise both hands and let out a yell of victory!
Before hand, when I mentioned to the Pastor that the beaches would be closed by that date, he said with a smile of mischievousness, "Then there won't be any lifeguards to stop us". LOL, you just have to love the man! While he may loose his place in the Bible at times during class on occasion, I've never seen him sin. He has gone out of his way to help so many, at times risking his standing at the Mission. He has shown us that he is just as fallible as we are, and shown us what real love is.
That night we went from Pastors church, Crawford, over to Cicero Bible church to hear a Bluegrass Gospel concert by the Durocher family. WOW! They have 8 kids from 5 years old to 25 and they all play instruments and sing. A base Cello,Cello, Mandolin, violin, guitars and a steel guitar The girl playing the Mandolin was energetic and crisp, the girl Sue playing the base had the most wonderful smile, all the way to her eyes, a spiritual happiness. The girl singing lead was a long necked beauty that sounded every bit as good as Norah Jones. Afterwords everyone went downstairs for some good old fashioned, greasy, square cut, Chicago style pizza, great stuff!
Last Tuesday, Pastor Schoenberger gave me an ESV Bible as I told him I was having trouble reading the King James Version. ESV stands for English Standard Version and is written is a way that is more like the way we speak these days. I've heard many opinions on the various translations out there, but I see them to be like different pastors and preachers... just another way of learning. Afterwords, the wisdom comes to you from God. This ESV has a hard cover and has a nice thump to it, lol. I have been an avid book reader all my life, but normally I saved money and bought the pulp versions of books. I've really grown to appreciate the fine paper these Bibles are printed on. They have a nice ziiip when you thumb the corners too. I'm sure that some day I will have a tablet that will have every translation version of the Bible on it, but it just won't feel the same... or thump like a real deal Bible, lol.
Right now I have four Bibles, the one that Conrad gave me along with a bag to carry it in. This is the one that I use in class and have highlighted every verse the pastors have ever discussed, along with small slash marks for every time they went back over that verse. It will be interesting to look in it years from now and see what they thought was important here. I have a bunch of notes, underlines and doodles in it. I also have a red Gideon's Bible I keep as a back up or in case a guy looses his. Then one day I saw a beat up study Bible that had been discarded, so I picked it up and plan on restoring. Study Bibles are really nice in that they have many notes that where carefully thought through, to help you understand verses.