Seven More Days until Manuela Blayne is published. Here's an excerpt from Chapter Seven:
It must have been about three o’clock when all the church members started walking down the road. We followed. At the edge of the red dirt road winding behind the church, waited a gaping hole big as three graves would have been if they were lined up side by side. It was full of red muddy water.
The people oohed and aahed about the fine job the men of Antioch Church had done digging the hole. I thought it was . . . well . . . pitiful.
“They had to dig it a few days before the ceremony. Otherwise, it would have filled up with mud again,” Papa Sam, who was carrying our sleeping baby brother, said in his low voice. He didn’t need to talk loud because we huddled together feeling strange in a foreign place, even though we were only a short distance from home. It was not like our world.
“So, how did they get the water in here?” I asked.
“They hauled it.” This time Will didn’t call me stupid like he normally did.
I pulled on Mama’s sleeve.
“What is it, Trudy?” She bent over so I could speak into her ear.
“Does God feel honored?” I asked. “I mean they’re going to dip people in a mud hole to baptize them.”
“Right.” She smoothed my hair.
“They’re taking a risk. What if a snake is in there?” I could think of all kinds of bad possibilities.” What if they swallow mud?”
“Trudy, I’m sure God feels very honored.” She spoke in a reverent tone, leaving me to reconsider what was happening.
The twelve reborn Christians marched toward the makeshift baptistery. All of them wore what must have been the worst looking clothes they owned. Manuela, who was acting sophisticated, sneaked a tiny wave and wink at us.
Down in the pit, they must have had blocks of wood for steps on one side.
Reverend Greenfield raised his hands to silence the crowd. He led a prayer before addressing the congregation.
“Brothers and sisters, these twelve new babes have come today to celebrate their birth in Christ Jesus. In the days ahead, Satan will try to reclaim their hearts away from their Savior, but no matter what he throws at them, he can’t steal them.” The preacher emphasized his words by shaking his head and fists.
“These men, women, and children have been Spirit-sealed into the Kingdom of the Father and covered by the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God.
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