That was the Facebook message I received from Tim when I offered my congratulations on the birth of his son, Benjamin.
Tim's wife, Rhea Ann, had just given birth to their second child. Rhea is a member of LICL. She and her husband make their home now in San Antonio where they live near Rhea's mom and dad, Melissa and CJ.
When I read Tim's Facebook post I immediately talked to my dear, sweet wife about traveling to San Antonio. She didn't hesitate. "Yes" was her answer. We found a date that would work for us, made the travel arrangements and off we went.
We flew in to San Antonio around lunchtime last Friday. Between road construction and driving thundershowers our 2 hour 20 minute trip to Waco, Texas took well over three hours. But we made it and had a great time.
Among the highlights:
Friday evening we stayed at a B n B about 20 minutes outside of Waco. Every hotel room in the city was booked for Baylor University's graduation. The B n B turned out to be much more fun. The owners have their own vineyard on the property so they treated us to a wine tasting. We eventually purchased a half-bottle and sat out on the porch of the B n B, enjoyed cool breezes and beautiful views and kicked back. It felt great!
Saturday morning we drove in to Waco to visit Magnolia Market, the brainchild of Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the "Fixer Upper" television show. The store sets in the shadow of some silos and was packed. We had heard that the merchandise was way overpriced but my dear, sweet wife felt the prices were reasonable. As we checked out we met Joanna Gaines' mother - she was directing traffic and doing a very effective job keeping the lines moving.
The Market also has a large playground-like area when parents and kids can play games. There are food truck circling the perimeter and a place with picnic tables when folks can enjoy their food.
Saturday afternoon we started toward Austin, Texas, ran into more road construction and heavy thundershowers and after several detours we reached our hotel. That evening our goal was to visit 6th Street, the home of numerous music venues and restaurants. The town slogan is "Keep Austin Weird." We did see lots of local, er, color. We had a great meal, did lots of sight seeing, including a tour of the state capitol building - very impressive!
Sunday morning we took a short drive to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Gardens. With more cool breezes we had a delightful time. The idea of the gardens is to capture various varieties of flower in their natural habitat. We marveled at God's creativity.
We were scheduled to meet Tim and Rhea Ann at 3 pm and we were right on time. Rhea's parents, CJ and Melissa, were wonderful hosts and Rhea's grandmother, Trish, another member of LILC, had flown in for the baptism. We had over a dozen family and friends gathered in the living room.
I began by explaining what baptism is and that it is at the Lord's invitation that parents bring their children to baptism's waters. "Let the little children come to me and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God," Jesus said. I explained that Ethan and Benjamin had earthly parents; in baptism God adopts children and adults into His family and He become their heavenly Father.
We prayed the Lord's Prayer and confessed the faith in the Apostles' Creed. Three year old Ethan was held by his father and enjoyed getting his head wet. Brother Benjamin - not so much. The water was a surprise and he wasn't sure what to make out of it. Fortunately, being in his mother's arms helped.
In prayer we gave thanks to God for the grace He gives in baptism, washing away sins. We also prayed for mother and father and for the children too. When it was all finished there were lots of smiles and a few tears of thanks too.
At seven pm it was time for us to find our hotel and get some rest before traveling back home. We flew home yesterday with a feeling of deep thanksgiving that God had kept us safe, had provided some time for a nice little getaway and that we had seen His love in action through the baptism of two beautiful children. Even as life gets back to normal for us today, we were so glad for the invitation: "Come to San Antonio and baptize the babies!"