FORTVILLE – Cans of vegetables. Boxes of muffin mix. Bottles of shampoo lined up on a shelf.
It was ready, lined up on tables and racks for the FARM (Fortville Area Resource Mission) food pantry. But some people had come early, before the weekly pantry hours began, and walked past it all.
They instead walked into the auditorium of Fortville Christian Church, where FARM is housed. On this Tuesday morning, they’d come to see four people baptized.
Several people who have gotten to know the food pantry volunteers have been coming to a Bible study, and / or going to the Brianna’s Hope ministry in town to deal with addiction. They became interested in being baptized.
“I want baptism to be a symbol that an old life is washed away,” one woman wrote in a testimony read out loud just before she stepped into the waters and was baptized by her parents. When she came up from the water, to applause from the 30 or so people gathered around round tables, she said, “Thank you. Kocham Cie.”
“We love YOU!” came a shout from the back of the room.
FARM Director Lisa Reynolds read the written testimonies before each person entered the baptistery, where someone they’d chosen who’d influenced them spiritually asked them questions about their profession of faith. Then they plunged that person under the water.
“I knew I needed the help of Jesus, so I decided to attend the Bible study,” another person wrote in her testimony. One of the Bible study leaders baptized her.
FARM’s pantry runs 12: 30-2: 30 pm Tuesdays at 9450 N. CR 200W, Fortville. Volunteers from several area churches collaborate to organize the food donations and greet those who visit the pantry. In recent years several area churches – New Life Christian Fellowship, Fortville Christian Church, Fortville Church of the Nazarene, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, and Mercy Road Church Northeast – have come together as Christians Unite, collaborating at the pantry and other efforts to serve the community.
Since the pantry was able to shift away from the drive-through format it used amid COVID, back to a shopping-like experience indoors, FARM has been offering a social hour beforehand with snacks. Often there’ll be a guest speaker who’ll share their testimony, their story of coming to faith and how that has influenced their life.
As the baptism service closed, Reynolds shared the Bible verse John 8:12, in which Jesus says he is the light of the world. She talked about that light shining into a person’s darkness and filling emptiness.
“Baptism is only the first step,” she said. “He challenges us to do something with the new life we have in him.”
Then, it was time to open the pantry hours. She notified people with Numbers 1-5 that it was their turn to shop.