Dear Preacher Charles,
Well, I know that my last letter hasn't even been delivered to you and here I am writing you again. There is so much happening that I am going to explode if I don't tell somebody.
Wednesday night Joe Bob and I was studying as usual and we were really concentrating on all the examples of conversion that are over there in Acts. Joe Bob has been doing some study on the meaning of baptism like I asked him to and he told me that the word simply means to dip or immerse. We was wondering why they didn't translate it that way? Joe Bob pointed out that we had found two words now that the translators seemed to handle wrong. Joe Bob said he had always thought baptism could be sprinkling, pouring, or immersion but the Bible is real plain on the requirement for immersion. Anyway, we were wondering if you can tell us why that word wasn't translated immerse and why Church wasn't translated assembly, group or something like that. Joe Bob said he didn't know if the devil was behind it or not but he must sure be happy over all the confusion it has caused.
I was just real happy to hear Joe Bob talking about baptism that way and getting it all down right just like it is in the Bible but I wasn't ready for what happened next. All of a sudden, Joe Bob leaned back in his chair and looked at me real straight and said, "Sam, I want to be baptized!" Well, Molly Bea's knitting needles stopped clicking and we just sat and stared at each other for what seemed like a long time. I think I almost know what Lot's wife felt like - I didn't turn to salt but it felt like I turned to stone because I couldn't move a muscle or say a word. Then Joe Bob kind of smiled and I could see a big tear in each eye. That kind of broke the spell and I jumped up and hugged that big man because I had never been so happy in my life. We must of looked like a couple of dummies dancing around that room and hugging and slapping each other on the back.
After we calmed down a little I told Joe Bob that I would call the preacher and we would meet him down at the building and take care of it there but he looked me right in the eye and said, "Sam, I want you to baptize me - down in that stock pond behind the house." When he said that, my hands turned to ice and my stomach jumped right up my throat. I didn't know what to do. I've never baptized anyone and I didn't know what to do or how to do it but I decided I had to go through with it so I said "OK." During all this excitement I hadn't even thought about Molly Bea but suddenly I realized she was standing there looking at me and I asked her what was wrong. In her very quiet voice she said, "May I be baptized too?" That was almost too much for me to take but I said sure and then I had presence of mind enough to ask both of them if they believed that Jesus is the Son of God. They both said they did and that they understood that they were being baptized for the remission of their sins.
We all put on some old clothes and headed for the stock pond. It was a beautiful night. The moon was shining and it was almost as light as day. When we got to the water I wondered if I was going to faint but I got through it somehow. I'm not sure what I did but I do know that I completely ducked both of them and in the excitement I got wetter than they did. We looked like three drowned rats walking back to the house but there has never been three happier people in this world.
The next morning I called the Preacher and told him what happened and he was real happy and said he sure would be happy to see all three of us in Church Sunday morning. That's when it hit me that my troubles had just started. I had studied with Joe Bob too much to think that he was going to go to Church. We had already learned that Church is not something you can "go to." Sure enough, when I talked to Joe Bob about it he said that he liked all those people down there but he just didn't want to get tangled up with all that organization stuff because he can't find it in the Bible. And Charles, I believe he is right about that now that I have studied with him. Anyway, we plan to meet at his house Sunday morning and when I told my Daddy about it he was real happy and said that he and Momma would drive over and be with us.
Charles, you and I both know that Sunday afternoon over here is going to make the destruction of Jerusalem look like a kindergarten picnic and about all I can do is wait for it to happen. I've made up my mind though and I'm going through with it but it sure is going to be rough. I haven't told you yet that John Hathaway is the Elder that came over to see me before and I know he is already pretty upset with me because Patricia (his daughter) tells me some of what he says around home. We haven't told anyone yet but Patricia and I are planning to get married pretty soon. She kind of thinks what I'm doing is right but I don't know how all of that will turn out.
There is no need for you to try to answer this letter because the fireworks will be booming before your answer could get here. I will write you next week and tell you all about it. Until then, I remain
Your faithful friend,
Sam Hill, Jr.