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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Making a splash

158 Southeast Asians are baptized in growing Midwest ministry

"Peace is here," Keo Phommarath said simply, telling why he decided to put Buddhism behind him. Minutes later, Tom LoVan baptized him by immersion in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Phommarath, a Laotian, was one of 158 Southeast Asians baptized on Pentecost Sunday at a swimming pool in Sioux City, Iowa.

"This is the largest baptism I've seen in this country," said Nebraska Synod Bishop Richard Jessen, who participated in the event along with Western Iowa Synod Bishop Curtis Miller and other clergy. He and Miller offered conventional baptism at poolside, while LoVan and other pastors baptized by immersion.

The ceremony celebrated not only 158 new lives in Christ but also the success of worshiping communities that coalesced with dizzying speed.


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