A South Carolina man in hospice care was granted his final wish last month when he was baptized in a 60-gallon hospital tub to shouts of “hallelujah” and “amen.”
Jenis James Grindstaff, a cancer patient who has few days left on Earth, was in at-home hospice care last year when he grew a desire to be baptized before he died.
“I’ve always loved Jesus,” he told KMBC-TV.
Grindstaff, though, did not want to be sprinkled. He wanted to be immersed.
Due to his medical issues, he couldn’t be lowered into a traditional baptismal and he couldn’t be baptized in a traditional tub, either, because he wouldn’t be able to get back up, WHNS-TV reported. Thus, a local hospital and chaplain came up with an alternative plan: baptize Grindstaff in a specially designed 60-gallon hospital tub that would permit him to walk in and sit down before it is filled.
“The rest of his family – his brothers or sisters – have been baptized,” said his son, Craig. “And for some reason or another, he just never got around to getting it done.”
Said another son, Jim, “He's always read the Bible, but he had never been baptized. He wanted to show he believed more than anything else.”
Grindstaff was an air traffic controller for 25 years and also served in the military.
He was transported to Spartanburg Regional Hospice, where, in December, chaplain Terrell Jones baptized Grindstaff in the “name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Jones’ family attended the baptism.
“Amen!” Jones said while he was lowered into the tub. “Hallelujah!”
Grindstaff said he hopes his baptism impacts others. A video of his baptism posted to the Spartanburg Regional Facebook page has been viewed more than 200,000 times.
“If I reach one person, it’s a great deal,” he told KMBC.
Grindstaff, who enjoys drawing, said he enjoys thinking about heaven.
“The streets of gold and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Video courtesy: Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.