If you’ve ever lived near a beach, you’ve seen them do it. Whole church-loads of people show up, make their way out into the surf, and begin baptizing folks who want to be baptized. The events draw lots of onlookers. And it certainly is a memorable way to do it, kind of a combination of a traditional “Shall We Gather At the River” event and beach party.
But the ceremony turned tragic recently for one man. Benito Flores was helping to perform baptisms with the Jesus Christ Light of the Sky Church in California.
Pastor Maurigro Cervantes told KEYT news that he and two other men were there to baptize a fourth man when large waves carried them away. They all swam back to shore, except for Flores.
“A big wave came and took Benito,” Cervantes said. “I tried to take him out. He was heavy. And then another big wave came.”
A large search and rescue operation was launched, but they could no locate the man by nightfall.
According to The Independent the area where the baptism was being performed is near the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes Preserve. Some dunes there are are over 550 feet high.
Ironically, the Preserve was the site of the filming of The Ten Commandments in 1923. When the filming was over, the crew dismantled the sets and buried them right there in the preserve. So far, no one has been able to successfully excavate the old movie set, though some pieces are occasionally recovered thanks to the winds, and are now viewed as artifacts. 21 sphinxes, four 35-foot tall Pharaoh statues, and 110-foot tall gates were built and buried there.
Image via YouTube