Happy Bath-Day!

Cheri Hoke on May 12, 2012

pic- Mrs Hoke gets wet

I knew I was in trouble when the announcement came:  “There will be a baptism today after Creative Writing class!”  I am the Creative Writing instructor at African Bible University, and it was my birthday.  It could only mean one thing; my mischievous students were plotting “only evil continually.”  In true African fashion, they were planning a water “baptism” in celebration of my big day!

When I arrived in class, my fears were confirmed.  I was greeted with impish smiles.  When I informed them that I had already been baptized, thank you very much, they laughed out loud.  When I got down on my knees and begged for mercy, they exploded.  Things were not heading in my favor!  Ominously, I noticed several larger than normal bottles of water on the students’ tables.

However, things took an encouraging turn as several of the female students showed up with beautiful bouquets of flowers.  (Never mind that the ABU campus is now looking a little bare.)  As cell phone cameras snapped my picture with the bouquets, I began to think all would be well.   But when I asked for some of the water from their bottles to put my flowers in, it was denied.

Wisely, I removed my new silk scarf while the students were doing their writing assignment.  I figured if worse came to worst, at least the scarf would be spared.  Quietly, I began to plan my exit strategy.  I stacked all my books and papers away so they would not be soaked and zipped my purse shut.  I figured I could slip away while the students were busy writing and they would never even notice.  Wrong.

I had not gotten more than a few feet when the showers came!  Bottles full of water on my head!  Students from other classrooms poured out (pardon the pun) to join the chaos.  Again, cameras snapped.  Bad hair day notwithstanding, it was a joyful moment!  I felt drenched in love!

Still, the next class period was “pay-back time.”  I grinned slyly at the students as I wrote the Pop Quiz assignment on the board:  “Write a persuasive essay that will convince Mrs. Hoke to have mercy on this class!”  In these essays, most of the students tried to shift blame to their Systematic Theology instructor, who also happens to be my husband.  They claimed he incited them to do evil.

But the comment from those quizzes that I like the best is, “One reason why Mrs. Hoke should show mercy to her entire class is because the entire class loves you.  The fact that we organized a bath-day instead of a birth-day and made you wet like one of the fish in Lake Victoria does not mean that the class hates you, but that it loves you more than you would imagine.”

How I love these African students!  And I will never forget my wonderful bath-day celebration!

Because God is redeeming a people for Himself,

Cheri (and Tim!)