A wheel-chair bound man dying of lung cancer made one final request before his death on September 10th in Birmingham, Alabama.
Thomas Roberts, who had been an atheist for the majority of his life, asked University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital Chaplain Corey Agricola to baptize him by immersion.
“He was able to articulate this was a gift he wanted to give his family,” Agricola said. “He made a decision two weeks prior to serve the Lord. He wanted to be baptized to signify the decision he already made. This is something he wanted. He became tearful as he talked about it. Time was of the essence. He was not expected to live through the day.”
However, the request was going to be a challenge because Roberts’ doctor said he could only be off oxygen for a few moments.
“Dr. Nichols made it clear he would only be able to be off oxygen for a few seconds, which meant we couldn’t roll him down the ramp in the pool wheelchair, so we had to use the chairlift to place him in the pool,” Agricola noted.
Reports said that after Romans 6:4-11 was read aloud, Roberts’ oxygen tubes were removed and the chaplain held him his arms and proceeded to baptize him.
UAB posted photos of the special moment to Twitter this week.
With only days left to live, a @UABSOM patient in the Palliative Care and Comfort Unit who was dying from lung cancer, was baptized in the pool at Spain Rehabilitation Center. @uabmedicine https://t.co/yzVH44OVfZ pic.twitter.com/oLvvSptJcG
— UAB (@UABNews) October 1, 2019
“I have served in the ministry over 20 years and seven of those at UAB. This is the greatest day of my career,” Agricola said.
“Thomas, you never thought you would preach a sermon in your life; but you preached today. You made an impact on people who you do not even know,” the chaplain said during the ceremony.
His sister, Gina Gibson, told reporters that her brother’s decision to be baptized gave their family much comfort and peace.
“I don’t have to worry about it,” she said. “Now there will be great joy just knowing where he is going. He is at peace. He was born again. You could see that on his face after the baptism. He was born again.”