Joy Break: ‘I Couldn’t Wait Any Longer’

Two female cadets from West Point get baptized in the icy waters of the Hudson River in New York.

By Nancy Flory Published on March 5, 2022

When we turn on our televisions or smart phones we are bombarded with news that brings us down. Where are all the good stories? They’re still there. Here’s one that we hope will bless you.

Brooke Parker and Zhaoxin (Jenny) Ma, both cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York, were baptized in the icy waters of the Hudson River last month. Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) Director Joshua Austin, a missionary with North American Mission Board (NAMB), did the honors on February 12. 

The women chose to be baptized in the “painfully frigid waters,” Austin told NAMB, as opposed to a baptistry located in a basement of a campus chapel.

“The basement almost felt like hiding my faith as few people would be able to attend and celebrate with me the good things God has done,” said Parker, “and nobody would be able to just happen upon this event as they would if I were to be baptized outside. This would eliminate a big opportunity to share this experience and Christ with others who may not have previously considered attending.” 

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As for Ma, she didn’t want to wait to tell others she now follows Jesus. “I didn’t want to wait any longer to show others what God has done for me and what God can do, which is why I chose to get baptized in the icy waters. I couldn’t wait any longer to show others all His greatness but also to proclaim to God that I am His, and I welcome Him into my heart, and I want to follow Him.”

Sixty-five people stood on the shore watching and listening to the young women share their testimonies, Austin told The Stream. “It was really, really awesome to watch them just boldly share about their faith and be baptized … as soon as possible as the Lord was leading them, rather than wait.”

“It [was] the first time I’ve ever had to dodge chunks of floating ice,” he added, even though it “definitely wasn’t the focus whatsoever. The focus was certainly on these girls’ courage and ultimately was what God had done in their hearts. … [It was] just really special to be a part of that and really humbling to be in the water with them for that special moment.”


Nancy Flory, Ph.D., is a senior editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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