“I have decided to follow Jesus, and now I want to be baptized,” said a missionary’s daughter, whose family lives in Germany. Her parents asked her if she wanted to wait until they were back in the States, but she said, “No, I want to be baptized at our house during church next week. Two other people were baptized at our house in the bathtub; why can’t I be too?” After sharing her testimony with the group of believers and with her non-believing friends that she invited to be a part of her baptism celebration, her father baptized her in the bathtub of their apartment.
After a young woman in Cambodia decided to follow Jesus, the missionary from East Asia who led her to faith arranged for her baptism. He found an inflatable water tank—meant to entertain kids on a hot day—and placed it in a bathroom where she was baptized.
After a year of IMB missionaries and their national partners sharing the gospel in a rural West African town, the national partners finally saw two men come to Christ. They took the men to a nearby river that runs along the outskirts of town and baptized them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Despite restrictions on religious freedom in this East Asian country, baptism in many places can be done in public. Most house churches don’t have the means to baptize inside the house, so Christians often gather at lakes, springs, or pool resorts to baptize new believers. The woman above, for instance, is being baptized at a local hot springs resort by members of her house church. The group of observers is usually small so as to not attract widespread attention, but generally, new Christians feel free to invite any close friends and family members, regardless of their beliefs.
People in Austria often associate baptism with the Catholic practice of sprinkling babies. Nearly a third of Austrians have been baptized as infants. But when Rodolpho Reynier Roale Martins was led to faith by his wife, Anna, he felt he needed to be baptized as a new follower of Jesus. He was discipled for several weeks before he felt ready. He was baptized at the Kaiserwasser in Vienna, a section of the Danube River that runs next to the United Nations Headquarters.
Baptisms can be performed in Russia with government approval, but Christians participating in believer’s baptism, specifically Baptists, are still met with suspicion from their fellow citizens. Baptism is viewed as a deviant practice from the traditional Orthodox church, so social stigmas often accompany a person’s decision to have a full immersion baptism.
Above, a leader in a Russian house church baptizes a youth at a lake early on a Sunday morning. Although some churches have pools or permanent baptistries, others choose to baptize in natural bodies of water. Church members begin by playing praise songs and conclude with the Lord’s Supper.
Nearly all of these baptisms were conducted by local church leaders. Praise God for his work in raising up local leaders through whom he can reach their people, and the world. Learn more about how IMB trains and works alongside indigenous peoples for the spread of the gospel, and consider how you might one day be a part of that effort.
This article about baptism around the world originally appeared here.