“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
– Matthew 28:19
Years ago, the Baptist Association asked our churches to send recent baptism details to us, and we shared these details in our Together magazine. In issue 29 of the publication, Belmont Baptist Church shared that a ‘Rhiannon Jenkins’ had gotten baptised:
We got in touch with Rhiannon, now married and with the surname ‘Hanley’, to see how her faith has progressed since the baptism 13 years ago…
Q: Rhiannon, how did you become a Christian?
A: I grew up in a Christian home, and went to a church school, attending the same church every Sunday since I was a week old. But I was still a very skeptical kid. I heard a story at school about a European king in the middle ages who, on his deathbed, took up 5 different religions just so he could be sure to get into heaven. And I remember thinking; what if I’ve got the wrong religion? My family and I then moved from Wales over to Australia, and eventually got to Belmont Baptist Church. It was there that I befriended a girl who faithfully dragged me along to youth group. But I didn’t actually become a Christian until I read a book called ‘Religion is for Fools’ as a teenager. It’s written by a guy who tried to prove that Christianity was stupid, and actually became a Christian in the process. He logically goes through all the history behind who Jesus was, and how even non-christian historians believe that He was real and that He died. He says that out of the 12 apostles, for 11 to have died as martyrs, and the 1 surviving one to be imprisoned for the rest of his life, you’d have to be pretty certain of Jesus’ resurrection. I remember reading that and realising I had to respond to who Jesus was.
Q: Tell us about your baptism!
A: The girl I became friends with at Belmont Baptist decided to get baptised, and was talking about it a lot, so I thought I should probably get baptised too – and I ended up beating her to it! I was baptised on July 15th, 2007 by Rev. Jonathan Bradford (who now works as the Ministry Standards Manager for NSW & ACT Baptist Churches). We went through a bible study of what baptism was, and he helped me write my testimony.
Over the last 13 years, God has been working in Rhiannon’s life in many ways. She shares with us below:
- Biblical knowledge:
“In 2008 I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover. At this age, I never committed to anything, so it was very much the Holy Spirit leading me. Through this, God grew my discernment…especially when listening to preachers – helping me to be able to tell who was actually teaching truth, and allowing me to call out false gospels.”
- Prayer life:
“My school was very High Anglican and we used to just chant the Lord’s Prayer every day, which didn’t make much sense. In 2011 I did a foregin exchange in France, and the experience helped me learn how to pray, and how to enjoy God through prayer. I think that going overseas completely on my own, leaving my family for 6 months, flying in a plane that could fail at any time, and trying to make new friends when I don’t speak the local language, contributed to me learning how to rely on God. I also had to walk everywhere (because the bus system was terrible), and I remember being happy to just talk to God.”
- Growth in humility:
“My boyfriend and I fell pregnant before marriage. This was a time where God was destroying my idols. I got married and moved away from family, and God helped tear back at my reliance on family. I also had this idea that I was going to have a great career (as you do when you’re a young uni student). I thought I was so wonderful and bright. But God took that away from me, calling me to be a mum instead. I had to learn that I could glorify God in my house-keeping, and my submission as a wife, despite what the world tells you. It was hard, but good! I think I would have been so self-righteous if I had not fallen in my life and made mistakes – even though God transformed those mistakes into amazing blessings. God has used me in my role as a mum. I’ve had the privilege of planting seeds in people’s lives through PlayGroup, telling them the gospel for the first time, which has been really exciting. I’ve also learnt to be less self-centered, having kids.”
- Church involvement:
“I have led bible studies with other women in the church. For me, studying historical texts is enjoyable, but in the area where I now live, many people are low in literacy ability. So I’ve enjoyed teaching bible studies and watching people grow in bible literacy. Also, lots of people here are nominally Catholic. I find it easier to talk to atheists and agnostics. But talking to someone who is Catholic, who “believes” in Jesus, and thinks they’re a “good person”, has really helped me grow my evangelism skills.”
Praise God for keeping Rhiannon over the years!