‘I Want to Follow Him’: Two Female West Point Cadets Choose to Be Baptized in Bitterly Cold Hudson River

Two female cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York, were recently baptized in a memorable way, choosing to be dunked in the frigid waters of the Hudson River. 

According to the North American Mission Board (NAMB), Brooke Parker and Zhaoxin (Jenny) Ma was baptized by Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) Director Joshua Austin on Feb. 12.

The pair were asked if they would like to use the baptistry located in the basement of a chapel on campus or wait until the weather warmed up for an outside ceremony.

“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,” explained 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.” 

Ma said she couldn’t wait any longer to proclaim her love for Christ, so both women decided to take a dip in the icy cold water.

“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,” Ma said. “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.”

Austin, a NAMB missionary, along with 60 witnesses, watched as Ma and Parker publicly declared their faith in Jesus Christ.

Before making his way into the “painfully frigid waters,” Austin shared a message from Ephesians 2.

“They have boldly taken advantage of every opportunity to tell others about what baptism means to them and what Christ has done in their lives,” he said.

Ma and Parker, who had previously met in a discipleship group, were both overjoyed to celebrate the life-changing experience together, becoming born-again believers.

“Because I followed His lead, God has further used my baptism to make His name greater,” Parker pointed out. “In the week following the event, I received many congratulations from complete strangers. My hope is that God sparked something in their hearts.”

“I am placing myself and building my relationship with God above all, and I have never been more happy and joyful,” Ma said. “I have fallen in love with life again, and it is because of God.”