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Listen while you look:

On the 10th of September, as the sun cast warm hues through the diffusion of the clouds, I sat on a gorgeous beach in Australia with four other young women from all over the world. We sang along with Ashley from Canada as she worshipped God with her ukulele and her lovely voice. Kathryn from Australia shared a simple but beautiful word from the bible and from time spent listening to God. Breanna from the United States instructed us all on how this would all go down, and I handed my camera to Andrea from Costa Rica to capture it all. The five of us ran straight into the Indian Ocean and they surrounded me, holding onto me while dunking me all the way into the water. This was the day that I externally proclaimed my dedication to Jesus Christ.

This was my baptism.

I was baptised in church when I was six years old. I don’t know if I knew what I was doing, or if that action had any impact in the spiritual. I still don’t fully understand all of the theology behind baptism, and that’s not what I want to get into here. I just know that the closer I’ve gotten to Jesus over the past two years, the more the idea of being baptised again felt so right. A while back, five of us girls made plans for a little weekend getaway before we headed to India. Soon after the plans came together, I felt God asking me if I would get baptised on the trip. For me, the answer was an obvious and immediate yes.

Like I said, I don’t know everything about the theology of baptism. I know from my simple research that baptism likely came from the Levitical practices of cleansing, and that is the continued tradition that we see in what John the Baptist was doing. It wasn’t just about cleansing as a ritual – like all sacrifices and practices in the Old Testament, baptism represented something more spiritual. God is after the transformation of our heart, and baptism proclaims that we have been changed. I knew as well that Jesus Himself had been baptised, and instructed His disciples to baptise people that believed in Him.

But truly, the biggest factor in deciding to be baptised was my love for God.

I have considered myself a follower of Jesus for about two years now. I remember clearly the first thing that God spoke to me that initiated a beautiful and lasting relationship. Since that day, my life has been absolutely incredible. Not perfect by any means – it’s had its share of hardship, confusion, and lots work on my own heart. But through it, I’ve experienced unimaginable hope, joy, and peace. Since I’ve laid down my own life and started following where God leads, I’ve been so much more fulfilled. That is just part of the beautiful paradox of following Him!

Before starting school this July, God gave me an image of a house. The house was my heart, and He showed me that over the past few years He had done a lot of foundational work in me. Putting up walls, installing electricity. He showed me that over this season in school, He was going to paint the walls and put in some furniture. He was making my heart a home – somewhere He can stay for a long time. I look at my baptism and see this as a big step in that process. I want to be with God not only for the rest of my life here on earth, but for all of eternity. It’s my joy to make this life as much about Him as I can until we finally meet face-to-face.

My journey with God over the past two years has led me into a beautiful life of missions! I am currently in Perth, Australia, and will spend the next few months in India and Botswana. I’d love for you to join this exciting adventure! Click here to subscribe for future updates by email, or click here to learn about other ways you can get involved. Please email me if you have any questions or would like to chat. I’d love to know how I can be praying for you and your own journey with God!

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we are the rileys

We are a newlywed couple serving in Christian missions.

God has called us to Youth With a Mission in Perth, Australia. We have a heart for the city of Perth and for reaching Aboriginal people here in Western Australia. We would also love to see transformation and mobilisation through partnering with local initiatives in other nations in short-term outreach trips. Together, we have a passion for mentorship and discipleship of young people. Chris is gifted in meeting practical needs, and Leanne has a big desire for the sphere of Media & Communications.

This is our blog, a place to share what God is doing as well as things we learn as we journey through the adventure of following Jesus!