In-prison and detention centre baptisms are not common, but for Hakim* the experience was very special – in several ways.
Hakim had been transferred to Western Australia from Melbourne (via Christmas Island) about 12 months ago, and, soon after his arrival, he began attending weekly Bible studies in the detention centre.
Hakim comes from a Muslim background, but he had already begun to question in his mind why Muslims killed fellow Muslims and hated Christians. He was seeking answers!
Hakim’s brush with death in a serious motorbike accident many years earlier added to his urgency. God spared his life- now Hakim has more questions than ever… who is this Jesus Christ?
After many months of in-prison Bible studies, Hakim was ready to accept Jesus as his Lord. Soon after this, he asked to be baptised. This was not automatic and straightforward like in a regular, local church, and it took 2 months to arrange. Eventually baptism day arrived.
No formal stone, bronze, tiled, or carved wooden font was present. No! The baptismal font was a wheelie bin! This is probably not the start of a new church trend.
Other Christian detainees had organised music and printed copies of the order of service for the occasion, and Pastor Bruce gave a powerful message and personal testimony which resonated with many attendees, including officers who were on duty.
Pastor Bruce recalls:
“Hakim told me that Jesus appeared to him very clearly in a dream. The Prison Fellowship volunteers had spent a lot of time with him and he was really enjoying studying the Bible. Other detainees had reacted badly to Hakim’s decision to follow Jesus, so when I was baptising him I told him that he was making a public declaration that he was now a disciple of Jesus and that life could get more difficult for him. I asked him if he was willing for this to happen, to which he replied with a resounding “Yes!” Another detainee who witnessed the baptism subsequently made a commitment to Christ that day.”
After this very blessed and exciting service a morning tea was served and attendees mingled, chatting with Pastor Bruce and the Prison Fellowship volunteers – another opportunity to develop and cement positive relationships with those in detention.