Our purpose in South Africa is to build relationships with local churches, and through these relationships to disciple and send workers into communities. Our desire is to see transformation take place locally and throughout the nations.Read More
After they became Jesus followers, Vinitha noticed a change in her parents—particularly in her dad who was a criminal lawyer. “It was like the love of Jesus just softened him,” she said. "He became who he was always meant to be and stepped into his identity.”
At the age of nine Vinitha gave her life to Christ.
The family moved to Australia when she was 12 and she settled into life in Australia well; making friends and adapting to the new culture. After two years, she had to switch schools. “It sounds really tiny, but to me, at the time, it was as if my whole world was just crumbling,” said Vinitha. “I remember crying out to God about the situation and I fell back on my bed and in that moment, it was the first time I heard God’s voice. He said to me: ‘Jeremiah 29:11.’ God said very clearly to me: ‘Vinitha, I know the plans I have for you. Your life has a purpose, it has a meaning, it is not random and I am sending you to this school as my representative.’ It really hit home for me and I just sat there, so stunned that the God who created the universe and holds stars in His hand cared about little ol' me who was crying on my bed cause I had to move schools.”
While finishing university in 2013 Vinitha experienced a personal revival. “I realised I wasn’t happy with my relationship with God being the way it was so I dedicated a lot more time with Him. In that, God told me that He wanted me to surrender every aspect of my life: marriage, children, career, everything. Through that, He led me to do my first missions trip ever. At the end of the year I led a trip with some friends to Uganda and Kenya. It wasn’t as if missions then became my passion, but it was that surrender became my way of life.”
When Nick, her then-boyfriend and now-husband, returned to Australia after doing a discipleship programme in southern Africa called Africa Trek, he had an invitation for both of them to go back for a year-long internship. Vinitha agreed to go. “Though life told me not to, that surrender [God was teaching me] told me to.”
“I wouldn’t be the person who I am today if I didn’t have that year,” stated Vinitha, recollecting how God broke her down and built her back up again during the internship.
Returning home, Nick and Vinitha got married and began working. They soon felt like something was missing however and prayed for God to lead them. And He did—right back to Africa to participate in Africa Trek.
Upon completion of the programme the couple was invited to lead the ministry, which they accepted.
The Africa Trek is a discipleship programme that aims to disciple participants and equip them to become effective disciple-makers with a passion to reach out to those who do not know Christ’s love.
“God has made the need for discipleship so incredibly clear to us. Especially for millennials,” said Vinitha. Nick and Vinitha have met many young people who attend church out of habit or obligation but lack a personal relationship with God; they want young people to own their faith.
Trek participants stay in tents, eat the local food, travel by public transportation and ‘do life together.’ “You can imagine it’s not a comfortable and normal environment so it’s very conducive to God bringing out stuff in people and allowing for very real discipleship opportunities,” Vinitha said.
Her favourite part about the ministry is seeing how God answers two very important questions many participants come with: ‘who am I?’ and ‘what am I here for?’
“I struggled with identity like I think most people do, because who are you? We try to figure that out our whole lives,” Vinitha said. “It was crucial to me to hear from God about who I am and asking Him that question: ‘who do you say I am?’ He’s really spoken to me about that and just through the random things I’ve had to do over the past two-and-a-half years in this role. I would have never dreamt I would be where I am today or be passionate about the things that I am passionate about today. It truly is God who unlocked this thing in me that He built me to do and I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be.”
“God’s clearly told me who He’s created me to be,” Vinitha said. “He has also created me to equip and disciple—those are the two big words that He’s given me in terms of my destiny—especially young women, and to walk a road with them.”
Her parents left their Hindu traditions when they discovered God’s love, and shared it with her. Now Vinitha gives her life to invest in others, sharing the message of Hope. “I could do this till the end of my days,” she said. “I don’t get tired of it, because I think it’s God’s thing for me.”
Published: Friday, 13 September 2019
Credit: Rebecca Rempel