Hello! My name is Vasantha and here is my story.
Growing up, I was not a Christian. I was raised in a holiday Christian home and knew of Jesus, but did not know why He was so important. My family, coming from an Indian background, really valued education and staying in a positive light within our social circle, so pretty much my goal was to keep up my grades and make sure everyone liked me. My parents pretty much expected perfection and anything less made me feel inadequate and I believed that I was unloved. The stress and burden I felt from feeling like I was constantly failing my parents led me into depression and eventually suicidal thoughts by the time I was at the end of middle school. But God had other plans for me. I managed my way through high school, always keeping a smile on my face and making sure I was always well-liked. And in college, I did the exact same thing; I made a lot of friends. You could say that I was your stereotypical college kid. I partied and drank. A lot. But not because I thought it was cool or something. It was more because that is what people expected of me and it was the fastest way to 1) be known and 2) be liked. So my first semester was filled with hazy nights and gruesome hangovers, but I didn’t care because it seemed like I had everything I ever wanted or needed. Eventually, the drinking and partying caught up with me and I realized that I was kinda failing school, and I noticed as I was backing away from the partying that I was losing the people I called my friends. I realized that the people who were my friends only hung out with me because I knew how to have a good time, not because they genuinely liked me.
As the end of my freshman year came to a close, I did not have any friends. I entered a state of depression again and really kept to myself. Thankfully (and totally a God provision thing), my sister attended the same university as me. She was involved with a church on campus and recognized that maybe this was the only way for me to get out of my depression. So during the summer of 2010, she volun-told me that I was going to go on a trip with her in August. Little did I know that it was going to be a mission trip…to Madison, Wisconsin.
Honestly, I can’t remember a whole lot about the trip to Madison and working with Red Village Church. Red Village was still in its beginning stages and there were like maybe 10 people total in its congregation. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what it felt like. And on that trip, I don’t remember doing much other than handing out a lot of fliers informing people about a new church and cleaning. Lots of cleaning. But what I do remember, and remember very clearly, is the amount of times the gospel was shared to me on that trip. It was the first time I was ever presented with the full and complete gospel presentation, and honestly, the first time I heard it, I was really confused. But throughout the week, I had my team and Aaron (your pastor) answering my questions and pouring truth into me about God.
By the end of the week, I knew the gospel from Genesis to Revelations but for some reason it didn’t really mean anything to me. Like I understood why it was so important to Christians, but I didn’t feel connected to the gospel in any way.
The last day of the mission trip is a day I will never forget. It was a long day and it was very late, but our team got together at the house we were cleaning up for Aaron and the church, and we sat and listened to Aaron preach about persecuted nations. It was the first time I ever heard the term “persecuted nations” and it made me really curious. At one point, Aaron asked us to close our eyes and he began to pray, and I remember him praying for people who were not able to openly share their faith and were literally risking their jobs, their lives and even the lives of their families for the sake of knowing Jesus and telling other people about Him. During reflection, a thought occurred to me. Why would these people risk everything for something that is not real. And in that moment, the gospel became so clear and so real to me.
Recently, I’ve accepted a position to serve with the International Mission Board. I thank God for taking me to Madison, Wisconsin to work with a tiny little church plant five years ago. Red Village was created with a purpose and a plan, because without it, a soul like mine would have been lost. It is where my story begins and it is so precious to me, so I write to not only share my story, but to ask if you would support me in prayer as I go on this great adventure and take the gospel to one of the most unreached places in the world. To think out of everything God created, man was the one that was in need of saving.
It is the mission given to us by Christ that we go and share the gospel to all people in all nations, so that we can all finally be home. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and partnering with me in prayer as I begin my journey!