Jesus, shining brightly

By Nevin Nitschke

After years of resistance and within hours of death, Karthik’s dad was lead to say, ‘I am a Christian’. Hearts soften and lives change in more ways than we plan when Jesus is trusted and allowed to shine brightly.

Often we train leaders to lead. Good leaders are born and learn to lead through the experiences and events that shape their life. The best leaders – although not always recognised –are those who have learned to lead others by serving them.

Karthik is one such leader.

Life events have shaped Karthik.

The Hindu temple where Karthik as a child served alongside his dad in Malaysia, was a stones-throw from where his mum occasionally attended the local church. His mum had seen something different in the way the young Christian church had begun to look after local people with epilepsy. Their behaviour was contradictory to the accepted way of isolating and hiding away those who were thought to ‘be’ and ‘bring’ bad luck. The mission to people with epilepsy soon became a mission known as Bethany Home, and served the community by providing care for people with special needs.

On the day Karthik was to be baptised his father refused him permission to leave the house – on the basis of, if he did, he wasn’t to return home. After a few hours of reflecting, his father gave his permission and Karthik was baptised into Jesus’ family.

Karthik gave many years of service to the Bethany Home as a volunteer in his teenage years and after being ordained as a pastor returned to Bethany Home seven years ago. The last three years he has been the director.

At Bethany Home there is a strong focus on finding purposeful tasks for all – especially the adults. While visiting Bethany you’ll see the gatekeeper, Mr Patiban, also riding his three-wheeled bike from room to room delivering the mail, gardeners making sure their home is neat and looked after, messengers taking messages between teaching staff and tutors helping fellow students to learn. Students can become part-time teachers and while they receive pay for this task, it’s obvious that their biggest delight comes from being presented with a staff shirt that they wear with pride. These are the little things that give purpose and build a sense of team. Kathik’s goal of ‘helping others who help others’ is on display everywhere.

Eighty percent of the 160 residents attend the Bethany Home from 8.00am to 3.00pm on a daily basis. The sheltered program aims to integrate the students into the community, while a café at Bethany also allows interaction with the local community through serving meals and drinks.

Volunteers are always welcome, and Immanuel Lutheran College, Novar Gardens (SA), continues a long-standing partnership with Bethany Home.

The current theme of the Bethany Home is ‘Shining Brighter’ and the staff under Karthik’s servant leadership epitomise this. Servant leadership has refined him.

After years of resistance and within hours of death, Karthik’s dad was lead to say, ‘I am a Christian’.

Hearts soften and lives change in more ways than we plan when Jesus is trusted and allowed to shine brightly.


If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email nevin.nitschke@lca.org.au. For more information, go to http://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/

Read more stories about volunteering at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/

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