Lonely, sick student finds home from home

Aniketh

The only thing Aniketh wanted when he came to Australia was to make his family proud. Moving from Mauritius at 19, he arrived in Perth four years ago full of excitement and anticipation. Instead, he journeyed into hell.

Alone and unable to speak English well, the shy Mauritian was "overwhelmed by loneliness" and became addicted to marijuana and alcohol when he started working on Sundays and could not attend church. The money he had saved to pay for his tuition was used instead to pay for his habits. He lost all of it.

He got so sick he began to vomit blood and reached the point where he could hardly eat. For someone who had grown up with a loving and supportive family, the shame was unbearable. "My parents were so concerned they planned to come to Australia to take me back to Mauritius," he says. "I felt terrible I had let them down.

"I grew up in a loving family in Mauritius. I was a shy, high achiever who excelled in sport and academics. I loved my family and wanted to make them proud."

Finally, Aniketh turned to God. The same God he had first heard about as a five-year-old during a rally by Indian evangelist Paul Dhinakaran. The God who was so different from the idols he used to think were gods. The evangelist's message touched the young boy and he remembers committing his life to Jesus there and then.

"I had asthma as a child and Jesus healed me," he says. Now 15 years later and fighting a different but no less life-threatening affliction, Aniketh turned back to the God of his childhood.

"I cried out to God for help," he says. "The next day, I went to church and had a strong feeling that I was 'home'.

"I knew this was God's way of telling me that He was guiding and protecting me. That day I asked Jesus to forgive me and be my Saviour and friend._I want Jesus to be with me always."

Aniketh's testimony is one of several highlighted in a campaign by Eternity Church in Perth called 'Where Will You Spend Eternity?'

The campaign features accounts by people whose lives have been transformed since turning to Jesus and says it hopes others "will be inspired by the stories of everyday people who decided to follow Jesus for eternity. Their stories show that_God's love and forgiveness are for everyone - including you".

"Life after death is always such a hot topic," it says on the church's website. "Death is a reality we all must face._The most important you can ask yourself is, when you step into eternity, where will you go?

"There is a beautiful promise in the Bible, just for you. It reads,_'For this is how God loved the world: He gave_His one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.' "

For Aniketh, one of the sweetest victories since he left his addictions behind is the effect his turnaround has had on his parents.

"They are thrilled with my new life and that for me is the greatest thing of all," he says. "I am glad that I decided to trust in Jesus.

"I had called myself a Christian since I was saved 15 years ago but it wasn't till four years ago that I learned what it really meant. I now dedicate my life to Him. I pray God helps me to live a good life and share what he has done for me.

"God has given me strength and courage to live on my own. Today I am free from addiction and spiritually I have grown so much. My parents and others see a great difference in me."

Aniketh says the hardest part of being a Christian is finding the courage to share the message of the Gospel with others, but he leans on the twin assurances of God's love and guidance. "That to me is the best part of being a Christian," he says. "His grace (undeserved love) is sufficient for me.

"I would like to tell everyone that Jesus died for us all and that He loves us all whatever you have done, whatever you have gone through He will always love you. His love is unconditional.

Two Bible passages Aniketh treasures are: "The Lord is my Shepherd; I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name's sake Even though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me." – Psalm 23:1-4. And: "But [God]said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." – 2 Corinthians 12:9

To see more inspiring stories, go to www.eternitychurchperth.com/wwyse

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