Charlene Kok

I believe life really starts once you discover why you were born. Many of us journey through our whole lives searching for that one purpose and die not finding it. It has been my mission since I first let Jesus into my heart to solve that “why” factor in my own life. I have a secret… I found it! In the least expected place. When I was at my weakest. Because when I am weak, He is strong.

Before I left my home country, South Africa, to join Vinesong on 30 August 2003, my life was quite different. I studied music, drama and dance after school and when I finished I was determined to become a forerunner in secular circles. God had other plans… but He was patient. For 5 years He had to wait for His little girl to become a grown woman. I had been doing secular shows all over South Africa, gaining professional experience as a performing artist to many secular audiences. When I wasn’t singing, I’d do temporary work for different companies for extra income. Life was tough. I felt like a little boat bobbing around the big ocean aimlessly, not knowing which direction to follow. I knew I had a destiny but didn’t know how to go about finding it. Big doors opened which would be my claim to fame, but these were continually shut in my face for the strangest reasons. Without realizing it, God was jealously guarding my destiny. He didn’t want the world’s claws to drag me into a life that could only produce carnal seed.

At the start of 2003 my whole mindset regarding my career was beginning to change. I was becoming sick of being a slave to the world, wondering every day about where my next pay cheque would come from. I pleaded with God to take me away and tried in vain to convince Him that He had no need for me on this earth.

For the first time in my life, I had no more desire to become famous and wanted my life to mean something to others. That is when I decided to apply for bible school and was ready to devote my life to God but didn’t know how. Financially, I was desperate but it was my only hope for change. Just at that time, I was offered a contract as a front liner in a popular show that could offer me a good chance of fulfilling my dream to become a ‘star’. I declined. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. Everybody thought I was crazy (frankly, I thought so too!). For weeks I struggled with my decision and thought many times that I did not hear correctly from the Lord and subsequently slipped into a deep depression. If the application to Bible School was not going to be accepted I thought that I would end my life for sure this time.

A few weeks later I heard that I was unable to study at Bible School due to some unforeseen circumstances. Devastated, I seriously began to question my discernment about the decision I had made. Little did I know that God was using my plans for Bible School to prepare me for my true calling. A week later I received a call from John Watson who has been a family friend since my parents were in the first Vinesong team exactly 20 years ago and I was 4 years old. He asked me to pray about joining Vinesong as their lead soprano. Three days later I left on a plane to go to England. Everybody knows that if you want life to be a bed of roses you must be prepared to nestle in with the thorns too! One thing I have learned through all of this, is that a bit of rain now and then is crucial for growth to take place. It’s a pity we don’t agree with that statement once the rain has stopped!

God has given me a passion to see broken hearts healed in young people. I have that passion because I have seen that healing take place in my own life.

Since I allowed my life to be governed by God’s will, I have also been blessed with a wonderful husband, Daniel whom I met when I joined Vinesong. We were married in 2007 after 3 years of discipling and counseling by Pastor John during our courtship, which we are very grateful for.

After four years of marriage we were prayerfully waiting on the Lord and we are very humbled and blessed that He gave us a beautiful son, Reuben Samuel – born to us in December 2011!

I want to thank Carol Lashley-Bobb who was Vinesong’s lead soprano for 12 years, for paving the way. The rose bed has certainly fewer thorns since she started out! I pray God will lead us all to greater heights thanks to the strong foundation that has been laid by our predecessors.

Finally, above all, my praise goes out to my Father, and my King Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit for His continued strength. Without Him I would be nowhere….