Alumni in the Marketplace Spotlight: Thembi Mdluli

Thembi Mdluli entered Chi Alpha as an international student at Purdue University and is currently working as a computational biologist through The Henry Jackson Foundation. She works on HIV and other emerging infectious diseases for U.S. Military HIV Research Program. Daily, she generates mathematical and statistical models to analyze immunological data to understand the response of the immune system to vaccination and/or infections. Thembi tells us about how she continues to live out Chi Alpha convictions in her daily life after graduation.

What was your involvement in Chi Alpha like?

I joined Chi Alpha a month after starting graduate school and I was introduced by a staff member who later became a very close friend. She invited me to Ignite (a large group) where I was drawn by the desire to be led by the Holy Spirit in every part of life. Joining Chi Alpha taught me to be dependent on the Spirit of God and my relationship with God truly deepened, not only as an individual but also as part of community. I was invited to join a discipleship group where I learned to grow deeper in Scripture through memorization, deeper in prayer, and to truly live a repentant life with accountability. My experience as a disciple maker taught me how to share with other students what God has taught me and how to be ready to share with others the faith that I have in God.

How did Chi Alpha impact your life?

Being an international student, Chi Alpha members became my friends and family throughout my 6 years at Purdue. My graduate school journey was difficult but knowing that I had people praying for me gave me hope. Through Chi Alpha, the Lord demonstrated to me Galatians 6:2 where we are called to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, we fulfill the law of Christ.” Experiencing that support and hope has been so vital for me over the years to be able to give that to others in different situations. In the marketplace or just daily life, I have had friends and colleagues experience difficult situations where God has used me and my testimony to bring hope to others. I learned through Chi Alpha the importance of being in a community and I carry that everywhere I go. I sought to join a small group immediately at the church I am attending in DC and also joined in hospitality and a prayer team to be able to serve others as I have been served. It is through Chi Alpha that I met some of my very good friends that I have lived life with since we left school.

How are you continuing to live on mission and be involved in discipleship?

The church I currently attend,  National Community Church, is very involved in the community, both within the church and around the DVM area. I serve as part of the hospitality team with the mission to reflect the kindness and love of Jesus to every person we meet and see, not only in church but in our daily lives, in the streets, and at work. I also serve with the Sozo inner healing prayer ministry which also serves people around the DMV area through a Spirit-led prayer of deliverance.

What advice would you give other alumni who are trying to live on mission in the marketplace?

Living on mission is intentional and should be integrated as part of your life, as we say living on purpose. It should not only be seen as something to do on the side. Of course, we do set time to do specific mission work, but also since we have been changed to live like Christ, our daily walk should always reflect Him at work, at the supermarket, or in church. Living a life that demands a gospel explanation, is showing up on time at work, working with integrity, supporting a coworker, etc. Although I meet people who are not interested in going to church and listening to a sermon, they are willing to listen to the reasons I live the way I live, the source of my motivation and strength. As an introvert, I also need to be intentional to go out of my comfort zone and speak to others; otherwise, it could be easy for me to be swallowed by anonymity.


  • Hey Thembi! Great to see your story on the alumni marketplace spotlight! Pray you are doing well. Thank you so much for sharing your story with Chi Alpha nation especially how you continue to impact the marketplace for Christ. Thanks for your example that give many others permission to be like you!

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