Monthly Archives: May 2013

Post 77. Poofy devil


The girls loved to look over the balcony of the flat.  There was always something interesting to talk about.  We would hold them up and they hung onto the wall to look down onto the street.

One day we heard someone beating on a drum so we ran to the balcony to see what was going on.    A young man was walking past with just a piece of cloth wrapped around his waist and his face painted orange.  He was whipping himself with a huge heavy whip and screaming and shouting.  An old lady was following him beating a drum.  The whip made a huge cracking sound.  Zoe said, ”That’s a poofy devil mummy”.  The girls spoke about it for a long time and wouldn’t go to the window for the rest of our stay.  Asha was visibly scared.

“For some reason, the girls are very active and energetic, especially Zoë.  It’s taking them a while to get into the time change, so they are a bit drowsy during the day and then full of nonsense in the evenings.   We all lie awake during the early hours of the morning listening to the night sounds.  One night I heard a baby crying for hours.  I was so distressed by it, thinking it was a baby out on the street.  It may have been, but it may also have been coming from one of the flats nearby.  Traffic noise reaches a peak in the evenings and then quietens down in the early hours of the morning.  Even then, there is always someone beeping their horn somewhere.”

On the Monday after we arrived, we went on a four-hour train journey to an NFI leaders and wives camp in a city called Pune.   We were so welcomed and looked after.  Asha and Zoe were happy to be with lots of other children.  When we arrived we realised there was nowhere to buy “Western” food or snacks for the girls.  They were just going to have to get used to Indian food.  There was no option.   We knew if we pampered them or offered them a yummy alternative, it would take them longer to adjust.  If we showed sympathy they would get the idea that we felt sorry for them.  So, with a glass of water close by, we sat with them and watched them eating their spicy Indian food. They would puff and pant and their tongues would flap around. We calmly told them to have a sip of water and keep eating.  That was that.

The camp was just what we needed.  Being surrounded by lovers of Jesus made us feel at home.    During one of the prayer times, one of our new friends, JoyAnne, said she had an image in her mind of us lying on our backs on a bed of nails.  Jesus was right there next to us.  We tried to get up and He said, “No, not now.  Lie down again.”  We lay down on our tummies and tried to get up again.  That happened three times.   When we were bleeding all over, He said, “Ok, now it’s time.”  He held our hands and led us into a rose garden, which was covered with thorns and brambles.  We started pulling out the thorns and brambles and freeing the roses without feeling any pain.

That was the word I had been waiting for.  I knew things weren’t going to be easy.  A “bed of nails,” sounded painful and it wasn’t going to be quick. We wondered what it would mean and how long it would go on for.

Asha and Zoë were going with the flow and blissfully unaware that they were thousands of miles away from South Africa. At the camp when Tony popped out to the market, Asha asked where he had gone.  I told her he had gone to get more paper plates and she asked, “Where from, our house?”

NFI Trainees

NFI Trainees

When the camp ended we said goodbye to all our friends and went on a twenty-hour train ride to Goa.   We travelled with a lovely young couple, Samir and Jackie, and other young singles that had signed up for a year of bible training with NFI.  They played with Ash and Zo for hours and it made the trip go faster; at least for us.

We could see Asha was struggling.  She was scared of the old beggars and wild looking characters.   When we arrived at the train station in Goa, we did our best to distract her.  They were everywhere.

Post 76. Bombay


Those were the days of  “No dogs and no South Africans allowed” in India.  We were NOT popular.    Gandhi got kicked off a train in Durban by white racists and we were still all in trouble.  Fortunately I was able to get a British passport through my dad.  He took me on a walk to explain the two marriage certificates I had found.   He had hidden his secret from us for so long.  There was visible relief on his face after he told me but it took me a while to get over the shock.   He still hadn’t told my brothers.

Our arrival in Bombay was easier than expected.  The flight had been just long enough for Zoë who had been quite a live wire. We stood in the immigration queue for about an hour while everyone made a fuss of the little blonde foreign girls.  We expected a major search of our bags but we walked straight through.

It was the 4 September 1991 and it was 3.30 a.m.  “Pleasant- high humidity outside.  Arrived in monsoon rains- lovely.   Cools things down a bit.”   I held tightly onto the girls while Tony haggled with taxi drivers for the best price.  There were “hundreds” of men wanting to help with our bags.  Such sweet people I thought; so helpful.   I stood there watching Tony in his new role as expert bargainer.  I was impressed.  He packed our luggage into one of the little black and yellow taxis and we piled into the back seat.   “Little taxi-man- thin gaunt face, eyes stuck open; Unblinking and mad looking.”   His driving matched the look in his eyes.  I kept asking Tony to tell him to slow down as we zoomed through the streets of Bombay.   Tony just smiled and said, “Get used to it.” I squinted through the rain to see as much as I could.   It was very much as I imagined it to be.

Tony in the flat in Bombay

Tony in the flat in Bombay

Jeffy and Deepa had never met us, but when we walked into their home at Pali Darshan, it was like being with family.  We were tired but Ash and Zo were full of energy and wanted to dance and play.   We took it in turns to catch up on sleep and it took us a few days to get over our jetlag.

“Night-life- always busy.  Staying on the corner of a busy intersection.  Noisy all the time.  A hooter every 5 seconds.  Side street-eat places.  People everywhere, bells ringing; People shouting and selling things.  Heavy rain for a few minutes then humid again.”

I was amazed at how westernized Bombay was.  When we were inside the little flat, we could have been anywhere. It was simple and clean and the hospitality was incredible.   People from the church popped in to meet us and we felt so at home.

Asha and Zoë loved their first bucket bath experience.   They played for ages with the small jug and loved being able to mess water all over the bathroom.

Buckets of fun

Buckets of fun

We met a young English couple, James and Julie and their 3 children (they also had a little girl called Asha) who had arrived three months before us.  It was good for me to be in their house and to see how they had settled in and made their home in Bombay.  She also really helped me find my style of Indian clothing.  Deepa took me out shopping and I didn’t see anything I liked.  I wanted “appropriate clothing” but I also wanted clothing that was “me”.   I got home so wound up and emotional from the whole experience.    Julie helped me to find some more hippy-type Punjabi suits that looked nice and I enjoyed wearing them.   It was difficult to really enjoy wearing ANY clothing in that heat, but the suits were cool and comfortable.  My new friends were happy to see me wearing them.

“These streets are so NOISY!!  Cars, little black and yellow three wheeler auto-rickshaws, taxis, motorbikes are all over the place not taking much notice of stop streets and the few traffic lights there are. Whoever gets there first goes first. They just toot their horns and off they go; biggest first. Nobody stops unless they have to.  It’s all quite an experience.  Asha and Zoë love going in the auto-rickshaws.  They giggle and screech when we hit the potholes and speed bumps, which are totally ignored by the driver.  Asha even managed to get one to stop for us.  She was so proud of herself.  Hooters dominate at the intersection just outside the window.  It’s funny.  It doesn’t seem to stop us from sleeping in the slightest.  A busy day in Bombay makes it easy to sleep at night.

During my shopping expeditions, the only way to cope with the poverty was to avoid looking at faces.   It was easier to look at the masses than at individuals.  On our second day I made the mistake of doing that.  I looked into the face of a very young mother who was pulling on me for money.  I tried to ignore her for as long as I could.  She had SUCH pain on her face.   “Dirty, decorated and carrying the most pitiful little baby.”   Something cracked inside and I knew I wasn’t ready for the individual.  Their faces haunted me for a long time.

“Driving through Bombay I noticed two very thin, very poor ladies, feeding a huge fat cow on the pavement.  The cow was almost too fat to move.  Oh the irony.”


From now on I will be sharing excerpts from my journals in quotation marks and italics.  That way I will stick to how I was really feeling at the time with no hindsight perspective.

Post 75. Bridges burnt


Us all blurry eyed at the airport. Zoe making plans to rock and roll.

Us at the airport- all blurry eyed.

We did a trip down to Durban to say goodbye to Wilf and Val, Dave and Pete and their families.  It was a hard one.  For us, we were going on the adventure of our lives, and they were just wondering if they would ever see us again.  We tried to give them assurance that we would be ok, but how could we know that?  We let them into the details we did have, but those details opened up more questions we couldn’t answer.  Nothing we said made them feel better about letting us all go.

Back in Johannesburg, we had an amazing send off from our church.  There were so many tears but lots of promises of letters, calls and visits. During a conference in the Drakensberg, we were prayed for again.  Dudley and Anne Daniel and Mike and Joan Hanchett were the first of the NCMI families to leave the shores of South Africa to go to “the nations”.  We were the third.   It was comforting to know, that while we were going alone we weren’t really alone.  There were so many who loved us and were supportive of what we were doing.  There were commitments from our church and a few friends to support us financially until we got on our feet.   We weren’t quite sure what “On our feet” meant but we were hoping that wouldn’t take forever.  At the same time, knowing that in a third world context, it might.

When we were on the stage surrounded by our friends, I got really tearful.  I was trying hard to be brave.  Every time I came undone, I hid my face in Tony’s chest.  There was no way I could hide my smallness or my vulnerability.  While all the words had been encouraging, I had a feeling that things weren’t going to be easy.  When we got back to our room later on that evening, I expressed my concern to Tony.  There wasn’t one mention about how tough it was going to be.  We took the words and wrote them down in our big book of “Words for India.”  There were some pretty big ones and there were also a lot of blank pages still to be filled up.  We were very aware that any words no matter how great or profound, were just fantasies without hard work and obedience.

On 3 September 1991, we left South Africa.  Tony was beyond excited.  It was his fourth trip to India.  It was so different from his first trip as an independent, messed up twenty one year old on the drug/hippy trail.  This time he was going as a pioneer, a husband and father of two. This time he was hoping to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Going to the airport with our family and friends was hard. Some were crying as if they would never see us again.  While we didn’t want to upset the girls, Sue and I were beside ourselves; especially when I saw her hugging Asha and Zoe goodbye.  She was like a second mother to them.

We had bought a set of 4 new suitcases from medium all the way down to small; one for our clothes, one for the girl’s clothes, a bag for books and toys and then a small one for toiletries and extras. The girls each had a little back pack of goodies and special toys to keep them busy on the plane.   We heard the final call and we had to go.

When we were thousands of kilometres up in the air, Tony and I independently had the same thought. “If this plane goes down it will be at the peak of my obedience to God.”  We would have been happy to go to heaven right then.  I was so happy I wasn’t giving much thought to how the  “heaven” thing might have happened.

I hadn’t flown much since our around the world trip with Ash when she was 6 months old.  Memories of our bad take offs and landings came back to me but I managed to calm my self down.  The kids distracted me and I kept trying to imagine what it was going to be like landing in India.  Our flight was great.   Zoë kept us on our feet and got overtired and miserable.  Ash was as good as gold.  When the girls finally dozed off at the same time, I got out my journal and scribbled down some of my thoughts.

“Lord, if you want to take me now

At the peak of my obedience to you

You can do that

If not, please give me the grace

To be always at a peak

So I will be ready at any time



So, with all our bridges burnt, there was no going back.  This was it.   My heart was in a country I had never been to and I was following it.  We were making plans to live there forever, not in the least bit concerned that all we had in our passports were six-month tourist visas.


From now on I will be sharing excerpts from my journals in quotation marks.  That way I will stick to how I was really feeling at the time with no hindsight perspective.

Post 74. The big question


Our six years in South Africa were coming to a close.  Johannesburg had become our home and now we were going to have to say goodbye.   We had made so many good friends.  We had also accumulated a lot of stuff; a whole houseful of furniture, clothing, toys, books and kitchen utensils.   Most of it had been given to us.  Once our tickets were booked, we started to give things away.  We managed to sell some of our big things and that money was going to be what we lived on when we got to the other side.  All we had left was a big box of Tupperware, a few boxes of books, photo albums and a few other sentimental things.  Friends offered to store them for us.  At that point we had no idea when we would ever see them again.  We weren’t planning to be back any time soon.

The big question was, “Where will you be living in India?”   Somehow we knew it would be in the North, somewhere near the source of the Ganga.  While it was something, it still left a lot to the imagination.  India was huge and there were needs everywhere.  How was it going to be possible to pick a spot?  Closing our eyes and pointing at the map wasn’t an option but at least we knew our starting point.

When Tony got back from his survey trip, things were a little bit clearer.  At least there was a plan.  We would stay in Goa for six months to learn as much as we could from the NFI family.  Tony felt that would be the softest introduction to India for all of us.  That was settled. We were going to take one step at a time.  Goa was in the South and we were going to live in the North.  How we were going to get up there didn’t enter our minds.

God had also spoken to Tony about children of influential families.  He was reading Ps 45:9 which talked about daughters of kings being part of God’s household.  Tony started to cry and pray for those children and had a deep burden for Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter.  He had no idea if he even had a daughter.

People thought we were radical.  We didn’t feel we were being radical.  God told us to go and we were being obedient.  We both knew that if we chose to stay anywhere else, no matter how “safe,” we would be miserable.  Our biggest desire was to be in the will of God. His will was going to be home for us

I didn’t know much about India.  Most of what I knew, I had learnt from Tony, and he wasn’t the best at giving details.   We didn’t have a TV so I hadn’t watched any programmes featuring India on National Geographic.  Because we didn’t know where we would be living, we didn’t know which language we needed to learn.   We didn’t even think about it.  There was no preparation other than preparation of the heart.  During my YFC and O.M days we had been taught to be R.F.A.  Ready for anything.  We figured that as long as our hearts were ready, we would be ok.

We chatted to Phil and Linda Maxwell who had started a community and school in Hout Bay.  Their advice was that we home-schooled our girls.  That sounded like a good idea.  They also talked about what an idol formal education had become.  They helped us to see how much our girls were going to learn just being on the trip with us.  The advice we got from Rob Rufus was “Go in naivety and childlike trust.  You don’t have to know everything for everything to work out.”

It became more and more obvious to me that our children were happy and secure, all the time they were with us.  They didn’t mind where we went or for how long, as long as they were tagging along. The concept of another nation, another city was just not an issue for them.  It had to do with family.  Geography has little meaning when you are 2 and nearly 4.  We decided then that if it wasn’t an issue for them, we weren’t going to make it an issue.  There was going to be no suggestion of “shame you poor kids, having to tag along with us and give up all your friends and family.”

They were part of our call to India.  Whatever we were going to face, we were going to face together.  We were burning all our bridges and there was no plan B.

Post 73. Leave the girls with me.


Life was busy.  Rigby and Sue introduced us to Dudley and Anne Daniel.  Dudley had formed a team called New Covenant Ministries International. They helped pastors and leaders all over South Africa.  Tony was the new kid on the block so he went along and sat quietly listening to everything that was going on.  It was all really helpful for our future and there were many friends made along the way.  Those who knew of our plan to move to India were supportive and it was comforting to know we weren’t alone in the decision

The movement got bigger and bigger and the first few couples left South African shores to start communities in other countries.  We knew our time was coming soon.  It had been almost six years since Tony had arrived in S.A.  He had learnt so much from Rig and other people in his life.  We read lots of books on parenting, marriage and missions.  One story we cried through was the story of William Carey.  We were so challenged by his life and perseverance.  He just never seemed to give up no matter what happened to him or his family.  We wondered if we would be as brave.

Asha was besotted with her baby sister.   Zoë was chunky and strong and able to put up with all the affection.  They were best friends from day one.  Zoë started walking at 9 ½ months.  She insisted on pushing the limits and was prepared to risk her life for anything she felt was worth it.   She was given a little brown monkey with a pointy finger that was supposed to go into its mouth.  Zoë used that finger to touch all kinds of things she wasn’t allowed to touch.  If we asked her if she touched the stereo, she would just say, “Monkey touchdit.”   When she was 2 ½ I told her I was going to smack her for something.  She looked at me and said, “You smack me, I smack you.”  Another time, she ignored me when I was calling her over and over again.  When I went to find her she looked at me and said, “Talkin a me?”  She had a twinkle in her eye and was full of spunk.  The Bum Woody worked over time.

Asha at 2 ½ was a sweet tooth, “admin” type.  During a ladies bible study she was paging through the Bible as if she was reading it.  I asked her what she was reading.  She ran her finger along the line and said, “God said, you must eat sweets.”  Once when we were on holiday down the coast, we visited a church. Nothing had been organised for the kids so they were all at the back on a blanket.  Asha got them all to sit in a circle, opened her little brown suitcase, handed them each a toy and came and sat down next to us on a chair where she could watch them.  They were all way older than she was.

When people heard we were moving to India with our girls, we got different responses.  Most of them were positive, but Wilf and Val were very concerned.  They suggested we leave the girls with them, go do our thing in India and then come back when it was out of our system.  More than concerned, they were sad.  They had already said goodbye to Ryan and Leigh.  Another friend from Brazil, wrote a very angry letter to Tony, telling him how irresponsible he was, taking his little girls to India.   She didn’t mince her words.

It was a bit scary.  Before Tony’s survey trip, we had very little idea about where we were going.  We didn’t know what we would do about schooling.  We knew very little about anything.  What we did know was that our girls were going with us.  God spoke to us about the children of Israel.  He didn’t tell them to leave their kids in Egypt.  He didn’t say, “Leave them in Egypt and when you are well settled and safe in the Promised Land, you can go back and get them.”   If that had been the case, the kids would never have seen their parents again.   Staying behind wasn’t an option.  They had to go with their parents.  They had to see the wonders of God.  They had to see His wrath against sin and they had to wander in the wastelands to see how He could provide food, water and everything else they needed.  They had to be there.

Reading about how William Carey had lost two wives and a couple of children in India wasn’t much comfort to those who were already concerned.   I knew there would be huge adjustments. As mother of two little ones, I knew that I would be stretched beyond anything I had ever known.  I knew I wasn’t going to cope with starving people and dying children if I didn’t have the means to help them.  God knew the many needs would overwhelm me; and I knew He wouldn’t put me among people to be devastated by them.

In all of the questions and wonderings, there were a few things we knew for sure.  We had friends.  We were going to India.  Our girls were coming with us.  So was God.

Post 72. The Call


A lot had changed.  Tony was working at Waverley as a salaried pastor, we sold our VW Golf, got a second hand Renault and we had two children. Our biggest surprise was when two businessmen from the church told us they wanted to build us a house.  One of them was a builder and the other owned a hardware store.  They insisted that they didn’t want us to pay a cent towards it.  It was a gift for us.

We couldn’t believe we were going to have our own home.  The church property at Linbro Park was the perfect place for it.   We watched the foundations being dug and the building going up.   We went to the hardware store and selected light fittings, kitchen cupboards and paint for the walls.   It was amazing.  In the back of our minds we knew it wouldn’t be ours for long but we were determined to enjoy it to the full while we had it.

For our house warming party, our friends brought plants for our little garden.   We had shovels and spades ready and we all got our hands dirty.  We loved showing them around and having people on almost every corner of our wall-to- wall carpet.

Just as we were settling, Tony felt it was time to make a survey trip to India.  Dudley Reed was quick to volunteer to go with him.  They had sent their passports to a travel agent to get visas.  On departure day, we left the house for the airport but the passports still hadn’t arrived.  They were apparently in the belly of a plane, which was landing just before theirs was due to take off.   We were all at the airport ready to say a teary goodbye to the two brave men about to embark on their first trip together.  Departure time came and went and we were left standing in the departure lounge, stunned that they had missed the plane.  The travel agent really got it from all sides.  We went home, had a good sleep and the next day was like déjà vu, except they had their visas in hand.

There was a big trip planned all over India; first to Bombay where they met up with some of the leaders of New Frontiers who were doing some great things.  They became good friends.  From there they travelled to Chennai, Delhi and were making their way to Mussoorie, Bihar, Varanasi, Kathmandu, Delhi and then back to Johannesburg.

On the way to Mussoorie they stopped in a small village called Kotdwara.  Tony went up to the flat roof to worship and pray about our future in India.  He was looking over the village and singing an old Keith Green song,

“I pledge my head to heaven for the Gospel,

And I ask no man on earth to fill my needs.

Like the sparrow up above, I am enveloped in His love,

And I trust Him like those little ones He feeds.

Well I pledge my wife to heaven, for the Gospel,

Though our love each passing day just seems to grow.

As I told her when we wed, I’d surely rather be found dead,

Than to love her more than the one who saved my soul.

Well I pledge my son to heaven for the gospel.

Though he’s kicked and beaten, ridiculed and scorned.

I will teach him to rejoice, and lift a thankful praising voice,

And to be like Him who bore the nails and crown of thorns

I’m your child, and I want to be in your family forever

I’m your child, and I’m going to follow you,

Oh no matter whatever the cost, I’m gonna count all things lost

I’ve had the chance to gain the world, and to live just like a king,

But without your love, it doesn’t mean a thing.

Well I pledge my son, I pledge my wife, I pledge my head to heaven for the gospel.”

As he was singing, God spoke into his heart; “I want you to give me your children; whether they live or die.” Then, “I want your wife, whether she lives or dies.”  Then, “Now I want you, whether you live or die.”  Dudley went up onto the roof to find out where he was.  He found him on the floor in a fetal position, weeping in agony.

While I had agreed to going to India and was really happy to go anywhere, I still hadn’t felt my own personal call.  I was very aware that India wasn’t just “anywhere”.  While Tony was away God did just that.  I put the girls to bed and sat listening to “Let me be a shining light to the nations.”  When the line “Let me be a healing balm to the nations” played, I started crying.  My heart filled with an overwhelming desire to bring healing to India and her people.

A week later some insurance salesmen came around trying to make us scared for our future.  “What if something happens to your husband?  You could end up in a tiny flat in Johannesburg with nothing.”  My reply was, “If something happens to Tony, I will be living in India.  If I have nothing, that’s also ok.”  I meant it with all of my heart.

Post 71. Deliverance


The next morning I asked Tony if he knew where my Bible was.  He nearly fell out of the bed.  Neither of us had seen it for about 2 years.  We both knew then that something significant had happened.

That day he spent time with a friend who poured out his woes for hours.  A lot of it was unhelpful.  Tony came home feeling awful and fed up.  He was on to lead worship the next day in our Sunday meeting and he didn’t want to do it.

We were in our bedroom and he was pouring it all out on me.  I asked him if I could pray for him.  He looked at me with a,  “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?” look in his eyes.  I stood next to him and put my hand on him.  As I started to pray, he fell onto the ground.  It was the last thing I expected and there was no one to catch him.   He lay there for a while and then got up and prayed for me.   Before we knew it we were both lying on the bed next to each other being covered by the blanket of grace.

That was a first.  It was the most intimate moment of our married lives together.  We got up refreshed and so happy.

The next day was Sunday.  I was shaking all over, knowing that I was going to share what God had done in my life.  During the worship time I got up and said, “Today I am in church for the first time in two years because I love God.  I have been coming for all the wrong  reasons; because I am an elder’s wife, because I have wanted to be a good example and because its what Christians do.  But today, I really want to be here.  I have been like a dried up stump.  Something had died.  I did everything I could to make it come alive again, but nothing worked.  Just two days ago, I surrendered to the grace of God.  I gave up.  Abraham and Sarah were like dried up stumps.  They had nothing in them that could possibly make life happen.  They were as good as dead.  Well, I have been as good as dead.  It was just the scent of water that I needed.  Just one whiff of grace, and life came to me.

Tony then shared what happened to him and asked if anyone else felt like we had felt.  Dry, barren and dead.  He invited them to come forward.  We stood there and watched as more than half of the church came forward.

That was 1989.  We started hearing about similar things happening all over South Africa with Fini and Isi De Gersigny, Rob Rufus and others.  It seemed that some sort of simultaneous reviving of the church was taking place.  It was exciting.  We saw many of our friends touched and transformed.  There was an “Exploits” team started and we got in to hospitals, villages and anywhere else there was an opportunity to go.   Some amazing things happened.

Our businessman friend, Tony, was the most miserable wealthy person we had ever met.   As far as we could see, he had nothing to be miserable about, but he was.  One day during a prayer time, Tony started laughing.  He laughed so much that he fell onto the floor.  He lay there like a kid, kicking his legs in the air as if someone was tickling him.  It went on for ages.  Finally he managed to get up and get to the microphone and say, “I was a born pessimist.  I have been a pessimist all my life, but to day I have been set free from pessimism.”  He was a changed man.



We took the “Exploits” team to a little Shangaan village called Gazankulu in Northern Natal.  One of the biggest miracles was that, now-happy-Tony,  was happy to do some off road driving in his BMW along the dusty, bumpy village roads.  The villagers loved him for it.  We slept in the kraals made of mud and walked into the darkness to do our ablutions in the only long drop there was.   Meetings were scheduled to start at 5pm.  Whoever was there started singing.  People from all around heard the sound and started walking and adding to the song.  An hour later we were still singing and the crowd kept growing.  There is nothing like listening to African harmonies under a full moon.

While we were on a beach holiday that year, we tried our best to avoid people.  We needed a break and didn’t really want to get into long talks with anyone about anything.  Asha and Zoe felt differently.  They wanted to make friends.  They brought their little friends to the table to meet us and before we knew it, we were chatting to their parents.   We found out they lived right next to us in Johannesburg.  We also found out that the mother was a satanist high priestess.  She told us all about it.  It was dark and she was scared about how deep she had gone.

We shared our stories of faith with them and they were moved.  Their marriage was in trouble and they needed help.  We prayed with them and they surrendered to the God who loved them more than anyone else did.

When we got back to Johannesburg we invited them to attend some Rob Rufus meetings.  She sat through the first one doing everything she could to stop herself from strangling Rob.  All she could think of was how she was going to kill him.  That afternoon we were at Rig and Sue’s place waiting for them to come for prayer.  They drove past our gate twice, not being able to drive into the driveway.  There was a dark force trying to stop them from getting to us.   It took all their strength to get there.

There were four of us; Rig, Tony, Rob and myself.  Rob started to pray and told the forces of evil to leave her life.  Rigby was holding onto one arm and Tony on the other.  She started to speak in a deep gruff man voice, saying over and over again, “She’s mine, and you’ll never get her.”  She flapped her arms up and down, lifting Rig and Tony off the floor a couple of inches.  Rob went in to fits of laughter.  He knew it wasn’t going to be long before she was free.  When she was, she slept for two days; totally exhausted.  She woke up, a new mother, wife and woman.

These exploits went on for a year.  The more we thought about India, the more we knew we were going to need all the help we could get and we were getting the feeling that the time was getting closer for us to leave.

Post 70. Grace


India was still very much in our conversation but I was struggling.   I had two beautiful daughters and an amazing husband, but something had died inside.  I just couldn’t pull myself out of it.  There I was, living my dream, being a pastor’s wife but I wasn’t happy.  Life was full and I was busy with kids.  I had made the decision to breastfeed any and everywhere so I wouldn’t miss out on anything, but that didn’t help either.

I had lost all spiritual passion.  There just didn’t seem to be time to sit and pray or read the Bible; and if there was time, I had no idea where my Bible was.  I hadn’t read it for about two and a half years.  There was no desire.   Tony would ask me to pray with him and I didn’t want to.  He started to wonder if he needed to stop being a pastor.  It just didn’t seem to be working.

There wasn’t really anyone to talk to about it.  Everyone was busy and there wasn’t much they could have done anyway.  I couldn’t explain it and I couldn’t get out of it.  On a couple of occasions, I went up for prayer after a meeting and the only way I could explain how I felt was, “Something has died.”  I was holding things together, counselling people, having friends around for dinner and was generally a nice person in public.  With Tony and God, I was cool and indifferent.  We just weren’t connecting.  We were living on different planets.

On one of our trips to Durban to visit Wilf and Val, Tony “dragged” me to Victory Faith Church to hear a man,  Michael Eaton.  I really didn’t want to go.  I was so switched off,  but as I listened to him speak about the grace of God, something started to change in my heart.  It started to warm up and I felt a movement that I hadn’t felt for a long time.   Grace was the thing I needed.  So much of what he said cut deep.  Simple things like, “If you never read your Bible or prayed again, God’s love for you would still be the same.”   I had become hard on myself and forgotten the love of God for me.  I had put too much emphasis on me doing instead of me being.  If I couldn’t do, I couldn’t be. I had it all wrong.  I cried all the way home in the car.

I was running a ladies coffee morning for moms with young kids.  I had all the right words for them and they always left encouraged.  I always left feeling empty and spent.  I invited Jean Guthrie to do an “Inner and outer beauty,” talk on one of the days.  She did make-up demos and talked about beautifying our inner parts.  After the demos she prayed for any ladies who wanted prayer.  I watched from a distance; happy that my friends were getting touched, but feeling that God had left me forever.   I had asked for prayer many times before and nothing had happened.  It wasn’t for me.

I was clearing up cups, trying to look busy.   Jean called my name and I pointed at myself and said “Me?”   There was no other Linda there.  She asked me if I wanted everything that God had for me.  Like a good pastor’s wife, I said, “Yes.”  She looked at me in the eyes and asked, “Really?”  My eyes welled up and she gently put her hand on my head.

My mind went back to Pastor “Banana Fingers” who would lay hands on us and push us to the floor.  I would firmly put one foot in front of the other and resist falling down with all my might.   Somehow, I knew this was different.  As Jean prayed, I felt a warmth go from my head to my toes.  As that happened she said, “See, Linda, that is the Holy Spirit.”  I knew it was.  I had missed Him.  It had been so long and my heart had been so cold and hard.  I relaxed and took it all in.  He gently put me on the floor where I lay, unaware of anyone or anything else.

It was as if all my fighting had stopped.  I held up my white flag and surrendered to the grace of God.


See Post 66 for more background on my spiritual struggle.

Post 69. Zoe Ray

Ash and Zo

Ash and Zo

We found a flat in the Waverley area.  It was a two bedroomed place and just perfect for us.   Asha was 22 months old and our baby was a few days overdue.  I did everything in the book to bring on labour but nothing was happening.  On 22 July, Tony and I were watching the evening news and a broadcaster started speaking Afrikaans.  Tony was trying to copy her and went off in his Kiwi accent; I laughed so much, my waters broke.  Laughter had worked again.

Someone recommended naturopathic Caulophyllum drops for an easy birth.  I had started taking it 7 weeks before my due date.  The midwives said it worked for 99% of the women who took it, so I went for it, hoping I wasn’t going to be in that unfortunate 1%.

We took Asha to Sue.  Sue was her favourite person in the world.  Tiffany happened to be staying with us again so she sat at the flat, waiting for news.

By the time we arrived at the hospital I was in a lot of pain.  While Tony was filling in forms, I was having very strong contractions and getting irritated with all the questions.  The lady at the desk was way too calm.  What I really needed was someone to panic with me.

We went into the active birth unit armed with a guitar, music and snacks, ready for another long labour.  The midwife examined me and told me I was already three cms dilated but had at least another 2 hours to go.  I should just try to relax and be prepared for a long night.  The pain was so intense that against everything I believed about doing birth naturally, I decided to go for an epidural.  She looked at me with that, “What a baby, ” look,  in her rolling eyes.

We were told to wait in the lounge.  15 minutes later, I needed to go to the toilet.  I walked there with some assistance and had a huge contraction on the loo.  The nurse shouted at me and told me to not do that again.   No babies born on the toilet in THIS hospital, thank you very much.   I said a sarcastic “Sorry” but couldn’t make any promises.

The anaesthetist had his needle ready and I was lying on my side like a good girl.  Tony was holding my hand like a good boy.  Another huge contraction came and the midwife turned around to shout at me again.  Instead of shouting at me she shouted for help.  “Help! There’s a baby coming!”   Nurses came from everywhere and it was all on.

A couple of big pushes later, I was holding my beautiful little girl.  We were so happy.  The suddenness of the birth and all the blood was too much for Tony.  It had all taken 20 minutes and we had planned the whole night out.  He slipped down against the wall and squatted with his head between his knees.  I patted his head and kept saying, “It’s ok, babe, it’s ok.”  The birth was rapid and I lost a lot of blood so I was put on a drip overnight.   After feeding her she  was taken to the nursery.   I cried for her the whole night.  I felt so lonely and I missed Tony and Ash.

When she was brought to me the next day I cried again.  She was so beautiful.  The only girl’s name we had thought of was Leila, so we called her that for a few days.  It just didn’t suit her.  She looked like a Japanese baby and Mallie suggested Suzuki or Sukiyaki.  Those didn’t work either.  I called Sue and asked her what names she remembered me liking.  She reminded me of a gorgeous little girl called Zoe who stayed in one of the houses in Rolleston Place.  I always loved that name.

So, Zoe it was; God’s life.  It suited her perfectly.  Her second name was Ray, as in a ray of sunshine.  She was born with bright red cheeks; from all the ruby grapefruit no doubt.

Post 68. Another baby!


Waverley Church bought a house on a 5 acre property in Linbro Park and started one of the first multi-racial Christian schools in South Africa; The King’s School.  It had started in a double garage in Lombardy West with Ryan and Leigh and a few of their little friends.

We were given half the house to live in.  It was beautiful.  Asha took her first step when she was 8 ½ months old and within a month she was tottering around on the huge lawn outside our house.   We loved having people around and enjoyed the constant sound of the kids next door.

I had some good friends from church and made some more at the baby clinic where I took Asha for her weigh-ins.  Those times always upset me.  She was tiny.  On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest) she was a 1.  I was told she was undernourished and Wilf even suggested she might have Kwashiorkor.  I stopped going and I stopped listening.  She was happy, she slept well and she did eat, just not huge amounts.    She had a passion for babies and we would have to stop whenever she saw one.   She was obsessed.

Leonie was one of my best friends.  Her and Terry were struggling to fall pregnant.   They had been trying for four years and her gynae told her it wasn’t going to happen.  She had lost a baby and was starting to wonder if she was ever going to have one.

Asha in Linbro

Asha- 1 years old in Linbro Park

Ash had just turned a year and I started to feel really sick.  I thought I was dying.  I suffered in silence and misery for a while and then it occurred to me that I might be pregnant.   I weed on the stick that never lies.  We were so excited.  We were going to have another baby!  I was so happy but  didn’t know how to tell Leonie.  I felt so awful that I had two babies and she couldn’t have one, but she was really happy for us.  She had faith that God was going to answer her prayers.

I really wanted it to be a girl.  I loved having Sue as my sister and friend.  I wanted Ash to have one too.  Tony was convinced it was a boy and he already had a name for him; Jordan.  I wasn’t convinced and I was secretly hoping I was right.

We had been in Linbro for a year and the school was growing.  They needed the house we were in to make more classrooms, so we had to move out.   We moved in with Hillary who had run Little Lambs pre-school where  the Kings School had started.  We stayed in a tiny room; just enough space for a bed and a cot.   It was quite an adjustment after living on 5 acres.

Three months after I fell pregnant, Leonie fell pregnant.  Her Jewish gynae made a comment something like “ The Man upstairs really wants you to have a baby.”  It was a miracle and we were SO happy.  Our babies were going to be friends.

I was addicted to ruby grapefruit and I went through bags of them.  I also got chronic migraines for the first time in my life.  It would start with numbness and tingling on one side of my face, little lights in my eye, blindness on that same side; Then a massive headache.  I would spend three days in a dark room trying to get over it.    It was awful.  I wondered if it had anything to do with the grapefruit but I kept eating them.

One day as the numbness started in my nose, I went to Tony and told him it was coming.  I was so fed up with them and I knew I was going to be wiped out for days.  We were both so angry at the whole thing and we let the approaching migraine have it.  We prayed and told it to go and not come back.  It listened.  It went and never came back.  That was my last migraine.