We had some money, which was for setting up house, getting an overhead projector and other things we would need in the North. God told us to give it to the church in Goa, which we did. We stayed quietly in the background and within a few weeks there were deep apologies and wonderful forgiveness flowed in all directions. Our relationships had been healed and it was more than we expected. God had done an amazing thing and taught us that running away was not the answer when we were in the fire. Fire was something to go through, not around.
In February 1992, Dudley Reed, Phil Maxwell and Rigby came to visit us. They were our first visitors. We were so excited. Tony met them in Delhi. God had talked to us about being in a place near to the source of the Ganga River. Dehra Dun seemed to be the place so they thought they would look there first. They met with some people and booked what seemed to be a good place for our family to stay.
From there they travelled to Mussoorie in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a small town perched on a mountain, thirty-five kilometres North of Dehra Dun and 7,000 feet above sea level. While they were there, they visited an Irish couple, James and Willi Barton, who we had met when they were on holiday in Goa. They had invited us to visit them at Woodstock International School where James was principal. While it was a Christian School, there were 60% Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and children of businessmen. 35% were nominal Christians. It seemed that God was at work. They also hinted that there was a need for a new vibrant Christian community there. Over a meal, Willi mentioned that two princesses had become believers and Priyanka Gandhi (Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi’s daughter) had recently visited the school.
Years before arriving in India, Tony had been praying for “Daughters of Kings” while reading Psalm 45. He prayed and cried for Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter not even knowing that he had one. Now he knew her name was Priyanka. *
It had been along day. Tony was reading through the Bible in a year so he quickly opened it up to the chapter he was on just before going to sleep. Now, years later, he read the same Psalm; Psalm 45. He knew we had to be in Mussoorie. The other men felt the same. The next day they booked “Morning Glory.” It was a small one roomed, furnished cottage at The Firs, near Chaar Dukhaan. We were so glad that this huge decision wasn’t made independently and so grateful that Dudley, Phil and Rigby were there with us.
While Tony was in Mussoorie, I stayed in Goa with the girls. The ladies on their verandas couldn’t understand why I was missing my husband so much.
During that time I read, “God Meant it for Good” by R.T. Kendall. Something he said was, “Home is not a where but a when. It is when you find yourself in the perfect will of God. You can be in a place that can hardly be regarded as home and feel totally at home. You can be somewhere that is regarded as “home” and feel homesick and lost. So, home is God’s will. Home is where you are at ease and completely happy. It is an internal condition.” It was the perfect book for that season in our lives; quite profound actually.
Rigby, Phil and Dudley came to Goa with Tony and we had such fun showing them around. The girls loved Rig’s “Sydney the Slimy Snake” stories. They didn’t give him much rest the whole time he was with us.
Our six-month visas had run out. On the 1st March we flew out to Dhaka, Bangladesh to renew them. How many weeks or months the Indian Embassy would give us was something we wondered a lot about. Dhaka was difficult. Riding along on a cycle rickshaw, face-to-face with badly deformed beggars was very hard. They were very aggressive and persistent and pulled on us and shouted when we didn’t give them money. Seeing so many people with huge goitres and growths was sad and disturbing. We couldn’t protect Ash and Zoe from the pain, no matter how much we wanted to.
We didn’t have any contacts in Dhaka, so after looking at some very derelict budget hotels, we made the decision to stay in a five-star hotel. There was no way we could afford it but we felt we had no option. We felt vulnerable with our girls. It was a frustrating time. After three days of being pulled and pushed in all directions, we couldn’t wait to get back to India.
We arrived back in Goa with one-month entry visas. That meant we had one month to convince Home Affairs in Delhi that they should give us minimum one to maximum five-year visas. If they refused, we were out. We needed a miracle.
* See Post 74
I loved reading this post this morning Linda. It has inspired me to read of your walk of faith, and see God’s hand in your lives.
Thanks so much Sandy. I am inspired by your life too. You should write about it sometime 🙂