There was a small church up the road from us. We got to know Pastor S and his family quite well. They were always happy for us to pop in for chai and biscuits. Tony had grown his hair and re-pierced his ear, which caused quite a stir among the pastors. One pastor asked Tony if God told him to grow his hair. His answer was, “It’s strange. I just left it and it grew all by itself.” Pastor S sarcastically shouted out to Tony in the street, “Tony I like your earring!” Tony replied with, “Oh good, I got you one for your birthday!” We had some good laughs.
We were sitting in Pastor S’s study one day and looked at the photos that were up on his notice board. They were of him baptising people. We could hardly contain ourselves. He had drawn hair with a blue pen, to cover his bald head. He had also drawn a tie onto the t-shirt he was wearing. It wasn’t a joke.
Another pastor came into town for a while. He told us he had a deliverance ministry. He attended some of our meetings and invited us to come to his place for chai. He was very keen to show us his photographs. They were too awful for words. Contorted faces, people writhing around; he was in all of them. We felt really disturbed by it all. While we were trying to look at them with our eyes closed, a lady came to be “delivered.” She fell at his feet. He seemed to know her. He grabbed her by the hair and started shouting at her. He pulled her hair back until she fell on the ground. Tony tried to stay calm, but couldn’t sit there and watch the abuse going on. He strongly requested him to stop and let go of her. He refused and kicked us out of his house. We talked about how, if we were a demon, we would be so terrified of him that we would be more than happy to leave. That was the last time we saw him.
There was a strange religious formality, which we struggled with but we tried to focus on those who weren’t churchgoers. Mussoorie was a small place and everyone knew everything about everyone. It was sad that we got the hardest time from those in the faith.
Hiram was a young guy whose father was a Math teacher at Wynberg Allen School. It was on the hill just above our house. He would walk past our place and wave but was really shy. Tony invited him to come to a meeting and he came. He kept coming. One day we were breaking bread and he felt left out. Right then and there he asked Jesus into his life. He became part of our family. He told us that for months he had watched Tony playing his guitar and worshipping on the rock on our roof. He had binoculars so he could watch him close up. Tony gave him some guitar lessons and within a few months he was playing really well.
Abhinandan was a tiny little man with a big heart. He was one of the best tailors in Mussoorie. Many Woodstock families used him to make their curtains and cushion covers. He was a Jain. We saw a fat, naked Jain man walking past our house once. The girls saw him from the roof and shouted out to us to come and look. They were giggling with Sarita. There were people brushing the road in front of him so he wouldn’t kill any insects. We knew Abhinandan wasn’t that type of Jain. We were interested in what he believed and he was happy to tell us about his religion. He had heard about Jesus through some of the Woodstock people he met. We had a vegetarian meal with him in his little house above his shop. He was a real sweetie. He got really sick one winter and we popped in to see him. I was really scared he was going to die. I looked him in the eyes and said, “ Abhinandan, I want you to come to heaven with us. When we get there, we want to see you there.” He asked some questions about Jesus which we answered simply. He put his hand on his heart and said, “Today I have adopted Jesus.” It was amazing.
There were many “weird and wonderfuls” in our lives. People came and went. Checking us out. Some found us weird some found us wonderful. Those who stayed had amazing stories to tell. We were all on a wild adventure together.