Our second batch of trainees were ready to start. The cowshed wasn’t available, so we moved everyone into the flat below our house. Graham, Kay and boys had moved down the hill to Clement Town to meet with some new believers there. We loved visiting them and having sleepovers. There was always lot of fun and laughter.
The new trainees were young and full of energy. Peter and Rita was a couple from Nepal. Rita was Puran’s sister. They had two young girls, Ruth and Esther who were Asha and Zoë’s ages. We would hear the four girls chatting away in a mixture of Hindi, Nepali and English. Somehow they understood each other perfectly well. Ruth and Esther had never been out of their village so everything was new to them. Esther was terrified of the toilet and preferred to squat on the toilet floor.
Things were tight financially. There were months when we completely ran out of money. The church we had come from in South Africa had a change of leadership and they felt we had been supported for long enough. We really appreciated the support we had received, but we had NO idea how we were going to survive. Early on in our journey we made the decision to never ask for financial help for ourselves. There were going to be no “furloughs” where we took our kids around the world to ask people to support us. If people asked, we told them. The challenge now was that it was no longer just the five of us. There were lots more mouths to feed, a church to run, trips into villages with the trainees, rent of the hall as well as our house, education for our children and the list went on.
It was good for the trainees to see that we all had to trust God together. There was no, “us” and “them.” There was no money coming from anywhere and our faith was being tested. We all cried out to God every day, praying for provisions for our community. We were eating together and somehow the dal and rice kept coming. One day, we ran out of money and we really got desperate.
That afternoon we got a call from a dorm parent at Woodstock. It was the end of term and the students had left bags of excellent clothing and shoes behind. Did we want them? Did we WANT them? Tony jumped in the jeep with a few guys and by the time they got back, we had a plan. We were going to have a sale on our roof the next day.
We sorted out the clothes and everyone was in charge of something. It was all laid out on bed-sheets on the ground. We weren’t sure where people were going to come from, but come they did. By the end of the day, we counted up the money. There was so much shouting and happiness. We had made Rs 10,000. We could eat again!
The best part of the story, was that Chandra had called a young Nepali man from the road, to come up to the sale. He didn’t buy anything, but Chandra told him his story. He told him how much Jesus loved him. There was no time wasted. He prayed right then and there to give his life over to the one who loved him more than anyone else ever could. The young man’s name was Hira.
What if we hadn’t run out of money? What if the dorm parent hadn’t thought about us? What if we hadn’t been on the roof that day? What if Chandra hadn’t looked down on the road at that moment? What if Hira had refused to come up? What if Chandra hadn’t been courageous enough to tell his story… what if?