Monthly Archives: October 2013

Post 154. Spacious place


When we arrived in India, we had four bags.  They all fitted into each other.  Our clothes were in the two bigger ones. Accessories, shoes and books were in the medium sized one and the girl’s special toys and books were in the smallest.  When we drove from Goa to Mussoorie, we had a jeep-full.   When we moved from Barlowganj to Dhobi Ghat we had a community of twelve, two big truckloads and a few trips in the jeep.  We had grown in more ways than one. 

We moved on the 2 Dec 1997.  It was cold but sunny.  The truck arrived early for it’s first load.  We could see it was going to be a challenge to get up it up the steep hill once it was full, so it parked twenty metres away up on the flat. 

When we had emptied the house, the kids and I went with the first jeep load.  We walked around our new place, deciding where everything should go.  It was so exciting.


Our house and uncle’s farmhouse- way in the distance on the ridge. (Pic not mine)

The road into Dhobi Ghat was too narrow for the trucks.  Everything had to be unloaded onto the Woodstock School field and the jeeps took it all from there.  They drove down along the steep, narrow roads, through the washer man’s village and stopped where the road ended.  From there, everything was carried along the narrow five to eight minute path to our house.  We were amazed at how strong the guys were.  Small built Jyoti, carried the generator all by himself.  Fridges, cupboards and furniture were no problem for the Nepalis.

Our place was on the first floor.  It had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen (with cupboards!) and a lovely lounge and dining room.  The windows were big and when we stood on the balcony, all we could see was forest and jungle.  We were in our elements. 


I draped autumn coloured fabric over the curtain rods.  All our furniture fitted perfectly and it looked so pretty. Our favourite spot was the balcony where we hung our much loved and well-used hammock.

ImageThe trainees were downstairs.  There were five bedrooms, a kitchen, dining/living room and a beautiful courtyard. The trainees had three rooms and we turned the other two into a teacher’s room and a study for Tony.  We used a small storage room above the stairwell for the girl’s classroom.   There was another storage area under the stairwell; which we turned into an office.  It was there that Guy Emery taught us about computers.  We thought we were the bee’s knees. 


The bird life was amazing.  Our favourite birds were the Red-billed blue magpies also called Himalayan Pigeons.  Another little bird, which I nicknamed “Wagtail”, sang the longest and loudest songs in the morning. 

We couldn’t believe all the space we had.  Tony loved having a study and could walk out of the gate and into the forest to be with God whenever he wanted to.  Jordan would take his bow and arrow and walk with him, looking for leopards.  It was as if we had landed in Paradise and we wanted to live there forever. 

The kids woke up early the day after our move.  They wanted to make sure they hadn’t dreamt the house up.  We could hear them shouting on the balcony and went out to see what all the noise was about.  Everything was white.  It was snowing.

Post 153. Moving again


It was time to move from our house in Barlowganj.  Our landlord wanted to increase the rent and we needed a bigger place. We were sad about leaving it, especially the girls.

So much had happened there.  It was where the community started.  It was off the beaten track and we were surprised that so many people had come to visit us. 

We had really wanted to be in the centre of God’s will.  When we left South Africa all we knew was that we would be in North India.  When got to India, we felt we would be near the source of the Ganga.  Dehra Dun seemed to be the obvious town.  On a survey trip, Tony, Rigby, Phil and DJ all knew we were meant to be in Mussoorie.

When we got to Mussoorie, we stayed in a little cottage at the top of the hill.  We spent lots of time praying about which part of the town to stay in.  It was very important for us to know exactly where we should set up our home.  One day, while praying, God spoke to Tony, “I am going to take you to a place where you will put your feet in water.”  His first response was, “Yay, outpouring of the Holy Spirit!”  When we saw the house “Ebenezer” we had a good feeling about it.  Within the first week of moving in, the house was flooded.  Tony was upset until God reminded him, “See, I told you I would take you to a place where you will put your feet in water.”  We had no doubt that was the perfect house for us.

It was a full, happy house.  Every room had seen much laughter and many tears.  Jordan and Rebecca had been born there.  The girls had started home schooling there.  Sarita and Jugdish had Angie and baby Joshua there.  Two years of training had run their course and many experienced the deep love of God in that house. 

We heard about a place in the forest near the Woodstock dormitories.  The only way to get there was through Dhobi Ghat.  It was a pretty little washer man’s village.  There were just a few houses and I was amazed to hear that most of Mussoorie’s laundry was washed by so few people.  There were hotel sheets and towels hanging on lines and covering every bush available.  Woodstocker’s branded clothing hung next to salwars and pajamas.  The dhobis looked a bit suspicious when we drove past them.

We parked our jeep next to the house at the end of the village and started walking.  There was no road access, just a narrow dirt path along the hill.  Five minutes later we passed a little farmhouse and were barked at by “Johnny” the big grey dog.  Fortunately he was tied up.

The house was up the hill,  to the left.  It was in the middle of nowhere, perched on a ledge, overlooking thick forest as far as the eye could see.  There was a balcony around three sides and the view was spectacular.   The house was locked, but we fell in love instantly. It was so perfect that we laughed when we thought about living there.  That was a sure sign it was going to be ours. 

Post 152. Made in India



Made in India and lived there too

Rode a camel in the desert by the time I was two

Seen the stars from the dunes

Know the Bollywood tunes

Fascinating, scintillating

Life’s been good


From the mountains to the sea

And lots of tea

Thousands  of people on crowded streets

The rich and the poor

Came to our door

Eaten with them both

Life’s no bore


Hunting in the jungle, without fear

With my bow and my arrows and my Manipur spear

Making clay marbles in the village sun

Playing in the forest ‘til the day was done

Panthers in the jungle, eyes in the dark

Life’s been nothing like a walk in the park


Colours in the market, smells from everywhere

I wish I wasn’t white, that’s why they stare

They don’t know that inside I’m the same

An Indian dipped in bleach

Life’s a great game

(Song/rap I wrote for young Jordan)

Post 151. It is not good for a wife to be alone..



It was Tony’s birthday and the girls and trainees burst 38 balloons outside our door at 7.30 a.m.  He got such a fright.  It was our custom to open presents on our bed first thing in the morning.  It was also our custom to wrap up silly things like old onions, carrots, socks or even an old shoe for the birthday person.  The fun part was trying to get them to guess what the gift was.  He left in a taxi and headed for Delhi that afternoon.  He was going to Johannesburg to record his “Off the Edge” CD with J.B. Arthur. 

It was a real faith trip.  He left with a few hundred rupees and knew that somehow God was going to provide for the album.  When he got to the studio, Joe told him it was a gift and he didn’t need to pay for it.  Victo Masondo, Nick Carter and Lloyd Martin all said the same thing.  They were professional musician friends who wanted to bless Tony.  He was so relieved and happy.

While he was away, it seemed that all hell broke lose.  Well, not quite, but every day was challenging.  Jordan woke up with amoebic dysentery the next day and he was on the toilet every 15 minutes.  Once when he was sitting on the pot he looked at me with watery eyes and said, “I’m a sick boy, mummy.”   He didn’t act sick.  He was full of energy.  I also got a tummy bug and Ash started throwing up. 

Our house was busy and so were things in the community.  The Woodstock students came back from their term break.  It had been quiet without them.

From my journal: 3.8.1997

Woodstockers back: Kirti, Sharon, Grace, Chuki-Om, Dechin, Alia (new) Joshua John (seems to be in a good place), John Hudson, Sabina Tyle and quite a few new faces.


Demanding day.  Jordan’s appetite returned with a vengeance.  Cried and cried because he was hungry.  All got in the jeep to go down to Barlowganj to get medicine and bread.  Jeep wouldn’t start.  Guys pushed it out of the drive and up the hill.  Felt so sorry for them.  Gave it a run down but ended up in neighbour’s drive.  Battery still dead as a doornail.  Thank goodness for Bhaktu.  Asha and Zoë are so noisy and out of hand. Put them to bed early and we had a chat about obedience.  They are always more difficult when Tony is away.

There were a few issues with the trainees.  We had a week of one of them manifesting and threatening to die.  We kept praying for him but there were no changes.  He told us an angel had come to him to tell him to say goodbye to his children and his wife.  He called them around his bed.  His hands were ice cold.  Bhaktu took him to the doctor.  There was nothing physically wrong with him.  We told him we wouldn’t put up with it any longer.  If he carried on we would send him home.  He snapped out of it and was absolutely fine.  He must have needed some personal attention.

The brother and sister trainees decided they weren’t learning anything and they left.  They had been stirring things up quite a bit and we were planning to call them in to ask them to leave.  Fortunately they made the first move.  The next day, we heard from friends that the brother had worked with them.  When he got upset, he had threatened to blow up their office.  Nice. 

Our house was full of children.  There were families visiting every day that week and because our house was perfect for kid’s parties, we had two.  I arranged everything on the roof and let them go nuts.

Zoë got tonsillitis and Asha,  Jordan and I all got really bad colds.  We were up all hours of the night and there was no stopping during the day.  I was exhausted.  Bhaktu and Hiram were so helpful.  They were always willing to help with the kids.

It was difficult to run the house as well as see to the trainees and their programme.  They were all young believers and didn’t always behave themselves.  One day I was called downstairs.  Sanjay and Bhaktu were having a full on fight.  They were so worked up with each other.  After a chat,  there were tears and apologies.

I couldn’t wait for Tony to get home.  He had a great time with his recording and it was a successful trip, but we all missed him.  He was like our generator.   Life just wasn’t the same without Tony. 

Post 150. Pets and small children


It is my belief that small children and pets equal chaos.  Small children are chaotic enough.  Why add chaos to chaos?  My default is an easy “no.”  “No,” to cleaning up the mess.  “No,” to house training (potty training is stressful enough.) “No,” to lying to my kids about pet heaven.  “No,” to needing to comfort them when they wake up and find stiff pets.  “No,” to trying to explain death to little people who have just started living.

I wanted it to be a rule.  NO PETS ALLOWED.  No exceptions.  Oh, just one.  When you’re old enough to move out of our house and into your own, you can have as many pets as you want.


When some lovely villagers presented our wide-eyed girls with two fluffy yellow chickens, I didn’t have the heart to stick to the rules.  We actually got excited.  Tony even made a little hatch for them in our stairwell.  At that stage we weren’t thinking about how ugly they were going to become or that they may not even make it to toddler stage.  We built that cage like they were going to live forever.

They had barely lost their yellowness when Zoë accidently fell on hers.  It died instantly.  The other one ran onto the road and got eaten by a dog.  That was that.  The hatch was cleaned and emptied and I planned to keep it that way.


Along came two fluffy baby rabbits.  More gifts.  Gifts are hard to turn down; especially fluffy ones.  They moved into the hatch and the girls loved them.  Their names were Thumper and Marsha.  We didn’t think to bring them inside when winter set in and they froze.  More tears.


Sasha was about 6 weeks old when we found her on the road in front of our house.  Some boys were teasing her and poking her with sticks.  Her thick coat was henna-red and she had light brown eyes.  Friends of ours told us she was a Bhotia mountain dog.  She was so pretty.  The girls begged us to get her and kept calling her from the balcony.  Tony said, “If she comes onto our property, we’ll keep her.”  She did.  It was love at first sight.


She was incredibly gentle with our children and anyone who visited us.  She loved wandering around the hillside and would come home in the afternoon.  We wondered where she went for her long walks.

She was “told on” when her tummy started getting big and the girls were thrilled to watch her giving birth to her first litter.  Her puppies were cute and easy to give away.   We resisted the temptation to keep one of them.  After three litters we decided to neuter her.

Tony took her to the only vet in Mussoorie.    He was chubby and his assistant was skinny.   We never checked their credentials.  They were our only option.  The operation was done and she was brought home to recover.   Two months later she was pregnant.  Tony called the vet:

Tony:  Our dog is pregnant

Vet: How did that happen?

Tony:  You tell me.  You did the operation.

Goodness knows what they did to her.  She had two more litters after that.


Someone in the neighbourhood complained that Sasha was being a pest.  A few days later we heard her coughing and found her frothing at the mouth.  She was struggling to walk and came upstairs to lie down.  Within minutes she was stiff and not responding at all.  We tried to give her water but she couldn’t open her mouth.  Tony called our one and only vet and his assistant.  They looked so funny coming down the hill on their scooter with their suspicious looking little bag.  Tony whispered, “Here comes dumb and dumber.”

There was nothing they could do.  They left; leaving us with the conclusion that Sasha had been poisoned.   The community was around her.  We were all crying.  Suddenly Asha raised her voice and said, “If Jesus can heal people, He can heal Sasha.”  We all agreed.  Crying turned to praying.  Ash was full of faith.

Within minutes, Sasha’s breathing got stronger.  Her limbs started relaxing and she was sipping the water we gave her.  She was totally healed.  The celebration was incredible.  We had all just witnessed a miracle.  It wasn’t long before Sasha was back to normal, ready to roam around, irritating the neighbours who had tried to poison her.

Tony called the vet to let him know.  This time when he asked the question, “How did that happen?”  Tony was able to tell him.  Jesus did it and unlike the failed neutering operation, He did a good job.

Post 149. Necessity- The mother of invention


My mind wouldn’t stop.  It was full of ideas and they all ran into each other.   I would lie awake in the early hours of the morning and think, scheme, dream and plan.

There were rosters with names and what people could do.  Rosters for Sundays, for mid-week meetings, prayer meetings and for the trainees cooking, leading and cleaning duties.  It was never ending.

I had a dream to have a domestic training course for ladies so they could get better jobs.  I wanted to teach them how to cook, bake and run a household.  I wanted to call it “Excellent Ayah’s Training School.”  I wrote out a whole curriculum for that course.  Other things took priority over this dream, so it all stayed in my notebook.

I started writing a booklet called, “Goal Oriented Parenting,” which I wanted to get translated into Hindi.  I kept putting the book off, but I was able to use the notes to teach on parenting.  I spent hours planning our times with married couples too.

My burden for the students at Woodstock kept me awake.  I wrote out pages of notes on “Mating and Dating,” and enjoyed sharing those things with them.

I woke up in the early hours one morning, with the phrase, “We agree to supersede this generation.”  Then two words: Super Seeds.  I thought it was a good name for a children’s playgroup.  When I woke up I created a letterhead.  It stayed in my file for a long time.

If our community was facing a problem I would brainstorm until it was solved.

Sometimes I would lie awake and invent things.  If I had known how to patent my wild ideas, I might have become quite famous.

We were constantly running out of water and there were power cuts almost every day.  Fortunately we had gas to cook on, but it was hard to do anything once the sun went down.  I was better with no electricity than I was without water.

Ironically, during a typically heavy monsoon, we had no water.  There were 15 of us sharing one tank and it was empty.  We tried to keep the lid open but it was narrow and didn’t let much rain in.  The trainees sat around for hours, complaining about not having water.  When the rain subsided a bit I went onto the roof.  Water had collected in the corner and it was gushing over the gutter and onto the road below our house.  I went downstairs and got some plastic soft drink bottles, string, tape and a sharp knife.  I called the trainees up and started “bossing” them around.  I got them cutting the bottles in half and taping them up.  We had to tie part of it to a nearby tree to get some support.  Before we knew it, we had made a pipe running from the roof and back onto our open courtyard on the ground floor.  We sat and waited for the rain.

When it came, it bucketed down.  Our homemade pipe held up and we had gallons of water gushing out right on our doorstep.  There was so much shouting and laughing.  Someone got the soap and shampoo and we all had a shower (fully clothed).  We filled up all our buckets and cooking pots.  When we had done all that, we took full advantage of the free water.   We danced in our homemade waterfall like only Indians could.

The next day, I spent time with the trainees.  I asked them what lesson they had learnt.  I talked about how, into their future, they may not have anything.  They may find themselves with no water or shelter or work.  Would they just sit around and complain or would they do something about it?  Would they look at their situation or would they look for a solution?  Would they be a pain or would they make a plan?

It was important for us all to learn how to make the best of a bad situation.  Sitting around praying for water wasn’t the answer.  Using our brains, coming up with an idea and a creative plan was what worked.  It wasn’t difficult; we just had to get off our butts.

Post 148. A real quandary


We were struggling.  We had written to our many international team friends a few times to ask them to help us with our training.  One or two responded but we still needed so much help.  It seemed that people had lost interest in what we were doing in India and we felt a bit let down.  We wondered if what had happened with Rig and Sue had affected people’s attitudes toward us.  We also wondered if people felt we weren’t doing things well or quickly enough.  Things felt a bit strange and we had no idea why.

There was so much talk about friendship and support but we weren’t seeing it.  We were disappointed and didn’t know what to do.  It had been going on for some time and we had tried to overlook it.

Old friends from our Waverley community were solid in our lives.  We regularly got letters and calls from the Currins,  Jeannots,  Gill McClaren, the Fouches,  Bromleys and others.  Derek and Di Hohls were amazing at getting our news out to our long list of friends.  There was no issue with them.  Dudley and Margi Reed were always there as were Rig and Sue.

Locally, things were good.  We had amazing friends who were supportive and loving.  They sent us birthday cards and called us for our anniversaries.  They knew and loved our children and our community.   There was an interest in our lives and what we were doing.  We knew we could call them at any time and they would hear us out.  There were many sleepovers and weekends together and there was no lack of love.

Arun and JoyAnn were in Bombay and just a phone call away.  Duncan and Vasanti were also our good friends.  Vasanti would call me and greet me with, “Greetings, mighty woman of God!”  I was always so encouraged by her.  We felt locals could identify with us.  They knew the culture and the issues we were facing.  It was so easy.  We didn’t have to spend ages explaining things to them.  They just knew and they knew how to encourage us.

That was what we were missing.  People who weren’t so concerned about what we were doing but about how we were doing.  We needed people who would challenge and be with us when we were walking through difficult times.  We never wanted to do our own thing and knew how important it was to be in close relationships with people who could really watch over us.  We wondered what would happen if the wheels came off for us.  Would anyone come at the drop of a hat?  Was it practical to be accountable to people who were so far away?

Financially we were really strapped.  There were a few friends who sent us gifts when they were able to.  We really appreciated it.  The community was growing and people were giving as much as they could but most were living on daily wages.  Our friends who were connected with another team were surprised we weren’t being financially supported.  We started to question the reality of the relationships if no one was asking how we were doing.  Some asked, but weren’t able to do anything about it.  Others seemed able to help but for some reason didn’t feel they needed to.  We were confused and in a quandary.

We had sleepless nights wondering what we were going to do.  It seemed logical that we should have stronger relationships where we were, with people who were living and working with us.  We needed input and encouragement regularly.  Was it realistic to expect people living in other countries to be interested in what we were doing and how we were doing?  They were busy with their own lives  There was so much going on all around the world at the time.  Everyone seemed stretched beyond capacity.  Everyone seemed tired from all the travelling they were doing.

How did India feature?  Was it too far away?  Too difficult?  Too uncomfortable?  Were we doing something wrong?

We had no idea, but we knew we had to talk.


Post 147. Needing God


Here you are

Wanting to be with me

Here I am

Wanting to be with you

Face to face

Heart to heart

As lovers do

Your love demanding all of me

My love wanting all of you

Face to face

Heart to heart

As lovers do

I give you all of my love

My body, soul and strength

Hold my face in your hand

And love me as I am

Fathering me

As fathers do

Loving me as lovers do

Your love is like no other