Monthly Archives: November 2013

Post 174. It is well

Standard

If I could just write

If I could put onto paper

The state of my heart

The present condition of my soul

I would no more be able to do that

Than I would be able to paint a perfect sunset

A silent forest

A majestic mountain

Or a gently rippling stream

My soul is well

It is at peace

It feels immovable

It is well with my soul

Advertisements

Post 173. The Kapurs

Standard

Image

Willi asked about our trip.  We went through some of the highlights and then said, “Something funny happened on our last day. This guy Fred Stone got two names in a prayer meeting; Raman and Kira.”

Willi said, “Oh you mean Raman and Kiron?  We know them.”

The hair on our arms and necks stood on end and we all got goose bumps.

“What do you mean you KNOW them?  Are you telling us they actually exist?”

“Yup, they live in Delhi.  Raman has just resigned from his job and wondering what God wants them to do next.  Their daughter Alia is at Woodstock and comes to CNC.  Raman visited once when you were out.”

We couldn’t believe what we were hearing.  It was SUCH a God moment.  What were the chances of that?  1 billion Indian people and we find a couple, Raman and Kiron, the first week that we are back home.  They also happened to be at a crossroad, asking God to give them some direction.

Within a week Tony went to Delhi to meet them.  He knocked on their door and introduced himself.  At that stage, he had long hair and an earring.  Fortunately they had heard about us from Alia and the Bartons so they invited him in.  They chatted until 1.30 a.m.  Tony told them God had given us their names in South Africa and of course they wanted to know all about that.  Who was the man? What type of person was he?  What was his character like?  They were surprised to hear that Fred Stone wasn’t the mega prophet type but a practical, hard-working family man who loved God.  Tony wasn’t sure how much to tell them about the word.  He just said, “Let’s start a friendship and see what happens.”

Image

Raman and Kiron and their five gorgeous children, Vidur, Alia, Rohan, Rohit, and Annabelle became our best friends.  They came up to Mussoorie every month and fell in love with the community and the community fell in love with them.  By the end of the year, they were talking about moving to Mussoorie.

They put their children into Woodstock School, found a house and that was it.  Those days were full of eating, laughing, talking, having children’s concerts, dancing, singing and great friendships.  We spent hours and whole days and nights together.  They were like quick growing bamboo shoots.  Fred was right.

Now what if Fred had been too shy?  What if he had held back for fear of being wrong?  What if he hadn’t taken the risk?  How long would it have taken for us to meet Raman and Kiron?

How many times have I been too afraid to speak when God has given me something to say?

Post 172. How “a word” changed everything.

Standard

The community kept growing.  More came from Nepal to get training.  Asha, Zoë and Jordan were never without company.  Jayanti Crafts and Café were going well.  There was a lot of singing, translating songs, praying together every day and of course, many cups of chai flowing from the cupboard-less kitchen.

ImageImage

We started to feel we had taken “Community of Nations” as far as we could.  It was time to hand it over to new leadership.  We were part of a great team with James and Willi Barton, Puran and Rebecca, Jason and Ali and Chandra and Champa.  Everything was going well and we loved being part of the dream team, but when we looked into the future:  The Bartons were making plans to move to Goa, Puran and Rebecca and Chandra and Champa to Nepal and Jason and Ali back to Ireland.

ImageImage

In 1998 we went to South Africa with the kids.  We popped in to a prayer meeting at Duduza  (Waverley) on our way to the airport.   It was good to see everyone again.  They asked how they could pray for us.  The first thing that came to our minds was that we needed a couple to take over the leadership of CNC.  We specified that the couple would need to be bilingual and also able to work with the rich and poor.  Everyone prayed enthusiastically and we were encouraged.  Towards the end, our friend Fred Stone, nonchalantly said, “I don’t know many Indian names, just Govinder and Naidoo.  Do the names Raman and Kira mean anything to you? Do they sound Indian?”  They did sound Indian, but we didn’t know them.  Fred added, “They will be like fast growing bamboo shoots.”

We arrived back in Mussoorie deciding that we weren’t going to go on a wild goose chase looking for “Raman and Kira.”   There were 1 billion people in India and we definitely weren’t going to be searching for them on the street or in the phone directory.  We kind of laughed about it and at the same time, admired Fred for being so bold.  If we ever met such a couple we would be amazed but we weren’t going to go out of our way to find them.

James and Willi Barton were such a strength and support to us.  Their house was always open.  Willi was famous for her Never-Fail-Chocolate cake and it never seemed to run out.  Students loved to spend weekends with them.   Many of them had their life questions answered and there was always time for Bible Study and prayer.

As soon as we got home, they invited us to their place for a meal.  We had no idea our evening with them would be so profoundly prophetic.  It was the introduction to a journey of friendship, partnership and destiny with a family of seven from New Delhi who we would never have met, had Fred Stone chosen to be quiet.

Post 171. Lowing as I went

Standard

Image

The thing I hated most about flying was leaving our children behind.  I cried when I said goodbye, on and off on the way to the airport, at the airport and on the plane.  We always left them with good, reliable friends, but that didn’t make it easier.   They were small, but braver than I was. 

During a panicky moment, thousands of feet up in the air, I asked Tony what would happen to the children if we died.   That began a series of thoughts more turbulent than turbulence.  Rig and Sue had verbally agreed to take care of them if we both died.  I didn’t particularly like the idea that they would be taken to live in South Africa.  Mussoorie was their home and that was where their family was.  They hadn’t spent much time with my mom or my family and Betty would not have been able to keep them in New Zealand. 

I got so worked up.  Who would love them?  Who would really understand them?  Would they be taken away by the child welfare until Rig and Sue could prove their guardianship?  What if they were split up and not ever allowed to see each other again?   The thoughts and fears kept coming like waves; wave upon wave.   No matter where we were on the journey, I just wanted to get home.

The craziest, most illogical thing was that I felt better when they were flying with us.  If the plane crashed, at least they wouldn’t have to go through the pain of losing us.   At least we would all go together.  There was no thought of their individual destinies.  No thought of God’s great plan for their lives.  Every single thought was selfish, narrow and fear-filled.

At one point, every time we went away something bad happened.  It was inevitable.  The worst was when one of the kids got sick the day before we had to leave.  It was never anything too serious and we knew they would be better in a day or two.   Our tickets had been booked and we couldn’t cancel them.  Leaving them with even the slightest fever was awful.  Seeing their watery eyed, half-baked smiles when we kissed them goodbye was too much for me even though they were always strong and never begged us to stay.

When we were thousands of miles away we got calls telling us Jordan was up a ladder, refusing to climb down, had fractured his arm when he was catapulted off a jumping castle and the list went on.  When we got home, the child-minders and children looked exhausted and frazzled, but alive.  Jordan had a wild “spinster-phobia” look in his eyes.  He couldn’t take one more minute of lots of females telling him what to do.  Asha and Zoë always took his side, which got them in trouble with whoever was looking after them.  

Dudley Daniel invited us to join his team at the peak of my flying paranoia.  It was the hardest thing for me.  Knowing we would have to leave the kids, sometimes three times a year, wasn’t my idea of fun.  But, I did it, lowing as I went.  

Post 170. The pain and the pleasure.

Standard

There was a story in the Old Testament that made perfect sense to me.  I could totally relate to it.  I needed no interpretation.

ImageThe Philistines were trying to work out how to send the Ark of the Covenant back to Israel.   They decided to do an experiment.   They got two milking cows that had never been tied to anything. They had also just had babies.   These were full time, free spirited motherly types.  Their udders were full.

Their babies were taken from them and locked in a shed.   The test was for them, their mothers and God.  He was going to have to change the instincts of the mothers.  The mothers were either going to obey God or not.  The babies were going to have to find new udders or get used to formula.  Whatever happened, the Ark was going to have to go in the right direction.

The babies bellowed.  For a moment it seemed that the “prone to wander” cows were going to turn around and bolt home.  They didn’t.  Maybe they had heard the story of Lot’s wife and didn’t want to turn to salt.  They just put their heads down and took the yoke.  At least they had each other.

Going against their natural instincts, the mothers obeyed God and walked in the direction they were supposed to go.  They didn’t look back.  They stayed on the road and didn’t stop to eat or drink.  They just kept on walking.  Their pain must have been great.  The storyteller doesn’t leave out the details. “They walked along the road, lowing as they went.”  They were crying for their children and had probably developed chronic mastitis, but they chose to do God’s will.

The story doesn’t end there.  When the obedient, lovely, submissive cows arrived at their destination, they were unyoked.  The cart was chopped up. They were offered as burnt offerings to God.  Nice!  They didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to their kids.  That was it.  After all they had done.  Not even a pat or a thank you.  On the wood they went; a pleasing sacrifice to God.

Next to Deborah, Ruth and Esther, these are my heroes.  When I get to heaven, I want to sit at their feet and ask them how they did it.

Post 169. Please be quiet, I’m trying to fly this plane (Part 2)

Standard

Our pilot friend, John Sinclair handed us upgraded tickets at the airport.    He said we could sit with him in business class.  He also had a first class ticket, which one of us could have.  I was too scared to sit by myself so I declined.  I couldn’t fly without holding Tony’s hand, so we all sat together.  I burnt John’s ear off the entire trip with my silly questions.  Every time there was a change in the sound of the engine, I asked him what was happening.  I asked him about the pilots and why I should trust them to get such a huge, heavy piece of machinery into the sky and keep it there.   What if one of them had a heart attack?  What if both did?  He answered patiently.

During some mild turbulence, I stopped talking and started sweating.  I wanted absolute silence.  I needed to listen for anything that would indicate we were going to crash.  John talked to the air steward who asked me to follow him.  He took me into the cockpit and left me with the captain and co-pilot.   They were happy for the company.  I was amazed to see them facing each other and chatting over cups of coffee.  It was still turbulent and I expected them to have their hands on the wheel or at least watching where we were going.   I mean, there were all kinds of things to crash into, right?  I asked them lots of questions and they didn’t laugh.  That was helpful.  My last question was, “So, why aren’t there any parachutes on these planes?”   They looked at each other and decided to tell me the truth.  “Lady, if we fell from this height, no-one would survive.”  He was so relaxed about it.  No sign of panic, just really matter-of-fact.  Then and there, in that little cockpit, I accepted the fact that if the plane crashed, I would die.  Instantly; and a weird way, I felt better.   It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t afraid of dying.  That was settled when I was thirteen years old.  I was just very afraid of the “how.”

I had seen too many plane crash movies.  The most recent one was “Survival.”  The plane crashed into snow-covered mountains.  There were a handful of survivors who resorted to eating those who were less fortunate.  The other movie was about a plane crashing into the ocean.  The survivors spent the night in the deep with sharks circling underneath them.  Most of them ended up as shark bait.  I hated that idea.  I didn’t want to eat Tony or be eaten by him and I definitely didn’t want to be eaten by a shark.

Once, on our way to Australia, we did a transit stop in Malaysia.  It was a rough ride.  I got off the plane shaking and crying.  I told Tony that I wasn’t going to get on the next plane.  I wanted him to leave me there and pick me up on the way home.  I wasn’t hysterical or loud about it.  I was just totally prepared to stay all by myself for however long it took.  He patiently explained to me that wasn’t going to happen.  I would need to get on a plane to get home to our kids anyway.  No matter how scared I was, I had to get back on the plane.

As we were flying, I heard God gently but firmly say,” If you give in to this fear,  you will affect your destiny and the destiny of your whole family.”  I fought with fear and turbulence like they were the enemy.  There was no way I wanted to give in to fear.  I knew we were called to nations beyond India.  The only way to get to those places was to fly.  I needed to win the battle.

I had to nail one issue at a time.  I had to get right down to why I was so afraid.  Only then would I be able to board a plane without being convinced that the plane I was on, was the one that was going to crash that year.

It was illogical.  It was base-less and limiting.  It was to do with self-preservation.  It was going to affect my destiny.  i just couldn’t allow that to happen.

Post 168. Please be quiet, I’m trying to fly this plane (Part 1)

Standard

Somehow, somewhere, I developed a chronic fear of flying.  I was fine when I was single and childless.  Being married and having children seemed to set it all off.  

It all started with our trip to see Nana in New Zealand.  Ash was 9 months old.  We got cheap round the world tickets with Alitalia.  When we booked our tickets, a friend told us what he thought was a funny joke.

Q: Why does the Pope kiss the ground when he gets off the plane?

A: He always flies with Alitalia.” 

There were many take offs and landings; some were amazing, some were just plain awful.  One was both. 

It was an incredibly smooth take-off and everyone was smiling.  We were all commenting about how amazing it was.  Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the pilot slammed on brakes and decided to drop 1000’s of feet.  Everyone screamed and turned grey-green.  Tony said I was greeny-white.  It didn’t enter my mind to ask the lady next to me about where she was going to spend eternity.  I just didn’t want to die.

The plane evened out and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.  We were still in the air.  We were shaking but alive.  I sat there waiting for the captain to say something.  I felt he owed us all an explanation and a massive apology.  Maybe even tell us that drinks were on him.  We could at least have knocked ourselves out for the landing.

On another flight, we were just about to take off, when a little red light started flashing near the exit door where we were sitting.  The plane screeched to a halt and one of the stewards came to check.  The door wasn’t closed properly.  I sat there wondering if all the other doors were closed.  What if that little red light hadn’t worked?  I was in a hot sweat that whole flight.

Sometime during that trip, I became the captain, the co-pilot and part of in-flight services.  I didn’t trust any of them.  I doubted the technicians and the planes. I even started doubting God’s ability to protect my family and me.   When I boarded a plane I would look around for anything that looked unsafe.  I scrutinized the hostesses’ faces for any sign of anxiety.   I panicked when smoke came out of the air-con vents.  When we went through turbulence I would watch the wings to make sure they weren’t breaking and kept sniffing for signs of burning.  I got irritated when Tony talked to me during take offs and landings.  I wanted to be left alone to process everything that was happening and of course I was making plans to escape.  I couldn’t talk to him and fly the plane at the same time, so I chose to fly the plane.

People told me it was safer to fly than to be on the road.  I didn’t believe them.  They threw statistics at me that didn’t make sense.   The minute I stepped into a Delhi taxi, I breathed a sigh of relief.  There was no way being in the air was safer than THAT.