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.
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.
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.