Category Archives: India

Post 173. The Kapurs



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.”


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.


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.

Post 170. The pain and the pleasure.


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)


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 167. Friends first


We felt Tony needed to visit Dudley Daniel to chat about our future with NCMI. (See Post 73) We were still feeling isolated and wanted some clarity regarding relationships and expectations.  Dudley was living in L.A. but we felt the long trip was absolutely vital.

Tony had a dream a few months before going.  He dreamt he was walking in a park with Dudley, pouring his heart out.  Dudley was listening and encouraging him.  When he met Dudley, it was just as it had been in his dream.  They went for a walk.  Tony talked and Dudley listened.  There were lots of questions and explanations.  When Dudley asked about our financial situation, he was visually upset to hear we weren’t getting enough regular support.  We hadn’t spoken about it so he had no idea.  He was also surprised to hear that so few of his team were coming to help us with our training.

Tony came home armed with a fax/answer machine, a thousand apologies from Dudley and his assurance that things would be different.  We were grateful and relieved to hear that.  We knew we could not have continued the way we were going.

Friendships were important to us.  Not just wordy, whimsical friendships, but real ones.  Deep ones.  Agape ones.  Ones that were going to last forever.   Friends who were like brothers and sisters.  People who knew our kids and their friends.  Friends who loved India and knew our Indian family.  People who knew and loved what we were doing.

When we were in a dark, lonely place we found ourselves asking the questions, “Who are our friends?  Where are our friends?  Who can we call?  Who would come if the wheels came off our lives?”   There was a bigger question.  “Who are going to be our friends ‘til the day we die?”

Friendships based on what we were doing didn’t seem to cut it.  We had hundreds of visitors.  People loved what we were doing and many expressed the desire to be involved in our future.   Those friendships were great while they lasted, but they didn’t last.  It seemed to be “out of sight, out of mind.”  They flew home and we never heard from them again.

Many who visited asked what they could do to help.  We got to a point where we replied, “Do you really want to know or are you just asking?”  Most were just asking so we didn’t feel the need to tell them what we needed.  Some left us with promises to send finances for our training and projects.  They took our bank details and never used them.  We learnt to deal with disappointment.

We weren’t completely friendless.  Sometimes it just seemed that way.  There were people who would have come at the drop of a hat.  We were so grateful to have them in our lives.

The most important lesson we learnt in those early days was that to put our confidence in man was NOT a good idea.  How many times had we unintentionally failed our friends?  How often had we not been able to come up with the goods?  How many times had we over-promised and under-delivered?

There was only One we could rely on.  Only One who would never let us down.  He would always answer and He would always provide.  His timing was always perfect even though we so often thought He was late; or just VERY slow.

Post 166. Sleeping anywhere


Whenever possible, the kids came with us; especially in the early days when we didn’t know anyone in India.  We decided they wouldn’t determine our comings and goings.  If we needed to go somewhere, they would have to fit in with our plans.

Right from the start, we established that days were for kids and evenings were for adults.  We tried our best to have the kids in bed by 7.30 pm so Tony and I could have time together.  The kids were full on and had the time of their lives from the moment the sun rose ‘til the time it set.  They got lots of attention for at least twelve hours out of twenty-four.  If left to them, they would have taken the other available twelve.  That’s why we didn’t leave it to them.  That was our time to catch up, talk without shouting above noise and spend uninterrupted time with friends who popped in.  We fed, read and bed them and then enjoyed some peace and quiet.  If they wandered out, they were sent back, if they called “MOMMMMY,” the answer was, “Nooo.”

Evening meetings were a challenge.  It was tempting to skip them and stay home with the kids.  Knowing we would come home late and have to walk the five-minute path in the pitch dark with three sleepy children didn’t help.  We had to be extremely organised which went slightly against our organic tendency.  They had to be in their pyjamas, fed and ready way ahead of time.  When we got to our destination they went straight into a bedroom or quiet room to lie down.  If they were allowed into the action they would get hyper and take ages to sleep.

Sunday mornings were always there to confirm the Law of Murphy.  We would run out of water, gas or there would be a major traffic jam in the bazaar.  Instead of coming out of our devotional times shining with God’s glory and ready for church, we were often stressed out and irritated with each other.  A lot of it had to do with being unorganised.  If I planned well the night before, things seemed to go well.  The kids had to have snacks, water, something to do and a blanket to sit on in the hall.

We wanted them to learn to sleep anywhere.  When we travelled with Ash to New Zealand, she was nine months old.  We stayed in shady hotels where there wasn’t much space.  We cleared out the bottom drawer of a chest of drawers and put her in there to sleep.  Of course she had a blanket and we didn’t close the drawer.  The halls in Mussoorie were really grubby and there wasn’t anywhere to put babies.   During our services, Tony’s guitar case was a perfect bed for Jordan.  On one of our trips, we emptied out a suitcase and made a bed for Zoë.

We figured that if they could sleep anywhere, we could take them anywhere.  If they could only sleep in their cosy bed at home, we would have a problem.  If they couldn’t sleep with noise, we would have to tip toe around the house so they could sleep.  The best thing was for them to get used to sleeping in noisy environments.

India was rated as one of the noisiest countries in the world.  If our kids could only sleep when it was quiet, they would hardly ever sleep.  India was not going to change for our kids.  They had to adjust to her.

Post 165. Meet Bum Woody



It was hard to be consistent.  It was so much easier to sit down and let it all go on.  There were times I was tired beyond being safe or nice.  At times I was too harsh.  Sometimes I was too lazy.  Thoughts like,  “They’ll turn out alright.  They’re just kids.  Let them be,”  came and went.

They went when we thought about what our kids would be like if we left them to their own devices. Those thoughts made us get off our butts and deal with the situation.  We knew that being consistent would give them the boundaries they were asking for.  We knew that being firm about what we expected of them, gave them the freedom to love the things that were good for them.  We wanted them to learn to obey.  We knew it would help them in the future: school, college, church, careers and then the raising of their own kids one day.   How we raised them was of great consequence.

Of course we wanted them to grow up to be responsible members of society.  Yes, we wanted them to be kind and to treat everyone with dignity and respect.  Of course, if they were running towards traffic and we said, “Stop,”  they would do just that.  We didn’t want them to end up in jail because they didn’t learn how to obey our simple family rules.

We knew our parenting would determine these things.  If we didn’t teach our children to be responsible, they would struggle with it when they grew up.  If we didn’t insist on them greeting people when they were greeted, why would they do that as adults?  Teaching them to treat everyone in their lives with absolute respect, no matter what their class or colour would instil in them a love for the “whosoever.”

What if God told them to do something and they just didn’t feel like listening?  What if one day they couldn’t submit to godly leadership because they weren’t trained to do so?  What if they grew up thinking they were “God’s gift to the world” because they were never pulled up about the bad stuff?

A manipulating, sulking child is not a pretty sight.  A manipulating, sulking adult is ugly.  We knew of too many adults who huffed off at the slightest hint of challenge or difficult truth.

Disciplining our children was hard work.  It took every bit of energy we had to keep vigilant at all times.   To not let them get away with things.  To make sure they were safe and happy.  It took a lot of patient teaching, talking and explaining.  There were times when we were exasperated with them and on the verge of “losing it.”  We had seen parents allowing things to build up.  They allowed their kids to get away with murder and didn’t do anything about it; until they had enough.  Then all hell would break lose and the poor kid would get it for no apparent reason and without an explanation.

We learnt to send them to their room so we could calm down.  We never wanted to discipline them in anger.  When we had calmed down,  we went in for a chat.  We put them on our lap, facing us; eyeball to eyeball.  We talked about what had happened and made sure they understood what they had done wrong.  We told them how many woodies they were going to get.  That depended on the seriousness of the “crime” and their age at the time.  They would go over our knee and Bum Woody* would come down.  It was important that they felt it.  They would sit on our lap again and their tears would be wiped away.  There would be hugs and kisses. They would say “Sorry” and “Thank you” and that would be that.  No more crying, no sulky face; all happy again.  All over.

Jordan’s sense of humour made it really difficult for us to be serious during a woody session.  His expressions and body movements were so funny it was hard to keep a straight face.  He would stand there gripping his bum and getting the shivers.  Sometimes it was so bad, I had to say, “You’re making me laugh, but you’re still getting a woody.”  One day, after a long, “Do you know why you’re getting a woody?” chat, he got the shivers and said, “Mom, I have just had deja-vu.”  I had to call Tony in to take over.

* Bum Woody was a small, thin wooden spatula. Not a baseball bat.

Post 164. Double Standards?


Thoughts from my journal:

If a movie isn’t good for my children, what makes it good for me?

What makes an adult movie, an adult movie?

When did I become old enough for violence, foul language and sex scenes?

When did I “come of age?”

If I watch and they can’t,  

Am I communicating that there is a different standard?

A standard for me and another one for them?

What am I telling them?

“I can handle it but you can’t

But one day you will

One day you will be old enough

One day you will open your eyes, ears and head

Like a garbage can

And let all that crap in

Just like me.”

Now THAT’S something to look forward to.

Post 163. Raising kids in general


Before we had children, we decided we were going to love them with all of our hearts.  We also decided the best way we could do that was to discipline them.  To just let them do their own thing didn’t seem loving.

My mom said we got more “hidings” than breakfast.  I’m not sure about that but we certainly got our fair share.  Sometimes it wasn’t fair, but we got it anyway.  If no one owned up, we all got it.  If we were misbehaving in the back seat of the car, Val would turn around and slap us all on the leg.  We knew our place, and we knew what, “Wait “til we get home” really meant.  It was no empty threat.  We panicked all the way home, ran to our room and waited for it to be over.

There was one time I was innocent but Val wouldn’t listen.  I was trying to tell her while she was putting me over her knee.  For some reason I raised my hand to protect myself and she thought I was trying to hit her.  I got a double whammie for that. *(See Post 9 and other funny stories under category, “My Childhood”)

There were times when it was done with more emotion than was safe, but in general, the spoon, brush or stick was administered in a decent manner.  We preferred Wilf’s spankings to Val’s. Threats like, “Wait ‘til your father gets home,” didn’t really work.  Unfortunately for us, Val usually took it into her own hands.

Pain is not a bad thing.  Pain helps us to remember what we did wrong.  Hopefully wisdom would step in and tell us not to do that again.  Only fools forget.  Or live for pain.  Wisdom says, “Remember the pain and obey.”

We wanted our children to know, from an early age, what it was like to experience pain.  This was minimal pain compared to what REAL pain was like.  “Don’t put that fork into the wall socket.”  A sharp smack on the hand for doing it was a less painful consequence than 220 volts, but pain none the less.  Learning that disobedience to important rules has painful consequences is a good thing.

Val always said she could take us anywhere.  We were well behaved and well liked.  She wanted people to like her kids.  That was important to her.  She took pride in knowing we would look adults in the eye, greet them, say please and thank you, stand up for older people and behave ourselves in public.  The way she dealt with public tantrums was to sort us out right then and there.  We tried it once and never again.   We knew not to mess with Val in public.

If disobedience has no consequence, children will disobey.  We all will.  If we can get away with something, we’ll do it.  If we know we won’t pay for it, we’ll take the chance.

We had been in the presence of parents who had no control of their kids.  Parents who had a great call on their lives, allowing their children to mess it all up.  Children disrupting important meetings by being allowed to pull on their parents, interrupt while adults were talking and insisting on shouting and screaming their lungs out.  Their helpless and hopeless parents sat back and watched it all with no authority to stop it.  One mother, during an interview with a principal, allowed her toddler to walk all over his table and even eat his glue stick.  Another dad, while in conversation with us, had his four year old punching, pinching and pulling on him.  His only comment was, “I don’t know why I put up with this.”  Our response was, “So why do you?”  Foolish parents raise foolish children.  The wise raise the wise.

While chatting to him, we realised that he believed in the “free-spirit” philosophy.  Baby spirits float around the universe, waiting for a baby to be born.  They enter at birth.  Who are we to try to change, train or rule over such a cute baby spirit?  They are to be left to their own devices.  Left to find their own way.  Left to be wild and free.

We could not have disagreed more.  Our children were our responsibility.  Left to their own devices, our family would have been less peaceful and way less enjoyable.  Our lives would have been more difficult.  We would have stayed at home more.  The demands of our children would have determined our date nights, our travel and our day-to-day activities.

We would have been like monkeys on the end of a chain.  Well, it was either us or our kids at the end of it.  We preferred it to be them.

(Dear reader- if you feel this would help any of your friends, please share it.  I will be writing a few more posts on this subject while I’m on a roll.  It’s one of the biggies of our day.)

Post 161. Jayanti (Victory)



Tiffany Wallace had come to stay.  She was an incredible ceramicist and wanted to help us set up a project we called “Jayanti Crafts.” We figured it would be a way to generate some finances for the community.  We were also hoping it would give the trainees a way to earn money when they went to start their own communities one day.


Uncle and Aunty gave us two of their rooms and a little courtyard on rent.  It was perfect.  We got a wheat shredder, which did a great job at shredding newspaper for the paper mache.  Tiffany made moulds out of plaster of paris and taught the trainees to paint the products.  Everything was dried in the sun.


We had devotions and teaching sessions every morning and then off to work.  It was such fun.  There was always singing and laughter coming from the craft centre.


Tony had the idea to start a café on Saturdays.  We called it  “Jayanti Garden.”  Guy Emery had a catering background and he was keen to take it on.  The menu was simple:  sandwiches, rolls, Guy’s cheesecake, brownies and milkshakes.   We got tables and umbrellas and set it up near the craft centre.  Students from Woodstock and The Language School were our main customers.

When we first moved to Dhobi Ghat we wondered if anyone would visit.   We were so far from everything and everyone;  but it didn’t take long for people to find us.    It wasn’t long before there was noise and life.  Everyone was busy.  When the sun set we had concerts and amazing worship times under the stars.   The valley was filled with the sound of singing.

Once again, our house was full and so were our hearts.   Once again, we had found our happy place.