Category Archives: The Call

Post 201. Floccinaucinihilipilification



Why Rajkumari?

I had seen thousands of homeless, desperate women dressed in smelly rags

So often in a worse state than Looli

Is it because they all had their hands out and Looli didn’t?

They demanded everything and anything as if it was their right

But Looli demanded and expected nothing

Her only demand was to be left alone and to have peace

Is that what made me go after her?

There was a nothing-ness about her

We could gain nothing from her and she wanted nothing from us.

It was there that the two arrows met

She found love and so did we

All selfishness left

We lived only to see her safe and at peace

Away from danger and evil people.

Suddenly our lives and entertainment seemed shallow and unimportant

Nothing was more important than to see improvement in her

Signs of hope, a new smile, to hear a clear word from her

Sad, stiff mouth.

O God! How many more like Looli?

I want to know but I don’t want to know

I want to see but I don’t want to see

At all! At all!

To see would demand total unselfishness

A total surrender of our whole family.

If we want to see justice done

It would mean spending our lives on behalf of the poor

So, don’t show us everyone Lord,

Just show us OUR Loolis.

The ones you want US to love

The ones you will work it out for.

And thanks for loving me in my state of nothingness,

Just as you love Princess Looli.


The loveliest, longest word in the dictionary was taught to me by my dad when I was 8:  I mastered it when I was 9.  More than the challenge of the word itself, I was fascinated that such a long word could mean nothing…

Flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication: Definition:  The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.  A state of nothingness.


Post 190. Begin again




22 January 2000:

We had just had an amazing and much needed holiday in Goa.   Over the years we had driven for four to five days to get to the beach, but this time we went by train which took about 36 hours.  It was long but we survived.   Jordan was good at making us laugh in tense situations so we had our share of free entertainment.

When we arrived in Delhi we realised how different life was going to be.  The road trip from Delhi to Mussoorie  usually took about 9 hours.  We would get off the train or plane in Delhi and sleep over in a cheap hotel or with our friends, Andries and Brenda.  We would then get onto another train to Dehra Dun and then into a taxi all the way up the very windy mountain to Mussoorie. Sometimes we would arrive late at night and have to walk along the narrow path to our house with sleeping children and luggage.  There was always someone to help us, but it was quite a feat to arrive home sane.

This time we stayed with the Lindeques because we didn’t have furniture in our flat.  Andries, Brenda and their children Sarah and Simon were already an important part of our new community.  It was a Saturday.  Arun Handa and Raman had secured a school classroom for us to use for our first meeting.   All I could think of was, “What will we do with the DESKS?”   We were grateful but all felt there was something better.  At 5pm on Saturday evening,  Tony, Raman, Andries and Arun booked the Madhur Milan Banquet Hall!  It was across the street from Lady Shri Ram Girls’ College where Sharon John was studying. The guys came back very excited. Brenda asked if it had red carpets and it did.  A few weeks earlier she had a dream about a place with red carpets.


The next day was Sunday and we were wondering, like Asha had been,  if anyone would come. We had nothing to worry about.  Word got out and friends were brought.  It was an amazing  first meeting.  There were about  40 people, including children.   People stayed well after 1 pm to chat.


It was an interesting mixture of people and we knew that once again we were going to be part of another Community of Nations.  Enthusiasm and expectations ran high.  Mid-week house meetings were set up and there we were… At the very beginning of a beautiful new community.

No-one was more surprised than Asha.


Post 182. All moving on


By the end of that year, our friends in Delhi were asking for regular community meetings.  Once a month wasn’t enough.  They were coming out of The Family and needed input and fellowship.  We looked at the team in Mussoorie and everyone seemed to have been called everywhere other than Delhi.

James and Willi left for Goa.  That was an amazing story.  For all those years at Woodstock they had opened their home to students; those who were doing well and those who were in detention for misbehaviour.  Many had moved on and become successful in business.  One young man, from another faith, decided it was pay back time.  He bought a house in Goa and told them they could live in it for as long as they wanted to.  It was theirs.  They moved in and got involved in hospitality, children’s ministry and marriage courses.  What a way to retire.

Jason and Ali and their two little girls, Michaela and Tarryn, were feeling they needed to move to Dublin to start a new community there.  That was a difficult surprise for all of us.  They were so tightly knit with everyone we wondered how we were going to be able to let them go.

Puran and Rebecca couldn’t stop talking about Nepal.  They were eager but also ready to wait for the perfect timing of that move.

Chandra and Champa had moved to Champa’s village in Solan and were doing really well.  All of Champa’s family had joined them as well as others from the surrounding villages.

Raman and Kiron had grown like bamboo shoots.  When they first moved to Mussoorie their Hindi was very rusty.  Raman would panic when he was asked to translate a simple prayer.  When Tony started asking him to prepare messages he got really nervous.  If he was scheduled to speak on a Sunday morning he would wake up with diahorrea and call Tony with, “Tony please can I be released from speaking today?  I just can’t do it.”  Tony’s reply would be, “Raman, you can do it and it’s going to be great.”  He would do it and it was great.  We saw him going from a very nervous speaker to a fiery, confident one.  His translation skills were exceptional and he was able to teach well.  They loved the CNC folk and the love was reciprocated.

I had been feeling for while that we were the ones who should move to Delhi.  After one of our trips, I felt sad that our friends were like sheep without a shepherd.  Tony wasn’t sure. He was struggling with the thought of leaving his jungle behind.  He would disappear into it for hours.  He knew that was not going to be possible in Delhi.  Delhi was everything he didn’t like.  There were no mountains or ocean and it drove him crazy to be there just for a few days.

Tony thought Jason and Ali would move to Delhi.  He had no idea it would be us.  It took him by surprise when God said, “Stop looking around, it’s you.”  That was the clincher.  After all, who are we to argue with God?  He always knows best.  We may not understand it all but we do need to believe that He is always good and He knows what is good for us.

So with that in mind, we stopped looking around and started making plans to move to “The City of Jinns,” the second largest city in the world, where eighteen million people were eagerly waiting for our arrival.  We wished.

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 136. Off the edge



It had been our toughest year yet and we had a feeling life was going to get tougher.  The challenge was, were we prepared to let go completely and trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God to catch us when we let go.

Tony’s favourite place to worship and pray was on the rock on our roof.  He could look over onto the Doon Valley and down on jungle and forest.  When we first moved in, it was a bare rock with a sheer drop on all sides.  We were all upset when our landlord sent workers to build a cement wall around it.  It looked so ugly and it lost its natural beauty.

For some reason, known only to God, Tony was clamouring around on the outside of the wall.  He somehow lost his footing and slipped.  He reached up and grabbed the wall, which hadn’t been there a few days before.  It may have been ugly, but it saved his life.

During his time with God, he had the thought that living on the edge is not risky enough.  It is only when we jump and live a life outside of our control that we are really fulfilled and satisfied.

When he told me about his experience, I wrote down some words, which he put into a song.

Off the Edge:

I’ve been living on the edge

Preparing to dive

Toes hanging over

Looking to the skies

I’ve cut all the ropes

The fall is steep

I’m tired of waiting

Almost falling asleep

Take me off the edge I’m willing to die

Holding your hand

Head held high

Achieving the impossible

You with me

Take me off the edge

I’m flying free

Arms outstretched

Sun in my eyes

Soaring with the eagles

Running through the skies

Secured by your love

Held by your hand

I’m living off the edge

I’m a free man

Post 133. Intimidation



By the end of that year (1995) things really started hotting up.  There were protests all over Uttar Pradesh.  Many felt the state should be divided in two.  Some felt it shouldn’t.  There were so many “bandhs” in Mussoorie it was hard to know when the shops were closed and when they would be open again.

It was October and we had a team from South Africa with us.  Bruce Richter, Wally Gersmeier and Ralph Cawood were among them.  We had planned an outreach at the Naaz Bar.  For some reason, we went ahead and had our meeting even though there was a bandh on.  We did some “silly” things in our enthusiasm and zeal.

I stayed home with the kids during the first evening meeting.  Everyone was worshipping like there was no tomorrow.  There was nothing unusual about that.  The hall was packed.  Right in the middle of the worship a lady guru walked in with a group of her men devotees.  She was heavily made up and was obviously the boss.  Her men started pulling some of the coolie labourers out of their chairs and pushing them outside.  There was a lot of shouting going on. Bruce’s old bouncer instincts almost got the better of him, but he remained calm.  Tony was leading the worship time and felt that everyone should raise their voices and give a loud shout.  It got louder and louder and there was a lot of clapping and cheering.  When the leader of the group saw we weren’t intimidated, he looked around and joined in the clapping.  The evening was intense but it ended well.

They told us we were not to meet on Sunday.  We knew then,  the protests weren’t political but religious.  The men let us know they had handed pamphlets out to the community telling them to meet outside the Naaz Bar.  They were going to drive the foreigners out of Mussoorie.  T

They were leaving after the service anyway so that wasn’t a problem.  There were all kinds of threats.  After lots of prayer and discussion with our local leaders as well as the visiting team, we agreed we should go ahead with the meeting.   We felt if we gave in to intimidation once, it would be the beginning of the end of the community.  We had to win that one.

The staff and students of Woodstock were called together for a meeting on Saturday afternoon.  They were told they were no longer allowed to attend Community of Nations Church (CNC).  It was banned and out of bounds.  The principal felt we had put their lives in danger by staying open during a bandh.  Doctor Barton and other teachers said they were ready to hand in their resignation.  They loved the church and did not appreciate being told they couldn’t be part of it.  The students felt the same way and got permission from their parents to keep attending when things settled down.

We all felt a bit nervous getting ready for church the next day.  I wondered if I should stay at home with the children in case things got ugly.  Tony wasn’t sure what was going to take place.

The bazaar was really quiet and all the shops were closed.  We arrived at the venue excited but uncertain.  We were ready for anything.  The hall was full.  No one had stayed at home.  No one wanted to miss out on the action.  Our young ACTS students were energised by the attack the night before and felt it was the best thing that could have happened to us.

The meeting went on as usual.  The worship was loud and wild.  A few people gathered outside.  The group leader was there, fiddling with a few pamphlets and looking very sheepish.  He was standing at the entrance, so people shook his hand as they walked in.  He became our welcomer.    He kept looking up and down the bazaar for more people to join him.  No one came.