Life was busy. Rigby and Sue introduced us to Dudley and Anne Daniel. Dudley had formed a team called New Covenant Ministries International. They helped pastors and leaders all over South Africa. Tony was the new kid on the block so he went along and sat quietly listening to everything that was going on. It was all really helpful for our future and there were many friends made along the way. Those who knew of our plan to move to India were supportive and it was comforting to know we weren’t alone in the decision
The movement got bigger and bigger and the first few couples left South African shores to start communities in other countries. We knew our time was coming soon. It had been almost six years since Tony had arrived in S.A. He had learnt so much from Rig and other people in his life. We read lots of books on parenting, marriage and missions. One story we cried through was the story of William Carey. We were so challenged by his life and perseverance. He just never seemed to give up no matter what happened to him or his family. We wondered if we would be as brave.
Asha was besotted with her baby sister. Zoë was chunky and strong and able to put up with all the affection. They were best friends from day one. Zoë started walking at 9 ½ months. She insisted on pushing the limits and was prepared to risk her life for anything she felt was worth it. She was given a little brown monkey with a pointy finger that was supposed to go into its mouth. Zoë used that finger to touch all kinds of things she wasn’t allowed to touch. If we asked her if she touched the stereo, she would just say, “Monkey touchdit.” When she was 2 ½ I told her I was going to smack her for something. She looked at me and said, “You smack me, I smack you.” Another time, she ignored me when I was calling her over and over again. When I went to find her she looked at me and said, “Talkin a me?” She had a twinkle in her eye and was full of spunk. The Bum Woody worked over time.
Asha at 2 ½ was a sweet tooth, “admin” type. During a ladies bible study she was paging through the Bible as if she was reading it. I asked her what she was reading. She ran her finger along the line and said, “God said, you must eat sweets.” Once when we were on holiday down the coast, we visited a church. Nothing had been organised for the kids so they were all at the back on a blanket. Asha got them all to sit in a circle, opened her little brown suitcase, handed them each a toy and came and sat down next to us on a chair where she could watch them. They were all way older than she was.
When people heard we were moving to India with our girls, we got different responses. Most of them were positive, but Wilf and Val were very concerned. They suggested we leave the girls with them, go do our thing in India and then come back when it was out of our system. More than concerned, they were sad. They had already said goodbye to Ryan and Leigh. Another friend from Brazil, wrote a very angry letter to Tony, telling him how irresponsible he was, taking his little girls to India. She didn’t mince her words.
It was a bit scary. Before Tony’s survey trip, we had very little idea about where we were going. We didn’t know what we would do about schooling. We knew very little about anything. What we did know was that our girls were going with us. God spoke to us about the children of Israel. He didn’t tell them to leave their kids in Egypt. He didn’t say, “Leave them in Egypt and when you are well settled and safe in the Promised Land, you can go back and get them.” If that had been the case, the kids would never have seen their parents again. Staying behind wasn’t an option. They had to go with their parents. They had to see the wonders of God. They had to see His wrath against sin and they had to wander in the wastelands to see how He could provide food, water and everything else they needed. They had to be there.
Reading about how William Carey had lost two wives and a couple of children in India wasn’t much comfort to those who were already concerned. I knew there would be huge adjustments. As mother of two little ones, I knew that I would be stretched beyond anything I had ever known. I knew I wasn’t going to cope with starving people and dying children if I didn’t have the means to help them. God knew the many needs would overwhelm me; and I knew He wouldn’t put me among people to be devastated by them.
In all of the questions and wonderings, there were a few things we knew for sure. We had friends. We were going to India. Our girls were coming with us. So was God.