Tag Archives: freedom

Post 49. Voices


On his way to Sri Lanka he stopped at a beach in South India. He had been carrying thousands of dollars worth of drugs in his guitar, ready for a run to Europe.  He stood on the beach and threw them into the Indian Ocean.  That was that; forever. 

In Colombo he started to experience some strange things.  He was hearing voices which were freaking him out.  He ran into an old Anglican Church building to get away from them.   The voices were echoing through the rafters saying things like, “You’ll never make it! There’s no hope for you”.  He thought he was going crazy.  He also thought birds were talking to him.  Once, while lying on his bed late at night, something started choking him. He couldn’t breathe.  He screamed out “Jesus!” as loudly as he could and sat up gasping for air.  His heart was pounding but he was free.  

Tony was gripped with fear. The next day at the Y.M.C.A. a young guy spoke about fear.  He invited Tony to go with him to hear The Celebrant Singers in concert.  They prayed for him at the end of the concert and the voices and demons left and never came back.

The music was unusual; nothing like Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix, but Tony knew it was good for him.  He went after every Christian he could find. They ranged from weird to wonderful.  An old Anglican priest led him through confirmation classes.  He told Tony that to get rid of bad thoughts he should make the sign of the cross on his forehead.  His finger never left his forehead and there was no sign of the thoughts leaving.  

He had his fourth church experience in Colombo.  He hung around at the end hoping people would talk to him.  No-one did.  He looked like a freak with long hair, funny clothes and rings on every finger.  He was disappointed but not surprised.  Some weeks later, he went back to the same church.  He had cut his hair and put on some “respectable” clothes.  It worked!  People talked to him.   One man even said,  “Wow, you have really changed!”  The change had taken place weeks before.  The only things that had changed that week were his hair and clothing.

Wherever he went people talked about a “ship” that had just visited India.   A monastery wasn’t an option, but the ship seemed like a place where he couldn’t hurt anyone.  Six months later he was on the Doulos.  He was safe. 

Post 47. Knocking on Heaven’s Door


Something had changed.  Tony realised the Bible wasn’t just another philosophical book.  It was alive.  It spoke.  He was still confused, but he started praying to Jesus.   From that moment of revelation in the jungle, his 10 years of drug taking stopped instantly; gone in a moment. 

From Rishikesh he travelled to Bombay and booked into the Salvation Army Hostel.  It was there that he met an elderly Canadian man, Arthur Rose.  Tony thought he was either a saint or an angel.   He talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Arthur patiently explained that it wasn’t possible to believe in both resurrection and reincarnation. It had to be one or the other; they were poles apart. By the end of the conversation, Tony knew he had to choose. He chose resurrection. 

Arthur invited Tony to attend an Easter service in a slum area.   While they were sitting on the dusty steps of the Salvation Army hostel, Tony looked at Arthur and said, “I know now that Jesus is the way.  I don’t have to look for any other guru.  I want to follow Him.” 

He had only been to two other church services in New Zealand.  Both were traditional and he had no idea what was going on.  He went to a youth camp when he was much younger but was too stoned to concentrate on anything that was said. 

The room was tiny and packed with slum dwellers.  Tony had his guitar with him and they asked him to sing a song.  He didn’t know any hymns or choruses so he sang the only remotely churchy song he knew; Bob Dylan’s, “Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.” The Marathi speakers didn’t understand a word of it but were happy that a foreigner was singing in their church.

When he got to the verse, “Mama, take these guns off me..” they kept smiling, so he kept going. 

As he read the Easter story, later that day on his bed, tears flowed; he was overwhelmed and moved to tears thinking about how one so perfect could have died for someone so sinful.  He was grateful that Jesus had died in his place.