Tag Archives: friendship

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 91. The roof


We spent as much time as we could on our roof.  There was a big rock right on the edge of the cliff and after the rains, it was covered with little daisies.  The girls spent hours playing with flowers and stones.

Song for Zoë Ray:

You’ve seen so much, made so many friends

Hellos and goodbyes never seem to end

So many colours, languages too

They don’t seem to make any difference to you

Different faces, different smiles

We’ve been a long way, walked a lot of miles

The roads been hard

But we’ve pulled through

I’ve really enjoyed my life with you

You play in the sand

Mix flowers and mud

The stories are told at the edge of the cud

So much in common, you laugh and you cry

Swing on the trees as the days go by

Friends forever

Running together

I’ve left a part of myself in you

And the love we have is a life that’s shared

You live your life like it won’t end.


Kids on the roof- using the water tank as a pool

The roof was a good place to be de-liced.  Lice were a constant problem for us.  I told the girls it was a good problem to have.  It meant we were getting close to people.  We agreed it was better to be close to people and get what they had than to stay away from them and stay clean.  The only available lice shampoo didn’t work at all.  Dettol seemed to work best but we couldn’t use it too often.   So we sat in the sun and scratched through each other’s hair and picked out the nits one by one, like monkeys. The sun was lovely and I loved having my hair fiddled with.  We took it in turns.  Sarita taught the girls how to spot them and they became experts.

Mussoorie was known for its monkey problem.  The grey, lanky, black-faced langurs were careful to keep their distance and didn’t bother anyone.  The brown recess monkeys were a different story.  They were aggressive, didn’t listen to women and were known to attack people carrying bags of fruit or vegetables.  Close friends of ours got tired of monkeys eating their flowers.  They put light poison in some chapattis and scattered them around the garden to chase them away.  It was one of the unsolved mysteries of Mussoorie.  Why were there crows falling from the sky?

A young boy, Raju, came around with a dirty fabric bag to scratch through our rubbish on the roof.  Every day he shouted out to us to let us know he was there.  He was a sweet boy.  We would give him chai and something to eat.  We couldn’t communicate very much but he knew we liked him.  He lived with his family near the Landour Community Hospital.  They were garbage pickers and their houses were plastic tents.   Raju took us to meet his family.  They had absolutely nothing.  We took them some crayons and paper and enjoyed watching grown women and their kids drawing their first ever pictures.  Raju, somewhere along the line put his faith in Jesus.  His parents were fine with it until other members started coming with him.  One day we heard that Raju’s bag got stuck under a reversing truck and he was killed instantly.  We were devastated.  His family said it was because he had changed gods.  That was his punishment.   It was all so sad.   It took us a long time to get over that loss of life.


The roof was a place of friendship, fellowship and fun.   It was flat.  There was no hierarchy up there.  We were family.  All humans.  All in need of love.   That was where we found it.

Post 20. The Pentecostals


“They swing from the chandeliers and turn off the lights and chase chickens,” Dave told us.  Of course we believed him.  The Woodlands Full Gospel Church was just down the road. We would take a short cut past the cute Hendicott boy’s house, over a small wall, across the church parking and onto Brenda’s house.  We ran like someone was chasing us across that parking lot.  On a few occasions when things got really noisy, we threw stones on their roof to see what they would do. 

I was surprised Lindy went to THAT church.  A bit disappointed too.  She was such a nice girl.  We were given a school project to do together and she invited me to sleep over at her house.  It was love at first sight.  Her family loved me and I loved them.  From then on I slept over as often as I could.  She had the most amazing parents, Bill and Miranda. 

They were a singing family like us.   Bill was really funny.  He once told me that I was the bubbles in his soda water.  Coke more like it.  He drank a lot of Coke.  Miranda played the piano and there was always music in their house.  Bev was nice and Lindy was so much fun.  She loved swimming, diving and dancing (just not the party type) and she had lots of energy.  

The Stuthridges started to fill the emptiness in my life.   They talked a lot about what they believed, which my family never did.  It wasn’t long before they asked me to go to church with them.   

It was so noisy.  I sat and listened and watched for any signs of swinging or chasing.   There was a lot of clapping and loud singing and the women all had to cover their heads. Old “Brother Clancy” would speak in a strange language.  He always started with, “Corianda ba shandai!” I noticed that as soon as he started, everyone sat down.  He went on for 15 minutes calling down hell fire and brimstone on all who were listening.  There weren’t many.

There were some unusual people there.  David Overall talked to himself and touched his hair all the time and the loud, throaty singer Dicky Thomas seemed to think he was the main attraction.  Gavin worked in a chewing gum factory and he sneakily snuck boxes of gum to all the girls.  The pastor’s son Billy took a liking to me.  He would keep me a seat and get really upset if I didn’t sit in it.   He was special.  He walked around slapping his inner thigh really loudly, shouting “Billy Nanaaaaaas!”   There were also some lovely people who were very friendly and made me feel comfortable. 

With all that went on, I’m not sure why I kept going back.  I loved the Stuthridges but I wasn’t sure about their church.  I knew they weren’t perfect. That was obvious.  But, they had something my family didn’t have and I was starting to think I wanted it. 

I had lots of questions but I never thought to ask them how they got up to the chandeliers or what they did with the chickens when they caught them.