Tag Archives: Miracles

Post 89. Challenges

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When we arrived in Mussoorie from Goa we still had one-month visas.  We had made a connection with music producers in Bombay.  They wrote letters requesting that we help them with the distribution of Christian music including Tony’s “Colours” album.  When we took the letters to the registration office.  The officer wasn’t impressed.  He folded our papers up, gave them back and said, “Just do your music and go home.”  We were stunned.  We knew if we left his desk we would not be allowed back in.  The girls were sitting on our laps and we were all beyond tired.  We refused to move.  We just sat there.  We sat while he did his business around us.  People came and went and the Johnsons just sat.  In the bizarreness of the situation, Zoë somehow managed to undo all my dress buttons while we stared at the officer.  Fortunately I noticed before he did.  After two hours, he looked up and asked, “So, what can I do to help you?”  We couldn’t believe our ears.  It was if he was seeing us for the first time.  He asked if we knew anyone who could teach Tony Indian classical music.  We did.  We knew an elderly Sikh man, Ajit Singh who owned Pratap Music House in Astley Hall.  His claim to fame was that he had taught George Harrison the sitar.   We needed to get a letter from him.

With that suggestion we drove for seven hours back to Dehra Dun to Pratap Music House.  Ajit was more than happy to help.   Then back to Delhi we went.  The same officer stamped one-year visas into our passports.  We were so relieved and happy.  It was another miracle.  Tony bought a sitar and went to Ajit once a week for lessons.

A priority for us was to get a phone line.  We really needed one.  We put in an application and waited.  In the meantime we gave people the phone number of the orphanage next door.  It was an almost impossible situation.  If someone called, one of the children was sent to call us.  By the time they got to us and we got to the phone, the caller had hung up.  Many of the calls were international.  Every now and again, men from the telephone department came and hovered around waiting for us to put some money into their hands to do the job.  If we had paid a bribe we would have got one in a week.   We decided that it was better to wait for a miracle than to pay a bribe.  We knew one bribe would lead to another.  Those we bribed would have been back every month for more.  It would have been a never-ending story.  It was two years before we got our phone.

Banking was quite a challenge.  The closest ATM machine was in Delhi.  On a few occasions Tony couldn’t get money from our local bank so he drove to Delhi early in the morning and arrived home late that night.

Sarita and her family lived in a small tin roofed room on our property.  When we moved in she came down to ask if we needed help.  She was heavily pregnant with her first child.  Her husband had a maintenance job at a local school.  She was lovely and we fell in love with her from day one.   Asha and Zoë went in and out of her house as if it was their own.   Within a few months she gave birth to a beautiful little girl.  We were so happy but they clearly weren’t.  There was no wild celebration, just a few cheap Indian sweets to announce that they had a baby.  Our excitement helped them to accept and love her.  Sarita asked me to name her so we called her Angela or Angie for short.

With baby Angie.

With baby Angie.

Seeing their disappointment at having a girl baby inspired me to write some words:

Baby Girl:

Baby girl

Held loosely in your mother’s arms

Her breasts withholding love from you

Your cries fall on bitter ears

The future is in her eyes

Like watering a plant in another man’s garden

Building a house that’s not your own

Like feeding a lamb that’s bound for the slaughter

Loving a baby into somebody else’s home

Little girl

Drawing water from the well

Dusty feet and worn out hands

Your tears fall on bitter ground

The future is in your eyes

Beautiful lady

Dressed for the occasion

Best clothes you’ve ever worn

They’re fixing a price upon your head

What are you worth?

The future is in their eyes

Angie and Zoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t understand why there was no celebration.  Angie was so beautiful.  She was perfect in every way.  She hadn’t done anything to disappoint or anger anyone.  She was just a baby.  A baby girl.

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Post 68. Another baby!

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Waverley Church bought a house on a 5 acre property in Linbro Park and started one of the first multi-racial Christian schools in South Africa; The King’s School.  It had started in a double garage in Lombardy West with Ryan and Leigh and a few of their little friends.

We were given half the house to live in.  It was beautiful.  Asha took her first step when she was 8 ½ months old and within a month she was tottering around on the huge lawn outside our house.   We loved having people around and enjoyed the constant sound of the kids next door.

I had some good friends from church and made some more at the baby clinic where I took Asha for her weigh-ins.  Those times always upset me.  She was tiny.  On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest) she was a 1.  I was told she was undernourished and Wilf even suggested she might have Kwashiorkor.  I stopped going and I stopped listening.  She was happy, she slept well and she did eat, just not huge amounts.    She had a passion for babies and we would have to stop whenever she saw one.   She was obsessed.

Leonie was one of my best friends.  Her and Terry were struggling to fall pregnant.   They had been trying for four years and her gynae told her it wasn’t going to happen.  She had lost a baby and was starting to wonder if she was ever going to have one.

Asha in Linbro

Asha- 1 years old in Linbro Park

Ash had just turned a year and I started to feel really sick.  I thought I was dying.  I suffered in silence and misery for a while and then it occurred to me that I might be pregnant.   I weed on the stick that never lies.  We were so excited.  We were going to have another baby!  I was so happy but  didn’t know how to tell Leonie.  I felt so awful that I had two babies and she couldn’t have one, but she was really happy for us.  She had faith that God was going to answer her prayers.

I really wanted it to be a girl.  I loved having Sue as my sister and friend.  I wanted Ash to have one too.  Tony was convinced it was a boy and he already had a name for him; Jordan.  I wasn’t convinced and I was secretly hoping I was right.

We had been in Linbro for a year and the school was growing.  They needed the house we were in to make more classrooms, so we had to move out.   We moved in with Hillary who had run Little Lambs pre-school where  the Kings School had started.  We stayed in a tiny room; just enough space for a bed and a cot.   It was quite an adjustment after living on 5 acres.

Three months after I fell pregnant, Leonie fell pregnant.  Her Jewish gynae made a comment something like “ The Man upstairs really wants you to have a baby.”  It was a miracle and we were SO happy.  Our babies were going to be friends.

I was addicted to ruby grapefruit and I went through bags of them.  I also got chronic migraines for the first time in my life.  It would start with numbness and tingling on one side of my face, little lights in my eye, blindness on that same side; Then a massive headache.  I would spend three days in a dark room trying to get over it.    It was awful.  I wondered if it had anything to do with the grapefruit but I kept eating them.

One day as the numbness started in my nose, I went to Tony and told him it was coming.  I was so fed up with them and I knew I was going to be wiped out for days.  We were both so angry at the whole thing and we let the approaching migraine have it.  We prayed and told it to go and not come back.  It listened.  It went and never came back.  That was my last migraine.

Post 63. Amazed

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Tony’s job at Legends came to an end.  It was sad saying goodbye to the kitchen staff who he had prayed with every morning.   He started to do more work at Waverley and it wasn’t long before he was part of the staff.

In December we went on holiday to Southbroom with the Brabys.   It was hot and I spent way too much time in the sun without sunscreen.  We got home one afternoon after a really long day out.  My legs went like jelly and I passed out.  I had sun-stroke for three days; delirious, dehydrated and nauseous.

When we got back to Johannesburg, we decided to move out of our little cottage into an area called Buccleuch.   We already had some friends living there and the plan was to see if we could start a new community.  First we had to find a house.

Our budget was R 500.00 a month.  That wasn’t much.  We looked at so many places.  Everything was way above what we could afford.  Friends of ours took us to see a lovely 3 bedroomed house with a big garden for R 2000.00.  We went along just for fun.  It was newly built and never lived in.  The landlord was friendly and smiled when we told him what our budget was.  Without any discussion he said, “Ok, you can pay R 500.00 and I’ll pay for water and electricity.”  We couldn’t believe it.  We were going to move into an empty, brand new house.

We needed to get some furniture.  The only thing we had bought was a second hand washing machine.  We had been putting our washing in the bathtub, filling it with soapy water and trampling on it.  It was fun for a while but then we got bored.   We were the only form of entertainment in the cottage, so when the machine was set up, we sat on the floor and watched our washing going round and round.

Friends started giving us furniture and before we knew it our house was full.   There was so much space and once again, we were amazed at all the blessings coming our way.

A very well meaning friend felt we needed a puppy.  She arrived at our door with a big smile and tiny white ball of Maltese Poodle.  We had mixed feelings but it wasn’t long before we were in love.  We named him Pooky.  It wasn’t too much longer before we realised we had a big problem on our hands.   He was a nut case.  Every couple of days we had to pick him up from somewhere.

Finances were always tight.   One month was particularly bad.  We were supporting a friend who had joined a mission organisation.  The amount we were sending to her was the amount we needed to make it to the end of the month.   We were tempted.  After much deliberation, we knew we had to send it.

Within a few days, the lady who had given us our puppy, popped in with an envelope.   It was enough money to cover all Pooky’s injections.   His next one was only due in two months.  When she left, we looked in the envelope and it was exactly the amount we had just given away.   Once again, we were amazed.  God and Pooky had saved the day.

We got our house on a Sunday.  That same evening, Tony was ordained as an elder. That afternoon I wee’d on a stick.  I was pregnant.