Bill went to work without showering yesterday morning.
We had no water.
Anxiously I call the plumber who recommends he comes by at 3 a.m: the time the water supply replenishes our tank.
Now remember, this is India, so if the plumber says 3 a.m to then 3 a.m it is.
I get up easily and let the plumber in; after all the only access to the water tank is via three flights of internal stairs that lead to the upper terrace. Like a monkey he straddles the outer wall and lands on the roof where the tank sits. Within three minutes he discovers a faulty valve, climbs back down and is gone by 3.10 a.m.
By now my morning tea has awakened me so I take time to sit and pray .
All is quiet as I rock to and fro in my rocking chair remembering all the other early mornings in my life I have sat in God’s presence.
Times after feeding my babies, or before children need to get ready for school, or simply when my needs were so great I could not sleep till I sent prayers for help to heaven.
So this time I begin to thank God for His many blessings, for His goodness and His great mercy towards me.
I begin to sing a verse,
‘Though hast been a shelter unto me
And a strong tower from my enemy
When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock
That is higher than I
That is higher than I.’
From there I begin to confess facets of God:
He is the Alpha and the Omega
The Captain of the Host
The Creator who flung the stars in space
The One who binds the brokenhearted and who sets the captives free
I start to pray fervently for family and friends in need, for those who do not
know of His salvation or who do not have His peace.
With tears of thankfulness for the unmatched privilege of speaking to Him, I say, Amen.
In the quiet I hear the words, ”Psalm 116”.
This is His reply (in part) to me:
I love the Lord because He has heard my prayers
Because he has inclined His ear to me
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
Gracious is the Lord and righteous
Yes, our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.
O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the LORD.
I began Eternity Seeker to urge all who read it that this life is so short and the way we live now determines how and where we will spend eternity.
Through prayer and reading His word, we develop a friendship with God; we get to know Him and understand why Jesus hung on that cross. He came to redeem His people who have fallen asleep, and blindly believe that living in this world is all that really matters.
The night before, I had a dream I was peeping through the curtains looking at a darkened sky when suddenly I was shot like a missile into the clouds.
Having no parachute, I knew that if I fell back to earth I would surely die.
With arms outstretched I said, ”Take me Jesus, I am Yours!”
With that, I woke up and smiled.
I am at peace with Him.
May I pray for your peace too?
(A Gisborne sky 2012)
Back in 1985 while earnestly praying and fasting for the next step in our life, Bill and I individually received the same word from God. That word was India. Eagerly we sell all our possessions and make our way to attend a missionary conference in Katoomba, NSW and attend interviews for admission to Bible College. In the interview Bill is asked which church we plan to attend. He tells the interviewer that we are between churches as we have not yet decided exactly where we will be worshiping. The interviewer looks at Bill and says, “So you are in limbo?” Now, to Bill, raised a Catholic, this sounds like somewhere near purgatory so he insists we pack up our bags and return home. Meanwhile I have just finished having lunch and sharing our story with the wife of the conference’s guest speaker. She happens to be Reinhard Bonnke’s sister. She places two $50 notes in my hand and says, ”This is to continue your journey of faith.” Bill can not be persuaded to keep going forward so we turn back and go home to our church. After several years of faithful service we once again sell everything and this time go to Missionary College in Tasmania. For countless reasons we fail there too (eviction, miscarriage, zero finances, college policy etc) and come home. Our marriage runs into crisis several times over the preceding two decades but what keeps me going is the promise of India. I turn 50 and the devil scolds me, “So much for your call to India!” I tell him to shut up and remind him that God is not like Man who lies, He is sovereign and I know we heard Him loud and clear calling us to to India.
Now over the years, Bill and I have come on short mission trips to India but when it came time to get on that plane home I would think to myself, “Ginnie, one day you will get to stay.”
The years rolled by, our children marry and we become grandparents. I begin to understand how Abraham’s wife Sarah must have felt about having a baby in her old age! God made what seemed to be a ridiculous promise to her and Abraham.
Along the way, Bill works in various countries: Indonesia, Qatar, U.A.E and Saudi Arabia. Indonesia was a good start as it means, “islands of India” and in Arabia it seemed that I was surrounded by a vast number of Indians so I felt we were heading in the right direction.
Last year a colleague rang Bill asking if he would consider returning to Abu Dhabi to work and we both thought, why not? Two months later we receive word that the project in Abu Dhabi has stalled. Meekly, the colleague then asks, “Would you consider going to India?”
On the 7th November 2012, we presented our passports at the Foreigners Registration Office where we received resident status in India. This allows us to stay for 12 months. Our visa is currently being prepared for the next 12 month stint.
For the past 10 months, as Bill drives, I look out the car window and remark, “We’re in India!” A remarkable healing is taking place here between Bill and I. We have received a fresh Word (Isaiah 43:18) to forget the past. Now we look ahead.
No matter what tomorrow holds, together we have been obedient to the vision.
We are here.
All our tomorrows are now a bonus.
Keep waiting for your vision to come to pass.
I remember in the early years of my Christian walk being able to ‘see’ certain things in people that others were oblivious to. I would come straight out to Bill and say things like, “That pastor is real dodgy and his wife takes too much interest in money.” Bill, being ever wise, would tell me not to judge but to go and pray about it – first he would chastise me severely for even having such thoughts about the pastor – ‘touch not my anointed ones’ (1 Chron 16:22) he would quote.
When I leaned over at a conference and whispered to him that the guest speaker was more than likely homosexual Bill got really, really mad and wondered what he would do with this contentious wife.
It took some years but I finally understood that what I had was actually a gift of discernment (1 Cor 12:10) and rather than sharing what I ‘see’, I am to take it to the Lord in intercession.
This leads me to sharing today’s entry from Oswald Chamber’s where I first read about how I should respond.
By the way, the pastor in question resigned within a year after decimating the congregation and ‘cooking the books’. He withdrew from ministry.
15 years later, the guest speaker came out of the closet – leaving his wife,his children and his ministry.
May we continue in the fear of the Lord and in His amazing grace.
I dedicate this post to my dear husband William on the eve of our trip to Gurgaon where we plan to start our new life in India.
It seems we have hooly-ghoulies that try to distract us from enjoying our time in India.
Apart from the dengue now current in Gurgaon, here is a list of what happened on some of our other trips there:-
1994 Black Plague Epidemic in Gujurat caused our Inaugural Missions Trip to be cancelled. While the rest of the team stayed home we got on the plane anyway
2001 9/11 As terror struck America, India and Pakistan pointed missiles at each other and our flight home was grounded
2008 Our beach holiday in Goa was over run by military personnel and reconnaissance planes while the terrorists attacked Mumbai next door
I like pregnancies.
They have a definite start and finish.
Within 40 weeks (give or take a week or two) you are guaranteed of an outcome.
Not so when one is applying for a job overseas.
There is the initial contact, the interview and the promise that, ‘We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
This is where the art of waiting kicks in.
”We’ll get back to you as soon as possible” offers no timeframe.
You may hear that a decision will be made next week – don’t believe them!
Nobody is in a hurry to give you an answer, nobody understands what it is like for you to put your life on hold until you know that answer.
I have had to wait for many things in my life and most of them have had a deadline: a date that I can circle on a calendar and know that’s the day I find out the answer.
Right now I want to know whether Bill has got the job in India.
It has been 21 days since he was interviewed and I need to know whether I should be building up my veggie patch or culling all my possessions. Do I renew my registration or sell my car? Will I be here to catch that musical or will I have to forfeit my tickets? What about Christmas??
We started our expat life when Bill was offered a job in Indonesia back in 1995. It took the foreign client three months to make up their mind and when they did they wanted Bill there within the week.
For three months we had fantasised about life in Indonesia but all we could say to our family and friends was that we might be moving there. Eventually, I was left behind to pull three children out of school, pack the house and deal with all the stress that involves but living in Indonesia was worth the wait.
Life has a way of teaching us how to wait: we wait our turn, wait in queues, wait in the waiting room, wait for our spouse, wait to be served and wait to find out.
The art of waiting is to keep on living the day to day stuff. Get out of bed, get dressed and get on with the day at hand.
After living on this planet for over 50 years, I figured there are things that I need to say.
I spent the first three decades of my life doing as I pleased, satisfying every wanton appetite and all I got was heartbreak, guilt and shame.
How frustrated I felt when those around me could keep enjoying their sordid lives. Why did I have to be the schmuck with a guilty conscience?
For me, the creed, ‘Do what thou wilt’ was a bum steer and Peggy Lee’s song, “Is That All There Is?” drove me to despair.
Nothing seemed to satisfy me and I went to bed each night longing for something more that maybe tomorrow might bring. Everyday was faced with anticipation but nothing came of it.
I need a lover, I need to get married, I need to have a kid, I need an overseas holiday, I need a new job, I need to try cocaine, I need to have an affair, I need a guru, I need religion, I need a psychiatrist, I need a Valium!
The psychiatrist and the Valium were the last straw.
One night I looked out to the night sky and said, “Dear God – the one who created the stars and the moon, the one who created me – help me!
Please place my feet on the right path and I will give you my life – just don’t make me a missionary!”
Life continued normally until a few months later I stumbled upon a verse in the Bible that unnerved me. The book belonged to my mother and I flicked it open to see what it was all about. My eyes fell on a line found in John 12:25,
‘Those who love their life in this world will lose it and those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.’
Eternity? You mean, forever and ever and ever?
I recalled a verse I had memorized in Religious Education when little –
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life ‘
A gentle voice spoke in my mind, “Ginnie, you love to party and you are free to party for the rest of your life – then what?”
I thought, yeah the party is going to end and I’m going to end up in hell. In a moment, I knew I had to make a choice.
No one coached me, nor brainwashed me, nor cajoled me neither did I hear it preached nor recommended as a cure for my longing heart. In that moment I sensed Jesus was speaking to me and as easily as one sells his soul to the devil, that day I handed over my soul to the lordship of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
Now I live my life in the light of eternity.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is shifting sand.