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.
In all of this, I just ant you to concentrate on the poster, Äre You Blessed?’ Living in India, I am daily reminded that indeed I am.
On the day we left for India, I turned to Bill and said, “It’s OK, we can exhale now.”
It seems we have been holding our breath for more than 27 years; that is how long we have had India in our hearts and it comes as no surprise to our loved ones that we now live here. Joanna was only a few weeks old when India was whispered into our ear: Bill heard it first, as if it had echoed off the wall while playing with 4-year old Dean and kept the matter a secret. He would then come home during his lunch break and we would spend the time together in prayer and fasting. I remember the day, about a week later, when I announced that we were being called to India. His jaw dropped and he got rather agitated, wanting me to be more specific (for those of you in the family loop, this was the start of ‘The Bill’). We were sitting on opposite sides of the room and there was a magazine on the table, The Australian Evangel. Bill picked it up, opened it to a page unseen by me then quickly put it down. I picked it up, opened it and burst into tears! In my typical, wearing-my-heart-on-my-sleeve-manner, I blurted out that we were going to India. I had just seen a photo of a girl in a sari and the words, Calcutta Mission of Mercy. Instantly I remembered a prayer I had made two years prior, “God, I’ll give You my life – just don’t make me a missionary! You know, those types that wear socks with their sandals and the women with head to toe clothing and their hair tied up in buns!”
In those days, if you were going to India, you were going as a missionary. Try as we might, we never became your typical missionary; we came over many times and lent a hand here and there and today we are here on a working visa.
Nine days ago, that baby girl of ours,Joanna, rang to say that Matthew had just proposed! They expect to marry in March and we expect to be there!
Somehow, I know it doesn’t phase her that we are here.
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