Sunday, 13 December 2015

Friends from other eras - still fresh!

It's not often that you get a phone call from Auntie Hazel Raine - and its even a greater joy to know that she is briefly in town and choses to come and meet you as a family!

But that is what happened on Thursday evening.  We had the joy of having a real saint - another of our living legends - come by and spend some precious time with us as a family.  Lloyd and Hazel Raine came to Bombay as missionaries in 1959.  They helped set up the Berean Bible College in Chembur and lived many a place across Bombay town and poured their lives into others.

Asha took this photo and so is not in the happy throng...
Uncle Lloyd and Auntie Hazel knew Mum and Dad from when they were young bright-eyed OMers in the mid 1960s.  One of Hazel's first memories of Dad is him showing up with 30 young men one day Lloyd and Hazel's place and expecting to be housed and fed - which they were.  And when it was pointed out to him that their dear cook was being worked to the bone, he swung into action and got the young guys pulling their weight too.

Uncle Lloyd went to be with the Lord just over a year ago.  This is the first time that Auntie Hazel has come back to India 'alone.'  But, of course she has family everywhere she goes.  People that she and her dear husband poured themselves into - and who are living lives of purpose and value... all across the country.

I remember them vaguely as they were just finishing their stint at Bombay Baptist Church and then heading out to Calcutta where they spent another 13 years of service.

Auntie told us about how the pollution of Calcutta basically finished Uncle's lungs and forced them to return to Canada to save his life... but how shortly afterwards they were convinced that they needed to come back to India.  And they did.  Without even knowing which of the 4 options they were considering they would eventually take.

And so they ended up in Hyderabad for the last stint of their service in India.  The air was better than Cal or Bom - and they faithfully lived out their love for Jesus.

Which is what brings Auntie back again for a 3 month trip over this winter.   We are so touched to be given the slice of her life she blessed us with!  Her visit was over all to quickly and she was off again to be with folks in Colaba...


What ho!  A message on FB saying that Noel DeSouza is in town and that he would like to come over and visit us.

I can't even remember the last time we met.  Decades ago.

Noel's mother Theresa was a dear friend of Mum.  She died when Noel and his two brothers Nigel and Nathan were very very small.

Fast forward to today.  Noel is married to Pearl and has two daughters - the older one who is Asha's age.  Nathan is with him in Dubai and Nigel back in Goa.  Uncle Joeseph died a few years ago.

The three lads have survived so much.  And here is Noel - large as life with us on a Saturday morning in Thane.          

We looked back with so much thankfulness to the love and care that Mum and Dad gave at various times and in various ways.

Noel has done really well.  What a blessing to see him thrive.  While showing us photos of his wife Pearl and their daughters, we saw lots of shots of computer servers - and a picture or two of a cricket stadium.

He casually told us that he is looking after IT for the ICC.  Yes, that's the International Cricket Council - which is based in Dubai.

Enoch's eyes grew round when I told him this after Noel had left.

But his eyes - and Yohan's too - had already goggled.  Uncle Noel had come bearing gifts - and one of them was a massive box of Lego.  A huge Star Wars battle creature called an 'AT-AT' - the arrival of which meant an end to Enoch and Yohan's Saturday morning classes with Mummy - and the beginning of some serious building:

Noel and I talked about how much this toy was a blessing to us - he remembered Stefan and my collection - which I was happy to tell him is still being used by Enoch and Yohan (and their Daddy too once in a blue moon).  Those strong plastic bricks - still being used to build dreams - and play out fantasy adventures 30 years later.

Noel's visit was also over far too quickly - but he had others to meet and so we bade a regretful good-bye after a time of prayer together.  

May we meet again - and not after decades...

We may be friends from other eras - our kids may need major back-filling explanations for folks who are strangers to them - but amazingly, our relationships can still be fresh!

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