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Intercontinental Walks

Secret Baptism!

I have waited till all the parties concerned are safely in their home countries before posting this. Sarah and I were not prepared for the level of possible surveillance on this trip. we were aware that my friend was risking his life to meet us and he and his brother’s safety was paramount.  we had arranged to meet at Costa Coffee in the Dubai mall at 7pm. It had been difficult to make contact as my phone was being difficult,  I borrowed Sarah’s but was concerned that my contact would be scared off.
we met at the perscribed place and then retired to somewhere quieter so we could talk more freely. I took a photo of us on my phone,  for personal use not publication.  we arranged to meet the next morning at 6AM at Jumeirah beach.
Afterwards Sarah and I went out for dinner, when we got to the restaurant I became aware of a couple of guys I had seen in the coffee shop earlier.  we moved tables but the 2 guys plus another sat at the table next to us. It was clear they were interested in us. After a while the third guy left crossed over the precinct and took photos of us.

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We  managed to get back to the metro without being followed.  However I didn’t now if our contacts had been followed. I thought it wise to delete my photographs.
I was given a lift to the beach early, but when we arrived it appeared that the beach was closed , I asked a work man and he told me the beach was open further down. we drove down . When we arrived I saw my contact and told my lift, “This is the place “.

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We had discussed the basics of salvation the night before, so we went out into the sea and and confessed Jesus Christ as Saviour and dunked them right under. After I prayed for them individually to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It didn’t appear that much happened for my friend but his younger brother fell backwards on to the Sand. My friend asked, “is he okay?”, I was able to reassure him everything was alright. With that a Police patrol car rolled up on the beach.

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Everything  was cool. It was just a random patrol.  We had done the business.  So then we went for breakfast and talked some more. My friends have returned to their own country.  It is illegal for them to convert to Christianity.  Please pray for their safety and also the ongoing spread of the good news.
Jesus is Lord.

A chance encounter?

Just over a year ago in March 2014 I was travelling home from a mission trip in Mauritius.  I had 3 interconnecting flights and was particularly anxious that the cross would make it back to the UK .
However somehow or other I managed to board my flight without boarding passes for my next two legs of the journey.  As I got to the Seychelles there was some confusion on whether I should be on the plane at all. The end result I was upgraded to business class for the next leg to Abu Dhabi.

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Rejoicing in my upgrade I looked forward to travelling home in style.  However the Holy Spirit had his own plans,  they included me travelling in comfort but also , unbeknown to me, I had a special assignment.  Sat next to me in business was a middle Eastern gentlemen. we exchanged pleasantries and they he asked me what I did for a job?
I told him,”I have an unusual job. I travel around the world with a large wooden cross sharing the message of Jesus. ”
he was suprised and intrigued and then asked me,”What is the message of Jesus? ”
For the next 4 hours I had a wonderful opportunity to share my story of faith and more importantly Jesus story of death and resurrection.  we parted company, I left him with a tract and my business card.
A few days later I received an email. After our discussion my new friend got to where he was staying,  went to sleep and had a dream. In the dream a man appeared to him and told him the man he met on the plane was God’s messenger and that he should believe that Jesus is God’s son. His question for me was, “Is it possible for me to follow Jesus and be a Muslim too?”
we continued to correspond via email intermittently. He told me it wasn’t safe for him to contact me while he was in his own country but that he would be in touch when he was in other safer countries.
after reading the New Testamemt he came to the conclusion that his faith was in Jesus not Muhammad.  He then asked if I would come and baptise him.

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Over the following months we stayed in touch and he gradually gathered together others to read the scriptures and worship Jesus.  Now he has over 40 people meeting together in small groups.
I love the way the Spirit finds a way to reach those we may think unreachable.  My mission now was to meet him and his brother and baptise them in water.

Commissioning the next generation.

A lot has been happening over the last few days, which I will share with you over the next few blogs. Please forgive me for working backwards but for reasons that will become obvious I will share the most exciting stuff when I have returned to the UK.
Dubai is a modern world class city that sits bang in the middle of the 10-40 window.  This makes it perhaps the most strategic city in the world in terms of the church completing the great commission. 

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we have been wonderfully hosted bt Pete and Liz Vaughan  of Gateway Dubai South and today, Friday,  We were able to join with them to worship Jesus.
part way through the service Sarah nipped out, when she came back in, Alan was stood on the platform praying and most of the church was stood at the front. 

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It was a wonderful opportunity to pray for a team of young people going on a mission trip to India  and Pete invited  anyone else who wanted an impartation in evangelism.
It was a wonderful time of commissioning 20’s and 30’s to step out into a new season in evangelism.
After church we went out for lunch with some of the leadership and met Steven Oliver who leads the regions beyond network of churches.

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So watch this space and over the next few days I will share the story of how we came to be in Dubai in the first place.

I am everything, I am Mauritian

Just before departing for this trip, I enjoyed watching the movie the life of Pi. If you have seen the film you may recall that the main character Pi a Hindu, embraces Christianity and Islam on his spiritual journey. In Mauritius it is very similar where some believe as Mauritians they should embrace all faiths.  This is very challenging when trying to explain the exclusivity of Jesus the way the truth and the life.
Today I walked to the small town of Bambous.  The start was good with a lunch of noodles provided by.a Nigerian brother called Henry. He questioned me very closely to check my beliefs were orthodox.

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In the town I met many young people who were keen to read the little yellow gospel tracts.

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Whilst walking through the town having my strength sapped by the heat I found some shelter by a shop that was closed.  I spoke with an older guy for a while but my rudimentary knowledge of Creole was a bit of a hindrance.  However while I was cooling a young guy called Shamin pulled up on his bike. We had a long conversation about things of the spirit,  and he wasn’t the first to tell me, “I am everything, I am Mauritian. ”

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He kindly went and bought me a coke and some Rotis, declining my offer to reimburse him. Hopefully he will be in touch again and we can talk some more before I leave
After walking through the town I ascended the hill once again for a finishing drink with Henry and then to Nicole a sister I met the previous week, for a shower.
In.the evening I went to a small group in the house of a local taxi driver called Sandeep. Amazingly around 50 people squeezed into his house where we worshipped and I shared from the word. It was a powerful time we all had together.

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Keep praying. I will be preaching Saturday and Sunday and then will enjoy a couple of days as a tourist before flying home Wednesday.

Independence day

Today was the day that Mauritius celebrated 46 years of independence from the United Kingdom.  So today was a public holiday, not that I think that it made much difference to many people as many people were working at Quatre-Bornes market as I set out extra early. I had a good time in the marketplace which is where the gospel should be shared. Many people approached me to say they had spotted me around the island. Christians and non Christians alike were very friendly and talkative.

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These guys called me over to find out what I was doing, as many others were indulging,  I had breakfast here also.
Later in the morning I went to church in Quarte bornes and preached from Hebrews 12 “fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
It all seems to have gone down well. In the evening I did a pastoral visit with David Selloyee meeting a delightful elderly Christian couple who had both recently been in hospital.  After a special time of prayer and worship I went to David’s house for a delicious evening meal.

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Heaven on Earth?

Mark Twain wrote in 1897, “You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first then Heaven; Heaven being copied after Mauritius. ”  well once you move outside of the urban belt you get the sense that Mauritius is a very beautiful country indeed.  Today I headed along the coast to Flic en Flac a seaside resort on the west coast. The air was cooled by a gentle sea breeze and there was plenty of shade from trees, much improved walking conditions.

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Of course it was the first time I had seen the Indian Ocean for any length of time. Being a Tuesday the resort wasn’t super busy, but there were plenty of people to talk too. I spent some time with some young guys who were slowly getting drunk. They invited me to join them but I declined.
The highlight of today was meeting Yvette a tourist from France.  She had seen me walking a few days previously and recognised me immediately as the man with “La Croix”.

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She wanted to know if I was on some kind of pilgrimage.  Which of course gave me the pretext to explain what I was really about. Yvette said she knew some Protestants back in France and had heard the gospel before. I shared my testimony of how Jesus had changed my life and invited her to consider reaching out to Jesus.  To my surprise she accepted and we prayed together by the beach as she received Jesus.
I have to confess I had a cheeky swim and sunbathe at lunchtime.  You can’t come all this way and just look.
One of the bonuses of this trip is that the sunshine has cleared up my eczema for which I am giving thanks.
Tomorrow is a public holiday as it is Mauritian independence day. I will be preaching in the morning in Quarte bornes and probably be at the beach in the afternoon.
This may not quite be Heaven on Earth but the Holy Spirit is making sure it comes pretty close.

Finding salvation in the shade of a tree

Today was a scorcher again with the mercury rising to 30° plus, not the best weather to carry a 20kg cross.  However the mission continues I may not cover many miles but they all count as people encounter the saviour as I walk along. My plan was to walk to Rose Hill another townin a 12 mile long crescent of urbanisation which is home to the majority of Mauritius’ 1.3 million inhabitants.

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In the photo. Is the H Q of the bank of Mauritius.
Today seemed my day to be hassled by drunks, they were generally good natured but really difficult to talk to.
However around lunchtime I was outside Shoprite and general retail mall when I met Clancy. He was a very articulate and intelligent man. We talked for some considerable time about what I was doing in his country and that he had family in the UK.  We talked about Jesus,  “why did he come? Why did he die?”.

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After Clancy concluded that it was indeed something he needed to do something about. So under the shade of a tree we prayed together and he confessed Christ as his Lord and saviour.
If you haven’t been able to keep up with all the news that is now 8 people in 8 days.  God is so good. The sun and the heat are still an issue and I am not walking for as far or for as long as I would like. However God is gracious and is pouring out his love despite my limitations.  Please continue to pray as the physical challenges are many. Thanks again Alan

Fresh prints in Bel Air

The journey to Bel Air was one of unparallelled beauty.  The mountains,  fields and sky overwhelmed the senses. Many times all I could think was wow! My dad made this.my hosts overnight were Clifford and Aartee. They fed me extremely well and gave up their own bed for me. In Clifford’s words ,”we have a small house but big hearts”. I have been touched by the generosity of heart of everyone here.
On Saturday evening I spoke at a youth meeting and it was agreed we would meet 7AM Sunday morning to walk with the cross to the local market.

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Me and the local young people marching for Jesus at 7AM in the morning.

Bel Air was busy even at this time of the morning because of Market day. We gave out hundreds of tracts and sang our hearts for the Lord as we marched through the town.
Later I spoke at the Christian Revival Church.  4 people made first time commitments to Jesus.
One of the brand new Christians Elodie got up and testified to what God had done in her life including setting her free from demonisation.

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What a thrill to walk where the cross has not been before and see the Holy Spirit powerfully at work in peoples lives.

Hearing the Spirit’s voice.

The plan today was for 9 mile round trip to Curepipe and back. The weather had cooled to the mid 20’s but it was still hot and the rain returned.  The light showers were a little heavier than expected so often times I would have to wait under shop awnings till the rain passed. This wasn’t wasted time as others were in the same situation which gave me a chance to practice my Creole but more importantly share my faith in Jesus.
First thing, I had opportunity to talk with some guys digging up the road. They had seen me for several days and curiosity finally got the better of them.

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As time has gone on I have found people extremely friendly and open to what I have to say. In Quatre-Bornes town centre I had some good banter with the taxi drivers who gathered around me giving me the pretext for a little preach.
Time and time again people have stopped to wish me luck and “bon courage”. While I am at the side of the road talking cars will stop in heavy traffic and ask for a gospel tract.
However the highlight of the day, apart from the biggest lamb biriani I had for lunch, was meeting Amrit. I had just paused to drink some water when he approached me and began a conversation.  He was a Hindu but told me he was looking for inner peace of mind. He had not felt well that day so had called in sick. While in his house he felt the urge to go outside for a walk. He found me almost directly outside where I was able to share about the Shalom that Jesus gives. He invited me into his home and I talked about the purpose of the cross. I told him I believed he would find real peace if he invited Jesus into his life to forgive him. After being with him for some time he invited Jesus in. I was able to pray and Amrit confessed he could feel a real and tangible difference.

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I set off again, but within a few moments Amrit had chased me down. He had told one of his relatives what had happened and they wanted me to pray for them also. So in an abandoned shop different members of his extended family and friends came in requesting prayer for different situations.  Which I understand from local Christians is not uncommon.  I know have his details and have spoken with him about linking up with a local church.
I love how the Holy Spirit works in peoples live’s.
Tomorrow I take a short break when pastor David takes me sightseeing.  Then on Saturday I plan to be in Flacq and Bel Air. The tracts are flying out and I may very well have more printed.  With Thanks Alan.

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