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Mauritius 2014

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.

Prayer mountain

Just a few short miles outside Port Louis,  I called it a day. The last straw was having an altercation with a thorn bush which liked the taste of my head, particularly my ear.

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Thankfully I was near a bus stop, where I recovered and then dismantled the cross putting it in it’s black travel bag. The bus fare home was 38 rupees that’s about 80p English money. When I got to Quarte bornes I had to reassemble the cross in order to walk the last mile or two home. I had some great conversations with some guys by the market. Then a white van pulled in front of me. The driver John was a Christian he took me to his house for tea and biscuits and to meet his family.

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After a night’s sleep it was up at 6AM !!  To go to prayer mountain with Pastor David Selloyee.  We walked, prayed, worshipped,  talked and even fell over for 5 hours.

Again the intense heat and rough terrain took it’s toll on me and by the time we reached civilisation I was exhausted. Civilisation was a tin shanty town occupied by migrants from Rodrigues who had come to Mauritius looking for work.

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The extent of poverty of some on paradise Island was sobering
Shortly after this we reached a small town and invited ourselves into the home of Nicole a local believer.

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A glass of cold water was never so welcome. In fact I had 3.
We ate lunch at a local outlet and then caught the bus home.

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This is prayer Mountain.  I will not forget you. Tomorrow or more likely today as you read this I will complete my journey to Port Louis. Apparently I have appeared in a local Creole newspaper and also my photo was posted on Facebook achieving over a 1000 likes in 24 hours.

Sowing and reaping

Today I picked up where I left off on Monday and made my entry into Port Louis.  You would expect it to be busy as a capital city, but the streets were heaving with people.  Again the temperature was high so as much as possible I walked and talked with people in the shade.
Today was a sowing day. I gave out maybe 400 tracts and spoke with many people of all faiths and backgrounds.

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One guy tried his best to convert me to Hinduism and I met many who had the imposition of ashes as today is Ash Wednesday. One guy took a photo of me, went away came back to give me a developed picture.  I also met several Christians who were encouraged by what I was doing.
One guy Josh was witnessing to someone at the bus station.  Just as the conversation was drawing to a close along strolls a guy carrying a cross, which really sent the message home.

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Here is Josh and Sam a former drug addict who received Christ and was immediately delivered from an inability to speak. These guys helped put me and the cross on the right bus home.
In the evening I went to a small group meeting in Quatre-Bornes sharing from Romans 1 on the power of the gospel.
Today I will be heading East to Curepipe and then plan to be in Bel Air on the weekend where I will be preaching on Sunday.
I have been having real difficulties with internet. So I am using less photographs than I would like. Hopefully this will help. Thank you for standing in prayer with me and for me.

A crown of thorns. ( When the going gets tough).

Mauritius is a model of multiculturalism the nation prides itself on the fact that people from all faiths should get along. This was evident from the sights and also my own personal experience.  Hindus,  Muslims and Christians all get along together.

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However commendable peaceful coexistence is as a Christian I believe that you can only really know God through Jesus. Otherwise what would be the purpose of my mission?
To  be completely honest,  today was a physically tough and demanding day. The combination of 30° heat, high humidity and my poor level of physical fitness took it’s toll.
Today I walked from Quarte bornes towards Port Louis the capital city.  People were very friendly and open . Many people greeted me along the way.

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Steven and his colleagues were doing repair work outside the Mauritian Broadcasting Company.  They were helpful in giving directions, which I didn’t follow, and were open as I shared the life of Jesus with them
I walked on toward a small town called Moka,  which wasn’t on my intended route. Here I met Hans, who was due in court for speeding on his motorcycle.  Hans was immediately drawn to me. He was aware of his need for God’s grace. After about 30 minutes he entrusted his life into Jesus’ hands. How exciting and what a privilege to be in the right place at the right time.

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By the time it was lunchtime I was physically drained.  Disappointed in myself I found a spot where the local workers ate their lunch in the shade.
Despite my obvious exhaustion I had opportunity after opportunity to witness as one by one different people approached me.

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It was all very reminiscent of John 4 with Jesus tired and thirsty asked for a drink.
However events got even more exciting,  firstly I took a wrong turn and was chased by a pack of dogs.
Then the climax of the day when I had a perfect John 4 moment.  The heat really was to much for me, I practically collapsed in the entrance to a mosque.  I knew I couldn’t go much further if at all.
10 minutes later a lady came to speak to me. I explained, “Je suis fatigue”. She went home and came back a few minutes later with some cold water. As I recovered,  I explained why I was here. The Holy Spirit was all over the encounter.  Some 10 minutes later she receved Jesus as her friend.

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My woman at the well, Lizbeth.
After a long rest I decided to try and push on to Port Louis,  I was only a few miles to my destination.  However I got caught in a fight with a thorn bush –  and lost, wisdom decided to call it a day.
The rest of my adventures I will hold over till tomorrow.  Seriously your prayer support keeps me going when I am at the end of myself.

God bless you.  Alan.

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