Have you entered a home with 22 dogs barking their welcome to you .
It’s a home on the slope of a hill giving you a distant and picturesque view of Goa with rivers lakes and lush greenery .
We were received by Alcina,into the spacious home, for our meeting with Suzette. My daughter Annalize had been called for the trial of her wedding gown.
“When a client walks in, a human being walks in first, and before I lend them my hands I win their hearts . “
This is the motto of Suzette as Designer. For Annalize , the lace and material for her gown was just right ; the designing and fit most suited for the bride. Suzette works with passion to give her best .
However she is also an artiste, poet, author of short stories and has a non funded NGO for stray and abandoned dogs . But most of all a very compassionate person.
I saw some beautiful paintings, each of which has a meaning. I was surprised to learn that it had taken 2-3 years of deep life experiences , 2 month’s to put down a feature and 2-3 days to paint . In like manner, Suzette writes poetry and short stories .
Her pet project is really the pets she has rescued . When she refers to the universal opinion of the good breed of dogs over stray dogs ….she opines that dogs are just dogs , and love makes a difference in their response . She continues “ But who am I to preach the gospel of universality; idealised I am just an artiste who was designed to create art and not change the policies of the world .”
She has rescued 22 stray and abandoned dogs . The first was named Thomas ; he had fallen off a bridge and fractured his spine. She has nursed him to good health . All 22 pets have been rescued in some way and restored to normalcy… each of them having a name. The most recent pet was named ‘Blue’ as he has blue eyes. He is so affectionate, and kept licking my feet all over.
She also daily feeds 30 stray dogs outside who patiently wait at specific points as she drives on the food trail.
Suzette is a survivor of a serious motor crash , but was at peace even then. She has no regrets of any kind and believes that life is transient . She has a deep sense of spirituality. Her daily discipline includes yoga.
“I am ready for the call when it comes “ says Suzette.
So ended the encounter with a courageous lady of myriad dimensions.
My Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ has been a pillar
of strength and peace, during the past 6 months of a rollercoaster ride. The
storms of life blew over but his presence was enough to see me through this
September and November 2018 , I drove to Goa several times with Anjean, to
prepare for our daughter Annalize’s wedding, Goa being the venue.
November I began to have a throat problem , which did not get cured with
antibiotics . As the problem persisted , I consulted a specialist who observed
a small mass on the tonsil during the oral examination. Subsequently , he
advised that a biopsy be done, which led to the early diagnosis of Non
Hodgekins Lymphoma. Dr Jaquie was very
helpful at the Hinduja Hospital,
from that first instance as well as
during my regular hospital visits for the chemotherapy later.
I also got a shock to know that my investments with our trusted broker were in
jeopordy , as his business had failed. His promise to repay everything , would
remain a promise until he hoped to recover, by merging his company with a bigger firm, in
the near future.
diagnosed on 13th December 2018 , and Annalize’s wedding was scheduled for 27th
December 2018. The doctor calmed us , specially Anjean and Annalize, and mentioned that the early diagnosis was very
helpful and the cancer could be treated and cured ( a blessing indeed). He advised us to celebrate the wedding and
commence my treatment soon after.
to the urgency and financial duress, I was constrained to take loans to meet
with these challenges.
Ralph , was a big help at this stage. He had come down from London for the wedding. All my
family proceeded to Goa which was the
venue . He stayed back to help me with my visits to the hospitals and so much more. I admired his
steadfast approach , not knowing that he was quite upset himself.
celebrations in Goa went off very well.
The Lord had given me a total acceptance of my health condition. I took
part wholeheartedly in the celebrations. My family too got over the initial
shock and all went well .
returned to Mumbai on 1st January 2019
and my treatment commenced on 2nd January 2019.
every session , I was admitted to the
hospital , to be administered the drugs. The specialist doctor and his team,
and the nursing care, was excellent. The after effects of the chemotherapy, were
at times very painful. Surprisingly
during 3 specific occasions Romeo Fernando, leader of the Community of the Good Shepherd, telephoned me.
He prayed fervently with me , pleading of the Lord for my healing ; and with God’s grace I was relieved from pain. His intercessory
group prayed regularly for my healing. I cannot forget my mentor Ken Knoecker ( Elder of the
Servants of the Word) , for all the prayer and support extended to me, during this
time. I also discovered , the aspect of sharing my
suffering with the Lord, and interceding for others.
from my Community (Community of Jesus: Light of the World) and the local Church and Communities ( Sword
of the Spirit Communities) from far and
near prayed for me. There was an
outpouring of love as members regularly telephoned or visited me, and also prayed with me. People who I hardly knew as well as old
friends, assured me that they were
praying for my healing and visited me.
daughter Karen with her family from UK,
specially changed their flight schedule, ( which involved a fresh ticket) to be
with us for the first session. Subsequently my son Ralph took time off , for
one month from his job in London ( while working from home) to be with us in
Mumbai for the next sessions. Annalize too spent more than a month later and
finally Larissa was with us in May.
administered 6 cycles of chemotherapy from January to April, and after the 4th
cycle , the petscan showed that I was clear of cancer. Praise and thanks to
This was a
time of great restoration and renewal. I had plenty of time to pray and read
scripture. Importantly , Ambrose our community member brought Holy Communion
for me daily, which was a source of healing and kept me positive and
willingly took up responsibility to lead the Community of Jesus: Light of the
World , in my absence during these months. His numerous visits were an indication
of a brotherly tie, which I deeply cherish.
I also saw
bonds of brotherhood within my extended family being renewed. My two elder
brothers, Allwyn and Gerald who are doctors, and my niece Joanne (also a
doctor) , reached out to me in significant ways.
cared for me so well . Diet and
medicines were constantly monitored. So I came through these months peacefully.
Dane, a young man from the Youth group ,
was kind enough to drive us to the hospital on several occasions . Some of my
community members also took time off to be with me at the hospital. But Anjean
was my constant companion.
meantime , help poured in from various sources. I am truly overwhelmed at this
me His love , through these brothers and sisters.
assured me that His provision is enough
A few days
ago , when again I experienced a
setback, I was assured by the following words from scripture:
‘Give us this day our daily bread ‘( Matthew 6:11)
further reflection and study, I was led to believe that daily bread is for daily sustenance and not to
accumulate wealth. Bread also signifies the Eucharist ,which is life giving.)
A little further :
‘ No one can be slave of two masters; he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’ ( Matthew 6: 24)
‘ Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you are to eat and what you are to drink, (Matthew 6:25a)………..‘But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.’ ( Matthew 6: 33)
Isaiah 55: 1-3
‘ Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
Though you have no money , come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost , wine and milk.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention , come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.
listen , and your soul will live.’
(Isaiah 55: 1-3)
The Lord has revealed his love and
care so much more during these days. He is truly my Saviour and Healer and I can trust in his provision
For this I say “Thank you Lord”
And “ thank you” to every person who
has reached out to me.