Anne had visited The Point over many years, then made it her home in 2017 when her husband retired as Rector of Horsted Keynes and they moved to Haywards Heath. Here she tells of a time in her life where she chose to cling on to the promises of God…
As a child I always believed in God, prayed and loved singing hymns. I joined a lively youth fellowship in my teens and, after being confirmed, invited Jesus into my life.
I married Robert (who had recently come to know the Lord), and both of us were very involved in the life of our church, which had a strong commitment to overseas mission. The spring of 1981 found us working for a Christian Radio ministry based high in the Andes, working on a team at the transmitter site in Pifo, Ecuador.
There were six missionary families based there and we were in and out of each others’ homes, working, praying and playing together. We were led to pray for the local Ecuadorian workers who maintained the transmitters, antennae, and hydro-electric plant. Us women met once weekly to pray specifically for an hour for the families. Our husbands initiated a time of prayer at the start of their working day too, reading Bible passages with the workers. 6 weeks into the venture, one or two were responding, and a cook at the hydro-electric plant became a vociferous new Christian. Others were showing interest.
Later that same year, my Dad came to visit us. Our boys were aged 5 and 3 at the time. We organised a trip to the beach – using one of the station’s vehicles to take the family on a perilous journey from 12,000 feet to sea level, along a road that took 6 hours and needed
all Rob’s concentration.
After we ate in the evening, Rob and I went out deep into the sea to get past the waves for a swim as my father watched the boys. The tide was turning and I soon realised that I needed to go back to shore, as the power of the water was too much. Rob began to struggle too and call for help and then he disappeared beneath the waves.
Dad tried to reach him, but the waves were too turbulent. I pleaded with locals to put out a boat to look for my husband, but they said there was no point – “bodies don’t come back on this beach”.
I knelt with the boys, asking the God who had led us and provided for us for help. As we prayed, a shout went up – Robert’s body was on the sand, but efforts to revive him were hopeless. We wrapped a sheet around Rob and laid him on the bed while I went to the local village to inform the Police. Much later, we packed the van, laying Robert’s body in the back, and a policeman drove us back to Quito.
Robert’s body was left in the mortuary of our own Hospital in Quito, and buried the next day. We reached Pifo as the dawn was breaking. I asked that I be the one to go and tell the workers as they arrived for the prayer time that Señor Roberto had died. They were shocked. I was able to say that I knew where my husband was – safe with His Lord, and I pleaded with those who hadn’t responded to the gospel yet that they would open their hearts. In the days that followed, 3 of them did.
We grieved deeply – we had trusted God and lived by faith, seeing many answers to prayer, and yet now he had taken Rob home far too soon! What would we do?
People who knew and loved Rob wept with us, prayed with us and looked after us, calling by to attend to any of the household jobs I was unable to do myself. I clung to the promises that God is the husband of the widow and the father to the fatherless, and that Robert was safe home in Heaven. God makes no mistakes so, like many before me, I chose to put my trust in my Lord. I tested that promise very practically as I brought up my boys alone for the next 7 years in the UK and Argentina, and God never let me or them down.
While training to go to Buenos Aires to be the Diocesan Secretary for the Bishop of Argentina I met Father John Twisleton. We married in 1988 and I gave birth to my third son in 1990.