1976 saw me studying at Rhodes University in South Africa. Our hair was long, our guitars were tuned and our dreams were endless. In December of that year, Jesus called me, embraced me, loved me. The response to this level of grace was not difficult. He was more appealing than anything or anyone else. I fell in love with Jesus. I had to tell others. "Jesus is alive" punctuated our lives. All else seemed to pale into insignificance.
In March of 1977, I was asked to speak at a Methodist Church camp for high schoolers. This Jesus, that I just could not keep inside, spilt over into their lives and most of those present, wept their way into eternity. That night, I met a quiet, totally feminine, beautiful 15 year old. Her subdued strength was matched by a mystery that captured me, and has held me for these 33 years. Jesus was our conversation. He was our worship, our affection, our priority, our revealer, our journey. By October of '77 M and I began dating and our story began — but that for another time.
Some months after that, I was asked to speak at a Christian Club meeting of the local Boys High School. Something sweet had started to happen there. Many of the seniors had come to Christ and the school was abuzz with God wonder. Jesus still saves. Historically, these meetings were often for the forgotten few. But when I arrived, the main hall in the school was abuzz. This school of about 1000 boys saw about 600 in the meeting. It was cranking. Boys were talking about Jesus. The crowd of boys suddenly parted and the teacher stepped through to greet me. I immediately recognized him. He had played for a band called "Crutch" at Rhodes Uni. The times I had seen him on stage, well, let me say he was not altogether of sound mind. Of course, we had not met there but that day, we became friends. Actually an extraordinary styled friendship had begun
After the meeting, Rob asked me to come to his house that night. He was having some of his old surf mates around for dinner and a movie [Quo Vadis]. He asked if I would come and we could do some music together and tell about Jesus. It was an amazing evening. I entered a world fairly different to my own but one that was full of Jesus. I met Glenda. She was and remains beautiful. With her long hair combed hippy styled down the middle, her little chuckle connected her to M and me immediately. With two little boys on hand, she loved, cared, fed, laughed and infused us with delight. WIth no real possessions to speak of [except of course the rusted Volkswagen], they loved Jesus, loved each other and loved the church, whilst desperately wanting to see people come to Jesus. We became friends — simply and deeply friends.
Without apology I tried to get them from the AOG church to join us at the "Invis". Our inner city church was raw, scruffy and wild about Jesus. Eventually they joined us. Street preaching loaded our weekends. The sound of a folksy guitar pounding the African sidewalk would soon attract a crowd. We had just a few minutes to talk about this Jesus before the sidewalk would clear. There we laughed together. There we found faith to pray for strangers and testify boldly of the Father's great love. Friendship was forged in these fiery times.
The JC Country Band has been added to folklore with a touch of urban legend. Rob and I formed a band during those "heady and intoxicating years"[Rob's phrase]. We even practiced-mostly Rob's songs as well as a few Barry Mcguire and Randy Matthew's songs. Open air concerts and the great concert at WBHS was our 'Last Waltz'. That was still the 70's. The friendship had begun... tbc