The March of the Penguins

Jacqueline Caetano, Windsor Park Baptist Church

24 June 2010

The March of the Penguins



Jacqui Caetano on her street

This is how it began.  I prayed, prayed, prayed for my neighbours, that God would make the connections between us.
One day as my daughter and I were doing our prayer-walking God revealed to us that there are only six people between them and God - the scatterer of seed, the person who would love them, the person who would water the seed, the person who would prune them, a person who would pray for them, and a person who would harvest the crop.
 One morning I got up and knew I had to get more involved with my neighbours - the once a year street party was not enough.  God laid upon my heart to walk with them, because that is what I love doing. Hey - two birds with one stone, exercise and witnessing!  And so “The March of the Penguins” was born (I live in a short street just off Penguin Drive, a long road to the sea.)

I did a letterbox drop inviting people to become 'Penguins' and join me in daily walking, and the walking began. One, two, then four, seven --we walked and talked about our children, our husbands and how we spend our day. I tended to ask questions and if they reciprocated with a similar question I would give them snippets of what I do and mention prayer as part of that. I really believe when people feel they are listened to, they open up more and are then more open to listen to me.
Then something happened. One evening, my knee began to really hurt (it had been brewing for a very long time actually, but I had ignored it).  It was so bad I didn't think I could walk the 5-6km walk we do. I laid hands on my knee and prayed for healing so that I could continue to be a witness and share the gospel with these penguins.
I walked the next morning and have had no trouble since. Thank you, Jesus. I also asked the Lord when do I start telling them about the Gospel? Jesus said "Tomorrow"!


They walk to the sea

The next morning, 3 weeks into the walking, I posed this question to a Hindu lady, "I don't know anything about Hinduism, tell me about your God, how your faith works, what do you do? How do you worship?” The conversation flowed as naturally as ever. Questions and answers to and fro, about creation, about life after death. Not once did I share the gospel, just asked questions about her faith. My Christian friend and I then drew on her words and spoke about similarities we as Christians have with her, then we spoke about one or two of the differences. Before we knew it, we had shared the one big difference - Jesus, the cross, but raised from the dead and living today! By the end of the week she had heard the whole gospel message.

This lady shared with us about a curse she feels she has on her life and as naturally as it was shared, so we shared how she could be free of that. Cindy and I said a very simple un-Christianese prayer in faith for that curse to leave her... she said, "Thank you." she's still as faithful as ever to the penguin walk. In fact, she is the most regular one, walking every morning without fail.
We took her to an art expo on Monday lunch time. One of our local Christian artists from our church, Lorraine Hart was on display. Her paintings have the most amazing Christian messages. We enjoyed a picnic on Takapuna beach together, sharing some Indian dish and South African corn bread. This led to her inviting the two of us to her home for tea to look at her veggie patch.

I discovered a Christian family from our church that live just up the road. I took the liberty to put a note under their door, asking them if they would pray for this venture even if they did not walk, and left my phone number. I got a call back asking for a visit and discovered that she has a rare form of liver cancer, and we were invited to pray for her. We are now in regular contact to pray, take meals etc. This family was a little outside of the core church and it has helped to incorporate them into the life of the church more fully.



Cindy and Nalini, the two most faithful walkers

I am not on my own in this, God has strategically placed Christians all around me and together we are accomplishing the great commission together. It would be quite daunting on my own. I shared the idea with some Christian friends at a party and two of them are starting a walk with their neighbours with the same intentions. We keep praying that like the two on the Emmaus road, that our neighbours might meet Jesus on the way without even noticing it.

Just recently, the Marching Penguins had lunch together in the home of the first penguin to be saved. We said grace holding hands together, an experience for all the penguins of the celebration of thanksgiving we share as Christians.
Every day is an adventure and I just can't wait  for the morning to arrive to see what God has in store!