A chaotic meeting in Rhodesia

   10.23pm. We are all feeling miserable tonight at the failure of the meeting. Only about 5,000 turned up, the venue (which I had not seen) was wrong, the arrangements were totally inadequate, the platform was so crowded as to make it almost impossible to minister, and after praying en masse and having them come forward to testify, so many sick and idiot children were dumped at our feet, that we ended up in chaos.

   Freda and I got to the meeting at 2.45pm. People had been arriving since 7.30am from all over the country. I got up to preach almost immediately, led the people in the sinner’s prayer, then prayed for the deaf. Several immediately pushed forward to testify. Then I prayed for all the sick, and some blind cases were healed. But there was so much noise and excitement, and so many people on the platform, that the congregation thought I had laid hands on the people.

   Earlier, a Methodist minister had taken upon himself to admit people inside the barrier which had been erected in front of the platform, and a child had been injured in the mouth by tape-recording equipment falling from a collapsing table. With so many people crushing the platform, my lapel microphone kept being torn from me, and the equipment was in danger of being destroyed, I had to call a halt to the proceedings. It was sheer chaos, just like we have seen so many times before. It was not the Lord who failed us but our lack of organisation.

   Our first disappointment of the day was after breakfast. We were expecting young Andre du Toit at 9.00am. He was to accompany Brian [Bosomworth] to St. Mary’s to help with all the arrangements and gain valuable experience. But his grandfather would not allow him to come as they did not think it would be safe. So Brian went off by himself. Freda and I went to the park where we spent a delightful hour or two by the stream and pond, feeding the fishes with bits of wafer left over from the Communion, and watching the birds, and listening to a chorus of frogs.

   Eventually we returned to the hotel to find Janet’s letter of last Monday, with the disturbing news that Freda’s mother, after returning home, had had to go into a nursing home at Redditch. Freda and I both woke with the headaches we had gone to bed with last night. Mine went during the morning, but Freda’s didn’t, probably because she was tense thinking of her responsibilities this afternoon, especially in taking photographs.

   I am greatly disappointed at today’s effort. It was a disgrace. We had such high expectations of the meeting. Our taxi driver immediately recognised us when he came to pick us up, and said he had read about the “doctor” coming to St. Mary’s. I told him the doctor was Jesus. So many, many people will have been disappointed, and the mistakes could have been avoided if only I had been on the spot to supervise things. The platform had very foolishly been erected a yard away from the wall of the football ground, thus allowing people to get around the back. People were perched in very precarious positions on the wall. The platform itself was hopelessly inadequate, measuring only 15ft × 6½ft × 2ft. The afternoon was really a nightmare. Lord, let us do better tomorrow.


A blessed meeting

   10.29pm. We have just come to bed and are watching a play on TV, with Richard Vernon, Gwen Watford, Nicola Pagett and Alexandra Bastedo. I forget the title. We had seen it on ITV. Earlier we saw a very funny Rising Damp.

   We had a fine meeting at St. Mary’s this afternoon. More than 10,000 were present (Brian thought 15,000), and Comrade [my interpreter] estimated that hundreds were healed in the mass prayer. I prayed first for the deaf, and so many came forward to testify, that it was impossible to let them all speak. Brian reckoned that there were 30 deaf cases healed. I saw two men discard their crutches and walk unaided for the first time in their life. A little child received healing from a useless arm.

   It was a model service. We had perfect order throughout, and did everything right that we did wrong yesterday. It was the 22nd anniversary of my call to the healing ministry. Thank you, Jesus.


A full-page report of the meeting appeared in the Zimbabwe Times on August 15th. (Rhodesia became Zimbabwe on 1 September 1979.)



Viewing the Holy Shroud

   11.31pm. It has been a wonderful day. After weeks of dryness I am almost overwhelmed by the joy of the Lord. “My heart is inditing a good matter.” We went to Mass tonight. The crush to get in was incredible. The service was full of joy, and the Archbishop preached the Gospel with a tremendous anointing of the Spirit. It was a simply wonderful service, with all five of us [Freda and I, Janet, Brian Bosomworth and Eva Stewart] receiving Communion. Then at the close we joined the thousands who filed past the Shroud.

   We were awakened by a 5.00am call, dressed hurriedly, and went to join the queue of many hundreds of people who were waiting for the Cathedral to open. At 6.00am the doors were opened and we pressed in. Seeing the Shroud this morning was different from last night. I tried to analyse my feelings. The first was of mystery, the second was of awe. I am perfectly familiar with the Shroud and all its features, and I understand it perfectly, and yet I do not understand it. I have walked past it three times now, and found I could not take my eyes off it. Also it was dark when we went in to see the Shroud, and light when we came out.

   After breakfast we went out again to do some shopping. At the Apostolato Liturgico I bought 575 small cards of the Face of the Shroud for our partners, 31 postcards of Pope John Paul and of the Shroud, a cassette tape of the late Pope, and also a cassette and slides of the Shroud, and a large photo of the Shroud. After bringing these back to the hotel [Hotel Venezia] we went out again to see the Shroud Museum in Via Santa Domenica, which we saw last night, but it was closed for a special congress being held there.

   Two girls had tagged onto us but they now left. They had come with us to a bookshop on our way to the museum. Janet bought a book on The 14 Stations of the Cross illustrated by the Shroud by Ricci. I also wanted one but could not get a clean copy. After the girls had left us, we had a cup of cappuccino and cake at a bar. We went back to the hotel, then out again, this time to visit the Egyptian Museum with its wonderful collection of papyri, mummies, etc., the finest outside Cairo.

   We left the Museum at ten to two, just before it closed, then sat in a square nearby to eat the cheese and tomato rolls Freda had bought earlier, until 2.30pm. We then found ourselves outside the Royal Palace, so we went in there with our free tickets, and had an English-speaking girl for our guide. We had a tour of the Royal apartments, after first seeing the Chapel of the Shroud. Afterwards we walked through to the heart of the Cathedral where thousands were still queuing for admission, and had a look at all the souvenir stalls. I bought six more postcards, then we returned to the hotel for a cup of tea made in our room.

   Then, at 7.45pm dinner, and afterwards, at 9.00pm, the unforgettable Mass.



The new Daily Star

   10.05pm. We arrived back at Summerlands just after 5.45pm this evening. After leaving Russell Road we had a dental appointment at 3.00pm, then drove here. Freda did not have to have anything done at the dentist’s; I needed an awkward filling, for which Mr Collée gave me an injection, and have to return next Wednesday for the dressing to be replaced with a permanent filling.

   I bought the new Daily Star this morning, also The Sun and Radio Times and TV Times. I was not very impressed with the new paper but it will take time to develop a character of its own. At 6p it is a penny cheaper than The Sun and 2p cheaper than the Mirror.

   In the office Janet made a little speech, telling me that it is nine years tomorrow since she came to work in the office, that she has always loved me, and that her life was “more tragic than Phyllis Dixey’s.” We had a good day in the office. I composed a new stock letter to reply to the people requesting the photograph of Jesus from the Shroud, and Janet was still answering letters when I left the office at 2.45pm. I had filled up with petrol and loaded the car during the lunch hour.

   We found that the new boiler had been fitted while we have been away, so we have the central heating on on this side of the house for the first time in several weeks. The windows are running with water; the house is perhaps still damp from the flood. I have brought my “Bridle Path” picture back, and hung it over the fireplace in the lounge where it belongs. Brian ’phoned after tea and Freda spoke to him. I have spent the evening reading, checking proofs and labelling tapes, and watched “Mastermind” on TV.


The last Pope?

   10.11pm. We have spent the Sabbath evening quietly relaxing, listening to tapes of the Keswick Convention, of Pope John Paul I (“Il Papa del Sorriso”) and Gregorian Chants, while I have also been reading Cardinal Newman on the Virgin Mary. In bed I am currently re-reading his Apologia.

   I got up this morning at five past seven, took Freda a cup of tea in bed, spent a little while in prayer, and then before eight o'clock talked with Janet over the ’phone. The morning I spent checking the November and December proofs against the original tapes, which brought to light some serious but otherwise unnoticeable omissions in the typesetting. Freda went into town to purchase the net curtains she had on order, but they had still not come in; and to Barclays to see Mr Heginbotham, but he was not there today.

   After lunch we went for a walk round the Avenue and up Wearyall, posting the proofs on the way. The rest of the afternoon I spent in checking Sue’s transcript of Satan’s Great Mistake (Nairobi, 13th August) and copying two Rhodesian messages for Brian to send to someone who had asked for them. These will have to be done again as the heads on the playback machine became coated with oxide, and the second message was too long to get on the tape.

   I also read Mrs [Nadege] Baco’s latest newsletter about Garabandal, and the October Midnight Cry, in both of which were items suggesting that John Paul II will be the last Pope. This is my understanding too, if I read correctly the signs of the times. I seem to remember being told when in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls, Rome, about a tradition of the end of the Papacy when there is no longer room for his portrait in the frieze around the ceiling; and there were three spaces vacant. Also there is, I believe, a prophecy of Nostradamus which, if rightly interpreted, identifies the present Pope as the last before the end of the Age.



Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji

   10.22pm. I have been in bed for two days with a terrible throat and now a cold in the head. Freda spent much of yesterday in the office, and has had to spend most of today cleaning up after the heating installation in the breakfast room, which was started on Thursday and finished yesterday lunch-time.

   I slept for several hours yesterday and solidly all night through, and felt better this morning. I read part of a book sent me for Christmas by Roger [Gibbons], The Gospel of History by C.A.L. Totten, and corrected the February proofs for Dad to return to Reliance for me tomorrow. He took Freda to her mother’s this afternoon.

   Yesterday’s gifts for the work amounted to £119.18, including £3.40 in stamps, so Dad paid £115.78 into the Deposit Account. Margaret Featherstone sent £25. There was a nice letter and gift from Mr Sorabji:—

      The Eye, Townsend, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset


Dear Brother Williams,

   I send you a small offering — it’s all I can manage in view of the many other calls on me in response to yours of [undated] received this morning.

   I have a great friend who is hard-pressed owing to a loss of an engagement (professional) who has dropped out on account of a strike that is making things difficult for him with his many commitments, mortgage, family and so on. His initials are A.H. for your guidance. He is a very very great and treasured friend (he actually took part in that T.V. programme about me that you saw.)

   I am very shocked and distressed that you were attacked by a thug hippy intruder into one of your cottages and to hear of the wanton damage caused by this creature. I hope you are fully recovered therefrom.

   Kind regards.

   K.S. Sorabji

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webwork by Jim Nagel at Abbey Press, Glastonbury — this edition published 2007-06-30