Grand Finale 14 Sept-1 Okt 2009 (Dawie J)



Italy was really the grand finale. We stayed in a lovely old house that is 800 years old. The walls are 1 meter thick.Except for the car crash, it was wonderful.

One day we went to Pisa and saw the leaning tower. it is really leaning a lot – it is amazing that it is still standing!

We also went to Firenze with the train. The cathedrals in Italy are definitely the most spectacular. There is one very beautiful one in Firenze.

Our 3rd excursion was to Rome. We entered the Vatican city with out passports! We not only did not need them, but we also did not have them with us – which we found out later is against the Italian law. But God protected us from policemen asking us for identification.

There were thousands of people at the Trevi Fountains and the Spanish steps. We ate ice cream at the Steps. It was a special treat! The Spanish steps were built from earthquake rubble from the Colloseum.

The Colloseum was something else. It is huge. It was built from the money of all the things that they took from the Jerusalem Temple – the one that Solomon built. It is so sick that it was built for an entertainment place where people can look while others die, either fighting other Gladiators or wild animals. It is a privilege that we as Christians do not have to face what those Christians had to face!

The next day on 29 Sept., was my 10th birthday. It was a wonderful day of rest – we did not work at all! We had eggs and bacon for breakfast – each had 1 egg on his own to enjoy! For lunch we had a braai and paella for the evening. This was exactly what I've wished for. I also received nice gifts.

Then it was time to pack and clean for the last time. I was sad to leave. I felt sooo emotional!

Italy was really a grand finale!

Dawie’s birthday – 29/09/99 (Chrisna)

Ten years ago, God brought this baby boy into our lives. What a glorious day!

We celebrated Dawie J's 10th birthday high in the mountains of north Italy, in the small town of Lanciole. It was quite shocking realizing that "our baby" is leaving the single numbers behind – he is entering the teen years! But luckily he is still my little boy. I must say that he has proven himself as being an equally important member of our Fourie-team, really pulling his weight in all the different responsibilities that he had to take on this year. Another tap on the shoulder for him, is the special way that he has toured around the world with 4 adults as only companions. We did "adult things" and he just went along, walked hundreds of miles and never complained. He played alone for many hours (while we were working and his schoolwork is done) and accepted any one of us as a playmate whenever we joined him. Yes, he is my little 10 year old boy, but he is already growing into a special young man!

The day was, on his request, a day of rest at home. We did not work and did not go anywhere – that is what he has wished for! We started the day by singing our birthday song - again in 4 melodies, and clapped 10 claps! WOW! Then we had breakfast, a very special one. We had toast and eggs. There were 5 eggs, which meant that I could make a fried egg for every one(not the scrambled eggs where 3 must feed 5!) After breakfast we sat outside, looking out over the mountains and gave presents.

Dawie was so glad and relieved that he did get presents. He wrapped a gift and wrote a card for himself, coming from his imaginary friend, Ben, because he was afraid that none of us would have bought a gift! He loved the Italy soccer shirt, small gladiator and home made cards that we gave him. I once again realized that living on a small budget, makes you appreciate even the smallest things just so much more. May we keep on appreciating all things when we are back home, where things are cheaper and where our budget is bigger.

Then we played a game of Siedler. Dawie and Tinus created the playboard in the form of Italy and Dawie won – fare and square.

Dawie asked for a barbeque on his birthday and that is what we did – a real Namibian braai , although we had only charcoal and not wood. We enjoyed the wonderful weather, the pork rib and potatoes. And we had ice cream for dessert!

During the afternoon, Dawie gave the 4 of us "permission" to work, while he played along. The evening meal was yet another request. We made paella, a big pot of it and we celebrated once more.

This was the first time in the 9 months that we did not empty the pot and even Charlie said that he had enough, he is completely satisfied (that's a nice word for full). I was overjoyed and stunned at the same time. It has happened – my men were on a 10/10 after a meal!

We did not even eat the chocolate cake that I had baked for the birthday. We wisely left it for the next day, when we knew that we will be back on normal small portions, still feeling hungry after the meal and it gave us yet another opputunity to celebrate Dawie's birthday.

We ended this glorious day of celebrating and rest in prayer. It is our family tradition to, as a family, but individually pray for God's blessings upon the birthday boy. And that is what we did. We know that God heard and that all His richest blessings will be with Dawie for many years to come. May he be an obedient soldier in God's army and fulfill the dreams that God has for him.

Happy birthday Dawie! We love you!

Wat ek geleer het in 2009 (Dawie J)






Algemeen

-Dat God is kreatief, want elke paar km waar jy is,

is dit anders en net 'n paar voorbeelde van plekke wat

baie anders is, die Grand Canyon, die Niagra Falls,

die Alpe, die Namibiese oop velde.

-En teamwork makes the dream work

en ek het my weight gepull, nie net met die tas wat

ek gesleep het wat dieselfde as ek geweeg het nie,

maar ook met al die gunsies wat ek gedoen het.

1.By my pa en ma

1.Hulle wil altyd help.

2.Hulle wil altyd my reg help as ek dwaal.

3.Hulle gee baie liefde.

4.Hulle oefen baie.

5.Hulle het 'n goeie attitude.

6.Hulle werk hard.

2.Oor skool

1.Jy moet 'n goeie attitude he.

2.Jy leer nuwe goed.

3.Ek moet eerlik wees.

4.Jy leer meer van GOD!

5.Dis nie maklik nie.

3.Oor familie

1.Daar moet liefde wees.

2.Jy moet tyd saam met mekaar spandeer.

3.Jy moet gunsies doen.

4.Jy moet saam eet.

5.Maak grappies met mekaar maak.

6.Teamwork makes the dream work


4.Werkies wat ek gedoen het

1.Tafel dek.

2.Vir pa sy selfoon bring.

3.Vir pa water gebring.

4.Vir ma 'n boom geteken vir haar boek.

5.Tinus se rug krap.

6.My rugsak altyd self gepak

5.GOD

1.MAGTIG

2.LIEFDE

3.SKEPPER

4.VADER

5.KREATIWITEIT

6.VERLOSSER

7.GOD

6.Die wêreld

1.Daar is pyn.

2.Daar is sonde.

3.Daar is skoonheid.

4.Daar is wonders

5.Daar is liefde

6.DAAR IS HOOP – as ons aan Jesus houvas


Dit is wat ek geleer het op 'n 9 maande wêreld toer.

David Johannes Fourie

Dankie.


Italy 14 Sept – 2 Oct 2009 (Chrisna)

Much has been written about Italy, but not much about the country itself and what we saw and where we went. I wrote about the accident and the peaceful days of moving our focus back home and Dawie J's birthday, but nothing else. And that is not right, because Italy is a very special place.

It's a country that was a 1st world country 2000 years ago, but now it is almost more 3rd world than many places in Africa! The internet did not reach most places, at least not any coffee shop or restaurant. They firmly go for eat and drink in restaurants and definitely not working on the internet! This is not necessarily bad, it just shows their attitude toward life: Stop often to enjoy life with friends, food and wine and in between those times, drive like Formula 1 racers on 2 way traffic streets that are actually to narrow for 1 car!

Italians are open and friendly, loud and helpful. They only speak Italian, but are willing to listen en help with a mixture of English, Italian, Afrikaans and lots of sign language . The food in supermarkets in the small towns of Italy is also the lowest prices of any place where we've been in Europe– still more expensive than Namibia, but almost affordable! We thoroughly enjoyed the different pastas - it was on our menu every 2nd day! Two other special treats we allowed ourselves to buy in the Esselunga supermarket, were grapes and ice cream – wonderful!

Our house, built in the 1200's and renovated in the 1700's , is next to the church. It was always the bishop's house. The lowest floor was the pigsty and shelter for the cow, but now it serves as the kitchen and dining room. The walls are 1 m thick and the windows very small. Me and Dawie had a room on the middle level and the 2nd room was Dawie's office, where an ironboard was his desk ('n boer maak 'n plan). The boys slept on the 3rd floor. From the parking area to the house is a narrow cobblestone pathway hugged in from both sides by other equally old houses. It is almost unreal and it was a special blessing to be able to become part of the small town of Lanciole for 3 weeks.

We left Lanciole only 4 times. The first Sunday we went to Firenze with the train. A friendly Italian woman tried to help us to buy tickets at the machine that speaks only Italian. She has never done this before, but she really wanted to help us! At the end Tinus figured out what to do, we could catch the train and our Italian friend was relieved that all worked out – now she also knew how to buy tickets! Firenze has wonderful majestic cathedrals. They are not specifically the most beautiful ones in Europe, but I will vote for most impressive!

The doors are in solid brass with different panels telling Bible stories. We had fun figuring out which stories each panel portray. Quite sad is that the guides who have tour groups there, explain the panels with humanistic stories and do not mention that it is truths from the Bible! It was also in Firenze that we ran into David. We had picnic on the grass plain in front of another cathedral and found the open market with leather and Italian art and craft on our way back to the station. It was actually a blessing, otherwise we would have spent a long time browsing there and not experience so much of the rest of Firenze. God surely knows which ways to take us!

On Tuesday afternoon we went to Pisa. Let me assure you, that tower is really skew. Although expecting it to lean over, it surprises you just how much it is leaning. Amazing that it is still standing! There were 1000's of tourists – much more than in any other place on our world tour. The only places with more tourists, were in Rome – our last stop in Italy.

Another afternoon outing took us to Lucca, the neighboring town to Pescia (the town at the bottom of the mountain where the supermarket is). The old town is still encircled by a 100% complete city wall! Inside of the wall is a typical medieval village with cathedrals and narrow cobblestone streets. We had picnic on the city wall.

Our final excursion was to Rome. We left early the Sunday morning and drove through the country side of Tuscany and along the west coast all the way to Rome. "Picture beautiful" is a good description of the entire road. We parked our car in the center of Rome, a few meters from the Trevi fountain. We started walking, exploring, discovering, enjoying. The 1000's of people walking the streets created a very special atmosphere. We were tourists in Rome! We found the Spanish steps without looking for them and sat there with 10 000 other people, just sitting and enjoying. We found cathedrals and a street with one designer shop after the other – people actually buy from them! While strolling and going left and right through the streets, we stumbled on the Pantheon – an impressive building with massive pillars and a 100% perfect dome, built many centuries ago! The Italian builders and engineers of the centuries just before and after Christ were surely remarkable! God took us through the streets of Rome and showed us all the special places we were supposed to see!

We left the centre of Rome after sunset, to find a hotel. We found an affordable hotel where they still had a room available, but they needed to see all 5 our passports. Obvious, you might think. Problem: I brought only Dawie's passport and left the other 4 in our Lanciole house! Not clever at all, actually not thinking at all! The lady also warned us that she can easily phone the police to arrest us, because in Italy every person must at all times have identification on them. She also assured us that no hotel will rent us a room without the passports! Oh, the shame and the guilt and feeling bad I experienced! Only a miracle will help us now, otherwise we must drive back home straight away! We prayed and asked God for a miracle: An affordable hotel with vacancies and not asking for the passports. God is faithful and loving kind – He performed the miracle! Praise God! We had a place to sleep and another day in Rome!

Our "bonus day" in Rome was spent almost entirely at the Colosseum and the first city.

This was such a special 5 hours – going back into the history of an era just before and after the birth of Christ. This actually calls for a blog dedicated just towards these stories and the learning experience we had, so I will still try to convince Tinus to write something. After our tour, which only the 3 boys and I went on, we met Dawie in a small cellar restaurant and spent another 1 hour telling him all of our experiences. This was over a plate of very affordable and fantastic Italian pasta.

I would like to mention one thing about the Colosseum. It was a place built exclusively for the pleasure of the people – a place where people fought people until one died and where wild animals ripped people to pieces at the cheers of the crowd.

The material used to build the place, was entirely purchased with everything that was taken from the Temple in Jerusalem after the Roman empire took over Israel. One of the main events of the "shows" in the Colosseum, was to put Christians in the arena with hungry lions. These were people who's lives were different than the rest of the Romans, people who's lives were not filled with the sin and lust of those days, people who were light and salt and therefore were confronted with the question:"Are you a Christian? When they confessed their belief in Jesus Christ, they were fed to the lions! I kept on asking myself: if it was me, would I confess my belief or would I be a "secret agent"? And then the next question evaluating my life today: Will my life show to the world that I am a Christian? Do I look different than the world, or do I blend in so nicely, that I do not make a difference in God's Kingdom? Am I light and salt in a visible, feel-able way? Challenging questions that need to be answered honestly – it is only then that you can grow. The wonderful thing out of all this true and horrific stories, is that on the spot where the Emperor and his family sat to watch the games, on the exact spot, now stands a big wooden cross. The real King, the only King is on the throne! Praise God!

Our final hour in Rome was spent in the Vatican city, at the St Peters cathedral and the big plain. Impressive and special.

Then we took the 6 hour long drive back to our house in the mountains of Tuscany – content and thankful that we could experience Roma.

The next day was Dawie J's birthday followed by 1 workday (finishing goals, packing, cleaning). The 1st of October came all too soon. With everything ready to leave, the 5 of us gathered in the dining room. We said our thank you's to each other and we said our thank You's to God. We were overwhelmed with gratefulness for the wonderful blessing in our lives the past 9 months. It was time for "new life" to begin – the 40 weeks were almost over! We shared Holy Communion. We only had chocolate cake left, which took the place of bread (we cut it in the form of Africa) and we had red wine to drink. All 5 of us dedicated ourselves once again to our Lord and Saviour and said:"Here am I, send me"

We left Lanciole while it was raining. We all had a tear in the eye, but peace in our hearts. We have started our journey back to Africa, back to Namibia, back home.


Italy completes the circle – 14-30 September (Chrisna)





We are sitting in the business lounge in the Frankfurt airport, waiting for the plane to take us back home. When we departed on 30 Dec 2008, we were also in the business lounge (of Windhoek Airport, both treats with compliments of Trip Travel), waiting to start our 40 week journey..

The circle is completed. We did not plan or even think that it is necessary to plan a fullness of the circle of these 9 months of traveling the world. That is something that a person cannot really plan, that is part of God's perfect plans. Once again I realize that waiting upon God for guidance in making your plans, is so much better than planning on your own and then asking God to bless them. God is the Master Planner. Why? Because He sees the big picture, He sees the smallest detail in that big picture, He knows what will make it perfect, He is creative, He loves us and He WANTS to bless us and He CAN bless us.

So why do I say that our circle is complete? We started our "work year" of this tour in Switzerland, in a chalet high up in the Alps, in a solitary place. It was easy to follow a good routine and get out of the blocks for this 9 months race. It was a time in which God could prepare us for our tour around the world and for what He wanted to teach us. It was a place where we were forced to slow down, where the fast pace was ripped out of us and the only place to look at, was inside of our own hearts.

We ended our tour in Tuscany, Italy. We lived in a house built in the 1200's, in a small village where there is no shop, no internet and very limited cell-phone reception. The village is high up in the mountains with a narrow road winding up the mountain.

It was raining the first few days, and kept us inside the house – in the same manner as the snow that kept us inside our chalet in the Swiss Alps. We did not want to travel the road too much and chose to stay home. It was easy to follow a routine and "finish well" on all our goals. We noticed these similarities and shared with each other that the circumstances are almost the same as in the beginning of our year. Much to our surprise, we discovered that the area we stayed in , was officially called:"The little Switserland of Italy"! God already knew how He will complete the circle when we planned our tour in 2008! We only discovered the beauty of His plan when we were living it!

We were in a solitary place, where God could prepare us for going back to our homeland, to Namibia. We were forced to slow down and to use the time to look back at 9 months of traveling and summarize what we have learnt.

The circle is complete. Many small things of Switserland were repeated now. The church bell rang every hour to remind us of the hour of the day and God's love for us. The exercise went uphill, only uphill, until we turned around to go home, then we must pull in our brakes. One difference however was our speed, much faster than in Switserland. Come to think of it, also that completes the circle – because we have accomplished a much better level of fitness than what we had before.

With the circle completed in so many ways, we also prepared ourselves in our mind and spirit to return home. I cannot say that I am excited to go home, which almost makes me feel guilty. But I realize: it is understandable, because it means that our dream is over, our bubble will burst when we put our feet on Namibian soil. What I can say is that I know it is right that we go back and that it is a privilege to have a place to go back to. Another precious privilege is the fact that many other people are excited that we will be coming back. We also know that Namibia is the place where God wants us. We saw many places on our journey where we know we will have a wonderful, purposeful life, but we know more than ever before: Namibia is our country. And that is good to know.

We will continue to write blog stories when we are back home, because there are still many stories that have not been told – stories on Italy, on other places, on what we have learnt through these 9 months and I am sure there will be a story on "Back Home" .

As for now, I will end this completed circle story by once again just thanking God. He is worthy to be praised.

The God I know: Righteous and Holy

The God I know: Faithful and true

The God I know: a tower of refuge

The God I know: strengthens the weak

The God I know: Your Heart beats within me

My one desire: more of you

Built on Rock – (Dawie) 25/09/09

It is nine months since we left Windhoek for our around the world tour. I am writing this blog in the mountains in the north of Italy in a former priest house, built in the twelfth century. The walls of the priest house and the next-door church are almost a meter thick. Despite being built in an earthquake-prone are, they've stood firm for more than 800 years... They are built on solid rock...

It let me think of early one morning when my father-in-law woke us up, so excited; " The Lord gave me a name for your lodge! It has to be 'The Rock Lodge', it has to!" Approved! As the French traffic officer told me in his typical accent: "No discuszioon". There was also no discussion on Charles Ralph Brockelbank von Gericke's suggestion...because through him the Lord has spoken. "Rock lodge" it was.

Since that day more than 13 years ago, we held more than 500 training days of seminars to help people to build their lives, marriages, families, businesses, churches, schools, organizations, governments, countries etc. on the Rock.

More than 2000 years ago Jesus asked his disciples who do they think He is. Matthew 16:15-18 (NLT)
15 Then he asked them, "Who do you say I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." 17 Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
18 Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.

We all know that the "rock" Jesus referred to, is not Peter himself, but more his testimony that Jesus is the Messiah, the savior of the world.

Everyone of us is building something. We all would like to build things that will last...that will stand the test of time...like the priest house and the church I am writing of. Like the Church of Jesus.

Jesus is aware of our desires. That is why he gave us guidelines on how to build.

Matthew 7:24-28 (NIV)
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,

The lesson is clear after the "therefore" in vers 24: those who have heard Jesus' words AND put them into practice, they are building on rock, only their "buildings" will stand against the trails of this world and the storms of life.

Joshua said after a successful life as a leader in difficult circumstances, as recorded in Joshua 24:15 (NLT):
15 But if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve...But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."

After 47 years, more than 500 training days at the Rock Lodge and a nine months around-the-world-tour, I am more convinced than ever before that if we would like to leave worthwhile legacies or want to build buildings that will last, then we should build on rock...that is to seek God's guidance through His Word and Spirit AND put His ways into practice.

Therefore if you are unwilling to serve the Lord His way, you can choose today who and how you will serve, but for me and my family, we will serve the Lord in His ways. We will build on the rock...

Its seems to me that it is not only the confession and commitment that is important, but also the outcome...because the quality of our building work will be tested.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (GNT)
10 Using the gift that God gave me, I did the work of an expert builder and laid the foundation, and someone else is building on it. But each one must be careful how he builds. 11 For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid. 12 Some will use gold or silver or precious stones in building on the foundation; others will use wood or grass or straw. 13 And the quality of each person's work will be seen when the Day of Christ exposes it. For on that Day fire will reveal everyone's work; the fire will test it and show its real quality. 14 If what was built on the foundation survives the fire, the builder will receive a reward. 15 But if anyone's work is burnt up, then he will lose it; but he himself will be saved, as if he had escaped through the fire.

I believed that through God's grace, some of our building work will stand the test of time and the storms of life. I further believe that through God's grace, this world tour will bear much fruit for God's Kingdom. When my words proved to be right, may our Lord Jesus get all the glory, because all the glory is due to Him and Him alone.

Therefore, our Heavenly Father, please guide us through the powerful work of your Holy Spirit to know how we should build once we put our feet back into our wonderful country, Namibia...the land of the brave!

Bad things do happen – 14 September (Chrisna)



We left Marseille on Sunday, 13 September at 15h30 after Dawie returned home from AVIS with our car. All our belongings were packed, the house was clean and the food for the road was ready. We drove along the coast, avoiding the expensive toll roads, on our way to Italy – our very last stop on a 9 month journey around the world. We stopped for picnic at a Typical French Riviera holiday town. We sat on the rocks with the waves crashing at our feet, later having a pebble throw competition and watching the sun drop into the sea. It was glorious. Life is good – very good, and we are grateful for what we can experience. We drove over a mountain pass. and slept at Cannes. Monday morning, we continued along the coast up to Monaco. It was spectacular scenery all the way – yet a different example of God's Creativity! Monaco was busy, packed with (seemingly) rich people. We saw the whole of the kingdom of the Garibaldi's, on the day 20 years after their beloved Princess Grace died.

Then we took a toll road – we need to put some kilometers behind us now. We drove on a road crossing the mountains, but we never went up or downhill, because the road is like a chain consisting of tunnel-bridge-tunnel-bridge. Amazing what man and money can do. We entered Pescia, a small town in Tuscany,in pouring rain. It was 16h00, as planned . We met our home exchange host at the supermarket after buying food for the next week. The food was the most affordable prices in the whole of Europe so far. The price of a bread is half of what it is in France!

Soon we were off to our very last house on this adventure of ours. We were following Gloria to the house high up in the mountains. She will take us there, as there is no adresse to put on the GPS and explaining the way is also a challenge. "How can we explain this to anyone or really describe it well on a blog, so that they will understand?", we told each other. The excitement, the newness, the uncertainty, the thankfulness, all of it mixed together, is a feeling that we have enjoyed throughout our 9 months. "It is the last time, remember to drink it in and remember...", we reminded each other.

We left Pescia, and the talking and excitement switched over to utter concentration. The road went up into the mountains, steep and curving the whole time. That in itself is not a problem, but the road is VERY narrow – many places room for only one car! Our guide car went fast, as we found out to be the normal way the Italians drive. When going around a blind corner(of which there are many), the hooter is blown, but the speed remains the same."What do you do if there is a car coming from the front?", some one asked."You hope there is no car coming", was my only answer.

Not many turns after my "wise " words, there came a car from the front. When we saw the car for the first time, it was perhaps 3meters from us. We were very slow at that stage and Dawie hit the brakes. I remember closing my eyes and feeling us stopping, thinking that we missed each other, only to hear and feel the CRASH!

The other car were unfortunately very fast, and although he did brake, he could not stop before driving right into us – almost head on(that's how wide the road is there on that blind turn in the road) When I opened my eyes, I saw the nose of our silver Ford and the red Fiat completely smashed and folded into each other. Then, looking to my left to Dawie and to the back to the 3 boys, seeing everyone is fine. My question confirmed it. All 5 were 100% fine, not even a bump, but the car is close to a right off. By then I gladly saw the 2 men in the other car also climbing out, they were scolding in pure Italian, but they were uninjured. in one piece. Praise God!

Oh no! Can it be real? Thank you God! Sadness. Thankfulness. All of these emotions and thoughts went through my heart and mind simultaneously. Car nr. 13 on this tour is smashed! Our last car and that 1km from our house. We had an accident, but we are all fine and we can walk away from the accident scene. Praise the Lord.

After that, things happened fast. Gloria phoned whoever needed to be phoned, our luggage and food and ourselves were loaded into Gloria's car and taken to our house, a tow-in truck came to take both cars away, we greeted our hosts and the 5 of us were alone. We were safe and sound, but bruised(not physically) and sad and quiet. We ate the meal that I have prepared by now and prayed together, giving thanks mostly. We were sitting in a house built in the 1200's, almost unreal the privilege to stay in such a place, a fitting "grand finale" for our world tour, but we were some what quiet. Dawie J was trying his best to cheer everyone up, continuously confirming his love for us and that everything is OK! So special how God uses us all differently... The rain continued to fall down.

We went to bed, thankful for saved lives, and prayed for the many people who has lost loved ones in accidents like this one. The next morning at the breakfast table, we spend a long time sharing our hearts, asking and answering each others questions, seeking together for things that we've done wrong, repented for what was needed, looking ahead, finding the life lessons that we can learn and prayed together. We asked God that He will help us to walk away from the accident psychologically and spiritually in the same healthy way as how we could do it physically. We decided once again that one of the most valued and important things in our family, is that we must live in unity and treasure our lives to the full. We also trust God 100% as before the accident, we know that He is in control and we are fully committed and relying on Him. We are so glad to be His children.

Yes, bad things do happen, but God is good. Life can sometimes be hard, but God is good – all the time. We praise His name. We will follow Him, because that is the safest place to be.

Thank you Jesus.


How I kept myself busy – Italy (Dawie) 23 September 09



For the board of the African Leadership Institute ("ALI") , our family trust's trustees, my mentors, friends and for myself, I thought it would be useful if I try to summarize the 25 things that I have devoted most of my time to over the previous nine months:

  1. Travelling the world with my whole family: I have visited more than 30 major cities in 10 countries on 5 different continents.
  2. Planning the trip and keeping tight control over our tour and personal finances.
  3. Leading our capable teams back home and maintaining precious relationships (via Skype and more than 20 emails per day).
  4. Meeting with various influential world class leaders. (I also made special new friends.)
  5. Visiting various churches of different denominations and sizes.
  6. Being exposed to places of leadership interest, such as the museums of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln.
  7. Reducing the cost of training material for ALI through sponsorships and discount on training books.
  8. Completing the English translation of the book, "Wie steel my geluk?".
  9. Acting on instructions of of our family trust's trustees of, amongst others, increasing our passive income.
  10. Advising and guiding Chrisna's book on "Forgiveness".
  11. Improving and extending our marriage seminar curriculum (workbook and follow-up seminar).
  12. Improving the curriculum of ALI (I revised existing sessions and developed new ones).
  13. Reading through the whole Bible (twice in 18 months).
  14. Reading nine carefully selected books.
  15. Resting well in body and spirit (we spoiled ourselves with two weeklong pleasure cruises).
  16. Keeping my physical body healthy and ready for a new season.
  17. Finalizing the monthly financial management accounts of 5 different entities.
  18. Completing the financial yearend procedures of more than 7 entities and preparing for their board meetings.
  19. Spending time with God (in walk, journaling and prayer).
  20. Investing plenty of quality time in my wife and three sons.
  21. Writing more than 20 blog posts and finalizing two newsletters.
  22. Selling (including negotiations and contracts) the TurnTheTide coffee shop on behalf of their board.
  23. Improving my own skills and capabilities by attending leadership seminars, computer and technology training.
  24. Reflecting on the previous 47 years of my life, dreaming and strategizing for the next season.
  25. "Wasting time" in the Lord's presense and with my family.

Psalm 16 (NLT)
1 A psalm of David. Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. 2 I said to the Lord, "You are my Master! All the good things I have are from you." 3 The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! 4 Those who chase after other gods will be filled with sorrow. I will not take part in their sacrifices or even speak the names of their gods. 5 Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. 6 The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! 7 I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. 8 I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. 9 No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety. 10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

AMEN

Will I do a world tour again? 21/09/09, Italy (Dawie)




The practical circumstances around our family will most probably not allow us to do such a world tour again, but if I had to make the decision again, I would have no doubt what so ever to take the trip!

Through God's grace I have made a few good decisions in my life...like to accept Jesus as my Savior, to marry Chrisna, to become a chartered accountant and to join GJ Hanekom & co (which later became part of PricewaterhouseCoopers), to have three children, to start the Rock Ministries - partnered with Transformation/TurntheTide in Namibia, to found the African Leadership Institute AND to take my family on a world tour for nine months.

Surely, there are things that I will do different if I can start all over, but they will be minor. For that I can only give God all the honor and glory. Minor things I would have done differently on this tour, would be to include the more difficult parts in the world to travel (like France and Italy), first, and the easier countries (like New Zealand, Australia, America), last.

Things that we got right were the open communication channels with our capable team back home and among ourselves, the good budget and the management thereof, the fine balance between work and travel (experience and leisure), the fantastic churches, places and people we visited, the slower pace, the more time with God and his Word and the soft & broken hearts inside us. Again all honour and glory to Jesus, Our Lord.

We have shared so many good and joyful stories on our blogs. The impression may be that we had only highlights and we are a perfect family who had a perfect time...not true! I lost part of my finger in Phuket, spent time in hospital, got a traffic fine in France, made a huge car accident in Italy, had conflict with all my family members and had to deal with tough travel and language challenges to mention only a few. I had asked my family members more for their forgiveness than ever before – just because there were so many things to forgive me for!

I am extremely proud of all of them. Chrisna as tour manager, "homemaker", doctor, principal and wife did a great job. She allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare her for a new season of more fruit in ministry. Tinus as head of technical and communication division was an exceptional servant (in various fields) throughout the period. He is now ready to leave my home for further studies and for a next phase of preparation. I have no doubt that God will use him to make a huge impact in this world. Charlie brought joy and life to the tour. He was a good friend to all four of us. He really started to read the Bible more. He is a very gifted individual and will develop into a great leader of his time. Dawie J travelled well with four adults around him all the time. He was stretched in many ways, but developed from a small little boy into a young man with unlimited potential.

The memories of the tour are awesome, the impact immeasurable and the thankfulness in our hearts towards God (and all the friends who made it possible for us to go) overwhelming.

At this time while I write this blog, my emotions are so full that the only way I can end is with Paul's words in Romans 11:33-36 (NLT):
33 Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! 34 For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor? 35 And who could ever give him so much that he would have to pay it back? 36 For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen.


A Mediterranean Cruise – 5-12 September (Chrisna)


The cruise in the Alaskan Inside Passage was a dream come true, even better than ever expected, a real blessing. If that was my first and also my last cruise, I would have been content for life. Another cruise was not part of our plans, in our schedule or even somewhere on a radar screen. When Tinus suggested it while we were struggling to find an affordable solution for our 5-14 Sept. empty timeslot, it was an exciting thought, but put aside because of the "unrealness" of it! Luckily Tinus pressed on, investigated and came with the good news that a cruise crossing the Mediterranean Sea, departing from Marseille (where we were in a home exchange until 5 September), will be of lesser amount than travelling to Greece (where we wanted to go), accommodation there and food for the week. Almost too good to be true, but true!

We were scheduled for yet another cruise! That is a special spoil, blessings running over, and I tasted what Jesus meant when He spoke the words in Luk 6:38 " Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom." What we are receiving is so much more than what we ever have given, so much more. But yes, that is the God we serve and worship: the So-much-more God!

So it happened that on the 5th of September 2009 we boarded the MSC Fantasia, excited and ready. We looked forward to the new adventure, because although it was also a cruise, it was on a different ship, cruising different waters, stopping at different ports. This was also not "freestyle cruising", which meant that we had routines concerning our dinner time, place and dress-code.

The wonderful thing of a cruise is that no one in the family has any planning, organizing, deciding or working to do. The food in the buffet-cafeteria is ready for breakfast when we wake up, it is again ready when we are hungry or coming back on board at lunchtime and it is ready at 19h00 in the fancy restaurant. The dishes are taken away and washed by someone else after the meals. The boat is in a different port every day and is usually there already when we wake up. (It also happened once that it arrived at the port while we were eating breakfast. We loked at people tying ropes and working hard to get us docked, and we did not have to do a thing.) Whenever we are ready, we leave the ship to go ashore and come back, usually many hours before departure. Again, we will be lying on a sunbed or playing cards, and we feel the boat starting to move and hear the horn blow. We are off, and we did not have to do a thing! We did not have to pack, or hurry to get in the car, we don't have to find the road or even make the decision that it is time to go. We just sit, minding our own business and we are departing! That is fantastic! That is to taste and feel the spoiling you are privileged to experience. (You will understand this spoiling of "doing nothing" and not concentrating at all, better, if you understand how "doing everything while absolutely concentrating" was part of this past year!)


We visited Genoa and Napoli on the Italian west coast and then Palermo on the island of Sicily. All 3 very Italian and very old, but very different. We walked for kilometers, just exploring the cities, admiring the old castles, churches and piazzas - open plains or squares next to massive buildings, which succeed in creating a feeling of space in the midst of all the cluttered buildings. And when we're fulfilled...back to the gigantic ship along the seashore. A strange observation is that none of these places have well kept parks or green areas in them. If there are plants, they grow in pots and the parks we did see, was parks decades ago – now they are empty, dusty areas with sorry trees. On the Monday in Napoli, we saw 10 brides posing for pictures in front of different old buildings, most probably due to the lack of green, leafy backgrounds. We speculated whether it was Wedding-madness-Monday, or why so many marriages late on a Monday morning?

On 09-09-09 we set foot on African soil again – the first time in 8 months and Tinus especially, had a noticeable happy face! We visited Tunisia and could go into town, to the market, for 1hour after standing in the passport control line for 2 hours. All the places we have visited so far was old and dirty. Tunisia was also old and dirty, but also neglected. Yes, we were in Africa. But we knew with a sureness: this is our continent, this is where God wants us – in Africa. We surely are Africans.

The next day Palma, on the island of Mallorca was on our itinerary. This is not only Raphael Nadal's hometown, but also the playground for many very rich people. Although it has it's fair share of old buildings, the city was clean, the roads wide and the traffic orderly. Must be a combination of money and good leadership in the municipality that leads to this pleasant difference.


There is one thing that Namibia and Mallorca has in common: the gecko! Wire, metal, glass and cloth geckos are for sale everywhere. We found ourselves actually having a strange longing for the friendly, mosquito eating geckos in our house on the farm!

On 9/11, the day America remembered the tragic day 8 years ago, we docked in Barcelona, Spain. (This was our last port before arriving back in Marseille again.) It was a public holiday in Spain, and the whole of Barcelona was on the streets, browsing through the many street markets. We marveled at beautiful old buildings and the architecture of Gaudi, which differs so much from the rest of the European styles. Once again the walking fitness we gained throughout the year, like so often before, served us well. We walked far to reach the city, but saved many Euro's that way by not taking a shuttle bus or taxi!

That is a summary of the ports visited and the "free excursions" we planned for ourselves and enjoyed tremendously.


Another thing I would like to mention to make sure that I do not forget it in the future, is the evening meals. It was fancy and we had to dress for the occasion! We had our own table where we sat every evening, looking out over the vast mass of water, and with a personal waiter, Gede from Indonesia. He is working for his 10th consecutive month of this year, that is without 1 day off ever – 7 days a week, non stop. This is his 5th year working like this. He gets 1 month per year off, when he goes home. He does this because there is not work opportunities back home. Every one on the boat works like that. They never strike or call on the unions. They all just appreciate the fact that they do have a job and an income and then they work, 12 hours a day. We pray that he will find a good job in his homeland when he goes there in December, he wants to be with his wife and children now and feel it is time to return.

Back to dressing for the occasion: Strict rules apply – only long pants and no jeans allowed in the evenings. Luckily we knew this beforehand, and bought a pair of brown pants for each of the 2 young men (who has only 1 jean each on the tour.) What we did not know, was that the captain decides when it will be "informal dress", meaning the long pants and a shirt with collar, or "formal dress" (a tuxedo and bow tie will not be out of place!) Obviously we could not reach those standards, but boy, did we gear up! We laughed and joked that other people won't think we look too formal, but they did not know that we were wearing the topclass of what we had in our suitcases, that we made effort with our appearance – it was the best we ever looked the whole year. Tinus and Dawie each bought a long sleeved shirt on a sale in Michigan City and Charlie received a "too small shirt " from one of the BC boys in NY and that was what they wore: the brown pants with the black long sleeve shirts and very important, they had a "formal attitude" in their eyes and posture. Dawie J was even better! He had his only long pants on and a black shirt of mine, which sleeves I folded and sewn in place. He combed his hair real neat and had the same posture as his brothers. I had my (only) best blouse on. We were accepted. It was definitely the posture and confidence that granted us entrance, and not the clothes. Yes, the Fouries can gear up with what we have if it is needed! You guessed right that we looked exactly the same on both formal evenings.


We enjoyed the evenings, the special service, the food which we ordered from a menu and especially the conversation. We spoke for hours about many different subjects. Outsiders must have thought that we saw each other many months ago and that we had some catching up to do on the talking! What a blessing. Yes, it surely is a blessing that we love and like each other so much and enjoy our fellowship and being together to such a degree. I thank and praise God for this regularly.

All too soon we arrived back in Marseille and it was time to leave the ship. We agreed that we made the right decision in taking this cruise. It was really fantastic and usually the expensive part of a cruise is to get there at the port of departure, if you come from Africa. But we were fortunate enough to already be in Marseille. We just realized once again that inviting God into your plans, right in the beginning of the planning, is the wisest decision that one can make, because God sure makes good plans. Excellent plans as a matter of fact and we simply say: "Yes, we will go ! Thank you, thank you very much."

Yet another story on the blessings of the Lord. We are grateful for all that we may enjoy and experience. May God's blessings flow through us to those whose roads we cross...

The miracles of keys in Marseille – 1 September (Chrisna)



The problem with falling behind on journaling and also blogging, is that you must summarize a whole period into one entry, and then it quickly becomes too lengthy, so you shorten your writing and obviously shrink your memories and learning opportunities. Another unfortunate result is that you also forget some key elements of what has happened and the life lessons accompanying them. This is exactly what has happened with my reporting on Marseille – I did not include a few (3, to be exact) key elements in my blog. Luckily I have enough time to reflect and think back again, to remember and write again. The problem is just (and this is now a short interrupting lesson for myself), that back home, while on the run and busy, there is not always time to re-reflect and to re-write. That way valuable lessons might fall on the ground and not in the heart. The lesson for me now, is to not postpone, to stay on schedule and to do it now and do it right! (sounds as if I read Tinus's blog on lessons learnt in Germany!) The only way to do this, is to plan and do, plan and do – never think that I will have time tomorrow, because tomorrow will be full of tomorrow's stuff, so do today's stuff today! Woa! That was not planned when I started with my blog on keys, but somehow God managed to take my thoughts there and re-taught me a valuable lesson, as if preparing me for what awaits me back home.

Back to Marseille and the key elements that I've missed on my first round. It is all about miracles God performed there with keys. Not once, but 3 times!

Miracle nr.1 : Arriving at house nr. 1, we found a young French boy there, mowing the lawn and getting things ready for our arrival. He also had the key to the house, but there was a problem: the key was stuck in the lock. It did not want to move and the door was unable to open. We could understand from his signs that he has tried everything, but with no success. We all tried, different tricks and ways, but the key and lock was stuck. There was no way to enter the house. After 30 minutes of struggling, we stood together and prayed. We asked God that the key will unlock the door, will come out of the lock, so that we can unlock the second lock on the door as well. We tried again, simply turning and pulling the key. It worked! It did exactly what it was suppose to do – unlock the door! I still do not know who of us or the Frenchman was the most surprised, but I do know that our voices said: "Praise the Lord!" and he said something that I could not understand. We had to agree, God is also Lord of stubborn keys. And we had to repent for trying such a long time before asking specifically for His help. The evenings prayers included many thank you's for unlocking the door for us!

Miracle nr.2: Our house had only one door, with 3 locks. The one on top in which the key was stuck, which we never used again. Another lock at the bottom on which that same key worked which was the only lock we used. The third lock, in the middle. was a jail lock (that you can lock from the inside without a key) for which we did not have a key, so obviously we did not use that lock. The first afternoon excursion happened a few days after our arrival in Marseille. We took special care to close all the windows tightly. It was a team effort to try to maneuver the car from the garden into the narrow street in which 4 family members took part, while the other was locking the door. We had a special afternoon visiting the Church on top of the Hill, the church where over centuries, seaman went to give thanks for safe journeys on stormy seas and ask for protection for the next journey. We had a blessed time. Back home we unlocked the lock that is the only one suppose to be locked, but the door did not want to open. Then we saw that the middle lock was locked! How is that possible?! We tried all the keys, but we definitely did not have the key for that lock. Then the locker realized that he was not concentrating earlier and did lock the lock from the inside, before pulling the door shut – the lock was locked. There was no other way into the house, except for breaking a window, which we obviously did not want to do. By now, we have learnt our lessons and everyone was praying for a breakthrough – or shall I say a break-in. The next moment the door opened and Dawie stood there with a piece of wire in his hand and a smile on his face. He has unlocked the lock with a piece of wire! I guess by now you know our shout: "Praise the Lord!" Again we had to agree, God is Lord of locks as well, and He can and wants to help, even if it was our own mistake which caused the problem. The evenings prayers included many thank you's for unlocking the door for us – once again! We know that God not only protect those on the stormy waters of the seas, but also in the normal storms and unsteady waters of the every day life.

Miracle nr.3: We moved to house nr.2 and had to phone the neighbor, who you guessed right, speaks French, to organize with him when we will be at the house. We said we will come on the Sunday some time after 17h00. The cleaning of house nr. 1 took longer than planned for and the traffic right across the city was a nightmare, so we reached the new house only after 18h00. It was securely locked with no one in sight. The neighbors spoke only French and were not helpful at all. We did not have a phone to call again and no other plan of how to enter. Charlie and Dawie J walked up the street to see if the house has a back side, but it did not. By now, we were all praying: "Please get us into the house?" An old Frenchman came walking to us, scolding in fluent French, pointing to his watch. He has the key to the house, and someone phoned him to say to be at the house at 17h00, and when no one was there then, he went back home. His house is way up the road. He by accident saw the 2 boys walking past his house, talking a strange language and he thought to see where they are going. He found us at the locked house. We apologized for being late and he gave us the key. Yes, we all said: "Praise the Lord!" Again we had to agree, God is Lord of locks as well, and He can and wants to help, even if it was our own mistake which caused the problem and even if other people are involved. The evenings prayers included many thank you's for unlocking the door for us – once again!

Within 3 weeks, we experienced how God performed 3 miracles with keys. Yes, even something as practical and real as a locked door is not too difficult for God. The lesson to take away? God is almighty and can do anything. He is faithful and loving and He really cares for us. He not only can help, but wants to help in all circumstances. He wants us to ask. Why, if He in any case knows what we need? He knows it will grow our faith if we ask and see a prayer answered, He knows that it is good for us to realize how dependant we are on God, He knows that small victories can lead to bigger victories later, He is God.

I am so glad that I know Him. May my life bring glory to His Name!

New York – blows you away! (11– 18 Aug) Charlie



So much has been said about the Big Apple. Not only from my other family members, but by the rest of the world. Always when I hear about a movie, money or business, I think of New York. I wonder how many movies are shot in New York? Everything about it just shouts out size and speed. The first thing I realized when we drove in the taxi from the airport to our South Orange New Jersey house, was the haste in all the people's eyes and body language. Everywhere In NYC it seems as if everyone is always late and has got something better to do. Even in Central Park, where the idea is to relax and find a haven in all the chaos, there are New Yorkers running and racing, not jogging or cycling! A 40 hour day would not be enough for a New Yorker!

For us, New York was an experience of overwhelming pace and size but it was also an experience of soulful calmness and grace. Our whole Trip dictates that the times when we were not the ones leading and knowing, were the times that God lead us to truthful joy.

When we were still at the mountain cabin in Georgia, we had a big meeting about the coming weeks. We unfortunately still had a lot of places where we did not have accommodation, so this meeting was to fill in some gaps. By the grace of God, we could fill a lot of these gaps. One on the other hand, still eluded us, New York. We decided to book a hotel with a cheap rate for early booking. After that day, a few weeks went by and while we were still in Chicago we got a mail sent by Patty Brown-Christenson. After reading the mail, we were once again astonished by God's love and grace. She gave us her house for that week. A beautiful, huge, amazing house! We immediately rejoiced and thanked God. After that we made work of it to quickly try and cancel our other hotel. Only by grace that they were full- we could cancel the un-cancelable booking!

So we were on the plane headed towards a beautiful New Jersey house close to NYC. I knew we were headed to New York when we got in a mid air traffic jam! We finally landed and got to the house without too much hassle… The house was even better than on the pictures and we knew that we were in for a great five days. Immediately we decided to stay there the whole time and just go in to NYC when we have to go to another, closer hotel.

The time at the house was fruitful and relaxing. We enjoyed every element of the blessing. From the huge T.V. all the way to the lovely pool. Me and Tinus also made use of their weight room (gym). It's weird, but I love exercising, especially doing weights and this was just perfect. It was also nice to have my own room. It was lovely to have a bit of solitude when trying to work, because when in a small apartment, finding solitude can be quite a challenge. It was lovely to be able to see the big city lights at night, but also be able to see the stars. This house was a perfect blessing to us and I want to thank God and the BC's for being such lovely, loving neighbors. Now I know what " love your neighbor", truly means – even love your neighbors 10 000 km away!!


The Sunday while we were still at the BC house, we headed toward another church picked out by Dawie Sr. We took an interesting drive to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church . As always, we were blessed by the beauty of God's love and faithfulness. The Grammy award winning choir was one of my many church highlights.

It was sad when we had to leave the house. Not only because of the great house, but also because of the beautiful people we were privileged to meet. I want to thank them as well for treating us like family. From the other blogs you can see that they were truly blessings to us. We were headed back to a small hotel room, but we took with us the excitement of seeing NYC in the morning.

The next day, we became part of the ever running and busy New York city. We took a train to Penn station from the Brick church station near our hotel. From there we took the (classic) New York Subway! All the way down to the harbor. The plan was to walk from Lady Liberty to Time Square. I took in the immense size, speed and grace of the city. After the lovely Liberty, I began to see the story of a city that was more than money and power. I saw it as a refuge of love, taking in fledglings from afar. During the boat trip we glanced a look at a few memorable islands, Wall street and the Brooklyn bridge. After the Liberty boat trip we knew a bit more of the city. We then decided to take on our long walk to Time square, taking Broadway all the way. We passed a few hundred stands selling I love NY t- shirts before reaching Broadway.

From the moment we first set foot in Broadway, we began to see the real picture of NYC. The walk up Broadway from Lady Liberty to Time Square was one full of joyful, heart-ripping and mouth-dropping sights.


We past Wall street and the Trinity Church. It was beautiful to see the center of the Financial world topped off with a picturesque church. It just tattooed the fact in my mind that God is in money as well and does not want His children to fall short. We kept on walking and experiencing the very essence of the city. It was beautiful to see all facets of human difference gelling together in perfect harmony. For example: There were people literally of all races, people of all classes and people of all religions. There is truly something beautiful in all of us, for the One who made us is truly perfect and lovely.

The sight we saw next was one that took our breath away. Not because of beauty, size or architectural brilliance, but because of grave tragedy… The piece of land once occupied by the World trade center was definitely the biggest shock to my system in a long time. It's definitely the biggest impact "nothing" ever had on me. I walked around the large piece of land and couldn't even imagine the splendor of the buildings or the horror of 9/11 itself. As it was 9/11 2009 a few days ago, I want to extend my deepest apologies to all whom lost something or someone. I also want to encourage everyone to see 9/11 as a learning curve for all of us. Life will knock us down sometimes and it is okay to fall, but character is seen in those who dare to stand up and complete the race!

After the learning walk of 9/11 we continued with our mission. We walked past a few lovely, small parks and a few interesting buildings. The Empire state and Chrysler building being two obvious favorites, but not my favorite. My favorite building in NYC was the Flatiron building.


It wasn't the largest or the most spectacular, but it was flat and simple. It looked like a Mac book Air from the side and like a triangular prism from the front. What also makes it nice, is that it is built on a fork in the road. It just uses the very little triangular space the fork has created, making most of what it has.

As we came nearer to our destination, the sun had almost dove behind the horizon. It grew darker very quickly and we were soon headed toward a shining beacon of light! Just before we arrived, we decided to have a light NYC dinner. We purchased a few hot dogs from a hot dog stand and a few slices pizza from a pizza restaurant. We sat outside on a few chairs in the middle of the road. The meal was wonderful and a great preparation for what was to come. The moment I first set foot in Time Square, I was astonished. All the lights and signs was truly spectacular. I think I stood standing there, standing still, mouth open, for about five minutes before I blinked!


The night air that mingled with all the lights and people created a wonderful, exciting and soothing atmosphere. What was also memorable was the Toys R Us experience. Being the biggest in the world, it was admirable. It put the toys in Toys R Us.

From there, a day ended in glorious style, we took the train back to our hotel again.

The next day was the day we left America. We all had mixed feelings, but most of us felt like we used every second we had in the US well. WE ended our NYC and USA experience with Central park. Truly a haven in all the chaos

At the end, I see a beautiful miracle and lesson that this big city opened up in us. As an African, New York seemed like a fabled place. A place where hard work and a keen mind to make money is king. At the end, I saw a city that has power and prestige in earthly terms, but I also saw a wounded giant that lost a lot through tragedy. This wounded giant though is busy standing up and working together to rebuild a better future. What happens in life is sometimes hard, very painful, but God lets everything work out for the good for those who loves Him. He is always there, calling, waiting for us to make Him our number one!

I also want to thank America and the Americans that made our time memorable!

What I’ve learned in Singapore (17 September 2009) Tinus

I reckon I have but a few days on tour left to record that which this experience has taught me. Reclining, laptop on my (guess what) lap, I thus continue with Singapore.

I must admit that as soon as I start thinking back at Singapore, I am overtaken with nostalgia. I really enjoyed and profited greatly from my time on that island state. Our sixth floor apartment in Building B of Normanton park, provided a private workplace for all in the family. I remember with great joy my two tables set up around the corner by the window in my bedroom. On those tables I coughed blood! (Figuratively speaking off course...) You see, my grandmothers arrival brought with it my UNISA work. The problem was that exactly 2 weeks after her arrival, 4 of my Math assignments were due. That's a whole terms work I had to do in a fortnight! And, to make things worse, I only learned when she arrived that I needed two textbooks! Well, long story short, I spent a lot of time at those two little tables by the window! (By the grace of God alone did I meet my deadlines, if you're wondering J ) At those two tables and lying in my bed in the same room, I also shared great moments with my God. It was late one night, after a little joyless reading, that the Lord spoke to me about what I'll soon share.

I also remember what went on outside that window I so often looked out of though. For one, it seemed to rain constantly when I was inside (yet strangely enough, rarely when I was outside). That outside I remember fondly. The park adjacent our complex, with its endless paths and many benches. The large swimming pool with water at the perfect temperature. The soccer field where I helped get Charlie ready for his rugby. (P.S. Oom Piet Coetzee. Oom skuld my vir al my sweet, bloed en brakefluid wat van Switserland se bulte tot Phuket se strande en Singapoer se modder in sy fiksheid ingegaan het.) The city and all its subways and sights. The shops of SimLim and the Funan centre where we went tech-shopping. And the list continues...

I really enjoyed Singapore tremendously.

It was also in Singapore that the Lord taught me the one thing that has probably made a larger impact on my life this year than anything else. It is this that I wish to share, both as a reminder to myself and in the hope that it might also provide to someone else even a glimpse of the value it did to me. Ready? Here goes:

Apply your mind.

The Lord has blessed the human race with this incalculably valuable gift and yet we seem to ill use it. Its like receiving a U$10 000 gift certificate (non transferable, not redeemable as cash and valid for a day) for a shopping spree at, say Wal-Mart, and for some reason only buying a pack of peanuts! We don't apply our minds. Or, at least I can speak for myself and confess that I am often too lazy to really think.

Yet, really thinking is what gives birth to understanding. And understanding is the foundation of effective action. Understanding schoolwork leads to good grades. Its not mere talent, but the ability to fully use that talent that sets successful people apart. Utilising greater portions of our potential not only puts food on the table, but a Porsche in the garage. Thinking on (or, to state it in biblical terms, meditating on) the Bible transforms us into Christ-likeness. Applying our mind gets the results we want in our lives. So, why don't I do it more often?!

Well, because it's hard. It's a lot easier to mindlessly memorise a bunch of formulas that understand where they come from. After a year, though, memorised formulas are forgotten, but understood ones, stick. It's easier to play a chess match move for move, but the ones who think ahead, seem to win. Listen to this: It is easier to hear the Word of God from the pulpit than to struggle through that which you fail to comprehend with just the Bible and the Spirit ("with just the Bible and the Spirit" does anyone else see how funny our reasoning often is?) to help you. But it is the latter that produces in you a spirit akin to that of Christ's.

More often than not, however, once I started applying my mind, I realised that it seemed harder than it actually was. What also always holds true, is that the profit gained from the harder road of applying your mind is entirely worth the effort. Christ said we are to count the cost of following Him. It's hard. Yet, He said that His yoke is easy. It's not too hard for you to bear. And finally, His road leads to everlasting life in paradise. The other road land you forever in the pit of burning sulphur!

Secondly, I often do not apply my mind because I do not need to in order to be good enough. In our modern world the definition of good enough has been radically distorted, though. Am I good enough when I make a living? Am I good enough when I can put my kids through university? (Luckily none of my worries yet.) Am I good enough when I am better than everyone else around me? Am I good enough when I am better at one thing than those around me? Am I good enough when enough (or the right) people give me enough credit? At what point can I stop applying my mind because I am good enough?

Ask this question to any sprinter and I believe he'll laugh at you. A sprinter, though he might not be the fastest (and even if he is) will not stop accelerating till he runs flat-out!

And that is exactly what God wants of us. Our very best! And he knows what our best is! (The best way to impress this on you is to ask you to go watch the movie "Facing the Giants". Your very best!)

The third reason I often do not apply my mind or reach my full potential, is because I am unaware of what that is. Without any fancy talk, let me bust this hurdle to complete mind application once and for all. In 1 Corinthians 2:16b the Word clearly states: "We have the mind of Christ!" The mind that envisaged the universe. The mind that conjured up salvation. The mind that keeps everything spinning. That mind is in me!

Now you know your potential. Go reach it.

Apply your mind. Think things through. Keep asking questions (to God and to other people) until you understand. Trust God for the answers. It's your responsibility to understand, not someone else's. Ask the right questions. Determine where your understanding is derailed and attack that curve. Maintain your highest level of concentration. Apply your mind.

P.S. I probably should have applied my mind to furnish this post with a better conclusion, shouldn't I? Or is it that learning to apply your mind is a never ending process? That more of your mind needs to be applied as it is exercised? Maybe this post thus should not have a conclusion?

P.P.S. What do you think about that sort-of-yet-not-conclusion?

P.P.P.S. "And that's all I have to say about that." (In a thick Alabaman accent)