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.