House meeting

We had a house meeting on 22 Jan. The agenda was to evaluate the trip so far.3 Topics were discussed with a summary of it below:

1. What works/ what must we continue to do:

-The scheduled 1 hr individual quiet time first thing every morning,with breakfast there after.
- Technology and the input of Tinus
- Chrisna's "saving attitude" in all areas
- 3 meals/day
- The fact that each have a "work place"
- Home church on Sundays
- Charlie's rusks
- The program: 8h15 - 10h30 Session 1
10h30 - 11h00 Break
11h00 - 13h00 Session 2
13h00 Lunch
14h00-16:00 Home work/session 3
16h00 Excersize time
- The slower pace

2. What does not work/ what must we change

- Not enough computers, must plan better and give everyone opportunities
- Charlie's summaries: some on paper and some on computer(should be shortened)
- One extra session Bible study together: mid-week service on Tu/Wed/Thursday evening
- Clean up/pick up after yourself

3. What did we learn so far?

- The slower pace/peacefulness helps to practice the presence of the Lord, to walk intimately with Him.
- Confirmation of God's Greatness and Goodness!!
- You have to constantly remind yourself why and for Who you do, what you are doing.
- Attitude is a choice, whether +/-, whether you moan or are content. You choose what "new song" you sing - every time

Dawie J is satisfied with every thing

We will do such an evaluation on a regular basis.

Swiss Alps , 23 January 2009 (Chrisna)

It is SNOWING. I don't mean snowing like the past few days where snowflakes slowly drift to the ground, I mean snowing shorr-shorr like rain in Namibia really coming down. It's big flakes and coming down Fast! And it is falling like this ever since we woke up this morning and it is now 15h00, definitely not slowing down. We can see the trees directly in front of our house, but everything else is just pure white.
One can almost see the "cold" outside, but inside it is nice and cozy and warm and safe.

My description is NOT that of a typical high "I", but a true wordpicture of what's happening here.I trust you get the picture that we are all snowed in. I guess that you can also say: "trapped inside of our house". The wonderful thing is just that we do not feel threatened or sad or trapped, but rather safe. What we have here is exactly what God showed me yesterday about our time here.

The picture I got was that the period here in the Swiss Alps,is like a worm in a cocoon. The worm needs to be inside for a purpose, namely,for change and growth to take place. This worm needs to be transformed into a butterfly. The butterfly can only come out if it is 100% formed, ready to do what it is supposed to do. This is what God showed me that we all need this time as individuals, but also as a family, to be transformed more and more into His image. The SELF must die, so that "Jesus in me " can live through me in ALL circumstances.

This picture was confirmed when last night,during our "mid-week service" Charlie prayed that God will transform each one of us , so that we will not be the same as always, but more and more like Him.

We were snowed in, but this happening today, the shorring down of snow, is as if God is framing my picture, hitting the nails in real deep. We must not wonder about this, we must know and remain content inside and "grow". God means business if we ask Him to teach us and mould us. (I know He uses different places and circumstances for different people, but this is most probably the BEST for the Fouries!)

I've come to the shocking realization, that I was so busy the past ?21 years - always doing some thing, working on a to-do list, performing , still more things to do, that I forgot how to "just be". Yes, I could do it for an hour or two, but not for days. I had to get used to this so much slower pace, less things to do, NO television to act as a filler of time, no magazines or newspapers, no friends to phone or drink coffee with, no get the drift. Here in our snowed in refuge, it's me, my 4 family members, the Bible, a book or 2, music and God. This is where my attention, time and energy much be spend on. It took some time,looking in God's mirror and honesty to realize that it's difficult for me. Now that I'm through that and understand our "cocoon situation" , I am actually excited. I know that for me,it's almost a birth process to take place. A Chrisna is being born who can also go slow, wait(really wait) upon the Lord, serve (my family) with out getting tired, listening better , get their opinions and I am sure that God will still show me a few other things in the next few days.(we won't get out of here quickly!)

I am sure that this cocoon period will mean something different for each one of the 5 Fouries, because God works with each individual individually. I have shared my heart now as to how He is busy with me(perhaps I have shared too much, but I need to be honest and need to write down what is happening inside of me in order for me to grow,and this blog is our journal. If you don't understand all I wrote, just ignore the detail and pray that I will hear what God is teaching me)

It is still snowing. Still plenty of time for a butterfly to be formed...
Thank you God for loving me so much.

Our trip's finances: 20 January 2009 (Dawie)

Since the first day we started speaking about the around the world trip, the finances were a huge challenge.(Especially as I no longer earn a salary and Chrisna only works for half-day.)

As my dear friend, Bruce Wilkinson, teaches in the course "Vision of a leader":..resources will never be a validation for a vision...only a test.

I want to give God all the honor and glory for providing everything that is necessary.

Here are a few points of information on the finances of our trip:

We started saving years ago(and through God's grace we saved in Euro).
We were always satisfied with the essential (no brand names).
We compiled a budget, discussed it among the family and took ownership thereof.
Our budget was detailed and specific(separate for air tickets, accommodation, transport, food, vacations, electronic equipment, special events, etc.)

We were heavily dependent on home exchanges so that our accommodation costs are kept to a minimum. Chrisna put in tremendous effort to secure a place to stay via home exchange in nearly every country. The gaps here and there we filled with our RCI points or internet specials. Tinus plays a huge role in the latter.

Air tickets:
We bought, after extensive research (and lots of help from Trip Travel) an around-the-world-ticket (more than 50% discount). Trip Travel also sponsored our tickets from Windhoek to Europe (return).

We make use of the cheapest possible transport, starting with car exchanges (same principle as home exchanges), public transport, internet specials or car rentals (luckily I am still an Avis President's club member which gives us discounted options).
As a family we need to be flexible and need to travel "light" (not with plenty of luggage).

We try to stay away from restaurants as far as possible. Once arriving in a new area we request from the locals where the cheapest food stores are. We then buy more of the stuff which are locally produced and which are locally the cheapest. In the morning we will have a bowl of cereal or "beskuit" (which Charlie baked), for lunch Chrisna will cook and in the evening something light. Portions food are allocated to each one – it’s no open buffet. We have to drink lots of water with a local fruit per day between meals. We also drink no cooldrink with our meals.

Special events:
We have separately budgeted for special events.(A musical in London, 5 days of skiing, hopefully Hong Kong sevens, a super 14 match, a baseball match, a play, Disney-land (LA), the Global Leadership Summit in Chicago and a world athletics championship in Greece, to mention a few.) As this is extremely expensive we just felt that if we don't plan this thoroughly then we will just do nothing. Special friends like Faffa Knoetze, amongst others, even contributed towards the building of these special memories.

In conclusion:
A good plan will only have a good ending if it is managed well. Actuals therefore needs to be compared to the budgets on a regular basis. Tough decision need to be made weekly.

I am proud of the whole team. Chrisna is a natural excellent steward and tries to save where she can. Tinus plays a tremendous supporting role and is saving thousands through the internet specials. Charlie and Dawie J's attitude towards the budget and the accepting of sacrifices, deserves a round of applause.

Lastly, I once again wish to honor our Lord Jesus Christ, for His love, grace and provision. His Name is above all names - there is none like Him.

Matt 6:33 Pro 3:5-6

Mase, Switzerland - 20 Jan (Tinus-finally!)

Some, it appears have noted my absence on this blog thus far. I am therefore compelled to open my account as far as recording our experiences are concerned. Currently I have just finished a wonderful lunch, am staring at a white outdoors and ,I think, I am ready. So here goes:

Situated in the Swiss Alps, at about the same altitude as Windhoek and south of the city of Sion, our chalet looks out over the Val 'd Herans valley. The view is truly breathtaking, framed by two peaceful trees and a fluffy-cloudy sky! Each morning, at about the time our daily devotion comes to a close, the sun appears from behind the peek that dominates this view. Slowly the entire valley comes alive. Light gradually infiltrates every nook and cranny and the snow, rock and wood start resounding the praise of their Creator. A peace – a cool, still, yet lively kind of peace – radiates from everything in view and accompanies us throughout the day.

At about 10 in the morning, I guess things in our house start getting interesting (or about as interesting as school- and office-work can get), for at about that time the sun’s rays (Mr Hot and his sister, Bright) pay us a visit. They probably mean well (and my mother likes them a lot), but usually wind up chasing Charlie from his desk. The warmth they bring are unanimously accepted as welcome, though, and for that reason we choose not to chase them out. They usually leave just before lunch anyway, for although we eat enough, we won’t be able to feed them as well.

Our afternoons follow a no real routine. Some read, some work, some rest and some have the ability to keep themselves busy for hours with just a few miniature soldiers and prestic. At about six, we enjoy our supper and afterwards mostly end up around the Siedler board or the small laptop screen. Exactly what course of action to take, or what movie to watch takes a while to determine by democratic vote, but whatever is chosen, everyone takes pleasure in it.

In summary, we go to bed happy and satisfied.

And on that bombshell… (TopGear joke. Sorry, I had to do It at least once.)

I believe this then accounts for my first post. As to when the next one will be, however, we are all but left to speculate.

Swiss Alps , 20 January 2009 (Chrisna)

After days of sunshine, it snowed for 2 days. It is still an absolute blessing here in Switzerland, here in this wonderful chalet. It’s not only well equipped, well situated with the view(if it’s not snowing) but also cosy and warm and nice.(that’s a good Namibian word for just right, lekker) We really appreciate all that our host family provided for us and we look forward to bless them as well when they visit Namibia in 2010.

Another work week started yesterday, this time a 5 day week!! Dawie J and Charlie is working hard and disciplined. I’m proud of them. I still make food, trying a different menu each time. I know of many ways already to make potatoes and carrots.(that’s our main ingredients) Any recipes are welcome.(please remember my abilities and keep it simple?)

We had a wonderful weekend. Went to explore a bit on Saturday and bought enough food to last us more than a week, in case the weather stays bad.( God is faithfull to have warned us, now we are all fixed and prepared.) We also went for a walk to a mountain peak. What we did most , was to idle around the house, read, play Siedler von Catan and: Build a Puzzle.

The puzzle building was more than doing something together which we NEVER get time for back home, it was also a life lesson. We’ve built a 1000 piece puzzle and found that the only way to build and complete this puzzle, was to refer to the picture on the puzzle- box often. To know what piece you are looking for next and to know where a certain piece will fit, you have to look at the picture. We realized that a 30 piece puzzle can still be built without a picture, but a 1000 pieces not. If we did not have the picture, we would still be struggling, or more likely, have given up. With the picture at hand, it took us 1,5 days to finish the puzzle. The LESSON?: Life is a lot like building a puzzle. We seldom see the big picture, only a “piece of the puzzle” at a time. The most effective way to know what to do next, what is the right thing to do or what to do under certain circumstances( what to do with the puzzle piece) is to look at the picture on the box. In life ,that picture is the Bible. We have to look there often to know what to do, where to go and keep the big picture in mind. Building the puzzle of life without the picture to refer to, will be hard, frustrating and perhaps cause you to give up, or look at other pictures to try to figure out what to do!! Looking at a wrong picture, will not help you finish the puzzle victoriously.

So after our exercise, we have decided and recommitted and agreed: the BEST way to build the “life puzzle” is to look at the picture of “life” , the picture we find in the Bible. We must do that often, as individuals, also as a family and we will get the guidelines. God will continue to show the way. (Is 30:21 confirms that)

When you have time again, go build a 1000 piece or bigger puzzle as a family, and see if you can do it with out the picture. We sure couldn’t and wouldn’t.

That’s enough from me, Perhaps if I leave the computer open, Tinus just might put his fingers to the keyboard. Perhaps…