Peaceful New Zealand 30 April (Dawie J)

NZ almost had the same feeling as Switzerland, because of the peace and quietness on the farm. We did have more activities in NZ.

One day we went to the zoo. It was wonderful to see a live Kiwi. What shocked me, was the poster saying how many kiwis die and that they are almost extinct. 

People must look better after God's creation. We must not mess with it and each should do his part in conservation.

We went with a ferry to Rangitoto. It is amazing that there are towns and buildings older than this island. It is an erupted volcano, full of lawa rocks. It was very tiring to climb, but the view in the end was worth it. We went into lawa caves and my dad (who easily feels closterphobic), also made it. We heard on the radio that there are a lot of lawa caves underneath Auckland, as well as unerrupted volcanoes. That is scary!

The many steam and boiling mud in Rotorua was strange. 

It is everywhere you look. We played a game of minigolf (my dad won) and swam in hot water.

Seeing Michael and Gerald van Wyk again and playing some rugby, was really nice. 

They will always be special friends.

New Zealand was absolutely amazing and once again on my wish list of a place I would like to go back to in future. I am so glad that we could include it in our tour.

Adaptation, animals and glory - 28 April 2009 (Chrisna)

The joyful singing of birds outside of our room in Palm Springs, California, made me think about the wonder of adaptation and the diversity of animals and the question of giving glory to God. How on earth (you may ask) does bird singing trigger these thoughts to be thought in one breath?

Well, it was 2h00 in the morning, that is birds singing in the middle of the night AND I heard them! I usually sleep at 2... (Perhaps I must say that it was the 2nd night in a row that I heard the birds). So I thought of these birds and how we don't have birds like that in Namibia. That made me think of all the other different than in Namibia animals we have seen so far. That made me think of how animals, by just being and doing what they were created for, glorify God. That made me think of how the whole of nature glorifies God and how mankind is the only creation who does NOT naturally glorify God! Why not? Because God gave us freedom of choice, choice on how we live, whether we live out our purpose, choice on whether we follow His guidance, choice on whether we love Him... With that I made the shocking realization that, should I call myself a child of God and I do not obey Him and live His purpose for my life, then I not only NOT glorify Him, but actually pull His Name through the mud!!! Oh Lord, please help me to live for your Glory!

So many thoughts, and that at 2h00 in the morning. That triggered the thinking on adaptation. I made a few calculations and found that my body and mind are still on New Zealand time, and this 5 days after being on American soil! For the first time in the 4 months of travelling around the world, my body's clock is slow to adapt. Most probably because this time we did not "loose" hours like before, but "gained" hours. In fact, we departed from New Zealand at 21h30 on 22 April and arrived in Los Angeles at 14h30 on 22 April!! How's that for receiving back that which we have lost! (and for getting a 2nd chance to live the same day)

Thinking back on where we've been and how many adaptations we had to go through, I once again agreed with Ps 139: Man was indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. A human can indeed adapt to many different circumstances. And also that, whether and how we adapt, must give glory to God.

So, how did we adapt? (and on every occation the time frame of adaptation was a matter of hours) Our bodies had to adapt from a very hot (above 30 degrees) Namibia, to below freezing temperatures in Europe. Then right back to steaming hot, this time with high humidity, in the East ( just about 150km north of the equator). The next day, sitting foot on Australian shore, we had cool temperatures and in New Zealand it was already winter, a wet one may I add. LA on the other side of the earth greeted us with freezing winds, and now in Palm Springs, we are almost back in Namibian temperatures. Our bodies are still well and healthy, wonderfully adapting every time – FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.

Another thing that kept on changing, was altitudes: from the high heights in the Alps to sea level in Phuket. Strange enough though, no matter what our height above sea level, we always had a few hills/mountains to climb. (that's because we walk so much). Luckily every uphill is followed by a downhill. Some times it just feel as if the difficult upward road never ends, but they all do. These hills are obviously physical and emotional. The test of glorifying God is especially written during those times.

Continuously adapting to different languages and cultures are all part of the excitement of travelling. Even the ways of transport (train, bus, car) , which side of the road to travel and the speed limits keep on changing. I quite often end up at the wrong side of the car... Another challenge is the food and the currencies. Luckily I have Dawie and Tinus to tell me "multiply the price with 12 or 6 or 7 or 10, etc to know what it is in Namibian $(thank you for Phuket where we could divide by 3). I know people say that the first secret of enjoying your travels is to never work the cost back to Nam$, but if you travel for 9 months, and you have a Namibian budget, believe me, that is something you need to do to make sure your money last for 9 months.

So back to the consistent change of food and prices. There is a few secrets for adapting:

  • Buying food in a new country is not "work",it's an exciting challenge ,almost a mini treasure hunt.
  • Secondly you always ask where you will find the best prices. The locals will tell you which supermarket has the best prices.
  • Then you keep an eye on the locals (while you hunt down the specials.) If many of them within a few minutes, take the same item from the shelve, you know: this is a bargain.
  • Because you are not stocking up your cupboards, and you may leave again in 5 days time, you must have an idea of your menu for the next few days ,before buying. Buy just enough for that time.
  • Menus also need to be adapted. In some places, like Singapore, you learn to get along without cheese, and if the stay is shorter than 10 days, no tomato sauce are bought. You don't buy according to what you want, but according to the specials on the day.
  • The children get an OK to buy 1 packet of biscuits or ice cream, which must be value for money. This keeps them part of the experience and assure that they will not get "no,it does not fit in the budget" all the time.
  • To work with such a tight budget and very high prices, is a challenge ( and a reminder to appreciate the low living cost in Namibia).
  • To have company in the shop and not have to run to be in on schedule as mom's taxi, is a big bonus for me. Remember, I have 4 men in my house : I ALWAYS shop alone and always on the run.

One adaptation we only had to make once,(when we left Windhoek) is: we always eat very little meat, and then usually it is chicken...

Thinking about changes, adapting, growing and learning every 2-3 weeks now for the past 4 months, I've discovered an amazing number of different things:

  • To start with, no Ouma next door to help feed the boys and to be a "safetynet"
  • Then 2 whole months without Charlie (and then there were 4...) Praise God that he is coming back!!!
  • Changing of routine (actually, the only constant thing on this trip, is the fact that the routine ALWAYS changes) This can be big fun for a "high I" and quite a challenge for a "high C"
  • No one to help with household chores. We always have to do the cleaning, vacuuming, clothes washing, dish washing etc ourselves, also when we leave one place to go to the next. (Good opportunity to practice teamwork)
  • Making all our decisions (or 90% of them) together
  • A different bed and pillow
  • A different Bathroom (shower or bath , good or weak water flow, enough hot water or not)
  • A different house size (sometimes 2 bedrooms, sometimes we all sleep in 1 room)
  • A different kitchen and equipment (sometimes only stove top and microwave, or only roaster and rice steamer, or oven and stovetop – quite a challenge for a previously disabled cook, sometimes a sharp knife, sometimes not, sometimes a big pot, sometimes not, sometimes a coffee perculator, sometimes not, etc, etc, etc – you get the drift)
  • Different electrical plugs
  • Television and internet (sometimes you have, sometimes not)
  • Office space (sometimes we have separate work areas, sometimes we all use the one table, the same one we will eat on later)
  • Constantly changing churches (praise God that we all are one family, although we are only visiting)

I said initially that man was made to adapt, and all of the above are only a few practice fields. The main thing I found to assure successful adaptation, adaptation that can glorify God, is attitude. With the right attitude, adaptation is easy and fun!

As I go back on memory lane of where we've been and how we had to adapt, I realize, yet again, how blessed we are. Thank you God for this world trip, for this privilege to experience so much diversity in such a short time. Thank you that we have this opportunity to adapt. May our attitude always be that of wanting to adapt , wanting to have the best for the other and being thankful. May we never be selfish or negative or moaning, but with a joyful heart give thanks in everything. Thank you Lord that all of this is actually so easy if I just stay close to your heart.

May my choices, what I think and say and do give glory to you. May I give so much glory to you as the bird doing what a bird should do , even if it means singing in the middle of the night.

The good news is that my body has adapted to this new time zone and so we will keep on adapting on this wonderful journey...

What the Tour has Taught Me (Tinus - 28 April)

On our way over to California from Auckland (which I shall remember for the people we had the privilege of spending time with), we officially crossed the geographic halfway mark on our journey around the world.

I thus thought it propper to share what I have learned hitherto. You will agree, however, that the amount of information this ought to amass to will be to vast to remember and apply. And since revelation without application is utterly incompetent, this would render the exposure this journey has brought futile.

I have consequently made the decision (even before we left Namibia – by God's grace) to remember one life changing truth from each country we visit. This reminded me to keep learning. The spinoff, which I did not even expect, is that this provided a very efficient mental filing system: as I learned more on a topic, be it in a different country even, I could "file" it with the corresponding country.

Before I can share what each country symbolizes to me, I must state that I am still learning. By no means do I wish to tell anyone to "do this and that," but rather share what the Lord has showed me. If therefore anyone has more insights into a specific topic, I would welcome a comment. What I wish to pen are nevertheless truths that, when applied, can and will have an immense impact on every life, as it has had on mine in the short time I have had to practice them.

So, Here goes…


Don't file a suit, retaliate in love

This is the topic I have the most trouble with. I am a C D if you know the DISC analysis. 

A quick recap:    

D - "One way and it's my way"

I - "Anyway is okay"

S - "Anyway that pleases everyone else"

  C - "One way and it's the right way"

Therefore a C D (which I am) is someone who believes "One way and it's the right way," as well as "One way and it's my way." This translates into the belief that "My way is the right way!"

Like I said, I struggle with this topic, so please forgive me if it is poorly formulated, communicated and understood. I have given it much thought, though…

In an unpleasant argument, it is only when the second person responds negatively that things grow truly ugly. Proverbs 15:1 (the first verse I ever truly read) states that "a gentle word turns away wrath."

I'm sure everyone agrees with me on this point. But, the problem is applying this in the heat of an erupting argument. I believe that is why God told me in London to "be wrong more." 

The fact is that a lot of the times we differ over meaningless issues. Most often it is perfectly OK to lose a dispute. It is, after all, better to lose a battle than lose the war! Don't win a quarrel and lose a relationship!

My recommendation is therefore that whenever an overheated argument erupts: lose! Did you get that? The next time you have an opinion about something and someone else opposes it in a way that matters turn unpleasant…back down. Take a beating.

But, what if the opinion I have is better? The fact is, driving your opinion at the moment (especially if your emotions are flaming up and voices are raised) will probably yield little results and you will probably say something you regret. After you have backed out of the argument (which might mean declaring defeat) and have cooled down, reflect on the other persons opinion. If you still believe your opinion is best and that the matter does at all need further discussion (make sure that you are not selfish), influence the other person. Apply your mind, know how the other party is swayed easiest and kindly influence. 

So, when faced with an unpleasant argument:

Back out

Cool down

Reflect on


This same principle can be applied to defending yourself when you are wronged. It is simple: don't! So what if something is said of you that is untrue or you have to do more dishes than your brother (a purely hypothetical example)?! Jesus was accused of being a gluten and drunkard and warned that we would be falsely accused also. Eat it up and retaliate in love! "Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult you and persecute you" (Mat 5:44) 

When you are wronged or your demands are not met or your opinion not accepted, don't take anyone to court…don't file a suit!

What do you think?

Please stay tuned (I've always wanted to say that). The other countries on our track and their corresponding truth will follow eventually…

New Zealand – 22 April 2009 (Chrisna)

We are, once again, sitting on an Airport – waiting to depart to yet another country. What a privilege! We've been in Auckland, New Zealand now for the past 10 days (after once again lengthening our stay with 2 days. Auckland, the city of sails, where every 3rd person owns a boat of some kind, is built on 2 sides of the north island, with the Harbour Bridge the only connection between the 2 sides!

I want to try to describe New Zealand in a few paragraphs – not an easy job. What a beautiful and unique country (and we've only been on the north island!) NZ is green hills, with lots of water. It's almost like the Western Cape at places, but with much more water. It's also a winter rainfall region, and we had lots of it.

We went, with a ferry, to an island called Rangitoto. This island is an erupted volcano and ONLY 600 years old. To put it in perspective: When the church in Trier in Germany was already 1000 years old, this island did not exist! Creation is awesome and still continuing. We walked up to the summit, from where you have a spectacular view of Auckland and the sea. The walk took us 1 hour up the volcano and another 1.5 hours down, because of a detour to the lava caves. The island has "all-black" rocks and rainforest type vegetation in between. Where did this come from?? Remember, there was nothing, then a volcano erupted from under the sea and the lava settled as a piece of land! It was a unique day, with the extra bonus of a good workout!

We also went to the beaches on the east and west coast. (It takes you 1 hrs drive from east to west!) The unique thing here is: the western beaches are black! (I mean the sand) Its sand formed from the black volcano rock. This is also the place where the garnet bird breeds, before it takes its long and challenging journey to Australia, coming back to the very same rock some years later. Nature is amazing and we know so little!

Tinus and Dawie accompanied Laura, our hosts' lovely daughter, to visit the Auckland Zoo. They saw lots of animals, but the unique thing was a Kiwi bird. You will find the kiwi ONLY in NZ.

Another place we went was Rotorua. It was a 3 hours drive through the most beautiful, puzzle picture beautiful, scenery. Lots of sheep and cattle on hills covered with green grass. Rotorua is built on a boiling pot of water, or so it seems. There is hot water springs, boiling mud or simply smoke coming from the earth, almost everywhere. And this is not "High I" creativity. It's amazing: you walk in a park, with areas fenced off because of hot water or boiling mud coming from underneath. But the next moment, in the path (which is safe area) you see smoke coming up, yet another pot is boiling over! Rotorua is a tourist paradise, with multiple walks, hot water resorts, spas, Maori villages and adrenaline driven activities. Obviously almost everything cost a lot of NZ $. Because of previous experience in different places, we opted for the "locals" swimming pool, which is equal fun (also with hot water), but MUCH cheaper. We confirmed for ourselves: you can have fun, without it costing you an arm and a leg.

Once again, the people we met played a big role into making New Zealand as memorable and special as all the other places we've been. People in New Zealand also love rugby, but not half as much as in South Africa or Namibia, but more than in Australia. They also braai (or BBQ), but on gas. NZ has many New Zealanders, but almost as much ex-South Africans! Most places we went, we were not the only people speaking Afrikaans.

We went to the City Impact Church, where we not only received a good message on healthy living and healing, but also met special people, true brothers and sisters in Christ. We spent a few hours at church on Sunday, just fellowshipping with new friends: Jaco and Mari, former South Africans with a ministry specifically to shepherd "new ex-SA immigrants" and Gregg, the youth pastor. Jaco and his wife are doing a great job and will be an asset to any church. Gregg gave Dawie J a prophetic word about God using him in future in a healing ministry. May Dawie be faithful… Gregg is a humble and true servant of City Impact Church. He is a man who is ready to be powerfully used by God. Hopefully we will see him in Namibia in years to come. The unique thing at church was that we were greeted in Afrikaans and spoke a lot of it too!

"A feast" will be the correct description for what we had at the Van Wyk's. We had a wonderful Namibian meal and New Zealand ice cream. We talked and talked, asked and answered a lot of each other's questions. The boys played rugby. We shared Communion and prayed together. We each received a gift from NZ! It was such a blessed day. Enid, Vernon and the boys are well, adapting very good and get the balance between "trusting God" and "doing their part" in job, house and church search. We have peace in our hearts about them.

Yet another BIG blessing and unique ingredient in NZ, was the Harper family: Peter, Dawn and their daughter Laura as well as Dawn's parents: Ralph and Margaret. We stayed in the barn-house on their farm and used Ralph's car. This was simply as a gift, an act of mercy: talk about blessings!! Dawn is Lynn's, (our travel agent at Trip Travel in Windhoek), sister. We enjoyed a "potjiekos" as well as a BBQ with them. The unique thing of the braai was that Peter used Etosha Brickets to BBQ the meat on!! We attended their eldest daughter, Jacqueline's wedding in the DR Church, Moedergemeente Windhoek (that's via Skype!) on Saturday 18 April 2009.What a privilege to share it with them. Hopefully we will be able to bless the Harpers also one day… May God shower them daily with His blessings.

In a brochure of a Maori traditional village is an old Maori quote, which translated to English says: "If you ask me what the greatest thing in the world is, the answer will be: It is people, it is people". I couldn't agree more.

The last unique experience was that we had to nail my suitcase close, to enable us to fly to America. Closing all the bags when the packing was finished, I discovered that the 1 clasp on my case was broken! There was no time (and also no money) to go buy a new one, so we had to improvise. The saying goes: " n Boer maak n plan". We hammered the bag together and closed with 2 nails. You see, where there is a will, there is a way!!

New Zealand surely has been a unique and special experience. I am so glad that it was part of our world tour. If I was the deciding one on the tour plan, we would not have gone there. It would have been a mistake… Another proof that " teamwork makes the dream work."

Psa 8:1-9 CEV

(A psalm by David for the music leader.) Our LORD and Ruler, your name is wonderful everywhere on earth! You let your glory be seen in the heavens above. (2) With praises from children and from tiny infants, you have built a fortress. It makes your enemies silent, and all who turn against you are left speechless. (3) I often think of the heavens your hands have made, and of the moon and stars you put in place. (4) Then I ask, "Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us weaklings?" (5) You made us a little lower than you yourself, and you have crowned us with glory and honor. (6) You let us rule everything your hands have made. And you put all of it under our power-- (7) the sheep and the cattle, and every wild animal, (8) the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and all ocean creatures. (9) Our LORD and Ruler, your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!