Mainly Montana - Tinus (6 June '09)

I am content!

Two weeks ago we arrived in Whitefish, Montana by train. Our time since has been spent mostly working (e-mails to Namibia, school, etc.) and walking. Truth be told, I am still slightly drained as I am writing this, for on Friday the family thought it propper to hike for more than 20km in Glacier National Park. Yes, I am tired, but would do it again any day!

The natural beauty of this land cannot be put into words, or even captured in a photo. Everywhere you look, you'll see some form of water.

Be it the snow we hiked at higher elevations, the lakes gracing the distance, or the cascading water falls that make you want to cry from delight. Logically, everything is also green. And so many shades thereof! Then, throw into the mix the white snowcapped mountains, the brilliantly blue sky, the magnificent mountain faces that blush when you look at them and the seemingly infinite detail in which all are tied together and you find yourself in a place you do not wish to leave (were it not for your wet cold feet and angry belly).

Truly, this world was made good!

But it became even better when humans started roaming it. We had the privilege of spending an evening with the Ogle family: Paul - the pastor of the foursquare church where we were so blessed last Sunday - and his wife, Angelita. Apart from wonderful (oh no, I'm starting to sound like Dawie J, which isn’t a bad thing, come to think of it) food, lovely atmosphere and GREAT company, our time was also blessed by God. May He bless them abundantly.

Before we arrived in this corner of the world we spent a day in Seattle, sleepless off course! The journey by train from there to here was filled with beauty also. We passed through the longest tunnel in the US, slept on the airplane-business-class-tipe chairs and watched movies on my laptop. The trip took us up and over some mountains, which afforded an interesting observation: as we went higher, the rivers became smaller, and faster and as we went down on the other side, the mountain streams we crossed gradually became small creeks, larger creeks, fast flowing small rivers and eventually mighty boulevards of stampeding water.

The past two weeks have truly been unforgettable! But, believe it or not, the week preceding it surpassed it boundlessly. I am referring to a week that was by far the highlight of my tour thus far. A week which was filled with ear-to-ear fun and excitement, breathtaking beauty, inspiring art, fattening food and soothing encounters with the Creator. A week I shall write of in due time: our week aboard the Norwegian star!

5 Weeks in USA - 31May 2009 (Chrisna)

Time flies, that's no secret, also no big discovery or something we can change. The thing however, that we have to continue to figure out, is how to make the most of time, of each day, of each hour. Like we read in Psa 90:12 "Teach us to use wisely all the time we have." The King James translation calls it "to number our days".

This principle has been an important one throughout our world tour, which is halfway over already. And, although we focus on that, time still quickly slips away. That's why we had a family meeting on day 2 in Whitefish ,Montana, to make sure we will use the 3 weeks here wisely. This will be slower pace, with not so much time going into driving from point A to B (like in Los Angeles) ,or having appointments, or so many attractions that we must see. But it is so easy then, that the days might just slip by ,because you think you have lots of time. Each one of us had to give a list of goals that need to be accomplished before we leave on June 12. We wrote them down and keep each other accountable on them. We had another meeting, where each had to evaluate himself and recognize what habit or characteristic needs to be changed or fine tuned. We did that, each looking in his own mirror and repenting, choosing whatever is needed to be more godly and more effective. This "exercise" is also a time saver, otherwise so many hours and days can pass by, over which you have regrets later and have to rectify things – and those are time stealers.

Like in all the other places, we also decide as a family, what activities we will do or which sites we will visit, and then go with that plan. It is impossible to see and do everything at every place we visit. It's part of having balance this whole tour: to see the world and experience different cultures, to rest, have family time, exercise, have enough quiet time, get work done, learn what we need to learn, make divine connections and grow as individuals. (And still stay within our budget as we do all of this.) So once again, planning is important and help with "using our days wisely."

While I'm on this subject of different places, let me give a short recap of our time in the USA so far. The 3 weeks in California was a good mix of sites to be seen, things to do, church visits, special appointments and LOTS of miles on the road. (They are still a bit "behind" in this country and use miles and pounds.) We were not only in Los Angeles during this time, but also in Palm Springs, Arizona where the Grand Canyon is, took a quick drive – 30 minutes - through Las Vegas( and saw the total emptiness money and worldly pleasures bring) and back to LA.

We visited Saddleback Church 3 times and Crenshaw Christian Centre twice. (We were at Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Sunday evening services!) That surely has been a blessing. The main message during those services was the choice to give Glory to God and the choice to run away from sin. I must take up my responsibility. At Crenshaw church (where the members are mainly African –American), we made a funny observation: Although we were the only "white" people there, we were the only real Africans in the church! It was also there that God spoke to me clearly to confirm that my place, our place, is in Africa.

We had meetings with Mark Carver, head of Purpose Driven International ministries, and with Apostle Fred Price and his wife Betty. Both very fruitful and blessed meetings. Wise men and and woman, from whom we can learn so much.

We stayed in a "home exchange" house, very close to the LAX airport. Every afternoon, while taking our walk/jog along the beach, departing planes flew over our heads at a 3 minute interval. Planes played a big role in the LA experience.

A big reason for that was Charlie's return to us. Glory to God for his safe journey -29 hours non stop, with only 2 of them on the ground in Australia and NZ airports! As we drove into the airport, Charlie's plane came in over our heads – how amazing is that! It was and is so wonderful and gracious and a blessing that he could come back, that our family could be complete once again. Thank you God!! The big bag full of sweets and chutney and surprises he brought with him, were also fantastic!

My men drove me down to San Diego for a one day leadership seminar for women. That surely was directly from God. I was blessed.

Greeting LA, we flew to Seattle and drove directly from the airport to Vancouver, Canada, spent 3 hours there and drove back.

Luckily the sun only sets at 21h30, which gave us enough time to experience Vancouver and the Washington state roadside. Beautiful, beautiful country. What a privilege to see it all. We keep on discovering that God's creativity never dries up, it remains amazing and new and fresh.

THEN – we went on the boat – but that deserves a blog post on it's own.

Thank you God, that we may do this, see what we see, experience all we do, learn life lessons and have loads of fun at the same time!! We praise your Name.

May we use our days wisely...

Frequently Asked Questions (Dawie) - 30 May 2009

Today we are exactly 5 months away from home on our journey around the world. I wish it was possible to share the appreciation and thankfulness in our hearts. Just as that is impossible, so too is my ability to use words to describe our journey and experiences. Luckily I have a talented family who will share in different ways our tour with you. Some will do it in perfect British English, other in charismatic American English and others in passionate Namlish.

It does not matter how these words will be put together, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit will use our words to feed your soft hearts to encourage, to edify, to equip and to reprimand for His glory.

I thought to share my heart today with you by answering (some of) the questions most frequently asked, apart from: "Where is Namibia?":

Where do you come from, which places have you visited, where will you still go and when will your tour end?

We come from Namibia in Africa, left home on 30 Dec '08 and already built precious memories in London, Paris, Orcierre (France), Switzerland, Germany, Phuket, Singapore, Australia, New Zeeland, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Grand Canyon, Seattle, Vancouver, Alaska and Whitefish (Montana). We plan, amongst others, to visit Toronto, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Southern France, Italy and Greece. We plan to be home on the 5th of October 2009.

How did you come up with the idea like this?

Difficult to pin point and give 1 reason, but I guess it was birthed because of a family habit of regularly having family meetings. During one of those meetings Tinus challenged us to do a Cape to Cairo trip. In another meeting he shared his heart that he is close to finishing school but did not want to leave our house yet, but, also do not want to waste a valuable year of his life. If there was only one reason why we do this tour , it was to say thank you to Tinus who :"got it right for 18 years in our home". We dreamed ,talked, discussed, prayed and laughed, and over time, the around-the-world-idea unfolded right before us.

What was the highlight of the tour so far?

For Tinus: Sydney (because of the Hillsong church) and the Cruise to Alaska. For Dawie J: The many new places (or watching rugby in Sydney). For Charlie: the isolation in the snow in Switzerland and joining the family after playing rugby back home for two months. For Chrisna: Impossible to say...every place is a highlight, but if she had to say..."the bonus family time". For myself: the slower pace, being more with my family and our Lord Jesus, the visits to the many special churches and their leadership, losing part of my finger and ending in hospital in Phuket, the Alaska cruise and the many times I was hearing God's crystal clear voice.

How could you afford it?

Live a life of simplicity over many years, save according to a plan which has measureable goals, pray, plan, study and work hard, prioritize, budget, assign responsibilities, be accountable, measure progress, be disciplined, be obedient, adjust timely, find cheaper options (live on specials), do home exchanges, do not make mistakes, operate in faith and communicate well (if you need more my blog dated 20th Jan 09:

What would you have done differently?

Very few things, it was as close to perfect as can be! But maybe to sin less and walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and sleep in it for at least one night.

Are you not tired of traveling, foreign food, suitcases and not to have a place of your own? Are you not considering it to go home earlier?

Not at all, we are enjoying every moment. We are continuing with our family meetings. I am putting the above question on the table on a regular basis, and the answer remains the same: no one wants to go home yet!

When we are reading your blog it seems that you are enjoying it so much. Are you considering it not to go back at all?

There are so many beautiful place on earth. We have discussed it several times. We are sure that there are many different places where we will be able to stay and be very happy. Although we are blindly loyal to Namibia, we are, for the first time in our lives, honest enough to acknowledge that there may be other places on earth, which on a scale may "weight better" than our home town/country. However, the decision where to live is driven, in our opinion, by God and his calling for your life. For what the latter is, we will remain in a close walk with our Lord Jesus.

Can you, as a family, remember special "wow moments " that you will never forget?

Chrisna: Seeing and touching a Koala Bear , experiencing God's Greatness in the Grand Canyon and Alaska's glaciers. Charlie: Seeing my family after two months. Tinus: God's special gifts during the Alaska cruise. DawieJ: Receiving a word from the Lord from strangers in Australia and NZ. For myself: Seeing a banner with the three words on it: "Family , Faith, Friends"...when I saw it I thought: "this is IT, this is me! That is why I will devote my life to leadership development and the local church so that people will reach their full potential , enjoy life to its fullest and God's glory will shine!" But there were many more...seeing the Grand Canyon, the majestic snow covered mountain tops in Alaska, the many prayer times as a family, the special people we have met, etc. etc.

The whole trip sounds so exciting with so many wow's and so many highlights - were there any disappointments as well?

When you travel so much and so far as a family with a limited budget, there will always be numerous challenges. But through God's grace we could turn them all around into great learning experiences. (Like to walk in the snow for kilometers after our car could not go further one night in Germany to mention only one). I think it is very true that the only real disappointments were when we as individuals sinned and we did not reflect God's glory through our characters, thoughts, words and conduct.

What have you learned so far?

So many things. Read my blog comment on the 9th March 09. ( Maybe I can add: God is GOOD and GREAT. There is no one like Him! The needs in this wonderful Godly created earth are growing. We have to press harder for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We have to pursue in love and faith. We should not try to do it alone. We need family, friends, a local church, a strategy and above all the power of the risen Jesus Christ inside us.

Will you do such a tour again?

I seriously doubt if such a tour is possible more than once in one lifetime. The circumstances around our children will also never be the same again. But if it is God's will, I most definitely will.

Is there any last message you have for the people reading this blog?

God created this earth in its splendor and beauty. He saw that it was good. Then He made you and me and He said it was VERY GOOD. (Ps119) We have one life...let us make it count for the King of all kings, for the Lord of all lords. Accept Jesus' forgiveness, give forgiveness yourself: quickly and in abundance, live with a soft heart, do not judge others, treasure your family, diligently pursue your purpose, get actively involved in a local church within your area of gifts, never stop learning, keep your passions burning hot and finish your calling. While you are on this journey... laugh a lot and walk intimately with Jesus!

Dawie Fourie - 30 May 2009 - Whitefish, Montana, USA