Not too shabby – The first 30 weeks (Dawie – 27 July 2009)

Our blog producer, Dr. Chrisna von Gericke-Fourie, instructed me to do a blog on our world tour with the theme: " Not too shabby". She said I may not preach or thank the "soldiers back home" ...again. I should do an ordinary blog: like a normal person...

On this very special world tour we use the term "Not too shabby" when we really enjoy something. When we feel spoiled or blessed!

I always thought I was as normal as can be -but according to my wife, apparently I am not - so let me try to write a "normal" blog this time.

Unspeakable, precious memories of London, Paris, Orcierres (France), Switzerland, Germany, Phuket, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Seattle, Vancouver, Alaskan Cruise, Whitefish (Montana), Toronto, Red Stone Lake (in Canada), Atlanta, Blue Ridge (mountain cabin in Georgia) and a Southern-Lake-Michigan-region-roudtrip are behind our backs. Chicago, New York, Southern France, Mediteranean Cruise and Italy to follow. Of the 40 weeks-trip, 30 have already passed. We do not want to go home yet! Our relationship with our Lord Jesus and with each other have been strengthened. To God all honor and glory for this unique opportunity.

We saw some of the most beautiful God created places, we experienced some of the most thriving churches, we met some of the most precious people on earth, we visited some of the most effective cities and institutions, we attended specific selected training seminars, we flew on numerous airlines, we went on a cruise, we rode on ferries, trains, buses, drove 10 different cars, stayed in more than 10 different houses, ate all kinds of food...

We talked a lot with other people, with one another, with God...we followed the news back home, local news and international news. We read newspapers, visited websites, watched CNN and local news channels. We have met with godly world leaders and closely followed President Obama's first 200 days in the White house.

We spent time planning the rest of our tour, kept communication channels open through Skype and about 30 emails per day. (I am hands on ALL the time...let me just's easy to be hands on if there are capable and passionate people back home who are called and committed to lead in an agreed upon direction). We read books, hundreds of pages in the Bible and various documents on other religions. We wrote blogs, wrote various chapters of books to be published in the future, adjusted the curriculum of African Leadership Institute ("ALI"), developed new material for ALI , did presentations for various board meetings and actively manage the financial performances of all the ministries/businesses we represent (including the world tour finances) very closely and timely on a monthly basis.

We helped our children with their school work, upgraded their educational electronic equipment, visited various points of educational interest and played with them (board games, hiking, skiing, bicycle rides, gym, river rafting, golf, tennis, shuffle board, chess, table tennis, cricket, soccer, wrestling, base ball, etc.). We took them to some of the worlds most spectacular natural wonderss, to museums, science institutions, aquariums, buildings, Imax, base ball games, businesses, churches ( all kinds!), zoos, wilderness parks, water parks and lots more. And we enjoyed it very much. We continued with our regular "house meetings" and we took communion several times.

We prayed...a lot...for ourselves, for our trip, for the "soldiers back home", for ALI, for all our interests in Namibia, for the political process in our country and for individual leaders who we knew need to play an important role. We prayed for our president, his leadership, oposition leaders and for the transformation process in our country. We prayed for the leadership of the countries we visited, we pray for former president Bush' legacy, for wisdom for President Obama for the situations in Irak, Iran, Afganistan, North Korea, for Israel, etc.

Throughout the trip I was very aware of the of the Chrisna von Gericke Family Trust, which partially paid for our trip, trustees' instructions: we therefore stayed focused on new opportunities for ALI, the trust and the other interests we represent. We realized that these investments should not only be for the short term benefit of the country and the beneficiaries but also for the financial sustainability of the trust and those ministries we represent. To make sure we all stayed on course we had to list our goals and evaluated them every fourteen days...during a family meeting.

What a unique opportunity to see, to experience, to learn, to observe, to be stimulated the whole time and to make new investments - and all of that at a slower pace - with those who you love the most at your side ALL the time...not too shabby! Or what do you think?

Let me conclude with a passage in Scripture which summarized it the best for me:

( you need to reflect deeply to understand why I have chosen this passage)

2 Timothy 2 (NIV)
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 14...19 Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Faith, Family, Friends...a true story ( Dawie, Atlanta, 26 July 2009)

This is a true story following my two previous blogs on Faith, Family and Friends...
Another miracle story on our tour around the world!

We bought a projector and an extra bulb while we were in the mountain cabin in Georgia over the internet. It was to be delivered to Peter's home ( Peter is our very friendly home exchange host in Atlanta). The bulb was delivered and his Australian guests (who stayed in his Atlanta home and was so kind and helpful through out!) put it in the BBQ where we collected it on our way from the cabin to the airport. Unfortunately the projector was not there yet. We connected to Peter's Internet from his backyard. UPS' tracking system reflected it as "in transit". We called the whole family together and we prayed. We decided that we had an hour to spare and we should try and trace it.

First we phoned...unsuccessfully: only a computer voice. We then left Charlie and Dawie J at Peter's front door and drove via our GPS instructions to the nearest UPS outlet. Unsuccessful once more...they're only a retail store and had nothing to do with the delivery. Then back to Peter's home. Nothing delivered. Again we prayed! Peter's neighbor was in her garden, so we gave her our telephone number and asked her to phone us if they deliver within the next 45 minutes. Then we drove to the airport while everyone was on the lookout for a UPS delivery van. Within 7 minutes we spotted one and stopped it.

The friendly driver looked in his computer. No such delivery in his van, but he will phone his colleague. Phone...not available. He phoned his head office to "sent an urgent message" to his colleague to call him. Call came within 3 minutes, the projector was in that van. We slotted that van's next delivery address into our GPS and collected the projector at that delivery point after presenting the invoice and my passport. We were still in time for our flight to Chicago...just in time... (Chrisna did not walk to the closing gates...she ran!)

The whole month of July I had it in the back of my mind that I should still write a blog on faith. It was only just last week that I completed a new presentation for the leadership school on "God's part vs My part in life". What a true story to tell! God is so good! He still performs miracles today for ordinary people like you and me!

Is there possibly a lesson to be learned on faith? It is more than a cheap confession of our's about a walk of faith... Remember we said it's a walk with God. Only He could have helped us to find that projector in a delivery van between 5 million people in less than an hour... It pleased Him that we as a family wholeheartedly trusted Him.

O Heavenly Father, please help us all, in Jesus Name, to trust You more!

Faith, Family and Friends...Forever (Dawie, 23 July 2009)

As promised here is the follow up on my blog of 22 June 2009.

I tried to cover the family and friends now is the time to share one or two things on Faith.

My palm dictionary explains it as: " loyalty to a cause or person" or "complete confidence in a person or plan".

The most prominent chapter in the Bible on this subject is possibly Hebrew 11. The first verse sets the tone of the whole chapter:

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.(NIV)

My Libronix Digital Library uses English words like believe, trust, rely, confident, feel sure, etc. Interesting to note that the word "faithfulness" is used most of the times. At the Haggai Institute a lecturer told us that there is no word like "faith" or "believe" in the Hebrew language. Remember that the first language of Jesus' disciples, who wrote most of the New Testament, was Hebrew, although they wrote the Bible in their second language namely Greek. In Hebrew apparently the only word they use is "faithfulness".

Every time we are in the car traveling somewhere Tinus will make us listen to a sermon or speech (podcasts of one of the world's best, or should I say one of his favorite teachers). In one of them Louie Giglio made a strong case that we all worship something or somebody. We were made to be worshippers. The same is true of faith...we all believe in someone or something. We all are loyal to someone or something. We all rely on someone or something. We all put our trust, confidence or assurance in someone or something.

The point I'm trying to make is this: whether we say we believe or not, is not the point, because we all have faith in something or somebody. The real question is who is "faithful"?

This is where, in my opinion, God proved Himself all over and over again through who He really is as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only one who proved Himself as being 100% faithful, ALL the time! The Father as Almighty, the Creator and Sustainer of it all, Jesus our Savior who died on the cross and conquered death, and the Holy Spirit who comforts us on a daily basis.

Once this question has been answered I think the next one should be: "What about you and me...are we faithful?" Can others rely on us, put their trust/confidence/assurance in us? An even more difficult question will be: can God trust us?

I think this is where grace and mercy come. Again...God was faithful in His plan to save the world through His only son, Jesus Christ. Question: Do we trust Him completely?

It seems to me that when we talk about "faith in Jesus" or " believe in Jesus" we should talk of a "walk with Jesus".

To walk with Jesus, hand in hand, wholeheartedly trusting Him alone. Because He is faithful we should not be afraid that He will let our hand go, we should just keep on walking with Him in confidence that He knows the way...such a walk will please Him.

The Hebrew writer later continues: "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebr. 11:6).

A walk on our own will never make it. As Paul puts it in Romans 3:10-12 (NIV)
10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

But a walk with Jesus is something different:

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Faith, believe, faithfulness...we all are walking with something or someone...with whom do you share your walk?

John 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 [T]hat everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Give Thanks (27/07/2009) Tinus

These few words - typed from our temporary home in Chicago - are officially the first to flow from my new laptop!
Great was my excitement (though you probably would not have noticed it by my "happy face") when we arrived at this house and just inside the door stood my package from Dell. We ordered the computer - after the lengthy kind of research only a high "C" is capable of - from Atlanta and had it delivered here. Now, while my brothers are busy with schoolwork, I get to do my maiden blog from my new machine!

Allow me therefore, to use this blog to give thanks! For truly, I have a great deal to be thankful for...

A few days ago, by the dinner table at Crackle Barrel, I had an illuminated moment. You see, I usually eat a lot faster than the rest of the family and I can't honestly say that I am proud of it (unless of course, it is as part of a buffet). I reasoned, while enjoying the second meal we had at that specific restaurant chain (the other was two days before), that the only remedy for my speed-problem, would be to start a conversation in which I do most of the talking. The problem with this brilliant idea, however was the simple fact that I usually do not do most, if indeed any, of the talking in whatever conversation. Then, it hit me! Why not recall all the memories from our tour, starting with London?

Needless to say, this inspired plan paid off. Before we even got through Paris (with everyone filling in detail here and there, while I do most of the talking) all the other plates were nearly finished, while mine was barely halfeaten. I then even had the privilege of sharing the remainder of my food with the vultures and still being totally satisfied!

Anyway, recalling all those wonderful memories elevated my level of thankfulness once more. Not that each waking moment is not a celebration of all I have to be thankful for. My point is that it is good to sit and count your blessings every once in a while. While we were talking by that dinner table, this is a point that was practically illustrated. My mother recalled that her memory of Germany was not so pleasant and neither was my recollection of Phuket. We came to the conclusion, however, that this was due to the fact that each of us only remembered the bad parts of those times. When we just started throwing around all the memories, both of us realised how wonderful both those times actually were. We needed to stop and count our blessings.

So, I want to exclaim my thanksgiving to everyone and to the Lord. But, my list of thank you's I will not write here (though in my mind, even as I type, it is endlessly populated). Instead, I encourage every one to sit down and list at least 10 specific things you are thankful for that happened during the past 24 hours. (A practice my mother drilled into us even as little children.) Although I doubt not your sincerity when you include things like "my mother" or "this day" or "my life" or even "my job" in your list, that is not allowed. You have to be specific. "Thank You for the GPS and the ease with which we found the house." "Thank you for the 3 types of cereal I had to choose from this morning." "Thank you for letting me sleep til 9." After reaching 10 specific thank you's, why stop there. List all the general things you can think of you can be thanful for. Remember all the highlights of the past month or even year. Give thanks!

Now, I must conclude. My battery is almost drained (and before you critisize my new computer, we did play around with it before I started typing) and I'll surely burst from excitement if I remember any more thank you's right now.