I really want to remember the detail of this special day, that's why I decided to dedicate a blog to this 1 day!
We woke Tinus early with "Veels geluk, liewe Tinus"(an Afrikaans birthday song), sung in 4 tunes, but passionately. (We did try to sing one melody, but not 1 of us received the talent of singing.) Tinus and Charlie then went for a jog next to the Mediterranean Sea. Then we had a proper breakfast – bacon and eggs! (It was the first since the cruise in May - we usually have cereal)
Dawie also went to the bakery on top of the hill, to buy fresh croissants, and even there we were blessed. He asked the price of 5 croissants, the French lady wrote the amount down (language is a Big problem here)and he said: no thanks, but it's too expensive." She said: "wait", and wrote a much cheaper amount and he said: "Yes, thank you very much, merci!" and she smiled. We were all excited about the special treat, and each had one. When I cleared the table, there were still 2 croissants left in the bag! This lady did not only give us discount, but gave us 2 extra croissants as well! If you've been to France, you will know that this is not their usual way of doing business. (So far we have encountered many near to rude people here.) Praise God for showing us the goodness in people!
After breakfast, we had our normal family tradition of blessing and praying for the person who has his birthday. Just for the fun of it, we 1st sang the birthday song again (this time in 4 different melodies than earlier) and also a song "We love /bless you with the love of the Lord ". Then we prayed for Tinus – Dawie J, Myself, Charlie and Dawie. It was as if the prayers and blessings were more intense than other times. Perhaps because we realized that we will not do it in this usual way next year – as he will be in Stellenbosch. I think another reason is that he will be entering into a new phase of his life. Perhaps it was just because we appreciate him now, after a close-knit 8 months, even more than before. What I do know is that God heard every one of our requests and will keep him in the Palm of His Hand.
We then gave him his presents: His Switserland knife, which I've lost, (and he gracefully accepted it), but I discovered it 3 days ago in my bag and did not tell him about it. He was very glad and received it as if it was for the first time! He also received the much needed pair of shoes that we bought him in New York, wrapped up. Also a CD, which also has a special story attached to it. At Willow Creek, Dawie gave each of us a "voucher" to buy something in the bookshop. Tinus had difficulty choosing between a book and a CD, but took the book. Dawie J then, instead of buying something for himself, chose the CD which he knew Tinus liked, and gave it to him on his birthday. Dawie J also colored the magnet for Tinus that Tinus bought in Michigan City. (It still needed coloring in.) Charlie gave him all of the money he received when he sold his dog's puppy earlier this year so that Tinus can buy himself a specific thing he wished to get. And there were cards we made and wrote.
After those special moments, we all went for a swim at the small harbour near our house. We reminded each other what a real treat this was: swimming together on a Thursday morning! Back home again we enjoyed tea and chocolate cake, which Dawie J baked.
All of the above took us to 14h00 and we left our house with a long planned mission: Vieux Port, the heart of Marseille. We walked the 3 km to get there, then walked slower and enjoyed the feel of being a tourist.
We walked on and on, to La Vieille Charite in Le Panier – the oldest parts of Marseille. La Vieille Charite was built in 1671 to offer a safe place where refuges, orphans and the homeless could have a place to rest. Yes, people do have a good, caring side in them. God made us that way, but unfortunately we also have a dark, selfish side. We all have the ability to good and bad. At the end, it's the one that gets fed most, that will come out. Feed on God and His Word – good will be visible. Feed on the world – bad will be visible. Each must choose. Whoops, that was just a short interruption in my birthday story. Let me continue.
Dawie(the older one) found a restaurant with WiFi and sat down to work, while the rest of us explored more of Marseille. We joined him at 18h00 to eat. We've planned this weeks ago, that we will have a meal in one of the street restaurants on Tinus's birthday. It was just as we planned it, with the only exception that we found a place much cheaper than what we expected – so we even ended up well below budget! And more than that – we met another friendly Frenchman, our waiter. He even tried to speak English! Tinus could also skype with Ouma, which was good for both of them. We sat there until the sun dropped into the sea. Then we walked the 3km back home.
We reached home at 21h00. We were happy and fulfilled. We had a special celebration of the birthday of a special young man.
May God continue to bless you, Tinus and may you walk with Him in righteousness and know Him more and more each day. Thank you for who you are. Thank you that there is so much goodness in you. We love you and we like you!