Bird-Turd-Splattered at Buckingham Palace!

It was a memorable day in more ways than one…

We’d only just flown in from Africa the day before, and for logistical reasons were coming in by car from Southampton (Lizzie, her Dad, and the boys) and by train (Grace, my parents and I) from Henley.

When the British Ambassador rang me asking if we’d be willing to accept the award of an MBE – apart from thinking he was joking – I asked him if there were reasons not to accept that I might not have thought of. A small number of you have questioned the honours system, but I think the bottom line for us is that we see it as an award that we receive on behalf of a whole team of wonderful Burundian brothers and sisters, and as an opportunity for increased influence and promotion of Burundi moving forward.

So we arrived separately at Buckingham Palace, and prepared to meet the Queen. Lizzie had only just picked up our elderly Passat, which was covered in multiple splattered bird turds, but was still allowed into the Palace grounds. I asked the burly policeman holding his semi-automatic if there’d ever been as filthy a vehicle entering through the gates, and he chuckled and said there had indeed been worse! The car may have been clapped out, but Lizzie was resplendent. (See the photos below. I’ve got to include lots of them because they’re the most expensive ones I’ll ever buy, and we weren’t allowed cameras inside the Palace itself, but I refuse to be further fleeced for the film of us meeting and receiving our award in person!)

There were 95 of us being honoured, and we were the only couple amongst them. (Sir) Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees was one. I spoke to Heather Knight, English cricket captain, and winner of the World Cup, who was getting an OBE. We were a general hotch potch of all sorts of folks from different fields.

It was an extremely impressive affair, I have to say. The Palace is absolutely stunning. Guards stood motionless to attention everywhere in their refinery. Being such fans of the Queen, it was a minor disappointment that although she was upstairs in residence, we were instead presented our award by Prince Charles – but at 92-years-old, we can forgive Her Majesty for slacking off official duties a little!

And then it was our turn. We’d been briefed on how far to walk, where to stop, turn at right-angles, bow/curtsy, step forward to the dais, talk until he put out his hand to shake ours signifying the end of the conversation, and then step back still facing him, bow/curtsy, about turn and walk off.

The most beautiful thing happened as we stepped forward, which nobody else noticed except me: I’m a total cultural philistine when it comes to classical music. The only two pieces, I’m embarrassed to admit, that I can recognise at all are Handel’s Hallelujah chorus (everyone knows that one), and Rachmaninoff’s (hang on, let me just google to find out what it’s called) ‘Rhapsody on a theme from Paganini’. Rachmaninoff’s because it was the piece of music that Lizzie chose to walk into at our wedding, and I remember turning around at the altar and being utterly overcome by her pure beauty as she walked up the aisle towards me, such that tears immediately came to my eyes. Well, the live orchestra had been playing non-stop throughout the hour and a quarter ceremony, getting through lots of different splices of musical pieces. And just as we stepped forward, without missing a beat, they kicked in with that same Rachmaninoff piece. I smiled and looked upwards and took it as a little bonus affirmation from our Heavenly Father, who of course is the only Audience that really matters ultimately, even if it was nice to be in an earthly Palace surrounded by lots of important people.

A bonus piece of comedy was Lizzie forgetting to retreat and curtsy, instead just turning around and walking off, so I had to whisper her back like a naughty little schoolgirl, and I gave Prince Charles an apologetic wink!

Then after photos, we went to have a pub lunch with family and GLO staff and trustees, both past and present. There were speeches, tears, laughter, it was fabulous!

So that’s it. Folks, a huge thank you forjourneying with us over the last two decades or however long we’ve known each other. The adventure continues. The needs remain in Burundi, bigger than ever I’d say. We’re not slacking off. Please keep being generous and supporting the work. Enjoy the summer!

PS My lady doesn’t like public speaking, but this was a wonderful, coherent, emotional thanks and tribute to her late Mum (under 2mins). You don’t often get to hear Lizzie, so I wanted to share this with you…

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  • How great is our God to honour you in this way, I’m so grateful that He has, as I can’t think of two worthier people to be blessed. The Rachmaninoff detail made me cry, He doesn’t miss a beat does He.

    I will continue praying for your family, that you’ll be blessed mightily with courage and strength and that you’ll stay faithful to the One True God.

    Thank you for the years of encouragement your blogs and faithfulness have provided me with.

  • Fab. Never seen you look so smart!!!
    Great story of HIs grace and your faithfulness.

  • This all makes me (legit) teary. Love it all, the photos and commentary. Big love to all Gorgeous Guillebaud’s

  • Gorgeous well deserved honour. Love the rachmaninov detail. Stunning family. Be blessed.

  • How absolutely fabulous! Tears in my eyes!! How amazing to be honoured by our royals AND of course by our Lord Almighty. You, as a family, and all your supporters deserve this, and more!!!!:)

  • Flipping love this. You scrubbed up beautifully given you had NO time to prepare. So wonderful to see the photos, the smiles, the joy that I recognise in people who sacrifice life for more meaningful life in Jesus. YES!

  • Nice suit 🙂

  • Congratulations to you all.
    How wonderful of God to orchestrate the right piece of music for you.
    Looking forward to hearing what God has in store for you.
    God Bless.

  • Amazing achievement. I hope to visit you in Heaven one day and to hear more of your testimonies. You have been and still are an inspiration to us all. Well done and God bless you. Long may your good work continue with or without you being there.

  • If ever there was an Englishman/woman/family (humanly speaking) deserving, its you guys. Stunning.

  • How blessed are you & your family, that God would choose to celebrate and honour you in this way. Let this only serve to encourage you in the faith, and let it be a great boost for GLO and all those involved.

  • Congratulations to all of you, a well deserved and wonderful honour. Thanks for all you have shared about GLO and Burundi, I have found your emails and videos a great challenge and encouragement. May God continue his amazing work in you as a family and in Burundi. God bless

  • Our Father is going to trash all the earthly titles when He shows forth His Son who was dishonoured by our sins. The British Empire was based on race theory and a form of Christianity that is a mockery of the primitive Christian faith of the Early Christian Church. Simon, go kneel before Yeshua- the King of Kings and get the honour that comes from God as a true Jew. Yeshua served without a salary, homeless for 3 years and died penniless to make us truly rich in Him, in heaven forever. The Head of the Universal Church is not a woman, but the Man from heaven. Empires of this world are based on pride, arrogance and violence.

    • Yes I understand but why be negative on a special day that recognizes some great work done on earth . He expresses all this in his opening statement. Lighten up and join in the joy of someone giving thanks for all that God has done……..and by the way doesn’t it say in Scripture that God puts all in power?

    • Yes, understand fully the ghastly basis of the British Empire….. but to tell Simon to “go kneel before Yeshua”!! I cannot begin to imagine how many hours Simon must have spent on his knees over the past 20 years. Simon, if you are reading this, I personally want to thank you and your whole family for being a total inspiration and encouragement to live a life worthy of the calling Jesus places upon each one of us.

  • Hi Folks,
    What a fabulous funny family group celebration photograph. That’s the way to do it! lol Don’t you all look so cool!
    This must have been so surreal. ‘One minute’, saying goodbye to Burundi and almost the next being ushered into Buckingham Palace! Wow!
    And the special music!
    Our God has a sense of humour.
    Best wishes from roasting Belfast.

  • Congratulations, well deserved recognition!
    Wow what an experience for the whole family!
    God Bless

  • What a God-given & perfect way to mark the end of this chapter. Love it love it love it. Thank you Lord & thank you for sharing this adventure with us! Happy trails and we look forward to the next chapter – by God’s grace & in His strength.
    Love NIta and family

  • Simon – you are an inspiration! So glad you have been honoured in this way – you are such honourable people.

  • Hooray! What a richly deserved honour for you both!

  • You are an amazing family and right that your sacrifice of love should receive these earthly honours. Yes, the recognition will provide many opportunities which you will embrace with typical enthusiasm for the Kingdom!
    God bless you in your future adventures; love from Jill and me

  • WOW, what a honour for you, your family and the whole team, well deserved.

  • Great and well deserved honour and recognition of you, your work and courage. Well done!

  • Honour whom honour deserves – God loves His people and shows it – very impressive – even for me being “non-British”
    Lots of love and blessings xx Ulrike

  • So well deserved . Congratulations and blessings for the future.

  • Hey Simon, whats tougher, wrestling the palace or wrestling a Crocodile? Congratulations bro. Its fantastic. Praise God!

  • Well done Guillebauld family, I went to a seminar at new wine over 15 years ago “Radical living” by a young man, insipring !!
    Now I see a family at the Palace,.
    It is with a tear in thank God for you all

  • Wow….just wow. Thank you for sharing. God is SO good 😉 And now, into the future……..

  • It is great that what God has done in Burundi through his faithful servants is being given the recognition it deserves. Our Majesty also recognises our God as the highest authority.
    Well done to you and your family, Simon.

  • LOVE this! X

  • What a wonderful day for you all and so richly deserved. You have worked tirelessly and sacrificially all these years and I think it is perfectly splendid that it has been recognised and rewarded. I know you can’t take the MBE into heaven but I reckon God is delighted for you!

  • Gratulasjon from Norway and Hauge

  • How lovely that the ‘world’ can recognise the goodness of God through you two even if they do not yet know the true King of kings! A lovely testimony of a couple who can receive such honour without any sense of becoming ‘puffed up’. I am sure that Jesus would have been chuckling along with you and enjoying the event as much as you did. Well done! Use it to his glory!!

  • Congratulations. I’m so glad that you both were honoured for all the work you have done. This is just a fore-taste of what is in store for your faithful service when our Lord Jesus comes back again. Congratulations once again and God bless you.

  • So delighted for you & thank you so much for sharing your inspirational journey with us. It’s been an honour to be part of it, if only in prayer. May your next chapter be as meaningful & fruitful – but with less gunfire! Blessings & love to you all.

  • Just simply wonderful that’s a couple you are thanked so hugely by these awards as you have done all you have done never seeking acknowledgement. I think God was winking at both of you! Fabulous that the children got to be in the they too have been a huge part of being in this all with you. Louise and Mark x

  • “Those who honour me I will honour”.
    Simon, this is so richly merited for you, your immediate family and your Burundian family. What a stellar way to celebrate this chapter. So delighted for you.

  • What an honour for you and your whole family! Congratulations to you and thank you for all you have sacrificed for the cause of Christ!

  • WOW! What a story. Reminds me of “From rags to riches” Congratulations! What an honor. You are indeed blessed. May God’s richest blessings continue to be yours! We have enjoyed receiving your emails. We will miss them and continue to hold our our dear loved Burundians close to our hearts and in our prayers.

  • Well done God’s faithful servants. May God continue to bless you with His presence and anointing. You all looked smashing. Blessings on this new chapter of your lives in Christ. Joan

  • Haha! Loved it Simon, how lovely for you all & special to hear that special piece of music just for you. I’d friends who were there with Charlie this week too. All very posh a far cry from Burundi. Would love to see you at New Horizon this year DV. Every blessing.

  • What joy this has brought you, your families, and so may others including me :0) :0) !! And most importantly, our Lord who has watched over the developing background to the decision to make these awards. You are amongst His favourite servants! So, now to the future and I pray you are all blessed, and a blessing, on your forthcoming world tour (wow – alright for some!!).

  • If that car had been immaculate, it wouldnt have been you! Recalling your numerous ‘poop’ stories from Burundi it was kind of fitting! lol
    But the pics are beautiful – cant think of a more deserving family! Congratulations all and God bless your new season.

  • Wonderful

  • Thank you for sharing, Congratulations and may God bless and use you as a blessing to many Praying for you all

  • How absolutely lovely, Simon. While we do wrestle against principalities and powers in the heavenly places, human governorship has been instituted by the Lord and you have been honoured. Praise God that work done for Christ Jesus had been both recognised and honoured. You all look stunning! Every blessing as you continue to serve the Sovereign Lord.

  • An overused word, but in this case worthy … AMAZING

  • what a tremendous blessing and testimony of God’s faithfulness and goodness. The photos speak volumes.
    You will always have opportunities to be a blessing to Burundi in future, I am sure. May the Lord bless and protect the future of all family members. love Ilse

  • Congratulations and wonderful how God Himself ratified it with your music! This is not just a well-deserved honour but will be a gateway into all sorts of places and an unlooked-for layer of protection as you move on in His will. Who knows what blessings will ripple out of this?! You are allowed to revel in His joyous love..

  • Well done you both – and all yours and the team! So well deserved – and the greatest honour is yet to come!
    And, don’t you all look so smart! Loved reading about the day – especially about you giving PC a wink!!
    God bless you all.

  • Thank you for sharing your special day with us! Amazing!!. You have been such an inspiration over the years and I am excited to see what God has in store for the future. May God continue to bless you richly as you serve him.

  • Since He knows how many hairs each of us has, I suppose it’s not surprising that you were blessed with the right music that blessed you as you married the amazing Lizzie! Thanks for posting those lovely pictures of you both looking stunning, with Zac, Grace and Josiah “respectably” attired too. May all the arrangements for your upcoming tour go as planned and be a blessing to you all as you bless others. What exceptional experiences await you all! Shall keep praying.

  • Well done, good and faithful servants.

  • Many congratulations! You so deserve this. So pleased you had such a fantastic day.
    God bless you all,
    Heather Watson

  • Thank you Simon for ‘Choose Life 365’, truly inspiring and humbling.

    Thank you God for Simon and family…….and for our Queen.

    Dave and Di

  • In front of a computer screen in the city God asked you a question and you said YES!
    All these years later He shares His pleasure – good and faithful servent – with the rest of the world.
    ‘These are my beautiful Guilebaud’s, in who I am well pleased’
    Love you guys; congratulations on this recognition of your life’s work. Lizzie….lights and bushels come to mind….what a team

  • Congratulations, that is quite an honour. What an amazing opportunity to profile Burundi too. Well done.

    Daniel and Cat.

  • What a beautiful photo of you both.
    Many congratulations to you both for what you’ve achieved together in Burundi, despite all the odds. A very well deserved recognition to you and all the brothers and sisters working for the Lord in dangerous times.

  • Congratulations and well done from all the Strachan’s!
    You deserve this accolade for all your faithful service in Burundi for The Lord these past 20 years.
    You all look good and well ! Enjoy the summer break.

  • Simon, I have never met you, although my husband has (Peter Lindop, from Derek Prince Ministries), but I want to say how wonderful it is for God and the Queen to have chosen to honour you and your family and your ministry in this way. And how beautiful for Him to pick Rachmaninoff to let you know that He was smiling down on you as you received this earthly accolade! He does indeed, lift up the humble! I have recently read the story of Mother Teresa’s life and ministry, and she too accepted her awards, the Nobel Peace Prize in particular, on behalf of all the poor of India and the incredible team who worked alongside her. We are looking forward to travelling to Burundi in the next couple of moths and being a tiny part of the work you are doing there. I am sorry, for us, that we won’t get to meet you and your lovely family in person, although, of course, we wish you an amazingly blessed year abroad. Blessings and grace, the Lindop family

  • Wow! So well deserved. I remember you coming to speak at St. Marys last year and you completely blew my mind. Im so pleased you have been recognised for all that your family does.

  • Ah, Simon, that brought tears to my eyes.
    I have to admit that I, too, would have been a bit gutted not to have received the award from the Queen. Her loss as well as yours. Still, you’ll get to catch up with her when you get to heaven – I’m as sure as one can be that she’ll be there!

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