After another frenetic and fruitful summer of preaching and family fun, the big day has arrived. Tomorrow we embark on our 33-country 10-month preaching and world-schooling tour. I feel a mixture of emotions – excited, daunted, and if I’m honest a tinge of fear.
Why the tinge of fear? Well, we’ve got a good marriage (I usually describe it as great, whilst Lizzie says it’s good!), but I sense it’ll be tested in new ways this year on the road. And the kids are experiencing the pains of transitioning out of the stability of their home in Burundi. None of them wanted to stop living there, but their educational needs somewhat forced our hand. I’m glad they didn’t want to leave, because it means they love the country and will always have great memories of it.
But will we survive the 10-month adventure of a lifetime? Josiah (9) is repeatedly saying: “I don’t want to go on the world tour.” He’s been sick in bed today, so I hope he is on better form tomorrow. Last Christmas, we left Burundi for two weeks in South Africa, and when we returned, he went along the corridor of our house kissing the walls, saying: “I’m so glad to be home!” He’s a home-boy so this is a huge deal. Grace (10) was tearful last night in expressing how she longed to have a home and how it’s not nice being homeless. Zac (12) is OKish but like the others repeatedly states he’d prefer to be returning to Burundi this week to our house, our pets, our friends, as we always did the first week each September up until this year. Naturally they are clinging to the familiar, and we are about to launch out into so many unknowns. These are important but undeniably painful life-lessons in the making…
So time will tell. Some friends are taking bets on how long we’ll last – contact Justin if you want to add your wager! I hope we last all the way – indeed I’m relatively confident we will – but if you could lift up the kids particularly, and our marriage, I’d be grateful. If they plain hate it – a scenario that gave me a sleepless night earlier this week – or Lizzie and I end up at loggerheads, then we’ll return early as there are more important things in life.
I considered setting up a different family blog page for this year, but have decided to post both Burundi news and family news here. If you signed up explicitly for Burundi stuff, I’ll understand if you want to unsubscribe. But if you want to continue to be part of our journey by following our antics as well as getting GLO news, please stay with us.
And please don’t think I’m just bunking off and having a holiday for the year! For example, this coming weekend I’ll be preaching four times in Brussels. There are ministry opportunities all over the place, and my work for GLO continues remotely several hours each day in connecting, networking, fundraising etc as I fly the Burundi flag and grow our support base around the world. Meantime Onesphore is doing a stunning job steering the GLO ship in Burundi, and I’ll feed back to you shortly the beautiful fruit of our summer outreach campaign.
The plan is to attempt to home-school along the way, and we’ll see how that goes. I hope it’ll be an amazing year of discovery and discipleship for the kids, as we experience many different cultures and contexts, and get stuck into various projects wherever we go. It’s a huge privilege to do, so may we maximise it.
That’ll do for now. Below is our schedule:
5th September – leave UK, to France and Belgium
10th September – Netherlands
12th September – Germany
14th September – Denmark
15th September – Sweden
Monday 17th September – Berlin
19th September – Poland
22nd September – Slovakia
25th September – Hungary and Romania
1st October – Bulgaria
4th October – Macedonia
8th October – Albania
12th October – Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia
19th October – Slovenia
23rd October – through Italy to Switzerland
29th October – Germany
31st October – back to UK
7th November – Israel
15th November – Jordan
22nd November – Dubai
Monday 25th November – India
10th December – Myanmar
19th December – Thailand
31st December – Cambodia
9th January – Singapore
10th January – Australia
12th February – New Zealand
18th March – Peru
31st March – USA
1st March – brief foray into Mexico
3rd March – back into USA
20th June – Canada
25th June – back into USA
1st July – oof, back to UK and finding a house to rent in Bath in time for starting school in September!
Looking forward to seeing you in New Zealand! Safe travels!
Hi Robin, I’d be really keen to find out more about Simon and his family’s trip to NZ. Would you happen to know where they’ll be staying on what their general plans are when they’re here?
Hi Bruwer, our schedule is being prepared by a friend of mine in NZ. We are pretty much lined up with everything, but I’ll post it probably once finalised in a few weeks. Best wishes, SG
Thank you Simon. I can imagine your world-trip being carefully organised. If there was any way to spend just a little time with you while you were here, I’d like to see if I can make that happen. Every blessing for your travels.
I have just come across your blog and would love to hear you speak in New Zealand. Please pass on my email address to whoever is organising the tour so I can be kept informed noa at swissmail dot org. Thanks
Oh Lord bless you all on this journey, your schedule looks very busy! On top of traveling, I know that HE will be there for you all!
Bon voyage! Where will you be speaking in Slovenia? Have in laws there, but not in the capital and not all fluent English speakers.
Wow! That’s some itinerary! The Lord bless you all as you travel
Hello from a home schooling family in Basingstoke! I love the adventure but understand the trepidation. God obviously has a plan! I hope you enjoy the ride 🙂
What an incredible itinerary – and at such speed! God bless you all greatly in your new ministry as you travel together. You are inspirational and we, along with many others, will be following you in prayer.
I consider it an honor to travel vicariously along with you & your family through your blog. Wishing you God’s Speed and a place to stay in South Carolina or New Hampshire on your USA leg of the journey.
May God be in all your travels. You never know, the quiet conversations may be just as significant as the big preaching engagements. I have travelled a little and had my first child in Pune India. He now lives in Switzerland while I’m in UK!
Great work Simon, keeping you in prayers, greetings from BCU
May God bless you all and keep you safe
May his light continue to shine upon you
Follow him and he will keep your paths straight
Watch out world, the Guillebauds are coming!
Thanks for this; it arrived in my inbox on the same day as you set off! What a feat on the part of you ALL. Shall be praying with the large international crowd for each one of you. HE will foresee all details; My morning reading was 2 Cor 11 – I trust you won’t endure what Paul did (but he wasn’t a family man!). Your children will have a unique education. i remember our family holidays, enjoying travel & caravan – I think we all got to the point of feeling “home is where we all are” and pray this will be true for you all
Where in Sweden will you be on the 15th?
We’re in Yangon. Anything you need on your trip to Myanmar, in Dec, just say.
Hi Simon, any speaking engagement in France before heading to Belgium? If not could you share the Belgium meetings details?
Enjoy this unique season as a family!
Vineyard church in Brussels Sunday morning is the best bet, two services.
Wow, that is quite a trip. Praying it all starts off smoothly and you all have a FABULOUS time!
May God give you peace and favor and may He delight your kids with lots of little surprises along the way. Also, although that schedule looks a bit brutal – I hope you all do take time off to relax and see the world. There’s no shame in that. You’ve worked harder than most believers and it’s okay to do nothing sometimes! Enjoy and safe travels!
God bless you all…I will be following your travels with enthusiasm & prayers 😀
Wow! Such a great adventure for all of you!! So happy for you! So many things to discover for you and the kids! I’m sure you will all be ok though sometimes it might be harder! So different landscapes and culture! Such a great enrichment for the 5 of you! Looking forward to reading your new chapters! And a bit jealous because I don’t have your strength and can’t afford this experience…
God bless you! And congratulations for everything you do
God bless you Simon and your family as you set out on this epic ministery. May He keep you all in good health and focused on the great work you are doing in His name for some of the most vunerable people in our world. Our prayers are with you that you might reach all those hearts you intend to reach and that many more are turned to Him that didn’t set out to reach.
In Christ Jesus, our brother and our Saviour. Amen.
Ian and Judith
Can you please tell me where you’ll be in Albania on October 8? I have many friends there and I would love to direct them your way!
That bit of the journey is still very much in flux actually. Working on it!
In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct every single one of your ways and every one of you!
In no way expecting you to go into intimate details, this is just a comment, but it is interesting that the child you described as being deeply unhappy at school and the reason for your slightly hastier than planned departure, also seems not to want to depart!
Indicative I’m sure of the mixed feelings and turmoil within all of you, and my prayers also go with you.
As you would probably say,
Be blessed, be very blessed!
Praying you through- Lord please protect bless guide and uphold Simon and his family. Amen.
John 14:27 came to my mind after reading your post. May god protect you and help you in everything every single day (hour, minute and second) of this grand adventure!
Location details in Germany, please.
God bless you all in your travels. Having moved house at least once a year for the first 13 years of my life I understand your children’s feelings but pray, as someone else has commented, that they find their security in the family unit.
Thanks Prudence! things are going really well, long may it continue!
Are you preaching anywhere near Cross Junction, Virginia? I have a Pastor friend who lives there and it would be great if he could hear you speak.