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!