The Burundi Adventure Coming to an End…

All good things come to an end.

It’s been an emotional few weeks as we’ve dealt with a child who is deeply unhappy at school, and realizing that our time as a family needs to come to a close in Burundi for educational reasons. We’d planned to leave in 2019, twenty years after I initially came out, but have brought it forward by a year.

The plan is, with my GLO Board’s full endorsement, to take the family on a crazy year traveling around the world. What an amazing opportunity! Why do it? Well why not?! We’ve had a stressful, challenging, full-on season in Burundi, and so this year will be one of decompression and collecting family memories as we transition back to the West. And I am a firm believer that education is so much more than just what goes on in the classroom, so we will be attempting to home-school along the way.

It will not be pure self-indulgence, I assure you, because I will speak wherever opportunities arise in whichever context, flying the GLO/Burundi flag to raise awareness, prayer and financial support. A lot of my work for GLO is networking/fundraising/connecting, and that can be done remotely as well as face-to-face. It is also an opportunity for more writing. All that to say I won’t be slacking by any stretch! I’m not good at that.

So here’s where you come in:

I just put a quick notice on Facebook, and within minutes have had invitations to come to Romania and Peru. The canvas is completely blank, we are open to anything. I’m certainly not planning on having speaking engagements the whole time – that’d ruin the experience for the others – but I am keen to be used in some of the places we end up. We are limited financially, obviously, so will be preparing a route based on contacts where we can sleep on their floors/they have a spare room or two, to minimize costs. And we’re in no way aiming to cover all continents, we’d plan on sometimes spending a week or two in a given location for some sense of stability and non-travel to mitigate for what could end up being an overly-frenetic schedule.

We are looking for a mixture of developed and developing countries. For fruitful GLO stuff, we need (and want) to go to Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada. Please, any contacts who are kind/hospitable/open to receiving us/potential avenues to speak like churches or schools, do connect us. I mean any! The more options we have, the better. Any access to a vehicle to borrow too would be wonderful. If we run out of money early, we’d just have to head home, so where we can save costs, we need to.

I’d like to spend September/October in Eastern Europe off the beaten track, so the FB message above about speaking at a missions school in Romania is perfect. Any contacts anywhere throughout the whole of Europe please, we’d love them! Does anyone know anyone who has a campervan that we might be able to use during that time when schools are back in session?

In terms of the developing world, it’s totally up for grabs. Suggestions/contacts please! It might end up being the case that where we have more contacts we will go, but one definite is India (and Nepal). Lizzie was born there (and worked there), and it’s obviously an amazing nation. Please send me your India contacts (we have enough Nepal ones).

We got the kids to write down their preferences. Canada was number one, and Israel came up a few times, so we’ll go to the latter, with Lebanon and Jordan nearby too. Contacts please! And being so close to Egypt, we’d probably jump on a bus as I did a few decades ago down from Jerusalem to Cairo to bargain for marijuana at the pyramids (but that was the old me!!). Other than Egypt, I don’t think we’ll go anywhere else in Africa as we’ve been on this continent and want to expose the kids to other parts of the world.

So can you help? Could you rack your brains on our behalf? What would you do in our shoes? As I said, it’s a blank canvas and we’re inviting you to help us fill it, and share any tips/warnings in the process.

Thanks a lot! As one adventure comes to an end, another will begin…

31 Comments9903 views

31 comments

  • Romania would be great! Get in contact with Emanuel University in Oradea or the Institutul Teologic Baptist București (I have contacts at both if you want me to see if you can come and speak) or just come here to the middle of Romania and meet with my wife and me (and speak at one or several of the Churches here). My email address is faithventuremedia@gmail.com. I’m from the US, and my wife is Hungarian from Romania (but we both have Romanian contacts). We’d welcome your visit here in the city!

  • Let me know if staying near Santa Barbara, California, or northeast Washington state are in your plans. In California we attend a large Calvary Chapel and in Washington we attend a small Assembly of God Church. We have large houses in both places… I am so pleased that you are putting your kids needs first! You will never regret listening to his needs. His are as important as anyone else’s. Good for you, Simon. Wishing you the best! Sue Davies

  • How about Trinity Western University near Vancouver, British Columbia. A Christian University with mission at heart. Also home to the Canadian institute of Linguistics and Wycliffe Bible Ttanslators. Contact me if interested and I will find contacts for you. My daughter is a linguistic graduate from TWU.

  • Hey Simon, While in Burundi for Community Bible Study you and your family hosted myself, John and Diana for Dinner in your home once. If you make it to Michigan, I would love the opportunity to return your kindness. My family, the Nallys, and the Millers all live about an hour from one another, perhaps between us we could organize some speaking engagements for you. My husband is faculty at Hillsdale College (you met him once) perhaps we could get you to speak there. Over the past few years there have been a couple of Hillsdale students that have served in Burundi on various missions. Additionally, I have contacts in many area churches through Community Bible Study and might be able to find some churches interested in having you speak.

  • Hi Simon,

    Exodus (www.exodusonline.org.uk) have a missions centre near Cluj, Romania where each summer for 6 weeks there are about 250-300 teens and families from N Ireland ministering in local villages. There’s great accommodation setup as well as opps for kids to be involved.

    Alternatively come to Peru before July and we’d love to have you here.

    Whatever you choose, a balance of travel and stationing yourselves in places is key to give both rest and connections as well as stability.

    Exciting times ahead!

    Chris

  • Kim and I will be praying for you during this time of transition. We will be following, anticipating that God will do amazing things while you are travelling.
    Please think about coming to South Korea!

  • We can help with accomodation and contacts in New Zealand and could hold a youth/ young adult camp in Whangarei, NZ and very likely loan a vehicle. Blessings as you plan and may your steps be guided!!

  • My family lived in New Delhi, India for three and a half years. I’ll ask my mum to send you her contacts there and in other parts of India.

  • I have a friend working with Chinese Christians in Hong Kong if that’s of interest?
    Other than that your life as a family is one huge adventure of faith and I find it amazing. My own steps of faith are miniscule but perhaps they’re increasing and folk like you and my friends the Freeths in Zimbabwe are a tremendous encouragement.
    Thank you.

  • If you wanted to touch the student world in India, Simon, we could put you in touch with contacts there. Scotts, Cambridge.

  • Simon and Lizzie,
    Your blog has always been authentic and inspirational. Thank you ! Your courage and resilience and faith has been, and is, amazing.
    We pray that in the euphoria of this time of change, you make the right choices for your family. To put their interests first has to be wise and godly. Go slowly and listen well and God be with you.

  • Simon, Lizzie and family: wow! Thank you for sharing all this. God will honour and bless you as you have honoured him all these 20 years in Burundi. Our prayers. I shall write and email you with contacts in NE India – Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.

  • An exciting new season!
    Have been following your blog as I work for an Australian NGO partnering with your neighbours in Rwanda. I live in Melbourne and would love the opportunity to meet / host you. I have contacts with schools here in Melbourne.
    Also have contacts in India in Nagpur (Maharastra) and Tezpur (Assam).

  • Hi Simon & Lizzie. Check out The Art of Simple blog and podcast by Tsh Oxenreider. She and her husband have done lots of travelling with their three kids, homeschooling along the way. http://theartofsimple.net/ She writes and talks about home, books and travel. They live in Texas currently, but they have also lived in Turkey with their kids, and travelled to loads of places.

  • Smashing! I am thrilled for you and your family. Relationships and connecting people is my passion … I will re-read your blog and put together some information for you!

  • You’re more than welcome to stay with us in the high desert of Southern California. But we will be praying for your grand adventure no matter where your journeys take you!

  • Simon,
    I live in Bakersfield, California. I two rooms available in my home and would love to have you and your family stay in my home, returning the hospitality 5th hat you showed me while I was in Burundi. I am sure my church,Living Grace, would love to have you speak. You cou ld also visit Radius International-a mission sending agency in Mexico, who my church is closely affiliated with. They are within driving distance. While you are here I think it could be arranged for you to have transportation. Your children might enjoy a visit to Disneyland, which is 2 hours away. There are a lot of things to do and see. Our Mission Interns would love to glee from your experiences.

  • We all broke bread together with our cousins, the Fores , in Nacogdoches TX, you should remwber Greta, when you were just starting this great journey if yours and we have watched you flourish! So proud of you all!
    You will continue to be in my prayers!
    Safe journey!

  • If your family travels through northern Alabama, you are all more than welcome to stay at my house as long as you like. My mom lives in town, so I would take my two Scotties and stay with her, so y’all could have privacy and a nice house 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house to yourselves. My home is 2 hours from Birmingham, AL; 2 hours from Memphis and 2 hours from Nashville, so it’s a nice central location. 🙂
    Of course – if you found time to speak at my church, Christ Chapel in Florence, AL – that would be amazing. Faith Tabernacle is also a great church to connect with.

  • My husband Blessan Babu has many many contacts in India as he is from there so I’ll get him to be in touch . We’ve followed your journey for a few years now and were hoping to meet you in Burundi at some point as we also have been developing connections there! Oh well..

  • We also have some contacts in Jordan and Canada….

  • I know a Christian family in New Zealand. Another friend who is a facebook friend of theirs has shared your post with them.

  • Simon, it is in large part due to following your several bike excursions and attempting to join you here in the states that I have become an avid cyclist. Thanks. When you visit us here in Richmond, we will organize a 100 mile bike ride on the recently completed 52 mile VA Capital Trail to raise money for you. You and the family will stay with us. I hope that this will happen. You have my contact information through the e mails you and I trade back and forth. I support you 100% in what you are doing.

  • Hi Simon
    Originally from Southampton and King’s Church, Martin and I have lived in Brisbane for the last 18 years. We are only 4 km from the CBD with amazing transport. The Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast are an hour north and South. Our house is big enough to lose another family in it. We are known by a lot of the KC folk. It was Sue Laker who contacted me. Janna Jacobs

  • Hey Simon,

    Sarah will be working in Coimbatore, India from January-April, 2018, if you will be in Southern India at that time.

    Jeff Hennessy

  • Hi Simon, Praying for you and the family as your time in Burundi comes to an end.
    A year to travel/preach/encourage etc.. sounds amazing. It was very exciting to see Australia mentioned as a place you are keen to visit. We would absolutely love you to come to Brisbane – my church is Creek Road Church (check out its website). It’s a great church, and I am happy to connect you to our minister if you are seeking opportunities. We would love to see you and help you out during your time here – getting a puppy next week and have 3 fun kids 8,10 and 13 who would be very welcoming. I have some lovely Christian contacts too in Sydney if that is a city you desire to see. Send me a message if you have any questions, requests and ideas of when etc… and I would love to help you and your family on your world travel year!!! Would be awesome to see you again after almost 20 years!!

  • Well done Simon and your lovely family, we`ll be praying for the right moves to be clear,
    with wisdom from on High.

    In the meantime have a restorative time of adventure and the building of resilience, with
    ` roots growing down into God`s love to keep you strong ` Eph 3

    What a great idea, a year out, or in possibly !
    Hope you get the balance right with speaking engagements and nurturing, recovery, processing … and whatever else you all need, perfectly normal after such a time …
    You are always welcome in Chichester. Our youngest, Esther, marries Harry the lodger on Saturday so we will have 3 spare rooms.

  • Hi Simon
    I think that this is a great idea and an opportunity to allow others to minister to you as you continue your work for the eternal kingdom.
    Barry and I would be pleased to host you in our home in Edmonton, Alberta Canada and provide a vehicle for your family to get around if you are able. It would be refreshing for you to visit the awesome Rocky Mountains also. Our pastors would love to have you speak at Calvary Community church again and hopefully with the youth and an affiliated church. I am sure that I could arrange other speaking opportunities in the area also. Please get back to me and let me know what the financial needs are for such a trip and your projected schedule.

  • Hello Simon,
    We would love to have you and your family visit Vegreville, Alberta (100 km east of Edmonton) Several of us heard you speak at Missions Fest several years ago and would love to hear more. We have room to put you all up in our home or in other homes.

  • Hi Simon, I meet you many years ago in Bristol at woodlands christian centre when I was a student I can still remember what you talked about!!!!
    I’m in szeged, Hungary, Are you still coming our way soon? How can we connect and talk?

    Andy

  • Hi Simon,

    Thank you for your example on the mission, with your family. I will pray for this new move.
    I come from France, where we have started house churches in Paris, http://leglisealamaison.org/.
    I am now in Madrid with my family, for a new professional project, working with a local mission, Reto : http://www.asociacionreto.com/
    If you need any accomodation in Paris or in Madrid during your trip, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Many blessings,
    Isaac

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *