Two cars, four travel companions, eight countries, sixteen tanks of…
We have lived out of our suitcases for four weeks and stayed in different places. Our trip through America was defined by many special encounters in equally special states. We were able to share the beautiful work performed by God in Mali and Senegal in so many places.
Upon arrival in St. Louis, we were immediately extended an invitation to meet with our friends’ employer. He was about to go on a business trip and wanted to see our photo book to learn more about our work in Senegal and Mali. As a company, his business works on corporate responsibility. He surprised me with a beautiful Rwandan necklace made of compressed magazines.
After a week of music combined with doing business, we went on to Kansas for a weekend family visit. It was very enjoyable having nothing planned and just going with the flow. Next on the schedule was The Soul Care Conference (see previous blog); a beautiful intensive week in which we were spiritually built-up and heard from God.
Our “vacation” to Alaska was the end of four American weeks. It’s a beautiful region with its own particularities. Fur (Isn’t that a thing of the past?) and jewelry sales are a thriving industry there. On a daily basis 2 to 3 luxury cruise ships of the Holland America line moor there. It is a great means of commerce for the town of Ketchikan with an average of 10,000 international guests.
The journey as a whole was defined by new experiences. It was our first time to attend a chic charity event, we spent two days in the wilderness, we addressed a crowd from a church stage , complete with spotlights (a group of about 250 people (scary) 🙂 , and in Alaska we flew in on a small charter plane to a bear photo safari. In the end we came awfully close to a scary black bear :-)!
When we got back home to the Netherlands, my thoughts were pondering the nomadic lifestyle that we have led and are leading. I thought of the displaced Christian families from Mali, and their hope to return to their homes in Northern Mali. I thought of their desire to quit living out of suitcases; to go on with their lives and achieve their dreams, and how over the last year and a half many have found it difficult that their lives seemed to stand still.
A return to Northern Mali will involve a lot of work. Safety is not the only thing that is a concern; logistics are equally difficult. From a financial standpoint, there are quite a few obstacles that need to be tackled too. It is not an easy process and all financial help is welcome.