Viewing the World at Five to Twelve Miles Per Hour

January 9, 2024

My personality is such that I look forward with optimism to what is coming next. I can sometimes be impatient, waiting for the next amazing experience. I enjoy riding my bike for at least two hours daily and experiencing the world at 12 miles per hour. For many years, that has been an enjoyable way to appreciate God’s beautiful creation along our scenic Iowa bike trails and my usual bike route through the mountains in South Africa. It gives me lots of time to think, pray, and contemplate God’s calling for my life. It has also been a good way for me to stay physically fit, psychologically balanced, and free from depression. I am an introvert, so I enjoy riding in solitude or with just one or two good friends or family members. I also enjoy listening to music or audiobooks as I ride. I seem somewhat addicted to these bike rides and can easily become cranky if I miss too many days out on my bike. Beth always seems to know when it is time for me to get back out on the bike trails.


During the first week of this new year, our family enjoyed a wonderful adventure chartering a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. The pace on a sailboat slows down even more to five or six miles per hour. Over the last several years, we have chartered a sailboat several times, but not for the past seven years. I started sailing on Lake McBride during my college days at the University of Iowa. I sold my last sailboat three years ago and thought my sailing days might be finished. It has been a great joy to regain my sea legs and enjoy some more of God’s beautiful creation. Life on a sailboat has periods of fun and excitement mixed with many hours of peaceful relaxation. We visited a different island nearly every day; most have a nice restaurant and often Wi-Fi access to check our email every day or two. There was a lot of time to bond with family, read, pray, and reflect on what the New Year might have in store.   


One of my greatest joys on this vacation was seeing the BVI through the eyes of Juni, our nine-year-old granddaughter. I have had the pleasure of visiting these beautiful islands a few times and always enjoyed them; however, for Juni, every day was a new, exciting, fantastic adventure. She especially enjoyed snorkeling in the ocean and seeing the coral and beautiful marine life. She even enjoyed our time under sail, which can be taxing for some folks who do not enjoy sailing. Most of the islands in the BVI are close to each other, and you can usually see from one island to the next. Our longest sail was about 14 miles. It was a good opportunity to teach Juni a lesson in faith that if we follow our compass properly, the island you cannot see when you start comes into view in a couple of hours.   


Beth, Dustin, Alex, and I are all returning to Africa on January 10th. We are planning a trip to Lesotho to do a site visit at our newest child feeding hub there. The purpose of our visit is to encourage our volunteers there and show them how much we appreciate their efforts in helping us feed hundreds of children. The food packets for Lesotho are all part of our Feeding African Children with African Food program. With this program, some of our 12 feeding hubs elect to raise a portion of the funds necessary to purchase produce in Africa to feed our children there. This program is above and beyond the six million meals that Meals from the Heartland and Convoy of Hope provide for us each year. In addition to visiting our volunteer staff in Lesotho, we would like to meet with some of the American embassy staff.   


Once we complete our visit to Lesotho, we plan to head back to Johannesburg and connect with Ken and Bonnie Newton, who will join us for a six-week stay. They have volunteered with our ministry every year for over ten years and are always a great help to us. We all plan to meet back at Shikwaru to begin preparations for our annual team with Fr. Ray and St. Francis Catholic Church. This year, we are excited to be able to dedicate a beautiful new Catholic Church building in honor of Fr. Ray. We hope to share a media presentation of this soon and celebrate with all of you.