The Plinky Question for this week is:  “What 3 countries would you like to visit?”

In some ways, I feel like God built me to be an explorer.  As early as age 12, I was on the road with youth group trips at least a couple of times a year.  When I was 16, I was in the Canadian Navy and sailed all the way to Peru and back.  (That story will be published in the next Post.)  My first mission trip was to Brazil in 1979 with Teen Missions when I was only 18 years old.  And I have been traveling the world ever since.

So being a traveler, it’s quite natural to have a sort of “Bucket List” of countries I would want to see one day.  I suppose most of us have this kind of list, but many do not have the privilege and opportunity as I have had to see the world.  In fact, I have been very fortunate to have accomplished the following stats.  I have:
  • lived in 6 out of the 10 Canadian Provinces, and visited 3 of the remaining 4
  • lived in 3 States, and visited all 48 USA continental States
    • (Alaska & Hawaii here I come! : ) )
  • set foot on 6 out of the 7 world continents (not interested in Antarctica)
  • been in 26 countries of the world, 13 of which I have done ministry work for God

I certainly do not want anyone to think I am boasting about all my travels.  Heaven forbid!  No, I stand back in awe and amazement that God has chosen to use me, and it has been by His grace that I have been able to be His servant in some of the remotest places on earth.  And it amazes me even more that He can still use me and allow me to travel so much, in spite of my muscle disease.

And so, being the dreamer that I am, I do play around with my “Bucket List” of countries that I would still like to see.  I do recall that during my teenage years that one of my goals was to visit a tropical paradise island, say like Fiji, or Tahiti.  And while I was with Teen Missions, I had this strong pull to go to Vanuatu.  These kinds of countries bring up images of white sand, palm trees swaying, and aqua-marine blue waters.

Well I may not ever make it to Tahiti or Fiji, but God certainly allowed our family to experience some great moments in the beautiful and tropical island of New Guinea, specifically living on the eastern half of it in the country of Papua New Guinea.  For most of the time from 1997 to early 2002, we lived in a small village tucked deep into the lowland jungle, and then paid visits to the majestic highlands and to the idyllic coast lands of that country.  And in 2001, I spent a week in the fabulous country of Vanuatu to attend a nation-wide church centenary celebration.

So then my second choice I think of a country I would like to visit is Germany.  This country has such a fascinating history and has showcased both the very best and the very worst of humanity.  Some of the greatest minds, especially theologians, were from Germany.  And of course, one of the world’s worst tyrants ruled in Germany.

If I was able to actually visit Germany, the one thing above all else that I would want to see would be the remains of the Berlin Wall.  This wall, which separated East from West, Communism from Capitalism/Democracy, is symbolic to me of what lies within the hearts of all people.  Part of being human is the desire to conquer and control, but no matter how oppressive the regime can be, nothing can ever stamp out the desire of the human heart to be free.  And thanks be to God for tearing down this wall and bringing freedom (even with all its problems) to the people of Eastern Europe.

But if you were to ask me what is still probably my number one country that I would most like to see, it would have to be Israel.  Not only would I like to see Israel because I am a historian and a theologian, but simply because I am a Christian.  So many of the events recorded in the Bible took place in such a small geographical part of the world.

It would truly be amazing to me (if I could do it) to see places like Jericho, where God brought down the walls, or the wide lands where Abraham dwelt and David kept his sheep.  But most of all, to see Nazareth where Jesus grew up, to walk along the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus taught, to see Jerusalem where men from David down to Jesus our Lord are hailed as kings.  And then to see the Garden where Jesus prayed, and the hill where He was crucified, and the tomb from which He arose victorious over death.  Oh yes, now that would be my heart’s desire, to see the Holy Land.

So these are the countries that I have thought about for many years.  Each one fascinating in their own way.  But one more country that I long to see, and one day I will, is Heaven itself.  To walk the streets of gold, to drink of the pure living water, to eat of the fruit from the Tree of Life, to walk side-by-side with my Lord Jesus and to see God face-to-face.  Now that is definitely something to look forward to.

My prayer for you, my dear Reader, is that you too have put your faith in the Lord Jesus, so that when He returns one day to gather His followers, I might see you in Heaven one day as well.

“Even so Lord Jesus, Come!”