Archive for August, 2011

The apartment miracle

August 3, 2011

“I don’t know if I’d be able to face an adventure like this again…”, a young woman wrote to us. Don’t worry! We’ll be returning to Switzerland in September, before Annemarie’s parents’ golden wedding anniversary to celebrate their big day with them. Together they have weathered sunny and rainy patches, and even a handicap could not take away their love for gardening. In Israel, we came across a group of people with and without disabilities one morning, who meet every Friday for a cycling tour. Their logo consisted of both the Hebrew word “be’yachad” and its meaning in German. A bit puzzled, we asked them about this. “It’s Yiddish,“ they replied. When we told them about our hike they were so thrilled they wanted to drink with us to it right then and there. “No, thank you. We never drink in the morning,” we declined, which didn’t stop them from thrusting two plastic cups of wine into our hands. To be on the road together is enriching, inspiring and broadens one’s horizon. How wonderful it is that there are also groups back home in Switzerland organizing trips and outings for disabled people. Annemarie’s parents, for instance, have just been on a retreat in Interlaken with an organisation called “Glaube und Behinderung“ [faith and disability] (

Our hike is over now. The last length of it ran along the Israel Trail (see video: From Carmel to Caesarea) (from Caesarea to Latrun) (from Latrun to Jerusalem) to our final destination, the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (see video from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives). After crossing the finish line, we felt we needed to give our souls a break from adventures which was spent housesitting – with a dog thrown in for good measure. We thoroughly enjoyed those 7 days even though our first encounter with the dog was far from endearing. A cat had apparently trespassed on its territory which our canine friend responded to by fiercely lunging at it. Thankfully this behaviour was the exception rather than the rule, so by the time the week was over and after lots of lovely walks together, which helped us to stay fit, we were the best of friends.

The place we moved to from there was again a miracle God had prepared for us well ahead of time. When we arrived in Israel, we had no idea where we’d be staying over the summer. In Haifa we met Judith and Isaak, a couple with an interesting story (see video). Since they were on their way to Switzerland, they asked us to look after their flat including a pretty cat in the neighbourhood. We were thrilled to find out that we had something in common with Judith: our love for Psalm 121 which holds a special meaning for us. Printed on Annemarie’s sunhat, we were constantly reminded of it on our hike. We are living proof of its truth. „He will not let your foot slip. He who watches over you will not slumber.” Of course, we did what we could as our strength allowed. But it was God who protected and kept watch over us day and night. A gift we accepted gratefully. All praise to Him!

In the course of our journey, one of the things we had to learn was to accept lots of gifts. For it is only if we receive something, that we can also be generous to others. God has given us strength and so many good things which we often were able to pass on in a different place in a different way. In Turkey, for instance, we could help a number of drivers by helping to push-start their car. From time to time, we asked someone to show us the way on the map, but at other times Hanspeter could return the favour by helping drivers or hikers advising them which route to take. We also accepted the gift of a great number of helpers who upon our departure at Basel had promised to be in charge of one thing or another. When you look at the photos of that time, we are right up front, but we would never have made it without our huge backup team. Together so much more is possible. We especially think of our ‘go-to people’. We knew, for instance, that Daniel would have been there for us should we have had Internet trouble, Bini would have acted if we had had problems with our reliable hiking poles and Käthy would have sorted out mobile phone issues. Others offered us help before and during our hike in case of an emergency which moved us greatly. Just knowing this was – beside our trust in God – a great source of comfort. Also, the fact that a great number of supporters were part of our adventure helped us to be generous with those of limited financial means. Someone whom we had met along the way wrote to us later: “The fact that you left us such a generous gift reflects your trust in our Heavenly Father and His care. What a great encouragement and motivation!”

In these months ahead, we will take time to summarize this past year in a book and share our experiences in churches and schools. Perhaps our story motivates more people to exercise in the great outdoors. “Today we went on a hike of several hours – which is down to you guys. It was fantastic,” someone shared with us. Brilliant! What’s also brilliant is that Renée and Walter, friends of ours, have offered us a furnished flat from late September to June next year. They were kind enough to let us store some of our belongings in the attic of their Rapperswil home. To us this possibility was one of God’s miracles and a marvellous help.

But a yet greater miracle awaits. Even now another apartment is being prepared: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Jesus says (John 14:2). Isn’t it incredible how much God cares for us?

Still, we’re on this earth. We’d like to put our time here to good use and share what we’ve seen God do and about the encounters we had on our tour this past year. If you’re interested in organizing an event with us, please email us with your enquiry at this sender address.

During these weeks ahead, we’ll put new videos and photos online. Some time ago we received this message: “Since your departure from Basel I’ve been following your pilgrimage. I’ve been regularly and thoroughly enjoying your travelog (reflecting a strong faith in God) as well as your photos!“

On this note, have an enjoyable time –

Hanspeter and Annemarie