I gained a better understanding of the Mennonite story in Poland and my ancestors’ place within the parameters of that story. This [tour to Poland] was the third heritage tour that I had taken with TourMagination. All three tours have been very pleasant, interesting, well-organized, thorough, and informative, and led by knowledgeable/seasoned tour and travel guides.
I was just talking with a lady I volunteer with at the hospital who had booked a trip with another company and it was cancelled. I told her about the trips I’ve taken with TourMagination. Since childhood, I had dreamed about going to Africa but God had always closed the doors. Less than a year after my husband’s death, I had an opportunity to go to Africa with TourMagination and I said, Lord, you open doors - what else can I do but go through? I had sponsored children in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe and I had a chance to see them on the tour. I am not Mennonite by birth – my husband was a West Prussian Mennonite – but I wanted to know more about Mennonite history and so in 2006, I took the European Heritage tour. It was wonderful to learn so much firsthand. When I visited Paraguay, I had the chance to visit with a friend in Uruguay and I also had a last-minute opportunity to visit the Chaco, where our pastor came from. I appreciated the flexibility that allowed me to go. I will never forget my tours, the wonderful things we saw and did. It was even wonderful to go alone – it would have been better to travel with a companion – but I have always found the tours very congenial, friendly and inclusive.
We found our tour of Kenya and Tanzania to be a meaningful and satisfying combination of enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the landscape, birds, and animals as well as the churches, schools, and hospitals we visited. The engaging, well-trained, and informative van drivers, Wilmer and Susan Godshall's well organized leadership, and good to excellent accommodations also contributed to our overall pleasure. We especially treasure the memory of meeting with various church groups in their special neighborhoods, sharing together in the bond of Christ, as well as the sharing we did as a tour group. The people of Africa hold a special place in our hearts.
My experiences with TourMagination have been wonderful. I think the reason I enjoy it the most is the Christian aspect. I feel a camaraderie with the people more because we share the same values. The biggest thing is Wilmer. My husband Daryl and I just love Wilmer – he has a way about him that endears you to him and makes our tours come alive. I like the aspect of devotions. When we went to the Galapagos Islands and were going to the Darwin Center, we sat down the night before and had a good talk about evolution. This kind of thing brings our heritage altogether. We appreciate the history behind TourMagination and the way Wilmer and Janet have made it come to pass.
I always tell people that with TourMagination, you always see something that the ordinary traveler doesn’t see. You get to meet the real people of the country, whether it’s in churches or small towns. I also appreciate the friendliness of TourMagination tours. TourMagination has stayed true to its mission statement for more than 41 years – Wilmer always makes a connection with people of all religions in other countries and listens to them to see the other sides of the story. The meditations when we start our day mean a lot to pull us together and the stories of the people we’re traveling with helps us get to know each other well.
Last fall, I went to Israel/Palestine with my granddaughter Deanna on a TourMagination tour. Our Lord was certainly involved in this – and it was for me the trip of a lifetime! And what a privilege to go with [my granddaughter] Deanna. I have definitely talked to many people already about my trip. Wilmer was an excellent tour leader. Everything went very well. We were well-taken care of. The people in our group were good people who seemed to have done a lot of work projects in different countries. It was good to get to know them. I had kind of given up on going to Israel because of my age, but when the Lord gave me this opportunity, I really felt that he would give me the physical health to do so. It was something special the Lord gave to me. I am very positive about TourMagination. Everything was looked after and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I would definitely recommend it to my friends.
It was wonderful. I had a good time and everyone was good to me. We went to England and Scotland and to Oberammergau. I liked the outdoor flowers and bushes and everything in Kew Gardens. One of the people traveling with us was a Boy Scout so we went to the Boy Scout camp. In Oberammergau, Wilmer pushed my wheelchair and we had real good seats – four rows back from the stage. I do appreciate all the help Wilmer gave me as we journeyed along. I thank you for your kindness.