Ray Haakonsen – Encourager/Story-teller
Hi, I’m Ray. I’m proudly born and bred African, and have a passion for and belief in our continent and its people. They have both helped ‘form me’ and been an integral part of my story and personal Legacy. It is said “Once Africa has penetrated your heart you, you are in love for life 🙂 This is true for me.
I am a man of many ‘hats’ and have pursued numerous careers over my life, including Air Force fighter pilot, salesman, missionary for 23 years, (including Co-founder and Director of a Care Center for HIV/AIDS and abandoned babies), a Multi-level marketing practioner, a registered and qualified Tourist guide and Strengthsfinder™ coach. I’m founder and creator of Our Legacy Journey brand, and enjoy my walk as an Encourager/Story-teller.
As a born and bred Rhodesian, leaving what the country had become known as Zimbabwe in 1981, although I left it, the country never left me. Once I left I continued in my adopted country of South Africa and did my best with what I had. I was married to my wife Sue in 1978, in the midst of a raging war in Rhodesia, where I served as a bush pilot in a fully armed aircraft. I become a young Dad as well and 3 years after leaving Zim, my life literally fell apart. I have written of this in my book “An Arrested Heart” found at https://rhodiesuntoldstories.com/rays-book/
We went on to have 5 children, 3 of whom are now married and we are now the grandparents to 6 of the cutest grandies you can find. I’m not religious but am an avid follower of Christ and seek to live my life out of that love relationship toward others.
in 2019 I attended the memorial service of a dear friend and ex soldier friend of mine, Neil Jackson who sadly passed due to Cancer. We shared a deep love for God and the country of Rhodesia where he grew up and he served as a young officer in the army. Coinciding with the memorial, there was also a memorial for those who lost their lives in a fatal crash of a South African Air Force Puma in Mozambique during the war.
Those services and a continued cry I heard from people who had lived in Rhodesia in the 1960s and 70s, that their stories of life there were seldom understood or given attention when sharing them with new friends and acquaintances. As a believer in life stories, this stirred me to take action and that’s how the “Rhodies’ Untold Stories” Facebook group began.
5500+- members and hundreds of stories shared and engaged with in the group later, I’m thrilled at how the group has drawn people in to relate with each other and enjoy the camaraderie and emotions of that time. And now a book is born….with probably more to come, to be enjoyed, treasured and passed on to following generations after the last of the Rhodesians have passed on.
It is a joy for me to watch life stories being shared and celebrated. Long may it continue