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Hello Friends,

 
It has been awhile since our last update because I have been waiting to give you news about our journey back to the village. Unfortunately, there is very little to tell as far as that goes. The visa situation has worked itself out via a finally-signed bill. (yay!) The airstrip permissions remain as they were, and we are told that we can fly whenever we need to. What we are waiting for this time is having the airstrip cut down enough to safely fly in. Between the rain, the fact that most of the men in the village are working with the oil company outside if the village, and school summer vacation/traveling season, there is only a small group pf people working on cutting the airstrip for us. At last check, they were only about 1/4 of the way done (after 3 weeks of work). We are hoping still for the chance to go out before our scheduled family plans in April, but we are realizing as the days fly by that it might be the end of April before we are able to go. 
 
Dan and I feel pretty emotionally pummeled through the ups and downs of living in limbo, but I think we are starting to see some good from all of this. Dan is by God-intended-accident, taking a class right now that is specifically looking at what is going on when people in full time ministry have to step out for a while for whatever reason. It has been huge for him as he processes this situation of being benched and realizing that maybe the right question is not “why” but “what for”? In many ways, my own soul wanderings over the past few weeks have led me to the same idea. What is God trying to teach/show/do in us in this period of forced removal from ministry? I am not sure that we really have an answer yet, but at least we seem to be on the right track with the right question.
 
We are managing to keep busy still. Dan continues doing things all over the missionary community as well as his grad school classes. My book marketing stuff has really just now started, so I have some online and skype interviews coming up and coordinating different reviews and giveaways. I got a little emotional yesterday when the first official book blog review of my book was posted (you can read it here). It was a beautifully written piece and such a gift to me to see God using my book to give someone a craving for more of Him. I’ve actually started (slowly) writing another book. This time it’s the one that everyone wanted me to write in the first place. I am calling it Raising Man-Cubs, and I’m cracking up going over all my old notes about the stunts they’ve pulled.  
 
Aside from that, we chase our monkeys around all day. Micah is 7 months old today, has a tooth, and is army crawling and sitting up. We put him in the walker two days ago, and within hours he discovered that he could push open the laundry room door (which doesn’t latch) and get into all the wonderful off-limit things in there. I guess he takes after his brothers.
 
With Love, 
Dalaina for the Mays

Hi All,

Just wanted to keep you in the loop about our (lack of) progress. Dan and Scott have been in touch with the village daily for updates regarding the airstrip. The long and the short of it is that we aren’t going any time soon. Most of the men are on contractual work for the oil company, leaving only a small group of men hacking away on the airstrip. It is slow-going.
Our team met a couple of days ago to toss around ideas and come up with a game plan. There was talk about sending Dan and Scott in to help out with the strip, but then we were a little concerned with the precedent of taking over their responsibility for their airstrip. Ultimately, we decided that by the time Dan and Scott would have gotten there and gotten the mower (hopefully) working and cut the strip, it should be finished anyway. So we are all here waiting for the green light, living in boxes, and pretty frustrated as we watch another window closing (both of our families have commitments in early April so extending our trip isn’t an option). 

We know God is in control and likely has a purpose in all of this, but to be honest, we are so OVER it. And bored. I pulled the homeschool books back out of the boxes and Dan is plugging away at home repairs and helping other missionaries around Pucallpa with various projects. But that’s not what we are here for, so we feel like we are just spinning our wheels. Ugh.
Anyhow, that’s what I’ve got for now. Hopefully, I’ll have good news soon!
With Love,
Dalaina for the Mays

Hi All,

At this point, we’re getting pretty good at rolling with the punches. Here’s the latest drama in getting us out to Tsoroja…
Our teammates were to leave today, and we were to leave Tuesday. Last week, SAMair let us know that they thought the airstrip needed to be cut down again before we landed. No problem. We called out to the village and let them know that we were going to try to come in this week, but they needed to get the airstrip taken care of so that we could land safely. A few days later, we got a message saying that the mower broke. So they have to chop it down by hand. Which takes a while as you can imagine. So we are on hold until we can get confirmation that the airstrip is land-able.
At this point, our teammates are scheduled for Tuesday and we will follow on Thursday if everything happens the way we hope. We will make sure to keep you up-to-date if that changes.
With Love,
Dalaina
Since I feel like my updates have been incredibly boring since we’ve been back in Peru (we’re ill, we’re stuck in town, we’re ill, we’re stuck in town), here is a quick family update, some photos, and a few funny May kid stories to make it up to you. Enjoy!
As for family news…
We have had a roommate for the past 6 weeks. Another Daniel in the house. He is a young single on the other PI team in Pucallpa that needed a place to stay. We are enjoying having him in our extra bedroom. I think he has enjoyed it too though he did tell us that our family is very different from his calm, formal one. Hehehe
For the moment, we are mostly healthy. Micah and I are getting over a nasty flu-like bug. He is 6 months old today and about 20 pounds of adorable.
Moses and the twins are getting a break for homeschool so I could makes lesson plans and pack up books to go to Tsoroja. Moses just finished 1st grade math, spelling, and grammar and recently wrote and illustrated his first original story. The twins are poised to read. They know their phonics but not how to put them together. As of the new year, they started using a “responsibility chart” to help out around the house.
Dan is back in grad school and has straight A’s for his first year. He’s enjoying it and feels that it is relevant to ministry even more than he had expected. I am… uh, I have no idea what I do all day. Run around like a chicken with my head cut off mostly. Homeschool, jungle prep, feeding the man-cubs, promotional work for my book, being mommy/wife, and a few fun creative projects take up most of my hours.
Photo #1 – Fat babies are the best kind!
Photo #2 – The boys were sad about having to take down the tree, so we compromised,  re-decorated it as a New Year’s tree, and kept it up for another week.
Photo #3 – Look at your own risk. Dan and Daniel cooked up some grubs and the twins loved them (this is Ben and yes he dressed himself). (Moses and I have more brains than the others.)
Actual events in my home pulled from recent facebook posts:
Me: Dude, you’ve got a hair stuck on your nose. Let me get it off.
Moses (covering his nose and ducking): No, mom! It might be my beard starting to grow!
CRASH! I look over to see a heavy rolling desk chair tumbling down the stairs.
“Jacob Christian!! Why on earth did you do that?”
“I wanted to see if I was strong.”
“You are. Now take your strong self to the time out corner. We don’t throw people or things down the stairs.”
Moses and Dan were arguing about whether or not Moses was allowed to play a particular (first person shooter) video game at a neighbor’s house.
Dan said, “I don’t think you should play it because it has some really scary things in it.”
Moses replied, “No, Dad. It’s okay because I SHOOT the scary things.”
I had the boys lined up against the wall and was giving them a severe lecture about the way they have been treating each other the last couple of days.
Me: You have the choice to be best friends or enemies. What do you want to be? Are you going to be best friends and be kind to one another and have fun together? Or are you going to be enemies?
Ben: Mom, you are supposed to love your enemies too!
Me: …. YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT!
In an effort to keep the boys from consuming toothpaste, we warned them that the floride in the toothpaste would cause their adult teeth to come in gray if they ate too much (it’s true!). Today, Moses came to me upset because Jacob got mad at him and attacked him with a handful of toothpaste and tried to shove it into his mouth. I give him points for creativity…
Dan had the boys for the morning and watched the 2nd Star Wars with them for the first time. Upon my arriving home –

Moses: Mom, Mom! I have news! Darth Vader is Luke’s father and the empire struck back!

 
Ben came upstairs while I was nursing and asked for a snack. I sent him down with instructions to find the opened package of saltines in the pantry. When I came down a few minutes later, there were 2 packages of saltines on the table that he had opened (with kitchen shears, of course) and were in crumbs ALL over the dining room. For the next 5 minutes, I wiped/swept up his mess, dumping several loads int the trash can while griping at him whilst he got dressed (they had just finished playing in the sprinkler). All of a sudden, Jake popped out of the TRASH CAN where he had been hiding for 10 minutes. He had cracker crumbs all over him and smelled like… well, garbage! Oh and he peed in the trash can because he couldn’t hold it waiting for me to find him.
Seriously?! I can’t make this stuff up.

Hello Friends!

We’re going back to Tsoroja!!!… We think. We’re on schedule to fly the 29th and are praying that we will actually be able to get in. This past week the pilots tested out the temporary permission idea with another flight. It was pretty rough. In the end, they were able to fly, but not without some serious arm twisting and having to go to the next in charge. This is particularly frustrating because the woman who refused to give permission until her boss made her do so is the one who earlier implied that receiving permission wouldn’t be a problem. Apparently, she changed her mind. She told them this week that she really doesn’t want to deal with the temporary permit paperwork hassle and isn’t interested in signing them anymore. So we’ll find out when our teammates fly on the 25 whether or not she will continue to make this a difficult obstacle. The other issue is that the airstrip is too grown up to land. We’re trying to contact our friends in the village to let them know that if they want to see us, they are going to have to cut the airstrip so we can land. Hopefully that will be done in a timely manner and not “manana.”
In other news, the visa situation continues to draw out. The new law goes into effect on the 18th. Everyone is still pretty certain that this won’t mean that our visas will be immediately revoked, just that they won’t be renewed. Since ours need to be renewed in May, we’ll be leaving the village at the very end of March. We’ll go on to Lima to turn in our residencies, meet Dan’s parents and sister, and head to a beach near the border of Ecuador for a short vacation during which we will drive over the border and come back as tourists. We’re banking on being given 6 month tourists visas which will give us until August to either have this issue clear up so we can carry on as normal or to give us time to re-assess if staying in Peru is feasible for our family.
Our hearts are obviously invested in the ministry in Tsoroja, but we’ve felt that it is prudent to start working on a plan B should it be necessary for us to leave. We don’t want to get caught in the situation where we have to go but have no idea what to do with ourselves next. We are praying like crazy and having conversations with our team and pastors trying to solidify what that plan B might entail and at what point to we start moving toward it. It’s been incredibly frustrating the last few months feeling like we are spinning our wheels here in town. Besides not being where we want to be or doing any significant ministry, we feel very strongly about using wisely the resources that have been invested into us. Staying in town and waiting indefinitely isn’t an option for us. We will be keeping you all in the loop if/as decisions are made.
Our Love,
Dalaina for the Mays

Hello Friends and Merry Christmas Season!

It’s been busy around here. Grandma Sonia has come and gone, and we had a fantastic time with her. The icing on top was that her migraines miraculously disappeared while she was in Pucallpa! We also made a our trip to Lima to get Micah’s visa, and that went smoothly as well. Thanks for your prayers!
 We wanted to update you on a couple of HUGE things that will determine much so far as our team’s involvement in Tsoroja is concerned.
The first is the ongoing issue of obtaining permission to land on Tsoroja’s airstrip. SAMair is working on this issue and has submitted paperwork to re-open the airstrip. They are supposed to find out whether or not things are approved tomorrow. From what we have been told, if the request is granted, all goes back as before, and we can return to Tsoroja whenever we want. If it is denied, it is unlikely that they will even be granted the temporary permits.
Another big bump in our road is a possible visa crisis. A new law goes into effect January 13th that will require any evangelical entity requesting visas to have 10000 members within the country.  This will impact all of the foreign missionaries in Peru, and the law is being challenged by the National Evangelical Council.  We get our visas via the National Evangelical Council and like most other evangelical organizations, they don’t meet all of the new requirements. This council has people lobbying the Peruvian congress with counter legislation. On the most positive side, the council is successful and all remains the same. On the most negative, our visas are void on the 13th, and we have to leave the country. We could return as tourists with visas that can be renewed every 6 months, but besides being a hassle to travel out of the country that often, it can have some other problems (for example, tourists cannot have drivers licenses). There are other possible scenarios such our visas remain current for another year but we will have to find a way outside of the National Evangelical Council to renew them. Honestly, we have no idea how this is going to play out.
 
Dan and I feel pretty emotionally exhausted from all of the ups and downs over the past 2 months that we’ve been back. We wonder is God closing the door on Tsoroja – getting kicked out the the country and being denied the right to land in the village look like huge, blinking-red-light closed doors to us! But at the same time, we want to be faithful to see this ministry to God’s end whether that means next month or 10 years from now. It’s hard to live in limbo not knowing if we should be packing up for our spring trip into the village or otherwise.
 
At this point,  Dan and I are not even totally sure what to pray anymore. We met with the Welshes (our teammates) the other day to discuss the issues, and while much was left unresolved (because who knows what will happen), we all realized a couple things are certain.
1) God is far more concerned with His church and the souls of the Caquinte than we could ever be.
2) We have no idea what God actually wants to accomplish through us. He generally only sheds enough light on the path so that we can see the next step. As we’ve walked in obedience, most certainly, we’ve seen Him do H.U.G.E. things in us, and we’ve seen Him do things through us in Tsoroja as well. In some ways, these seem small and not hardly enough for God to have bothered bringing us all the way here for. But again, we are not called to know what He is doing, only to press on toward where we can see He is leading.
For now, we are praying that God would do whatever it is that is best for us and for the Caquinte. We have no idea what that is going to mean for our family, but we are trusting that when the time comes, the next step will come clearly into focus. I can’t say that we don’t care about the answer, but we do care a whole lot more about conforming to God’s will and not forcing ourselves through a closed door. Please pray with us for clarity and for God’s purpose for us and our team to be clearly laid out before us.
With Much Love,
Dalaina for the Mays
PS
Official Release!
This week, my book, Yielded Captive, was released. I’ve been getting e-mails from strangers who have read it (generally because they got early copies from the publisher) to tell me that they enjoyed it. It’s still so strange to me that people have and want to read what I wrote. Don’t know if I will ever get used to that! Anyway, I have no idea what to expect so far as the whole author thing goes, but it is a pretty fun ride at the moment! You can find it here: cartpioneers.org/yielded-captive/

Hi Everyone,

Another installment of what-happens-when-daddy-is-away for your enjoyment…
Dan left yesterday evening for Lima to pick up Grandma Sonia from the airport. He’ll be putting her on another plane to come here tomorrow morning, and then tomorrow evening Micah and I will fly to Lima to join him to finish Micah’s visa paperwork and get his next round of vaccinations. She’ll be here alone with the boys for about 48 hours until Dan and I get back to enjoy the rest of her trip here with her.
Anyway, it’s always been interesting what mischief my kids can come up with when it’s just them and me – and they know that I can’t run in three directions at once. I thought maybe their getting older would change things, but no. It just makes them more interesting. And add in the fact that I am nursing and often unable to do anything but yell at them to get their soapy behinds back in the bathtub, which just makes Micah wail and add to the cacophony… But I digress.
The greatest challenge I have with alone with them is bathing. Not them. I mean myself. Whenever I try to do it, bad things happen. You would think that I would realize that there is a very direct scientific correlation between the two. Today was no different. After a fairly successful day of homeschooling, I sent the boys outside to play so I could nurse, shower, and pack. About two seconds after my shower, the phone rang. It was my teammate asking me if I was aware that my children were playing in the yard… with knives. I called them to come inside, and they walked in one after another like a chain gang, complete with shivs hiding under their shirts. Claiming mommy omniscience, I confiscated their hidden weapons. They had steak knives, people, steak knives. And butter knives too, just for kicks.
This was our conversation:
Me (holding up the contraband as evidence): What in the heck do you think you are doing playing with KNIVES?!
Moses (the one with the pirate hat on his head): Mom, we couldn’t find our pretend swords so we had to use knives. We are pirates.
Me: … … Oh right. Well, in that case… Guys, look at this thing. What does this do?
Ben: It cuts chicken!
Me: What is chicken?
Boys: Uhhh…
Me: Is it meat?
Boys: YES! It’s meat!
Me: What are you?
Boys: uhhh…
Me: You are MEAT! You’re meat! And this knife will cut through you like it cuts through chicken! YOU CANNOT PLAY WITH KNIVES!
I huffed and puffed for a few more minutes until I thought I got my point across. Then I sent them outside again, where they stayed for all of two seconds.
Please pray for Sonia. She’s going to need it.
With Love,
Dalaina for the crazies

Hi Everyone! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! We had a marvelous time celebrating Thanksgiving with 102 of our friends in the Pucallpa missionary community (wow, didn’t realize there were so many of us). We had turkey, stuffing, pecan pie and all the goodies in between. What a blessing it was to us to be with these “family away from family” this year.

Some other things we are thankful for:

Dan – “That my wife and son made it safely to today.” Last Thanksgiving, we made the announcement about Micah’s upcoming arrival, and as you know, we’ve had a crazy year getting him here. Thanks, God, for good health for all of us!

Dalaina – “That God is never surprised.” It’s easy to feel anxious about the unknowns (like getting back into the jungle). I am learning to trust God that His plans are based in His eternal knowledge, and I can’t really mess them up so long as I am walking close to Him. Thanks, God, for Your continued guidance.

Ben – “For getting to jump on the trampoline today!” We get to have lots of adventures together as a family, and we’re thankful for one another. Thanks, God, that you have given us the gift of family, that even when life is constantly in transition, we keep one another stable.

Jake – “For Veggie Tales!” Carrying that idea further, we are grateful to live in this time. While many bemoan the state of the world, I am grateful to live in a time when technology enables us to remain a part of our community back home. Unlike ever before, we are able to easily keep in touch with our friends, family, and supporters back home (whom we are also VERY thankful for!). Thanks, God, for the brains and creativity of scientists who continue to make it easier to reach the world with the Gospel.

Micah – that my grandma is coming to see me! We just made plans to have Grandma Sonia come visit us the first week of December. She will watch the big boys for a couple of days while Dan and I are in Lima with Micah finishing up his residency visa, then we will return and enjoy the rest of her visit. Thanks, God, for the surprises that you love to give to us.

Moses – “For this whole world full of God’s glory.” Yeah, he really said that. And he’s right. There is so much more to be thankful for than we could ever put in an e-mail, and it all comes down to that. Our families, friends, adventures, and pleasures all come to us from God who is eternally glorified and delighted with our joy. EVERY good and perfect gift is from above, coming down to us from the Father (James 1:17). Thanks God, for all you do for us, but even more for who You are!

We hope your Thanksgiving was also full of joy! Love, Dalaina for the Mays

Hi Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us! We had a marvelous time celebrating Thanksgiving with 102 of our friends in the Pucallpa missionary community (wow, didn’t realize there were so many of us). We had turkey, stuffing, pecan pie and all the goodies in between. What a blessing it was to us to be with these “family away from family” this year.

Some other things we are thankful for:
Dan – “That my wife and son made it safely to today.” Last Thanksgiving, we made the announcement about Micah’s upcoming arrival, and as you know, we’ve had a crazy year getting him here. Thanks, God, for good health for all of us!
Dalaina – “That God is never surprised.” It’s easy to feel anxious about the unknowns (like getting back into the jungle). I am learning to trust God that His plans are based in His eternal knowledge, and I can’t really mess them up so long as I am walking close to Him. Thanks, God, for Your continued guidance.
Ben – “For getting to jump on the trampoline today!” We get to have lots of adventures together as a family, and we’re thankful for one another. Thanks, God, that you have given us the gift of family, that even when life is constantly in transition, we keep one another stable.
Jake – “For Veggie Tales!” Carrying that idea further, we are grateful to live in this time. While many bemoan the state of the world, I am grateful to live in a time when technology enables us to remain a part of our community back home. Unlike ever before, we are able to easily keep in touch with our friends, family, and supporters back home (whom we are also VERY thankful for!). Thanks, God, for the brains and creativity of scientists who continue to make it easier to reach the world with the Gospel.
Micah – that my grandma is coming to see me! We just made plans to have Grandma Sonia come visit us the first week of December. She will watch the big boys for a couple of days while Dan and I are in Lima with Micah finishing up his residency visa, then we will return and enjoy the rest of her visit. Thanks, God, for the surprises that you love to give to us.
Moses – “For this whole world full of God’s glory.” Yeah, he really said that. And he’s right. There is so much more to be thankful for than we could ever put in an e-mail, and it all comes down to that. Our families, friends, adventures, and pleasures all come to us from God who is eternally glorified and delighted with our joy. EVERY good and perfect gift is from above, coming down to us from the Father (James 1:17). Thanks God, for all you do for us, but even more for who You are!
We hope your Thanksgiving was also full of joy!
Love,
Dalaina for the Mays

Hi Everyone!

Well, it’s nice to be able to write with some actual news to share. Earlier this week, one of the SAMair pilots (Nathan) flew to Lima and met with officials from the Peruvian Aviation Authority (DGAC). His meeting with the guy whose signature we are waiting on for the permanent green light to return to Tsoroja went well enough, but ended with a “we need this document and this form and this…” Who knows if that is reality or just a stall tactic for a signature that will never be granted. However, Nathan also met with a woman who gives temporary permission for landing on the airstrips (which coincidentally is the way that SAMair is having to get approval for the places where they land using the float plane since those rivers/lakes aren’t actual airstrips and so weren’t on the list of airstrips in question). He explained our situation to her and was surprised at how helpful she was. She essentially said to file the paperwork for a temporary permit, and she would sign it.
In light of this, our team is going ahead with requests for the first two weeks of January, in good faith that she meant what she said. Our teammates will fly out first, and we will follow a few days later (our yard has grown back into jungle, so they will get to work getting it chopped back down before we bring the boys back in – yay, teammates!). Our plan is to stay the months of January, February, and March and come back right at the beginning of April. Again, each fight has to have pre-approval (unless it is an emergency situation), so we are praying for continued favor with DGAC, and hopefully by giving ourselves ample time to have the paperwork go through, it will work. We’re excited about finally getting some good news about getting back to the jungle.
For the moment, we are keeping busy. Our team will hold it’s annual team retreat starting this afternoon through Sunday afternoon. We have a bunch of random stuff to wade through as a team that gets piled up over the year because it isn’t that often that we are all in the same place at the same time. It’s also a lot of fun since after the business is done, we break out the games and brownies and have a great time together. Tomorrow night after the kids are in bed and the babysitters have arrived, the 6 adults will the trying out the new (and only) sushi restaurant that opened a couple of months ago. We’re all really excited about that! Also, Dan and I will also be making a trip to Lima as soon as Micah’s paperwork is ready for us. Sometime between today and the end of the year (we hope!).
As for the family, we are all doing well. The big boys are in the middle of school now, and my respect for home-schooling parents with multiple children has grown dramatically. It is a whole new ballgame teaching three instead of just Moses. Between the four boys, I feel like my day is pretty much shot for doing much else besides cooking, teaching, and nursing, but at the same time I am enjoying myself because I know that these days are precious and short. Soon enough the boys will be big and hairy and capable of doing most things without me.
Dan is also busy with school, home improvement projects, and jumping in on other projects within the missionary community where he can. He’s always in high demand for help with computers and other things with wires and buttons.
Love from us!
Dalaina for the Mays