Well, we are in Lima and it´s 15 minutes until tomorrow, so the short version is that we made it here with all of our luggage and on time. There were some bumps and some perks, but that sounds about right for international travel with 4 little boys. The three best perks were that the airline checked our ridiculously heavy carry ons all the way through to Lima since it was a full flight. That made our layover infinitely easier. We also scored extra seats on both flights which enabled naptime to actually happen. I even slept for an hour which was very much needed after a 3 hour night. And customs was a breeze–we walked right through. Of course there were moments of not-so-cool-ness, like when Ben barfed all over the floor in the airport terminal. And generally being in a confined space with my children for an extended period of time has been know to make me quote scripture and say bad words in the same sentence. But it was educational. I learned:
1) People usually think we are Morman when they hear that we are missionaries and see our passel of little kids.
2) The twins will get air sick regardless of dramamine and whether or not they eat before flying.
3) Trying to play a board game in an airport is a lost cause.
4) Little backpacks full of dollar store toys are worth their weight in gold.
5) My left shoulder cannot handle sustained 100 pound pressure without popping out of joint (fat baby+huge backpack+overstuffed diaper bag+biggest purse I could find…).
6) Making small children fly in pjs so that you can put them directly in bed on the other side without unpacking is genius.
Anyway, I would still rather scrape out my eyeballs with a dull spoon than travel internationally with my children, but really, it went rather well, all things considered. I am just really happy to know that we have a good long time before we have to do it again. THANKS to all of you who have been praying all day. It worked!
Love and Goodnight!
In all, it has been a full, hectic, fun summer. I don’t think there is much about that we would change. Thanks to all of you who were a part of it! We love you very much and think of you often, even when we are far away.
Dalaina for the Mays
Ask just about any missionary, and they will tell you that the worst part about being a missionary is support-raising. Even if one understands the biblical nature of being sent out by and thus remaining accountable to “senders,” the awkwardness of how to talk about it remains. We know that we need financial support to do what we are called to do, yet figuring out how and with whom to bring it up can be very tricky. How do you offer people an opportunity to invest in what God is doing in the “uttermost parts of the world” while not making them feel awkward or obligated?
With that in mind… While Dan and I stand by our decision to use this time in the USA to focus on investing in, encouraging, and loving the supporters that we have and not seeking out new ones, we do want to be realistic. The dip in the economy has trickled down to us, and as our supporters have taken a financial hit, so have we. All that to say, if you’ve been thinking about supporting us, but haven’t gotten around to it, now would be a great time! Just e-mail me back, and I can get you the info. We would love to see some new financial supporters join our team and could also use some one-time donations to offset some of our furlough costs (gas is really expensive here!).
There now. That wasn’t so painful, was it?
Dan & Dalaina
I am taking a brief sanity break from packing. Why packing you asked? Well, it all started when we heard that our friends, the Bonesteeles, needed a place to live as they are in between their old home (which has been sold) and Spain, where they are moving as missionaries in a couple of months. Dan and I talked about having them stay with us, but finally concluded that 4 adults, 7 kids under 7, and an infant all in the middle of packing/moving chaos was just asking for someone to have a nervous breakdown. When we heard that Dan’s parents had invited them to stay with them for the month of September, we realized that it made a whole lot more sense for us to live there instead. So, we are frantically trying to pack and clean so that they can move in this weekend, and we can bombard his parents’ house with our loving mayhem. I am realizing as I am packing into different piles (stuff we need before we leave, stuff we need to go straight to Peru, stuff we need to leave in storage here), that I am really glad to be doing this now and not in a month. I am thinking it will make the end of our trip a whole lot less stressful in the end.
Anyway, that’s what’s up. You can say a prayer that we are able to get everything done and that all this junk I am packing will fit into our airline luggage.
With Love to all,
We are now counting down the hours until Dan gets back tomorrow, and I almost feel safe to say that we survived. Barely. Micah has been an easy baby thus far and I am feeling tired but pain-free, but the three older boys have had a very hard time with all the changes of the past two weeks. Particularly Moses.
Yesterday afternoon, he and I got into the fiercest battle of our relationship to date. For about 3 1/2 hours, we were at a standoff. None of the discipline tactics I tried seemed to help, and his defiance, anger, and weeping continued. At one point, I called Dan who gave him a pretty stern talking-to, but 5 minutes later it was back to war.
Finally, I went into his room and sat across from him on the bed and said, “What do we do now, Moses? I just don’t know. Everything I’ve tried hasn’t worked, and we’re both having a hard time loving each other.” He replied, “Mom, I just want to hear God tell me what to do.”
Oh yeah. God. I wanted to laugh and cry at the simply profound answer coming from my 5-year-old’s mouth. We ended up praying together. I prayed for wisdom, and he (on his own) prayed that “God would help him to obey because he wanted to obey in his heart but couldn’t.” God answered us both. I got pretty quick clarity on how to proceed, and Moses has had a much better attitude since then.
I’m still pondering the whole conversation. In a way, I am embarrassed because my kid thought to ask God for help before I did. But mostly I am thankful for the lesson learned. God cares about my children and my relationships with them far more than I do. He’s very heavily invested in them. Yet, for some reason I often act like it is my own challenge to handle. I’d like to think it’s because I am a relatively new mom, but really sometimes I am just really dense.
It makes me wonder how often this is true in other areas of my life. How often am I battling through a difficulty needlessly on my own? How often do I think I need to prove myself somehow by showing off my great wisdom by resolving problems of my own or others without taking the time to ask the One who knows everything? How often does my pride get in the way of resolution and healing?
I’ve heard that being a parenting is a journey of humility, and today especially I am thankful that God uses little boys to knock their moms down a few notches and show her WHO really is in charge.
In about an hour from the time I wrote with a “please pray this kid comes out soon,” I dilated from 4 1/2 to 10. It took another 15 minutes to push him out. THANKS FOR PRAYING!
Here are the stats:
Micah Aaron May
Not much hair, HUGE feet and hands, and looks a lot like Moses did at birth. He figured out nursing in about 5 minutes and is a big fan of that. When he isn’t eating, he likes to suck on his (big) fists.
His brother’s responses were – Moses: I love my great brother!, Ben – He is so cuuuuuute!, Jake – Where is the blood? I want to see it.
Dan was able to buy a new ticket to fly back to CO tomorrow morning. While not the ending we expected or hoped for, we’re peaceful with it because he would have had to leave 5 minutes after Micah was born. He’ll take a hit on his grade, but in all, we decided that being around for Micah’s first few hours of life was not a decision we would ever regret.
Here’s a couple of pictures of our new prize.
Dalaina for Mays
PS I feel great. Much easier delivery than the other two. I should be out of the hospital tomorrow evening or maybe Tuesday morning.
While we’re waiting for the Big Baby Micah Announcement, I have another one to share that is almost as exciting.
About a year ago, I finished a long labor of love: a novel called Yielded Captive. The idea for Yielded Captive came to me on our very first summer in Peru 7 years ago, but I didn’t start writing until the middle of the night about 3 years ago when I couldn’t sleep until I could get it out of my head. That night I wrote the entire first chapter. For the next two years, writing Yielded Captive was more than a project, it was a gut-wrenching exploration of who God is and if I could really trust Him. As many of you know, those were also the darkest moments of clinical depression in my life, and I watched God let me fall deep in the pit so that I could actually see His hands of light reach in to pull me out. Some of my questions were never answered, but as I wrote the last words of Yielded Captive, I realized that it didn’t matter any longer. I KNEW God (not just about Him), and I had come to know His character as trustworthy even when what He chooses to do makes no sense and is completely unpredictable.
Dan was very encouraging through the whole process and provided the greatest push toward seeking publishing. In May, when we traveled to Florida, I met with a publisher (Bottomline Media) affiliated with Pioneers. Within just a couple of days, it was very clear to me that God was throwing the door wide open to publish Yielded Captive. Bottomline’s vision resonates with me as they seek to encourage readers through the content that they choose to publish. If you know me, that is really my heart as well when I write. Though Yielded Captive is not the non-fiction reflections you may used to from me from my blog or many of my e-mails, I hope that whoever does read it will catch a fresh glimpse of God’s character and walk away affirmed in his faith.
I am sending in my signed contract this week, though we are already in the thick of the details of covers and the editing process. Our target date for the release of the e-format and the author release (available at the Pioneers store) is October 1. On October 15, we plan to have it released to trade (meaning available on paper through regular distributors).
If you are curious, I have a simple website up with more info about Yielded Captive’s plot as well as a free! downloadable first chapter (you’ll be able to put it on your e-reader or just download the pdf to read on your computer). The website is www.yieldedcaptive.com Go ahead and check it out!