Family News
One Month in the USA with a Twist
I began writing this letter while we were in America. Now we are on a plane headed to Amsterdam and then Nairobi. I am flying with three of our children. My husband returned alone earlier. Our one month visit to America stretched into six weeks due to all kids scoring surprise positive results in our first attempt at the travel Covid test. Thankfully none of them were very sick at all and boys were asymptomatic.

Past weeks have been rich with many blessings. Staying on the same continent with all our children ranked extremely high on the list of gifts. We did not spend long periods of time in the same states with everybody, but it felt like we were almost together when there was no ocean in between.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4
Right after we arrived in America, we moved Sarai into her new house next to Mayer Lutheran High School in Minnesota. She was welcomed to live with our friends, Wally and Sharon. They are members of Zion Lutheran Church, and Wally has volunteered at the LST together with other church folks. Before the school opened, Sarai began training in her school’s swim team. Making friends in the high school has not been the easiest, but she has bonded with the girls in her team and also with youth in the church’s youth group.
After we got Sarai settled, we drove to Wisconsin to get Tristan launched with his freshman year in Concordia University. We were pleased to spend a couple of days in the area getting to know the campus and having good talks with some esteemed professors from the Theological department. It was exhilarating to leave our son in the hands of Dr. Mudge, Dr. Mumme, and our seminary friend, Dr. Jason Lane. I still smile just thinking about these gentlemen guiding Tristan. Concordia Mequon is certainly a perfect match for our nature loving son also because the Lake Michigan spreads out right at his feet. Tristan majors in Justice and Public Policy and minors in Theological Languages. He wishes to be a game warden and later on in his life a pastor.
The very next day from Tristan’s move-in day, it was time to move Maggie in to Concordia University Chicago. We drove down and our lovely friends, Tye and Linda, took us in quite extempore after our other plans for the night quarters had fallen through. In the morning at the CUC campus, I began to feel the familiar lump in my throat as we were rapidly losing half of our kids. However, God answered Maggie’s and our many prayers, and led the most wonderful new friends to her path immediately. Now, after the first month of studies Maggie is still full of laughter and wonder as she gets to spend every moment of her days (and often also nights!) surrounded by people who have become dear to her. Maggie’s major is Theology as part of her Deaconess Studies and she chose Psychology as her minor. She aims towards a vocation of a counselor in a school or church setting.
While we had a lot of moving and goodbyes to take care of, we also got to visit congregations and individual supporters along our route. First, Pastor May preached and presented in Pilgrim Lutheran Church, West Bend, WI. We were happy to have some social time with another old friend from the seminary, Pastor Christopher Raffa, and his beautiful family. We also gained new friends through a warm welcome to the home of Kurt and Elsie, who since have helped Tristan with some practical issues and even taken him to their cabin for fishing!

Near Chicago lives a sweet and special lady, Esther, whom we finally got to meet and visit with while in the area. Being a long time supporter of the work of LIA, Esther was overjoyed to see photos from the LST and hear about latest development.
Another highlight of our America trip was to see our friends down in Phoenix. Pastor May preached and presented in Catalina Lutheran Church in Tucson, AZ. We were hosted by Gregg and Andrea and were happy to see Wally and his family, too. Gregg and Wally pulled a huge effort at the LST in 2019, when they put up our chicken cages, cellar shelves, and worked on a bunch of other useful projects. Now they showed us a good time in many and various ways like taking us to a shooting range, bowling alley, interesting restaurants, shooting off fireworks, more shooting for the boys, and lots of swimming time for the kids. What a wonderfully relaxing week we had!
Our trip kept on giving. We got to spend two nights in a peaceful St. Matthew’s cabin at the Camp Trinity, MO. During that time, we were blessed to have fellowship time with Ruth, and also Pastor Andrew Preus’ family in addition to Pastor May telling about the Lutherans in Africa in their Trinity Lutheran Church, New Haven. Afterwards, we had a nice stay in Dr. Wallace and Kathy Schulz’s home, where children were allowed to spend some time helping with the Good News magazine. Pastor May had many intense theological discussions with Dr. Schulz on how the Good News magazine has been and continues to be an excellent Gospel resource in Africa. The boys were in heaven, because there was also a fishing pond close by.
By then, it was time to drive back up to Wisconsin. Here follows the absolute closest thing to mother’s heart. Pastor Schleider, who also has enriched the LST life by visiting as a guest lecturer, opened his house with his wife and son for us to stay. And not only for us, but also for Maggie and her three friends from CUC and Tristan and his three friends from CUW! I cannot describe how much I would love to be able to have these young adults around in a regular basis. The Schleiders gave me that opportunity at least this one time. Half of the group spent the night and there was food, music, foosball, and discussions. Everyone attended the Divine Service and the LIA presentation at Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Milwaukee. I was close to bursting with joy, but many tears were shed when we too soon had to say goodbyes to our two eldest and head back to Mayer, MN where we had set out for our tour three weeks earlier.
The covid twist gave us an opportunity to see the autumn colors and experience the crispness in the air. I stayed behind with the kids until they got a green light for the flight. Among other blessings, I had a chance to see Sarai swim in a meet and witness her great progress in skills. The weekend before our flight, we were invited in a Fall family day with our dear Zion Lutheran family. Hayrides, hotdogs, bonfire, and s’mores; there would not be many better ways to bring our America time to closing.
The May family says thank you, thank you to all who we saw and who stopped to have a chat. To all who provided us fabulous meals in restaurants. To people who opened their homes and hearts to host us, especially our dear friends, Bill and Jolene, who definitely got their fill of our lovely company while our stay kept on extending! We thank all the congregations who invited Pastor May to preach and share the vision of the Lutherans in Africa. And above all, we thank our Heavenly Father who watched over us providing safe travels within the United States and back to Africa. By coming to America, we got to have and hold all our children for a little bit longer. Now, when the plane takes me farther and farther away from three of them, I thank God that he has kept my children in his steadfast and loving embrace so tightly and that he continues to shower them with his Fatherly love and every good gift. Without that reality, I do not know how I could live oceans apart.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”
3 John 1:4
Find out how the new semester started at the Lutheran School of Theology, and how far the new buildings have progressed in our next letter!
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