We hope you had a wonderful start to this new time era !
It’s a special year, even if the first month of it is already almost over it should still be celebrated. It isn’t just any “old new year” it’s 2020, a new decade and it’s your year to thrive!
As you may have noticed we’ve kind of been under the radar since Hawaii…honestly we didn’t know what hit us, emotionally, logically and every component that comes with it.
That’s why we briefly want to start afresh informing you, bringing clarity to some of your questions as to what all happened and what’s next!
One question that we noticed that has popped up various times is if Dale has finished his studies?
Well to answer it here we go! YES, Dale finished his studies in Kona before we left and is now a certified Filmmaker! With this said we firstly want to thank you for ALL your support towards him and us as a family on this journey over the last 19 months!
As I continue writing I will be answering questions and briefly write about our time in Kona and what has happened since we left.
So what did you do when you arrived in Kona ?
When we arrived in Kona Dale started his studies right away, ( literally on day two and jetlagged as heck)! I staffed the film school very “low key” in the social media department writing posts while Dale studied fulltime. Other than that we settled in with the kids, started creating a little home on campus bit by bit, got rid of ALL our winter stuff and replaced it with only summer stuff 🙂 Got used to geckos and eating Mangos every day, helping at the natural farm and just seeing this place as our new home even though it had its own challenges living on a huge University Campus it felt right.
What did you do once Dale finished and why did you switch departments/ministries?
Once Dale was finished with his studies, I switched ministries. The Transformational Business School had been looking for female staff for weeks and I felt very lead to take on a “one on one” roll for the female students. ( This means being a person for them to talk to / process things with) and also to help the school with hospitality, tea time snacks and anything they need help with. I got accepted and therefore Dale had to make a decision; either stay with the Film School or become a student in another department. He chose the latter and not because of me but because he envisions different things for himself now as to a few months ago. So it was a very difficult time for us hearing our own hearts and also God’s voice and changing our commitment to the Digital Film School.
Before I continue on with the above I’d like to reflect upon the “new vision” we briefly shared with you, this is also what moved us in a new direction.
From thinking maybe 2-5 yrs of Kona, studying even more and working with the School of Digital Film to leaving that department ( after Dale had finished his studies), and switching to the Transformational business School, to leaving Kona, going back to Harpenden, then to Dales parents and now over Christmas for 3 weeks to Germany…so much has happened that it’s hard for us to share things in sequence that it all makes sense. ( Currently, we are back in Maidenhead with Dales parents, just so that you know 🙂
Why did you leave Hawaii ???
This is one big question we always get! So we left Hawaii because we needed to prove another $9000 for the quarter October – December, which we did not have or get in time.
We felt urged not to inform anyone of our need and to fully trust God for the finances. Since we’ve seen how faithful God has been to us in the past 2 years, we did exactly that.
The money came in bit by bit but not enough at all, deadlines were extended, the leadership of the students – staff services and visa department were stretched and we were too. There was a lot of pressure but so much grace, we grew stronger with people that were fully standing behind us in this time. We realized that if we did not receive the finances for the next quarter, then God had other plans. But we didn’t give in till the very last day and the last hr! Friends in Kona can testify how it was, everyone was expecting miracles for us and then nothing happened. It took us 3 days to surrender and see the light…even though God had prepared us in the 2 weeks prior that it’s a journey and the promise stands.
What were we doing in the time prior to us leaving after we switched ministries?
Dale planned to be a student at the TBS and was accepted, his passion for filmmaking and coffee ( we’ll explain more soon), drove him to want to learn more about business.
I was still teaching at Wai’aha and transitions to staffing the TBS, since the funding for Dales studies didn’t come he was now looking after the Kids full time and teaching Math 4 x per week at Wai’aha.
We kind of felt like we had finally arrived and this would be our new home and didn’t want the finances to stand in the way of it. But then it all of a sudden did…we had to lay our lives and plans down once again.
We knew God had a perfect plan, also all the prayers and words spoken over us…the amazing new friends we made! We’ve never felt so at home in a place or a country like we did there and we are not from there, it’s so strange right!?
What did God show us?
In the time of Dales studies, God showed us a new vision for our lives which still blows us away…it really isn’t about us it’s about Gods heart for his people. It’s about rest, about enjoying and living life, about community, coffee, farming, about having a home and building a legacy to last and yes for sure storytelling, writing and filmmaking will all be a components of this vision. But it’s not the only thing we live and strive for anymore and it all makes sense now!
God showed us land, and told us to claim it, we feel that no matter what, this will be our land! Firstly when we felt this we though right away but now we see that it could take 1-5 years and even someone else could buy the property and houses in between who knows?!
We had to let it go and surrendered even though it’s been one of the hardest things for Dale and myself to do. Also surrendering our thoughts and plans, I mean for months we were thinking about what we’d need for an investors visa and how to get it, creating a business plan, thinking about sponsorship in the millions and working with the government of Hawaii…but it was and is not the time. Also figuring out how on earth our hearts changed so much, And we see it now, we have four kids, we want to value life and time with them, we are young and the film industry is not running away but time is running and their childhood will soon pass before we know it. The film industry is so fast-paced, that even if I (as a former actress), would never act again and only Dale would work on films, we’d still not have enough time together. He realized that he doesn’t want to miss their childhood and this shook us both realizing that we still have time for writing books, scripts and working on Hollywood productions when they are older, but not now. I layed down my performing arts career after our third born and fell into a 6-month depression but God showed me light and showed me that my greatest investment are my children. I can’t say that it’s easy but with a son who turned 10 in Hawaii and our youngest son 2, I realized how fast time had gone and I was so grateful that I hadn’t missed our 10-year-olds childhood…because if we face reality at 10 years of age they are their own, you have to let go and yet be there to nurture them in a whole new way.
So what happened next?
Well, again we surrendered our lives, dreams, talents and plans. It seemed like it all had been thrown upside down again partly thrown out the window since we only had 40 days left to excit the country, but looking back and reflecting both Dale and I see it’s so positive. We realized the privilege we have to parent these four humans and gained a whole new vision by seeking God and asking what our lives should look like, and not what we think it should look like.
How can it be positive you may ask ?
Well if you look at history and the great battles or stories of not only the Bible but throughout history most things happened differently as planned and mostly something greater happened out of a journey or a diverted rout / a plan B or C is usually the conclusion of any story otherwise it would be totally boring. Although we feel like we on plan K…hahahah we know God has a plan and we seeking to find out each and every next step daily.
Walking with God is a journey – one has to be prepared for detours that are built out of goodness, richness and lessons, lessons that enrich the story and bring God glory! Life itself is seriously not about a finish line…
What we know is…
- Gods promises stand, they’ve stood through all eternity even though they’ve looked different through the physical eye. Daniel in the lion’s den or Ester or David & Goliath and so many examples of the Bible show us of Gods promise & faithfulness even looking at the cray story about Abraham and Isaak…I mean how crazy was that story of God wanting Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son (from Sara), what agony must he have gone through but how well must he have known God to trust the God would not take him away since God promised him descendants as vast as the stars and as plentiful and the sand on the seashores. I mean as a parent or anyone who has empathy this story is terrible and the outcome is impossible human understanding but what it does show and what all the stories show it that God is faithful, God is just, God cares, God tests our faith and commitment, but mostly God’s promises stand!
- As impossible it seems we know it’s sure that we will go back to Kona Hawaii and live there long term but we have had to surrender!
- Surrender sounds easy but it’s been a process for all of us over weeks, it started before we got our 40 days to leave the US, then continued as we had to pack up our little home. Tears have rolled down our cheeks so many times before we left, our eldest even ran away and hid on campus saying that he’ll never leave. All our children wanted to stay. There has been heartbreak and we as parents don’t want to see this again in this form.
- After 32 hrs of travel back to Europe we entered a time of debriefing and rest in Harpenden England, this was very unraveling but so vital for all of us. We know it was needed for sure!
- God has us here for a reason. We had no idea what to do from there, we only knew we’d be in Harpenden for a week and didn’t even have money to get anywhere, nor to stay. Dale’s parents already paid for us to return from Hawaii and now they paid again for us to get a big taxi from Harpenden, we had to humble ourselves to take on help and “move-in” with them once again. It was an uncomfortable time for us all at first but at the same so humbling and a blessing for us all. Once we stepped over our pride and feelings of being a burden and all that comes with it, God could start to work. And that’s where we are, seeing little miracles happen daily. And face it what a blessing it is to have parents that don’t mind a family of 6 being around, and how wonderful it is for them to love on their grandchildren and vise-versa.
So what happened once we left Harpenden and moved in with the in-laws?
After a week we knew that Dale needed to go to check out Cornwall. This had been on our heart a week before we left Hawaii…that if we had to stay in England for a while we needed someplace close to nature, a place to surf and go fishing, a place that our kids can run freely. That’s what we thought because we couldn’t bare the fact of having to give that all up.
Another thing is that ywam Cornwall has freshly been pioneered and we know the people who run it and they are in need of more help. This means we could still be involved with youth work, even teaching and we’d be able to work ( earning money ) with other jobs alongside.
Being in Hawaii not being allowed to earn money has really made us even more Entrepreneurial in our thinking. Dale wants to work in the Film Industry here and I want to start my online coaching business and a few other things too 🙂 We had been praying and brainstorming as to where and what for weeks, where do we go next, the kids wanting to be back in Harpenden for the in-between time, Dale really wanting Cornwall, me seeing it as a good option but also thinking about all things involved.
The little Cornwall story
We still felt drawn to check out Cornwall even though our hearts were in Kona but a lack of provision hindered us to go. I did a massage therapy fundraiser and some money came together but we still didn’t have enough for us to go so we decided that Dale would drive on his own. Even though there was still not enough financially until the very last moment on the first Friday evening of December we got an amount deposited into Dales PayPal of £119, this was the missing amount he needed to be able to pay for food and lodging. A friend just got this random amount as he prayed for us (which he actually never does)…pretty crazy awesome how God works!
The next morning which was Saturday, Dale set off alone to Cornwall. This was in the first week of December. It was also the first time in months that our family had been apart but we really felt Gods hand upon us.
In the time that Dale was gone my sister contacted me asking why we can’t come to Germany for Christmas.( As this was our plan when we knew we needed to leave Hawaii). I had to be honest and told her that we just can’t financially….she didn’t say much other than “And what if I flew you all over”!
My heart leaped but at the same time wondering if it was the right thing to do because we really needed clarity to our next steps. Also I doubted that she could even afford it, I mean 6 x everything!
After praying and thinking about it for a few days, Dale also agreed it would be a very positive thing to do, especially for the kids! So one day before Dale left Cornwall our next plan was Germany for Christmas.
My sister had saved up for 2 years diligently to come and visit us in Hawaii ( this she started long before we were even there)… She said what’s the use of having this money and not spending Christmas with you.
My heart!!! I never thought my baby sister would be able to do this! So there she was, 20years old with a 2-year-old son and flew us over a week before Christmas up till the 12th of January. She prepared her home for us, thought about every detail, paid for our stay, travel costs to visit friends and so much more…never giving us the feeling of wanting anything in return. I still get teary when I think about it, what she did will stick with us all forever. And I’m sharing this with you not because of any other reason other than to show you how faithful God is.
Also we got blessed in so many other ways over this time, Fayana wished to have her 4th birthday even before we even knew we’d have to come back to Europe…we landed on the 17th and the 18th was her 4th bday. My sister got her a unicorn dress, my mum decorated and brought the cake, we had kids party music and went to the playground. That same evening she left her pacifiers for the “Schnullerfee” pacifier fairy to get…this was a very emotional thing for her. Amazingly she said that it’s the land she’s born in and that’s why she can leave them here. Dale and I made up a beautiful story and she received a dress the next morning in place of her pacifiers.
Dale had guys nights out with dear friends, we got to surprise our old church, and we spent New Years with very dear fun awesome friends. We had a family sleep over at our old house with our dear friends at “the Villakunterbunt” in Allerheiligen. This was important precious time for both of our families and all our kids . The kids had sleepovers at my dad on the countryside, they went shopping and for walks with my sister, they spent time with their Nana ( my mum), they had (who I like to call my older sister) pick them up for a sleepover with their 3 girls. Amazingly they had arrived back 2 days prior from South Africa and that was the only sleep over that would work. Her / their kids and ours grew up like cousins the past 7 years in Germany so it was very vital & good for the kids hearts.
Our last sleepover before we left was with another dear family whom the kids love and they have 3 kid which our kids also see as their very good friends.
- We met 3 of our faithful supporters in this time we were in Germany, one of them is a friend of mine from way back that I love for the person she is. The other is one couple that has really blessed us so much. Not only with a wonderful lunch date on the day but with words and deeds of the heart. They’ve been such an inspiration to us on this journey of ours for almost 2 years…we honor them so much!
Time was up –
And before we knew it we had 2 days left, I still met up with a dear actress friend of mine, fetched homeschooling material for the kids and then packed like crazy.
We all woke at 3am to fly at 6:20 from Düsseldorf to Heathrow. At the Düsseldorf airport we got to pray with a woman who had flight anxiety who was very appreciative. This flight back was a blessing with absolutely 0 complications even though our kids all caught a flue and I felt like I was getting something too. Which I now have !
We arrived to Dales parents waiting for us at Heathrow, drove back in two cars 😉 Remember we can’t fit into one ;)….
It was cloudy but as soon as we reached the street that my inlaws live in the sun came thorough and the grey English clouds parted to a blue sky. Dale carried the sleeping kids out the cars and his dad helped us with the luggage. I couldn’t resist going for a fresh morning walk …Why am I telling you all of this ?
Because it’s about the journey…as you read you can maybe feel the essence of our lives. Nothing is predictable but it’s steadfast and filled with vision, hope, gratitude and love.
Ending on this note we don’t know our next steps completely other than the fact that we know God’s promise stands for Hawaii, when we will go back we do not know at this point.
We know that we need a place / home where we have our own space for the kids and ourselves to thrive from. The options as to where this could be are vast but we’ve narrowed it down to Maidenhead ( where Dales parents are / where we are now), or to Harpenden – where the kids really want to be and where we lived for 10 months before Hawaii. And then there is Cornwall where we feel a little pull towards but we really have seen no door opening yet, we think it may be good for us all but have never lived there before and there are a few more components involved.
Please pray for guidance for us and also pray for health. I ( Melissa) have come down with what the kids had but it’s turned into laryngitis once again which leaves me unable to speak.
Dale had a film job possibly lined up for February please pray for this too.
We hope that you are inspired to see life as a journey and that our crazy lives may inspire you to listen more to the greater purpose upon your life.
Many blessings and much love,
Dale & Melissa with Kiddos