Yes, I know it's time we get in touch again. Layna is now 3 weeks old and alive and kicking! We thank God and the many people who thought of us and also helped in a very practical way. It all went a little differently than planned - better! In April, after a few weeks of preparation, we took the first group of students on board. Ymea was on board with us until the end of May, when she moved to Volos. The small Protestant community there has provided a room for her and helped her move in. In the meantime we had decided after first experiences not to give birth to our child in the hospital in Volos. But a birth in the small flat of the church was also not possible. We found a midwife through a friend from the community, and the midwife knew about a family from Germany who had also planned a home birth. Ymea had some questions and got in touch with Laoura, who had a room for us as well as answers. So Ymea then moved from Volos, the city to Platanidia, a small village 15 minutes from Volos. Meanwhile, Theo released me a week earlier than expected, so we were able to prepare for the labour together in Platanidia for almost two weeks.
All this sounds so nice in retrospect. But we had many conversations and prayers during this time. The experience in the hospital was so daunting for Ymea that, for lack of alternatives, she seriously considered birthing alone. Until we found the midwife. Then the news that a home birth in the room of the church is not possible. Where? Hotel? For us, the people who offered their help and a place to live and to give birth were genuine answers to prayer! On June 16 at 2 o'clock the contractions started - every 3min. Since Ymea had exercise contractions before, we were not sure if this was just another test. So we waited 3 hours until we called the midwife - oh was I happy when she arrived! At about 8 o'clock the second midwife came (in Greece there always have to be two), and about quarter to 9 little Layna arrived. Indescribable. We spent the first week together. Ymea's parents came to visit, her brother Lysander came by bike. (He's on his way to the North Cape and - yes he knows that Greece is not on the track.) Then I had to go back to the boat. The farewell was difficult. Especially because I did not know that a week later we would be back again in Volos. The registration for the birth certificate here at the registry office was also not finished, because the authorities wanted more than expected. So, back at the Encounter, I'm training the new group, the "Moodys," students from the Moody Bible Institute Chicago. Ymea and the little one stay in Volos, Ymea's parents take care of the two. They also help with the next move - to Ingrid, a sister from the church in Volos, who had invited Ymea to stay with them after the birth. It was very nice to learn that we will be in Volos with the Encounter after a week, so I could visit the two. (it was a very long week!)
To my surprise, Theo suggested I can stay here to do the rest of the formalities. We would then meet up again in Patitiri before the Encounter heads to the north. And so it happens that Layna is officially born now after two and a half weeks. I have time to write an article and spend another week together with the two - almost - alone, before all three of us meet Theo, Sandra, the Moody students and Rika tomorrow (8.7.) on the Encounter. Please continue to remember us in your prayers, especially for the life on board with a now 3-week-old baby, that she stays healthy and that the heat does not bother her too much. We want to thank all of you who have thought of us and prayed for us! Everything went very well. Thanks also to all who support us financially! Thanks to our parents and siblings for prayer, advice, office work, shipping services and your love. Thanks to Ymea's parents and ^her brother Lysander for visiting us and helping Ymea when I was not there, thanks for the exciting taxi ride! Thank you Theo and Sandra for the prayer and the more work without us. Thank you Joseph - thanks to your volunteer effort, that it was possible for me to be dispensable for almost 4 weeks, and thank you for cleaning the fenders! Thanks to the church in Volos. Especially Meletis and Angela for the first apartment and the help with everything around it. Janna, who had a lot of time for Ymea and kept her company when she was alone in Volos. Nicki for the accompaniment to hospital appointments to translate, contacts and company. Thanks to Vassily and Laoura for the room, help with moving in, shopping and your kindness. Thanks to the midwifes Alice and Popi. Thanks to Dimitris and Ingrid for their hospitality, cooking and taxiing and help with the authorities. Thank you Miri for going to the authorities in Stuttgart for us! The list can't be complete ... maybe Ymea will write more later. Thank you dear father in heaven! Thank you that we were allowed to experience once again that trust in you will not be disappointed!