Being a mom is hard. There’s so much expected of you and so much you feel you’re inadequate at. You feed. You change. You fold. You wash. And then you do it all over again. Sometimes it can be monotonous and sometimes you just want to lock yourself in the bathroom and scream for a minute.
But what if you didn’t have a bathroom to lock yourself in? What if you had the task of being a mother without all the modern comforts of home?
Yielded Captive by Dalaina May, while fictional, contains all the emotion, heartbreak, and even joy of a story that is true to life. The book is about Allison, a young wife and mother who is a Christian missionary is the Peruvian jungle. Everything seems as if it’s going well for Allison, her husband Eric, and their infant son, Isaac. That is until their camp is raided, Eric is shot, and Allison and her nursing boy are dragged off into the jungle by seemingly savage men.
Deep into the wild she is taken and the deeper she goes the less hope remains for a rescue. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say that Allison’s story made me more grateful for the little things like a nursing cover, disposable diapers, instant oatmeal, and clean underwear. I laughed and cried, and at times even wanted to hit a few of the characters over the head with a frying pan. This book is a must read. In fact, I think it’s safe to say it’s my new favorite. What else could I call a book that I wanted to read over again as soon as I’d finished it?
What I Loved…
I loved how Dalaina wasn’t afraid to write real. She didn’t tiptoe around the hard stuff and she made it clear that just because you follow Christ, it doesn’t mean the road you travel will be any less bumpy. Allison’s story spoke to me in so many ways. As a wife, a mother, and a Christian, I found my heart breaking for Allison as if she were a friend, one I had known my entire life. I loved the themes of forgiveness and faith throughout the story, and most of all, how the story emanated the point that God can make good out of any circumstance.
I highly recommend this book. If you enjoy inspirational fiction, this one is for you. I would even go so far as to say that Dalaina May has the potential to be the next Karen Kingsbury. Yielded Captive is a powerful story that addresses tough issues, so just remember going into it that there are some subjects and themes that can be difficult to take. That aside, Allison’s story will move you and will cause you to rethink what it really means to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart” and to “lean not on your own understanding.”
About the Author…
Dalaina May lives with her husband, Dan, and their four rowdy boys in the jungles of Peru, where they serve on a church-pl
anting team among the Caquinte tribe. Dalaina spends most of her time dragging her children out of trees, embarrassing herself in front of her neighbors, and blogging about her family’s life and ministry at DanandDalaina.com. When she has a free moment, she appreciates good sushi and a back rub. You can learn more about Dalaina’s debut novel and even read an excerpt at YieldedCaptive.com.
I had the fortunate opportunity of interviewing Dalaina. Continue reading to learn more,
but beware of SPOILERS.
1. Your book is about Allison, a Christian missionary who is taken captive by the very people she is trying to share the gospel with. How much of your own story and experiences did you draw from while creating Allison’s story?
I currently live in Peru working with a tribe that is culturally very much like the Shampiri. Many of the cultural practices and beliefs are based on things that I have seen and heard in our village. Others are completely made up. Here is a link to a document that explains what is real and what is my imagination.
2. What gave you the idea for the plot of Yielded Captive? Did God lay the story on your heart in a special way or at a specific time in your life?
The first time my husband and I came to Peru, we spent a summer in the middle of the jungle where there were tribes like the Shampiri nearby. The idea for the book was birthed that summer as I thought about what my worst nightmare might be.
3. The book is dedicated to Isaac, which is also the name of Allison’s son in the book. Would you mind sharing a little more about this?
Isaac was the son of friends of mine who was killed in a car accident five years ago. He was 18-months-old and died mere weeks before they were to leave for the mission field. His death really shook me as I was faced with the idea that being in God’s will does not automatically protect me or my family from tragedy. My writing Yielded Captive was done during a season of deep grieving and searching for a more biblical understanding of God and how He works particularly in regards to the intersection of suffering and His will.
4. How true to life as a missionary is Allison’s story? Is there anything you would like to share with your readers about how God called you and your family to the Peruvian Jungle?
I think tribal living is very accurately portrayed in Yielded Captive, but Allison’s situation is unique in that she was alone and a mom. I don’t know of any women doing tribal ministry without a spouse or a team (and certainly not a single mother!), and I can’t imagine anyone attempting it simply because we NEED the support of one another to make it.
As far as our family, my husband was interested in tribal missions from childhood. Though I grew up on the mission field, I was not interested in missions until I was in college and fell in love with Jesus. By the time I started dating my husband, I had decided that I didn’t care where in the world I went, I just wanted to go someplace difficult that not many wanted to go to because I was convinced that God was doing big things overseas, and I wanted a front row seat. Peru fit both of our desires/callings.
5. In the book, Allison had to make quite an adjustment to life with the Shampiri. What adjustments have been difficult for you and your family while adapting to a different culture? What is it like raising children where you live? How long have you lived there?
We have been in Peru for nearly four years, and it is… HARD! I actually hate camping and bugs and dirt, but I have learned to function around the critters and live without refrigeration, modern plumbing, or grocery stores. I think the hardest part is not actually the details of living; it’s the isolation. Outside of our team, I don’t feel like anyone can really understand me. My friends in the village have no concept of my life on the outside, and my friends from back home really can’t completely comprehend life in the tribe.
Raising kids in the jungle is a fun adventure! I have 4 boys—Moses (5), twins Ben & Jake (4), and Micah (7 months)—and they are in boy-heaven climbing trees, living barefooted, bathing in the river, and learning from the native kids how to shoot arrows. We are constantly laughing at some crazy stunt they have pulled. On the flip side of the isolation is a very, very close family. When the sun goes down, the village goes to sleep. Every night we light candles or, if the day has been sunny enough, turn on our solar-powered light bulb and read or play games with the boys. When we were in California this past summer (having boy #4), I really missed being in the village and having that constant closeness with my family.
6. In the book, Eric’s (Allison’s husband’s) father David is very against the couple’s decision to move to Peru. Have you had a good amount of support from your family and friends? What would you say has been the biggest encouragement to you during your time as a missionary?
Both sides of our family and our church (in California) are incredibly supportive. We have been very blessed that way! The biggest encouragement we’ve had on the field is having such a deep level of involvement and intimacy with our supporters. Many of them have “owned” us and our ministry. They pray for us daily, encourage us often, and are involved enough in our ministry that they ask about our native friends and neighbors by name. We have been so affirmed and loved by our supporters in a thousand different ways.
7. Is there an address where readers can write to you?
They can also leave a note on my family’s blog at dananddalaina.com.
I reviewed this book upon the author’s request. I was not compensated and was not asked to write a positive review. All views and opinions expressed are solely my own.