This past Sunday, August 25th our first born, and only son, married his bride after dating for 5.5 years. I (Nate) initially turned down the opportunity to officiate the wedding as I thought it would be better to be “the dad” rather than the “pastor.” Through unforeseen circumstances the opportunity was brought back up a few weeks before the wedding. This time I said ‘yes’ and was so glad I did.
While reflecting on our current season of life, the day before the wedding, reality hit that this was one of the last special events we might experience as a family in the States. I wondered, what big or small events we might miss by living overseas?
The birth of our first grandchild? The opportunity to watch them grow up and take on the world? How about their first birthday party? Will our grandchildren have the same excitement I remember our kids having when we told them we were going to grandma and grandpa’s house?
It is every parent’s dream to raise their kids and watch them grow from teenager to adults. However, we are moving across the Atlantic just as Dylan and Sara are starting their new life together. We won’t be stateside when they celebrate their 1-year anniversary. Or, when they purchase their first home.
Certainly, there will be opportunities for video calls, text messages, and to see pictures on social media. Yes, they are planning to visit each year and we will be able to come home for a week or more each summer. Those are the benefits of being missionaries in the 21st Century. As our departure date gets closer, those amenities just don’t seem sufficient for our close-knit family.
We will miss those impromptu gatherings, eating out together, or just hanging out. Holidays will be celebrated from afar. Birthday parties will be missed. Ball games, concerts, and special occasions will not be scheduled on our calendars.
Becoming a missionary is an exciting faith adventure, however it doesn’t come without costs and sacrifices. Those will look different depending on who the missionaries are and the stage of life they are experiencing.
As we are in our early 40’s with adult children, we will be walking through some difficult circumstances as we say goodbye to life here in the U.S. Yet, we know that this is where God wants us and where he is leading us. As we enter into the second half of life, it will be different than what we had previously anticipated. Thank you for praying for our family through this transition season.
(Nate and Stacy will be serving as Associate Regional Coordinators in Europe and the Middle East. You can read more about their journey and ways to partner with them at www.chogglobal.org/nstatman.)