Some thoughts as I enter a new decade.
I’ve wanted to be thirty for a long time. There’s not one big overwhelming reason as to why, but it’s something I’ve looked forward to for many years now.
My dad was thirty when I was born. I remember as a little boy wondering what my life would be like when I was the age my dad was when he had me. Would I have a baby by then? What kind of job would I have? Where would I be living?
When I was a young teenager I remember asking how old one of my cousins was. He was thirty. In my teenage eyes this cousin of mine was very cool and also respected as an adult. He seemed to have respect from both older adults and his peers. I wanted to be like that.
I was involved in various leadership positions at a church and at my old grad school when I was in my mid-twenties. And although I had respect, I always felt like I was treated like a kid in his mid-twenties. Those who were a little bit older, those who were at least thirty were seemingly treated with more respect. As if they had a bit more to offer. I wanted to be treated like a thirty year old.
According to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus was thirty years old when he was baptized and started his ministry. Sarah and I prepared for almost 10 years to be missionaries in Japan. Our original target date to get to Japan was 2016 – the year I’d turn thirty. I always thought it would be kind of neat to go into full-time ministry around the same age Jesus started his ministry.
When our plans changed due to Micah’s genetic diagnosis, Sarah and I began talking about potential ministry jobs I could take in the United States. Maybe a pastor of some sort at a local church somewhere in the country. I applied to maybe ten separate churches that I thought I might have a fighting change to be interviewed and considered. Only one church even communicated back with me. It was pretty discouraging.
While I was applying at churches across the country I also applied for a job at a tech start up here in the Omaha area. The interview process was very long and drawn out. It lasted about nine months. I had five interviews total. And I didn’t get the job. That was also disappointing.
Sarah and I continued to discuss our options. Eventually we started talking about foster care. But we felt like we needed a little more of a support system if we were to be foster parents than what we understood to be out there.
And right about the time we had started looking up foster care agencies I received a text message from Sarah while she was at work. It was a link to the application to become a Family-Teacher at Boys Town.
That was a Monday. We applied the next evening. And we were contacted by Boys Town on Wednesday to do a recorded interview. Then, after a few more interviews over the course of two and a half weeks we were offered the position and we accepted it.
I turned thirty this past Sunday. I am now the age my dad was when he had me. I live six miles away from the house I lived in from birth until the age of five. I have two young boys. I feel like I’m being treated and respected as an adult. And I’m doing a job that is often referred to as full-time ministry with youth who make up a community considered by many to be a mission field.
We may not be missionaries in the typical understanding of the term – people sent out “on mission” and supported by local churches. But Sarah and I view our role here at Boys Town as family-teachers similar to being full-time missionaries. There will be incredibly hard days ahead. But thankfully we are in this together and we have a great support system around us. We both are giving all of ourselves to this role and lifestyle. We believe in the Boys Town behavior model. It works. We’ve already seen it first hand. And we are ready to help the girls who will live with us by teaching them the skills they need to be successful and thrive, as well as simply loving them as our own children. They will be family.
So thirty seems to be living into the hype I’ve built up for it after all these years. I’m incredibly grateful for all the family and friends that have helped me get to this point. Who knows what this year has in store for us?