My oldest son now has his driving permit. It is hard for me to believe he is old enough to drive, but time presses on. Since getting his permit, we have spent a little time out on the roads of our mountainous region. At times I am a bit jumpy while Trey is driving, but I am reminded that I, too, learned to drive on these roads. If you misjudge a turn in these hills, you could find yourself down an embankment and in a creek or river, but if you can handle the roads of southeastern Kentucky, I would think you could handle driving just about anywhere.
As Trey nears obtaining his actual driver’s license, I think about sending him out driving on his own for the first time. I am sure most all parents dread this particular event and day in the lives of their children. All I will know to do is entrust him to the Lord, just as I have tried to do from the day he was born. As this day approaches, the days ahead at OBI will also require letting go of some of our students. We love and nurture them for whatever duration of time we have them, but always reach a day when they leave us. Most all of our graduating classes have a student or two who will ask about employment with OBI immediately following their graduation. As much as I love our students, I always direct them to go work on their education and experience life a bit, and then call me down the road if they feel led to join our staff. Other graduates-to-be sometimes ask about staying around for a while without necessarily working for us. I always encourage these young people to fly the nest as well. Former students typically make up a healthy percentage of our staff, and I love it when folks return to give back to the Oneida ministry. Angie spent seven years here as a student, and I spent eight years as a student. We never really imagined that we would one day be in our 12th year of service as well, but here we are. Leaving here as a student was tough and leaving here as a staff member in 2004 was even tougher, but the Lord used both our college years and adult years away from Oneida to prepare us to now lead this great ministry. Sometimes the Lord pushes us from our comfort zones in order to lead us to future endeavors, and sometimes at Oneida we push our kids out of the nest with the hope and prayer that they will one day live their lives in service to the Lord and others. They may miss a few turns along the way, but He can ultimately use it for good.