A little over a year ago, my grandson began an adventure of a lifetime. After graduating from college, he made the decision to take a year to travel to South Korea and work as an English teacher. The choice was difficult for a number of reasons. He would be away from home, independent for the first time in his life and in a land of the unknown. Armed with a strong faith in God and a solid foundation for life, he spent his year sharing his knowledge with several South Korean students.
For those of us back here, it was a bag of mixed emotions. We were all excited for him and this opportunity to spread his wings. We were proud of his decision, yet unsure about where this would take him. As grandparents, the first grandchild is almost like your own first child. You want them to spread their wings, but you don’t want to let them go either.
His year came and went. He learned about himself. He discovered things that would help him in future decisions. He became the independent bird, departing the nest and taking on a totally new life.
When it was time to decide what next year would bring, he made another decision. He would spend time exploring places he’d never seen. His adventurous spirit was calling to him. He left South Korea with a feeling of accomplishment and set out for Thailand. Then it was off to see Viet Nam. He spent his time touring the cities, tasting new food, discovering points of interest he’d learned about many years prior.
As he journalized his travels on Instagram, I couldn’t help remembering the days of his early childhood, when he would pore over the World Book Encyclopedia in our living room bookcase. His hunger for learning was evident even then.
After visiting Viet Nam, he headed for Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the adventure he was on. I remembered what I was doing at that age. I was married for two years and going through the process of raising his mother. Thoughts of traveling the globe were the furthest thing from my mind. I was busy changing diapers while he was dipping his toes in the Dead Sea. Visiting the core of the early Christian church must’ve been amazing.
Once more he was off to another part of the world. Greece was calling. The city where St. Paul ministered to the first Christians. Where the Acropolis is being restored and returned to it’s original glory.
He still has places to go and see before returning home. He bedded down at hostels where he met others who were on a similar “gap” vacation. He made new friends along the way. What an opportunity. This experience will certainly have changed him. Our prayers have been with this young man from the moment he made the decision to take on the world. They will continue to be with him for the rest our time on this earth.
What’s next for this guy? He will be thinking about that, I’m sure, as he criss-crosses the globe. One thing I am confident of is that his strong faith will be tested as he travels through life. He will have tough decisions to make for the future. He will be different than when he left. However a firm foundation was laid for him when he was brought to faith in his baptism. We’ll continue to pray for him and our other grandchildren as the God presents more and more opportunities for them.