Autobio Time Again!

Autobio Time Again!

Right from the time he was little Nat had an intense interest in airplanes and flying. He decided early on that he wanted to be a pilot, so we got him a flight simulator and he learned how to land a 747 on an aircraft carrier! On one trip to Germany he asked if he could go up to the cockpit and talk with the pilots. This was long before 9/11 and the pilots gladly invited him in. They started to show him the different instruments, but were surprised and impressed that he knew what each one was and how it worked! So, they pulled out a little fold up chair out of the wall and invited him to stay in the cockpit with them until they landed. He was delighted. Picture below of Nat sitting in that airplane .

When he was ten and we were in the states for a short time, a friend who was a pilot took him up in his little plane and let Nat actually fly it. He was in seventh heaven, or at least in one heaven! We looked into where he could go to school to get his pilot’s license; it was an expensive and extensive process. We were also concerned that he was not a detailed person and a pilot needs to pay attention to details. So, we were glad when he announced that the Lord had other plans for him.

During these years of our time in the Middle East, both our boys believed the Lord was calling them to come back to serve there. They were uniquely equipped for this, having grown up in the culture and speaking the language like natives without any foreign accent. They were truly “international people,” having firsthand experience of living in multiple cultures. One local fellow introduced Nat to a friend, saying, “This is my American friend, but he’s not a foreigner!”

We thought for sure that with their great qualifications both boys would be able to raise support easily and quickly. Fellowships would surely see them as a great “investment,” since they could step off the plane and immediately be actively engaged, needing very little cultural or language training. However, the Lord had other plans for them. He knew that they needed time to mature and He knew how to accomplish that, in part by work he had for them in the States. Both boys spent time living on the family farm in CT, where they willingly helped my sister Andrea with the care of my aging father and mother.

As both of our sons were rapidly approaching their thirties with no potential wives in sight, Barbara and I continued to pray for the Lord to provide spouses for them. We’d started praying specifically for this before the boys were born and had confidence that He would provide for them in His perfect timing—if His design for them was marriage.

Nat had a girlfriend in the States before he returned to us, but because she was not interested in or equipped to work in a difficult, overseas environment, Nat eventually ended the relationship, although admittedly later than he should have.
At the end of July in 2007 he called me on the phone. “You know, Dad,” he said, “I’ve always wanted a ‘sports car kind of wife,’ more of a movie star type. But now I realize that what I need is an ‘SUV wife,’ one that can go off road with me into difficult places.”

“Good!” I said, “I’ve got the girl for you. She will be coming to your city in two weeks. Her name is Abby. Take her out and get to know her!” Abby was a great match for Nat: she was a vibrant believer and was already part of our company. She had spent three years in the country with another group, so she already spoke the language and knew the culture. And she was fully supported.

Unbeknownst to me, others were also thinking about the possible matchup of Nat and Abby. So when she got back, her friends also encouraged Nat to get to know her. So Nat took her out, enjoyed the time, and sensed a nudge from the Lord that he should get together with her again. On their second date, Abby’s purse was stolen in the restaurant where they were having supper.

Abby told us later that she had no idea what to do such a situation. But Nat did. First he called her cell phone– the thief answered but immediately hung up; then he talked to the waiters to get their input and finally he took Abby to the local police station to make a report. In the midst of this Abby said to herself, “If this is what it’s like being married, I think I’d really like that!”

A week later Nat took Abby out for the third time and said to her, “I think we should talk about our future together.”
“Great!” said Abby, “The tension has been killing me!” So two weeks after meeting they were planning their marriage!

Nat’s birthday is May 27th, so this number is special to him: his email address is 27, he signs his drawings with a 27, his prayer letter was called 27, and Psalm 27 was his theme. And, it turned out that Abby was 27 when they met! That clinched it for Nat! I later told Abby that, although she was 27 we had been praying for her for 29 years, beginning before Nat was born!

Keeping with Nat’s favorite number, they wanted to marry on the 27th, and were talking about January in the States. I suggested to Nat that they have a civil wedding where we were on December 27, which would make the year of the date of their wedding be a double 27: December 27, 2007. However, the cost of doing this was prohibitive, so that idea got scratched.

In the end they married in the States in Abby’s home town in Virginia on January 27, 2008. They also had a reception in Connecticut and then one in where we lived when they returned. Their wedding was well celebrated!

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and outdoors