Let Them Go
By Stacie Compton
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked my daughter as we drove through town.
“Well, maybe a doctor for animals or a teacher, or maybe a missionary” she answered.
“Oh, wow! Those all sound fun,” I replied nonchalantly. “Wait…a missionary? That would mean you would have to live far, far away from Daddy and me. Are you sure you want to do that?”
The truth of the matter was I wasn’t sure I wanted her to do that. Sure, I meant all the things I vowed when we stood before the church and committed ourselves to see her discipled and raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. However, in that dedication service, I’m not so sure we meant that.
The deeper reality is, we at IM find parents all too often want their children to serve the Lord whole-heartedly—just on their terms and near their homes. The dilemma is people around the world are dying and going into eternity without hearing of Jesus Christ. And, quite honestly, it’s our own fault. We have the answers they need. Yet, we often hold tightly to the reins of those gifted with the opportunity to go.
Never in my wildest dreams, when they laid my baby girl against my skin in the delivery room, did I imagine she might one day walk through airport security with the intention of boarding a plane to a far-away land to share the gospel. Our girls are only seven and 11, but this reality hit me right in the heart.
I still get emotional thinking about the opening ceremony of E-TEAM 2018 at Welch College. Neil Gilliland gave the final speech of the night. Those who have heard it know exactly what he says. My face flushed, and I could feel the tears dripping from my cheeks. I wasn’t expecting those emotions. I’m simply an IM employee. I was there to support these students as they prepared to embark on their journey. Neil told the parents, “Say your goodbyes well. You will not get the same child back when he or she returns.” It hit me hard. He’s right. They are about to be forever changed by the impact of the gospel. Mommas, hear me loud and clear: it’s our duty as parents to let them go.
The call is clear: “Go into all the world to preach the gospel.”
I’ve stood against the wall at the airport, quietly watching mothers send their children and grandchildren to Spain, Bulgaria, France, and beyond. The sadness is real as they wipe tears from their faces, but the blessings those families receive is also great. What pride and joy must fill their hearts when they read updates from various fields—souls saved, baptisms, new works established—and they have a role in each of them.
Each summer, hundreds of teenagers are given an opportunity to go. We must support them in this. Their Heavenly Father is calling. Our obedience matters as much as theirs. Will you let them go? Eternity is at stake. Your son or daughter might be the one who shares the life-changing message of Jesus’ love for the world.
Pray hard, hug them tight, and let them go.
About the Writer: Stacie Compton joined IM in January 2016. She and her husband Chris attend The Donelson Fellowship and have two daughters, Kaylee and Hannah. Stacie graduated from Welch College in 2004. She loves music, cooking, and spending time with friends and family. Learn more about E-TEAM and other short-term missions opportunitites: IMinc.org/go