Through Parent’s Eyes: When God Called Our Daughter’s Family to Serve the Nations

Asian child being carried by a woman

Through Parent’s Eyes: When God Called Our Daughter’s Family to Serve the Nations

Written By Dan and Carolyn Hanle

Through Parent’s Eyes: When God Called Our Daughter’s Family to Serve the Nations

Hello, we are Dan & Carolyn Hanle.  We live in San Jose, CA.  Our daughter Elizabeth and her husband Joe are full-time missionaries with the International Mission Board (IMB).  They’ve been serving in the Philippines with three of our grandchildren, ages five, three, and one.

How did that happen?

Well, we did dedicate Elizabeth to the Lord as a newborn.  Perhaps we were a little unclear on the concept, but it’s been clear since before she married Joe in 2013 that they were called and headed down this path together.  It took years of planning and preparation, including a two-year stint as Journeymen, followed by seminary training, commissioning, and finally deployment in 2021.

What did we think about all of that?

As parents, it was both exhilarating and humbling that they would commit to such a path, and we admired their dedication.  But we did have some questions. 

We thought about safety and separation, but their service has grown to be an unexpected wonderment.  As Joe & Elizabeth prepared and made their way, we were drawn into their lifework.  We began to learn about the people and the places, and we caught a glimpse of their purpose – coming alongside to help, teach, and grow together. 

That made a difference.  We’ve now had the chance to travel to their home a few times, and each time, we see their expanding influence and multiplying relationships as they exhort and encourage.  It comes through, too, during video chats and phone calls, as well as in texts and emails.  The people there are engaging, and the young adults they work with are amazing.  It’s a precious glimpse of workers being sent into the harvest! 

But then we’ll hear of some international incident nearby or elsewhere.  That can be unsettling.  Yet we know our family is not alone and unprotected.  They have a team (us included!), along with their training, and a heavenly host led by a powerful and loving Father, who is the one who asked them to go and who has counted the number of hairs on their heads. 

Living in that reality helps.

And, of course, there is the separation.  We miss them and our grandkids, one of whom was born since they left.  One special challenge is trying to stay up with the young ones growing so fast.  Video calls help.  We read books, play games, do science experiments, check on our strawberries – in short, any interaction they delight in.  And we’re always open to new ideas!

Truth be told, all of it is a big challenge for us.  The kids overseas are taught that whenever they encounter something strange or that they don’t like, to say, “It’s different,” or “I’m not used to that,” or “It’s not my favorite.”  We’re trying to learn from that.  Part of our family is not here with us (it’s different, and it may not be our favorite), but if the kids can adapt, then we can, too.  Brave words: a bit harder sometimes in practice, but we’re working on it, motivated by our widening understanding of their purpose and impact.

So, what to do?

Pray.  And get as many folks as possible out there to pray, too!  Pray for safety, pray for adapting to separation, and perhaps most importantly, pray for their service.  Pray that young people would be mobilized, that churches would glow with energy to support and come alongside, and that the heavens would be roaring at what the Spirit is doing there and everywhere His workers are laboring!

It was encouraging and inspiring for us to attend the National Missionary Parents’ Retreat a couple of times in Richmond, VA.  You can learn more about that in an article featuring us and Joe’s wonderful parents. We are working with CSBC to create opportunities to gather with other parents of loved ones in the field to encourage and support one another.  We’re hoping that will one day lead to a similar retreat here in California. 

If your child is also serving, join us. We look forward to what God will be doing and meeting many of you in the near future.  It has been such a joy and comfort as we’ve met others; we’d love to share that. Find out more by emailing us at missions@csbc.com

About the Author

Dan and Carolyn Hanle
Missionary Parents

Dan and Carolyn Hanle met in Southern California at a Bible Study and have been married for 40 years. Dan is a Chemical Engineer and private pilot, retired from Life Sciences but still active in a small space launch business, and Carolyn enjoys studying other languages and volunteer teaching ESL as a mission outreach. Through the years, they have been active in their churches, which has included youth ministry and leading short-term mission trips. Together, the Hanle's have 2 children and 5 grandchildren. .

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