Well, it’s been a while since we posted on our blog here. So, to start things rolling again, here (click here) is our latest newsletter about what we are up to!
No, I’m not talking about Kermit the Frog or saving the planet. I’m talking about the complex, hard-to-describe, beautiful, sometimes sad life that our kids know.
It comes under the category of TCK, formerly known as MK…Third Culture Kid or Missionary Kid.
TCKs have been integrally shaped by 2 or more cultures to the point that they can’t be defined by either one. They are some sort of conglomeration of the cultures.
Charlie has been missing Zambia a lot lately. And even though we are 7 months into this transitioning-back-to-America business, I pulled out the activities workbook of Looming Transitions by Amy Young to find a fresh platform for talking about this “new” life with Charlie (and Sam).
And I made some play dough. Then we got to work.
Yellow play dough is Charlie in Zambia. Let’s talk about Zambia. What did you love?
Sun, Castro our dog, working with Uncle Charles, my friends, riding my bike…
Blue play dough is Charlie in America. Let’s talk about our life here in America. What do you love?
Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, sleepovers, going on the boat, fishing, school, being able to look out the window at the cars that drive by…
You can mix the yellow and blue together now. What happens?
It makes green!
Mixing the yellow and the blue involves kneading and smashing and squashing. Each person has their own way of mixing the yellow and green together. Sometimes it happens slower for one person than for someone else.
Sam got right to work mixing them. Charlie was more mindful.
The process of becoming green doesn’t always feel good. That’s the sadness and loneliness you feel sometimes.
But it makes you into a very special person.
If you think of it, we appreciate continued prayer as we walk this transitioning road and help our kids navigate the emotions of it all. It ain’t easy bein’ green!
Well, although we have been quiet, we have not been bored. We did, indeed, make it back to Zambia on May 13th. All of our luggage stayed in Dubai for another scorching 24 hours, but we were glad to be reunited with all of our stuff just the day after we arrived. Thank you for your prayers for safe travel! The boys did exceptionally well, and God really did a great work through children’s melatonin. Hallelujah!
It has been fun to be back and see life through Charlie’s eyes. His awareness and ability to communicate has helped us see everything with fresh perspective. Why are we in Zambia? How come we have to go on 3 airplanes to get to Zambia? Why are the children of my aunties and uncles in America called “cousins,” but in Zambia they are just my friends? Etc…
Yesterday, Charlie and I (Kristin) went to the grocery store, and we played a favorite car game – I Spy. But this time, I added a new twist – we could only spy things that are special about Zambia, not things that we would see in Minnesota or Wisconsin. Here were a few fun things that made it in the game yesterday:
Everyday life in Zambia looks very different from what we know in America. But driving anywhere here is an exciting experience, and, as Charlie likes to say when we drive, “Just sit back and enjoy the show!”
This is Kristin. We will give more of an update soon on what we’re up to these days, including when we head back to Zambia (it’s getting close!). But for now, I want to share about a couple of triggers.
I have been reading in the Psalms lately, and there are two verses in particular that are always triggers of memories for me. In fact, I can’t read them without my heart beating faster, my fingers beginning to tremble, and vivid pictures from my past flashing through my mind. I don’t want to be overdramatic. I do, however, hope that this testimony of the power of God’s Word in real life situations will help you trust in Him more and find His Word to be living and active in your own life as well.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. Psalm 3:5, ESV
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8, ESV
In 2005, I was back in Zambia for a few months. I had been reading the Psalms at that time as well, and I had just read through Psalms 3 and 4.
One night, I was awakened by the guard dogs barking outside my small cottage. (There was another big house on the property where a missionary family lived, and the property was surrounded by an 8-foot tall cinderblock wall with 3 feet of electric fence on top of that – surely, I was safe). As the dogs kept barking, my senses were on high alert. And then I thought I heard the front door handle squeak. My bedroom door, just off the small living room, was shut, but I definitely heard muffled noises out there. I barely breathed as I lied stiff as a board in my bed, praying that no one would come in my room. I knew things could likely get much worse if I tried to engage.
After what seemed like a long time, but was probably only 5 minutes, I was pretty sure the person/people left, but I did not want to take any chances. I was scared. Then God brought them to mind: “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” And then it happened. I went back to sleep. The dogs stopped barking. And I slept peacefully until my alarm went off, and I crept out into the living room to find my laptop gone, along with my running shoes, suitcase, the DVD player, and other odds and ends.
God sustained me that night. He gave me tangible peace in the midst of my circumstances.
Fast forward to 2016. I was home in Zambia with Charlie and Sam, and Derek was in the UK for meetings. My parents had arrived earlier that day to be with me while Derek was gone.
Derek and I often are awakened at night by our dog barking or our electric fence alarm going off (maybe from someone touching it, but maybe from a tree branch blowing in the wind). But this night, I was awakened by my phone ringing. 1am. Pre-Secure. Pre-Secure is our guard response service. They told me that someone notified them of an unknown car parked outside our gate. Did I know who it was? No. They informed me that they would take care of the problem. I heard what sounded like a couple gunshots. And my phone rang again. Pre-Secure wanted to tell me that the problem had been taken care of and that they would park outside our gate until morning.
I don’t know what happened outside my gate that night, but I do know what happened in my heart. God sustained me. He gave me the same peace I had felt in 2005. He helped me “both lie down and sleep” the rest of the night.
For as long as I live, I don’t know if I will ever read those verses without reliving those nights and remembering how God chased fear, anxiety, and sleeplessness away through His Word.
Some people have heard these stories and asked, “What keeps you doing missions?!” Well, the short answer is that God sustains us and continues to give us a passion to see the nations know the true gospel. And that makes it all worth it.