Do we really need to come back to Denver again for more training? This is what we were thinking in January. On our recent trip to our mission board (WorldVenture) in Denver, we had 3 days of training, which once again made us thankful for WV. We weren't very excited about going and weren't sure why we needed to go, but after being there, we were reminded that we still need some help.
We looked at some extremely practical ideas about transitioning and the stress that comes with it. We discussed how raising Addie overseas presents huge blessings and challenges. One insightful story during our time came from anther missionary in our group who grew up overseas and attended a U.S. military elementary school. He mentioned to our group about an assignment where the class was to write a paper on, "Why I love my country." This missionary kid didn't realize until half way through the paper that it was supposed to be about America; not the country he was growing up in.
The term that describes a challenge MK's face is a third culture kid. This is a kid who grows up in a country where they are definitely different from those in that country. However, their parent's home country isn't necessarily "home" because they simply haven't grown up there. It's obvious to see where the challenge lies, but God has been also reminding us of the benefits that come with being a third culture kid. Our God is so great that any one set of cultural values is not able to fully appreciate Him. We know this to be true as our culture does not always treasure the justice of God, and yet we know this aspect of God is true. So, we do value God's justice. But the more I am influenced by American culture, the more I feel like I need to apologize for His justice. And yet I don't apologize for His love because we do value that.
No single culture fully appreciates all aspects of God and each culture will not be inclined to appreciate the same aspect. Growing up in the south, I was not always inclined to appreciate the diversity of ethnicities in God's creation; and yet Revelation 5:8 tells me it's important. I'm very excited that Addie will grow up appreciating God through different cultural lenses. Will there be challenges, yes! But most certainly there are benefits also and we look forward to seeing how God continues to work in all of us through our journeys.