Third Culture Kids (TCKs) and Missionary Kids (MKs) have unique and complex lives shaped by experiences foreign to most people.
While there are many positive things about growing up as MKs, we face unique challenges and personal needs that sometime seem impossible to meet. Yet there is someone who promises to be able to meet those needs in a meaningful way, Jesus.
The good news of Jesus is He can meet every need of our heart arising from growing up cross-culturally.
1. Jesus is good and wants you to live an abundant, joyful life.
The good news of Jesus is celebratory and joyful. Yet as MKs, we can start to view Jesus as being our parent’s harsh boss, the one who called them (and forced us) to leave everything and move overseas, perhaps multiple times.
Yet for his first miracle, in John 2, Jesus turns water into wine to contribute to the celebrations of a wedding party. From this, we can see Jesus as someone good, as someone worth celebrating and being joyful over. “Everyone serves the good wine first…then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10).
He wants us to live abundant, joyful lives through him.
2. The light of Jesus is stronger than the darkness you experience.
As TCKs, we grow up seeing and experiencing so much darkness in the people and places we live in. Anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and abuse have impacted many of us TCKs personally, in our families, or in the communities we grew up in.
Psalm 36:10 says, “For with you is the fountain of life, in your light do we see light”. We can be secure in the light of Christ because it is stronger than the darkness we have seen and experienced, and he is safe.
Jesus offers us himself as “the light of the world” so that “whoever follows [him] will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
3. Jesus deeply loves you.
As MKs, we sometimes question the genuineness of people’s love. Because of how we are raised and what we witness growing up, we measure people’s love by what they are willing to give up and sacrifice.
Jesus is the good shepherd, the one who went before and died for us in our place. He promises to provide for our needs, starting with laying down his life for us. We can believe Jesus truly and deeply loves us because he sacrificed everything for us. He is “the good shepherd,” the one who lays “down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
4. You are held securely in the hand of Jesus.
One of the major characteristics of an MK’s life is lack of security, whether physical safety, the prospect of constant moving, long-term friendships, or unpredictability with the future.
Despite the reality of these characteristics in our lives, Christ says that we are held in his hand and in the Father’s hand. Not only has he saved us and given us eternal life, but he holds us securely in his hand and by nature of that we are held in the Father’s hand from where nothing in life can ever remove us. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
As Jesus followers, it does not matter the stage of life we are in, how we are doing spiritually, or the mistakes we have made. We are held securely in Jesus’ hand and in the Father’s hand, and it does not depend on us.
5. You are known and accepted by Jesus.
As TCKs, we can struggle with being fully known and how much of ourselves to reveal to people.
The layers of complexity of our upbringing means few people can appreciate and understand the entire multi-faceted nature of our beings. Like chameleons, we can choose how we want to be seen, only showing the favorable parts of ourselves.
Yet, in Christ, nothing needs to be hidden for him to accept us. He says, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). His desire is for us to come to him with everything of ourselves and be in his light where we are fully actualized and complete.
6. God has a place for you.
God has a place for us.
As TCKs, we are constantly losing our belonging with friends, family, at school, and in other areas.
Jesus tells us, “[i]n my Father’s house are many rooms” and “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:2-3).
The good news of Jesus tells us that those who believe can know that we are going to a place where we will live forever, where there will be no pain, no goodbyes, no separation because Jesus went before and prepared an eternal home for us. Therefore, we can live with hope.
Jesus is Good News.
Jesus is everything. He is the only one who can meet all the needs of our hearts, even the unique ones that arise from being MKs. He lived with real, sacrificial love so we can exist securely in his hand.
Because of Jesus, our stories as TCKs can be fully brought to his light, and we can have hope we are going to a place we can call home forever.
Jesus is good news because he meets every need of our hearts.
Ethan is an MK/TCK who lived in Angola, Zambia, and Portugal. He is studying sustainable agriculture and is passionate about working alongside underprivileged communities in building secure food systems to empower them to be able to break the poverty cycle. In his spare time, he enjoys canicross, dog training, mountain biking, and parkour.