Today we have Anna with us. Welcome, Anna!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?
My name is Anna Knipe, and I have been a TCK all of my life. My family is originally from the United States, but we lived in Zambia for six years as missionary church planters before moving to our current home in South Africa. As you can imagine, I have had a very broad range of cultures throughout my life.
What is an advantage of being a TCK?
There are many advantages to being a TCK! The most prominent for me is that the Lord has let me see so much more than most teens my age have. I have experienced many different people groups and am a part of several unique cultures.
What is the hardest thing about being a TCK?
Although it varies among TCKs, most third culture kids are widely separated from their extended families and friends in their passport country. This has been quite a struggle for me personally, because I don’t necessarily have the ability to make as many friends as I would like here in South Africa.
What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?
We as TCKs have so much to offer. Yes, we all have been through so much – goodbyes, culture shock, change, etc. However, because of the unique struggles we’ve had to face, I have found that we can help other people going through trials and can connect with others easier than most people are able to. We TCKs have had to adapt and empathize with people very different from ourselves all our lives, and that, in return, can help us empathize with others, even if they have very different situations from ourselves.
How has being a TCK influenced your faith?
As a TCK, and especially as a missionary kid, I have been pushed out of my comfort zone more than I would ever have wanted. I am naturally a quiet person, and having to force myself to be talkative and friendly to people during furloughs and even here on the mission field has been hard. But it has also been an amazing way for me to grow. As Christians, our main purpose here on earth is to spread the gospel throughout the world, but how could I do that when I was as shy as I was several years ago? Being repeatedly pushed out of my comfort zone has helped me to be able to share my faith with others more freely.
What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?
Trust the Lord; His will is always best. Being a TCK has its own challenges, just like living in the same place all your life does. But please, don’t ever regret your childhood. God has given you a wonderful mix of cultures, and I would encourage you to use these gifts to, in return, glorify Him. Reach out to your fellow TCKs, don’t be afraid to befriend a non-TCK, share your faith with all the different people you interact with, and, finally, know that God is always here for you. He will never ever forsake you, no matter where you are.