Today on TCK Voices, we have Chana Noeth with us. Welcome, Chana!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?
My family moved to Indonesia when I was nine and lived there for seven years (until I was 16). Both my parents are citizens of the United States, as am I. I also have seven younger siblings and was raised homeschooled, which added the “big homeschooled family” culture to my childhood. In Indonesia, having eight kids was a common occurrence, so I grew up thinking it was normal and was accustomed to being around people who loved kids. Indonesia is 70% Muslim, so I’ve been exposed to Muslim cultural influences as well.
What is an advantage of being a TCK?
Being a TCK has truly ingrained in me the perspective that it is our differences as people that make us so wonderful, that we can learn from everyone, and that there’s always another story to hear from someone else. In this world, we are often weirded out by those who are different, leading us to draw lines and make conclusions about them. It’s important to note, however, that those very differences, quirks, oddities, weird talents, and strange habits mean they have something special to bring to the table. Just like you do.
What is the hardest thing about being a TCK?
Each TCK has their own struggles, but perhaps one of the hardest for me has always been never seeming to belong somewhere, never truly fitting in. I can’t seem to escape the fact that I’m different – different from Indonesians, different from Americans, even different from other TCKs. I’ve often wondered, “Will I ever fit in anywhere?”
What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?
I realized the crucial importance of what the Bible says about this sense of not belonging – we are not meant to fit in. God never created me to mold myself into whatever the people around me are or who they want or expect me to be. He didn’t make me to fit into the pattern of the world or to belong to a specific geographic location. He made me to stand out, to swim against the current. I’m called to be a wandering foreigner in this land, looking forward to the time when I can go home to heaven. To follow the path He set rather than the ones others make.
I know it can sound cliché (if you’ve heard it all before and haven’t truly understood it, or if you were looking for a different answer), but it’s important. And it’s something most people don’t truly grasp. So this knowledge is a gift.
How has being a TCK influenced your faith?
As I’ve been forced to root my identity in Christ, my faith has grown and taken more fascinating shapes than I ever would have thought possible. I appreciate the God who created this world and all its cultures, languages, peoples, music, foods, landscapes, and animals even more for having seen just a tiny glimpse of it all. All of creation sings His praises. Brothers and sisters around the world and across generations worship Him. And I look forward to the day when we will all be together, each individual created uniquely, united in worshiping Him forever.
What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?
I want my fellow TCKs to know that Bob and Larry* are right: God made YOU special, and He loves you VERY much! Don’t let other people belittle you or the enemy drag you into a hole of lies. Your identity is not in where you’ve lived, who your parents are, what you do for a living, where you get your money, who your friends are, what your passport says, what your ethnic heritage is, what level of education you have, or anything else like that. Your identity is rooted in the love and creative activity of an eternal, unchangeable God, and nothing anyone can say will change that. So stand tall, keep your chin up, and let your light shine as you go forth in foreign lands and look forward to going home to Jesus.
Thank you for sharing with us, Chana! TCK Voices looks forward to having you again!
You can connect with Chana here.
*characters from the children’s animation “VeggieTales”