TCK voices Noah McFarland

TCK Voices: Use Your Cultural Differences for the Gospel

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the different cultures you are part of?

Hi! My name is Noah McFarland! I grew up in Uganda, spending 16 years of my life as a missionary kid. My parents worked with a ministry called New Hope Uganda until 2020 when they moved me and my five siblings back to the United States.

Living on another continent greatly impacted the person I am today. Even since moving back to the US, I still see some things through a Ugandan cultural perspective, which I often find incredibly helpful given the current toxicity in American politics and worldview. Uganda is amazing, and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything else. I’m very thankful God has used that time to shape my personal worldview and draw me closer to Him.

If you could choose one place from your TCK travels to revisit, where would it be and why?

I would travel back to Musana Camps, a camp located in Uganda. It’s a beautiful, relaxing place overlooking Lake Victoria. Few people live there, it’s privately owned (connected to our former ministry), and it has a private beach. The peace and solitude make it a no-brainer vacation spot!

What is an advantage of being a TCK?

I often get the question, “Do you like Uganda or America more?” I’ve used this question many times to explain to people that I love both since both are home, but neither is home. Both continents have people that love me, and both continents hold a special place in my heart.

Uganda and America have different cultures (obviously), and it’s really fun to try to explain some differences between the two cultures. I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with random people about how much better Ugandan food and fruit are. Overall, it opens people’s hearts to Africa through the creation of different, interesting topics.

How has being a TCK helped you when interacting with people?

Although I somewhat answered this question in the section above, I feel that my worldview and time in Uganda have helped my people skills. I often find that conversing with people is easy and enjoyable, particularly when they are from cultures different from mine.

How has being a Christian made being a TCK easier/harder?

I’ve received many opportunities to share my faith with people because I am a Christian TCK. When I get the question, “Why did you grow up there and why are you here now?” I get to respond with, “My parents are missionaries.” I then get to share my story, my walk with God, and how He’s shaped my life. I’ve gotten to meet new Christians this way and often find ways to share the gospel!

Of course, it can be hard to try to communicate how different I am (and how I see the world through different lenses), but God uses that for His will, through me spreading the gospel. It’s been hard going to a private American school lately, mostly because I feel that peers see me as just a weird African kid!

What is one thing you would like to tell your fellow TCKs?

Don’t neglect your spiritual growth, of course, but take care of your body. Work out! Go run! Just like a weight lifter needs plenty of food to grow muscle, we need daily spiritual nourishment for our souls. We can take God’s blessings for granted, and too often we forget that we need to grow in the Lord, pursuing Him and His Word every day. Use your cultural differences, spread the gospel, and pursue growth in Him!

Have some thoughts?

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