TCK Voices: Back and Forth Between America and England

Today on TCK Voices, we have Olivia Rooney with us. Welcome, Olivia!

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

Hi, I’m Olivia Rooney. When I was two years old, my family moved from North Carolina (where I was born) to England. My dad pastored a church there for almost two years. I don’t remember much of this experience except for one time standing in the crowded streets of London. 

Olivia Rooney

When I was four, we returned to America, but within a few years the Lord called my parents to return to England, this time as missionaries. As a result, we spent over five years visiting churches across America and raising support. Then, the day before my thirteenth birthday, we moved back to England and lived there for nearly 11 years. I stayed with my parents after my high school graduation and helped them in the ministry work. 

Culturally, British people are more reserved, and that was always an adjustment for me. I lived on farmland in Ohio before we moved to the England. The area in England where we lived was also focused on farming, so that brought some connection to what I knew in America. The Lord led us back to America in 2021, and I’ve been transitioning to Florida life ever since. 

While I go through this transition, I still love to write as much as I did while living in England; it’s exciting to see how God will continue to use that in my life. I’m a book nerd, and I’m often found either talking about books or reading them. I love exploring history and diving into the past by learning about the places I’ve visited.

What is an advantage of being a TCK?

I’m fortunate to have met so many different people. This gives me a chance to see things from another’s perspective. It also gives me more understanding when people experience loss and changes. I know what it’s like to be misunderstood or to grieve from separation. This definitely brings a lot of interesting opportunities my way. It’s built into many TCKs to “get” people, and I believe God automatically creates this ministry when we are spending time with someone.

What is the hardest thing about being a TCK?

I strongly dislike how isolated it can make me feel. Deep down inside I know there are people who care about me or fellow TCKs who understand my experience; on the flip side, I have to learn to live with the mental difficulties that have come from never quite feeling at rest in one place. I often have the sensation that I may not be here forever so I probably shouldn’t get too settled. When I’m asked, “Where are you from?” I always hesitate. When I say, “I lived in England,” they might think I’m British. Or if I say, “I’m from Ohio” (where much of my extended family lives), should I go ahead and tell them my whole life story? It’s quite the conundrum.

What is one thing you learned from being a TCK?

I’ve learned to love other cultures. This is so special to me as I look back. I’ve had several unique opportunities to minister to different ethnic groups, and it’s been a blessing to learn about their cultures, try their food and drinks, and see how God loves all people, no matter where they’re from. I love learning similarities too. People are more alike than we imagine.

How has being a TCK influenced your faith?

Being a TCK has brought me to the knowledge that while I may find a temporary home here on earth, the only place I will truly be at rest is when I live eternally in heaven. This reconciles me more with God, knowing that He hasn’t forgotten me and that He prepares a place for me someday. That outweighs any feelings of not belonging. I believe strongly that God has allowed this path for me to understand that He only can fill the pit of emptiness.

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

Your story is worth telling. Maybe it feels like no one understands you, or maybe you’ve lost the energy in talking about your life because it’s not as “normal” as others. But believe me, your story is special. Recently, I had an opportunity to share some of my thoughts about transitioning from England back to America, and it was amazing to see God use that to work in my heart as well as in the hearts of the ones I spoke to. Everyone has struggles, and while TCKs have unique ones, everyone feels their struggles are unique to them. Find what you can connect with in another person’s story and see how you can encourage them through those similarities. Don’t give up telling your story, and don’t lose sight of how God can use you!

Thank you for sharing with us, Olivia! TCK Voices looks forward to having you again!

You can connect with Olivia here.

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