Tag - personal narrative

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Third Culture Kids, Part 2: What it Means to Come Home
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Third Culture Kids, Part 1: Overcoming Challenges On-Field
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How Getting Fit Prepared Me for Missions
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What the Psalms Taught Me About Safety in Missions
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Biking to Belong in Japan
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What It’s Like to Raise My Young Kids Overseas
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What It’s Like to Be a Single Missionary
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The Truth About Being a Missionary at Christmas
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When Learning a New Language, Pray First and Speak Second
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Leaving Home to Go Home

Third Culture Kids, Part 2: What it Means to Come Home

third culture kid
Growing up as a third culture kid has its own challenges, but what's it like to come home to a place you've never called home? Find out as TCK's recount their personal experiences.

This is part two of a discussion on what it means to be a third culture kid. Check out part one here! I was 10 years old. I was in our apartment living room, sitting on our couch, surrounded by cardboard boxes. I felt sick to my stomach and scared to start over. I told my parents I wasn’t getting on the plane. I felt depressed because I knew I was just spewing nonsense. Of course I would have to get on the plane. I felt angry because my parents seemed so giddy and happy to be going home —…

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Third Culture Kids, Part 1: Overcoming Challenges On-Field

third culture kids
What is it like to grow up among multiple cultures? Read now to learn more about the challenges third culture kids experience on the mission field.

My 6-year-old self and my 4-year-old sister, Bianca stepped out of our front door, along with our mom, and into a dark, gray hallway. It smelled like rusted staircase railings and old wooden elevators. Sometimes the barely-big-enough-for-two-people elevator worked fine and sometimes it’d get jammed for a while. But we didn’t feel like walking down all the apartment stairs today, so we took our chances. The elevator creaked and rumbled, but made it to the bottom floor. “Taxi?” I asked Mom as we stepped out of the old, graffitied building and onto the city sidewalk. “The market is just around…

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How Getting Fit Prepared Me for Missions

physical fitness
Read a TEAM missionary's top three spiritual secrets for maintaining physical fitness for off — and on — the mission field.

On my first visit to a southern African country, I started praying that God would send a missionary there. But I knew it couldn’t be me. For starters, I was in terrible physical shape. I was more than 110 pounds overweight and took several medications to mitigate the effects of my obesity. I joked that my blood type was butter! But I also fell far short in education, church leadership, financial readiness and spiritual discipline. How could I go with so little to give? Physical fitness seemed like the least of my worries. It turns out, however, that exercising self-control (a…

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What the Psalms Taught Me About Safety in Missions

safety in missions
Missions work isn't always safe. But TEAM missionary Beth Barthelemy uses the Psalms to remember that no matter what we do in life, there is true safety in God's sovereignty. Photo by TEAM

In the summer of 2008, I spent two months in the Middle East. My time was focused on discipling Christian women by training local teachers in English and leading Bible studies among nurses at a local hospital. My first day there, I accompanied my hosts to a local wedding reception. Upon arrival, we saw a group of men celebrating by shooting guns straight up into the air. My hosts explained that this was a cultural celebratory tradition, regretfully sharing about the unfortunate deaths that occur from falling bullets. I lay in bed that night, listening to gunshots in the distance,…

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Biking to Belong in Japan

Moving halfway around the globe can be challenging. At the beginning of my time here, I had difficult days. Days where I thought I'd never fit into the culture. On those days, I'd take out my bike and ride. Photo by TEAM

I twist and turn down the bumpy sidewalk in my suburban neighborhood of Tokyo, and I feel the cool air hit my face. I hear the cars passing me, and I smell exhaust fumes mixed with scents from the corner restaurant. As I approach a pedestrian crossing I hear the screech of my brakes, and I’m reminded of why I feel at home here. I never thought riding a bicycle in Tokyo would become my favorite pastime. My husband and I moved to Tokyo just four months ago, along with our two young children and dog. If you would’ve told…

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What It’s Like to Raise My Young Kids Overseas

raising young kids overseas
Beth hasn't been on the mission field long, but she's had a crash course in what it's like to help her children transition and thrive overseas. Here are her lessons learned. Photos courtesy of Beth Barthelemy

I have three kids, all 4 and under. And six months ago, we moved across the globe. To be honest, some of the thoughts I’ve had are: Am I crazy? Am I irresponsible? Definitely not, I’m so equipped to not only raise my own kids but also to write a fantastic blog post about how I do it so well! I’m sure there are many others who’ve been overseas longer, who have golden nuggets of wisdom on parenting overseas. But all this aside, here are some reflections from a fresh-on-the-field, young mama of three on what it’s like to raise my…

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What It’s Like to Be a Single Missionary

single missionary
The fear of staying single keeps some potential missionaries off the field. Read what six workers say it's really like to be single and serve. Photo by TEAM

She’s known as the MacGyver of missionaries. She spent 15 years traveling with nomadic cattle-herders, single-handedly wired her desert home with solar panels and still has her water delivered by donkeys. But Tillie Tiller’s adventurous life in Chad slammed into a wall when she turned 39. That’s when she realized she wasn’t getting married. “In so many missionary biographies, in the middle of nowhere, a single guy shows up, and it is a perfect pairing. … Up until age 38, I thought it was going to happen,” Tillie says. “At age 39, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t happen, so…

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The Truth About Being a Missionary at Christmas

being a missionary at Christmas
Leaving behind beloved Christmas traditions is a true cost of being a missionary. But this sacrifice makes room for new traditions that will illuminate the meaning of Christmas in fresh ways.

I love Christmas. My mama always called me her “Christmas girl.” When I was growing up there was nothing like waking up at Grandma’s house on Christmas morning. The Christmas tree twinkling in the early morning hours, holiday smells wafting from the kitchen, stockings filled with treasures. Listening to my dad read the Christmas story from the Bible and thinking about Mary giving birth in the stable to Baby Jesus warmed every inch of my soul. Even crawling half asleep into a freezing cold car to go home felt like a magical part of the whole experience to me. Yes, my…

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When Learning a New Language, Pray First and Speak Second

learning a new language
What happens when you want to share the gospel, but lack the vocabulary to do it? For many missionaries, this is the reality of their first years on the field. This growth season can feel frustrating and helpless. But as worker Amanda Keeny shares, her weakness in the Russian language strengthened a better communication plan: prayer. Photo by TEAM

I used to think that in the moments of crisis, you should first seek all available solutions, and then, when there’s nothing else that can be done, pray. I knew prayer was important but believed it was more like a Hail Mary pass. When everything seems hopeless, you just kind of chuck your prayer up into the air, hoping it will stick. But the longer I’ve served as a missionary in Ukraine with TEAM, the more that belief has been proven wrong.  For the times in the past year when I felt like (and had the language abilities of) a child, prayer…

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Leaving Home to Go Home

Missionaries often live between two continents and consider both to be home. One missionary records his reflections on the transition between the two. Photo by TEAM

The day started normally enough. Our two oldest children woke us up by crawling into our bed. My wife wearily got up when she heard our third through the baby monitor. I took advantage of a few extra minutes of sleep until the kids’ questions and requests forced me to greet the land of the living. As usual, lots of coffee was consumed at my in-laws’ house where we were staying. But always behind the coffee, or along with it, was a sadness mixed with a little excitement. Today we were leaving the United States to return to our ministry in…

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