Thursday, June 14, 2007


One of the most significant events for our family this past month has been some difficult good-byes that our kids have had to say to very special friends. After 14 years in Slovakia, one of our JV families, the Jones', moved back to the States. While it is absolutely clear that the Lord has orchestrated this move, it didn't make the good-bye any easier for the kids.

The Jones' family had been on sabbatical in Arkansas this past year and it was during this time that the Lord began to move them in a different direction. In many ways that was God's good gift to everyone as it made the transition somewhat easier since they hadn't been here this past year.

But in May, the whole family (mom, dad and seven kids - their 8th one was still in Slovakia finishing school during the school year) returned to Slovakia for the month to close up their home, ministry and life there. They were able to be at our JV Family Conference at Malenovice, and there were numerous trips back and forth afterwards between the kids so they could see each other as often as possible. We hosted several week-ends of good-byes at our house (thanks to our good friend Theresa who was here to host one of them while Dave and I were in Italy!) in order to give the kids the opportunity to "finish

When the day came to say a final good-bye though, it was a heart-wrenching and tear-jerking experience for us all. We stood on the train platform with our kids, Becca (our JV Kid leader) and the Ellenwood's, another JV family, and waved until we couldn't see the train anymore. And then we all cried.

In missionary life you live in a different culture, give your heart and soul there, and do all you can to make your life in the place where God has led you. But...our kids straddle a strange world of being TCK's - Third Culture Kids. Wikipedia defines them as: "Someone who [as a child] has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture. TCKs share more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCK's from their own country."

Because of this, no matter where they are at in the world, TCK's typically feel most at home with other TCK's - thus making a good-bye like this painful. Someone who they loved, and who understood them and their world, was leaving. That is sad and there's no way around it.

On one hand it's a huge blessing that our kids have other people in their lives who really understand and "get" them (in fact, Becca, our JV TCK leader is a TCK herself!). On the other hand, it's painful when they are separated from each other.

So we have been grieving in our house and talking a lot about what it means to trust God when people we love have to leave us. That's not easy, but we're getting through it with God's help.

I'm thankful that our kids had (and still have, thanks to the internet!) such good friends who now live in Arkansas!

No comments:

Post a Comment