Thursday, October 04, 2007

Growing Up In Two Worlds

Here is a picture of Caden watching a movie with our friend Germaine's children. Germaine has built lots of furniture for us and is an excellent carpenter.

Here he is lounging around with some of our teammate's (the Ries boys) kids.Here he is again playing with the children of our houseworker, Antoinette. Watching Caden interact with our teammate's children one day and our Togolese friend's children the next has really helped us realize how Caden is growing up in two different worlds. Caden shares a common language and culture with the Miller, Reeves and Ries kids, but he shares only small commonalities in language and almost none in culture with our Togolese friend's children.

So what is our response to this? We have asked ourselves plenty of questions about what our lives should look like here as missionaries, and one question we've dealt with alot is, "How do we engage this foreign culture while still maintaining our (and Caden's) cultural identity?" It is a delicate balance, and to be totally honest, it's been difficult at times. We did not realize how much God would ask us to open our lives to the people around us; our home, our privacy, our possessions and our time have all been demanded of us.

We have made the decision before God, our sponsoring church, and our many supporters to leave our lives open to the people we encounter everyday. Sometimes this decision is difficult to follow through on, and at other times it gives our lives such great joy. Whatever the cost, we believe that it is our responsibility as Christ's ambassadors to open our lives to those who don't know His saving grace, and in that way we will serve God's kingdom as long as He would have us live in two worlds...


Tammie's Thoughts said...

It is wonderful that Caden will grow up accepting people of all colors and cultures...a lesson that many grown-ups still need to learn!

Beth said...

I think that as Caden gets older is he won't think "which culture have I adopted more from and will feel more comfortable in?". Anyone and any child that has spend longer then a year in a third world country (or foreign as others would say, but to me Canada is a foreign country) will no long be part of a certain culture. Hence the term TCK's (Third Culture probably know all about this). My friends and I are living proof that we do not have the American/Canadian culture or the Togolese. This is certainly not a curse but a blessing. He will truly have a unique point of view :)

Diane said...

In reality we as Christians are all TCK's living in this world. Finding that balance between living in the world and not being of the world is always a struggle.
Caden being a TCK is not an illness or something to be overcome, but a very special part of his identity. He will have more in common with other TCK's (whatever their host country) than with Americans or Togolese in the future.
God bless you, April, as you get ready to deliver this new baby in a very different kind of place than Montgomery AL.
Grace and peace, Diane Stephens

Joshua and Julie Marcum said...

It is a delicate balance! I think I am experiencing that now more as a parent of TCK's than I did as a TCK. But with His help, you will be able to glean the good from both cultures - and my prayer is that Caden will find his unique heritage such a blessing, like I have, and be able to use his perspective on culture to God's glory.