World Team printed this article about a missionary kid who grew up among the Baka people in Cameroon, Africa. We pray that her story will encourage your faith as it has encouraged ours…
What God Has Done for Me – Reflections on My Journey
What has God done for me? My answer starts with, “He saved my life, many times physically and once forever spiritually.” But what God has done for me exceeds granting redemption and safety on murderous roads. Both of those are extremely important, but God’s work includes using my ‘yesterdays’ to make my ‘today.’
I am a Third Culture Kid — a TCK: someone with the opportunity to be shaped from childhood by more than one culture. God sent my family to work in the middle of nowhere. (I named our piece of nowhere “Buba Corner,” pronounced “BOO-bah”, meaning “white people live there.”) We were sent to work with people who don’t care about God or life. But Jesus cared. He cares for them and I am a witness to His true love. Not every one gets to see true love, but I did. That is my greatest blessing from my TCK childhood.
The best thing is not that I can adapt, nor that I am a sprinkling of historical eras, nor that I have a strong stomach or that I got to see different worlds on the same planet, or even that I spent thousands of hours with my parents (though very precious). The best gift from my TCK childhood was witnessing true love many times and ways.
Sometimes we think true love is enduring the momentous trials, fighting the battle and then living happily ever after like in the movie “The Princess Bride.” I am telling you it is not. I know because I have seen true love. True love is an everyday thing. True love endures the mundane. If there had been no love, a young missionary couple would have given up when spiritual warfare delayed them and basic needs were not met.
Love kept them from getting too discouraged to go on when they had to build their own washer and thieves broke into their home. Love kept them going when the government said “No,” and God said “Yes.” Love kept them going when Baka neighbors died and went to hell. Love kept them going when a delayed letter was the only form of communication. Love kept them going when their son fractured his skull, their daughter looked like a giant mosquito bite, and the government said “No” again.
This love was God’s true love shining through them. This couple is my parents. I got to grow up in the presence of plodding, true love. When they were assigned to an unresponsive people group of desperate, dirty, hopeless animists, they responded with the overflowing love God gave them for Himself and the people.
Five years ago my dad was suddenly promoted to “heavenly servant.” He is now surrounded by that same true love, more real now than ever before. My dad was given 46 years to show God’s love to his family. He had 24 years to show how much he loved my mother. I respect all wonderful marriages, but I have found that few compare to the beautiful true servant love my parents shared in God. I saw it everyday when together they talked, figured out vouchers, or explored the next step in ministry. My house was always a place of safety; not because outside the wall was scary, but because nobody outside the gate loved me like those inside did. Sometimes I would look out at the world from atop the wall but it was never as interesting as my home because the world was so cold and unloving. I got to grow up in the presence of unending familial love strengthened and provided by God himself.
Since Daddy couldn’t give me hugs anymore, I wondered who would love me like he had. I wanted his loving arms around me, showing me how God loves. But God had other ideas. God wanted to show me Himself. People I hardly knew became Christ’s hands and feet. Christ painted our house, made us dinner, fixed broken pipes, did our yard work, provided furniture and every once in a while just gave me a hug because that is what I needed most. I learned afresh that God’s love was real and really for me.
Love is personal and given to each person by need. When I turned 18, I finally received a title of my own: tutor. Rather than being a ‘tag-along’, I was now personally called to serve. I would need an unending supply of personal and ongoing true love if I was going to fulfill that call. Slowly I began to see that God, in His love, had anticipated my needs and had been preparing me from birth to carry on what I had witnessed. I was to be a channel to show His love, His true love, to those He showed me. Everyday. Sacrificially. Personally.
That is why Jesus did not just come and die to save us; He also came and lived. He started showing His love through being available everyday, when He was tired and hungry, when His humanness overwhelmed Him.
So what has God done for me? He saved me from my sin and saved my life. He also chose to show me (and continues to show me) how, in this evil sin-stained world, He shows His true love to people nobody else cares about, to my family, and to me.