Chevron Link Book Article Post

“Color Me Green” by a TCK

This article was submitted to the TCK office many years ago. It is from this article that the TCK office developed the concept of the TCK flag. You can see the details of the flag in an article – here.

From one of our TCKs:

Don’t color me green because I’m sick or jealous; it isn’t that shade of green. It’s a beautiful hue, a blend of bright sunshine yellow and the deep blue of a clear ocean. Much time passed before I discovered that this shade of green is just right for me, for now. It’s my color. Not too light, not too dark, just a perfect blend of blue and yellow.

I’m a missionary kid (MK). Some have dubbed me a “third-culture kid.” I was born in America but raised in Africa—a product of two cultures . . . a blend. When I began my first year of college in the United States, it was difficult, with lots of adjustments. But college has also been a time for discovery. I’m coming to understand that in this moment of my life I am becoming the person God wants me to be, internally and externally.

As the years pass, and as more people touch and influence my life, I will continue to grow and change. The pattern on my canvas of life will continually develop until one day the pictures come together and the colors proportionately merge into perfection. I will look it over with my Maker and say, “This is good.”

I’ve discovered I’m rich in experience. Some of my fellow students are thrilled with being “on their own,” in a dormitory and free from parental scrutiny. Since I was in fifth grade, however, I have boarded nine months of every year from home. Dorm life isn’t new to me. After years of experience, I’ve learned that dorm life may be fun but not all it’s cracked up to be! Sometimes I long for my home, for my parents, even for fights with my brother and sister. Sometimes all I wish for is the normality of family life.

My worldview is larger, in many ways, than that of my friends. When I see the starving peoples of Africa on TV, my heart aches. I know they are real. I have seen them, touched them, and played with the children. I have lived with comforts in a land where so many live without. Those people are more to me than just images on a screen; they’re real. I know, too, that their needs reach far beyond food and clothing. Many cry for the light of God, to know a world beyond the bleakness of their meager existence. Without the knowledge of God, all else is immaterial. I have grown up knowing that the soul of man has no color, and skin color does not change the needs of the heart.

Now I’m discovering America. Much of it is exciting and thrilling. What a place! Eating pizza and watching puppets sing and dance, having a hamburger while watching children riding a merry-go-round, climbing a jungle gym, or swinging high on a playground swing. The United States never seems to close at night—it’s always alive, always bright.

There are beautiful shopping malls and grocery stores with mind-boggling selections—dozens of cereals, for example. The roads have lanes and lanes of traffic—and no potholes! Intersections abound, instead of “round-abouts.” And there are so many big cars! America is luxurious, soft, expensive, and comfortable. America feels safe, and the sense of liberty and human dignity appears to run deep.

I’m discovering my Pentecostal heritage. Although I attended a Christian boarding school over the years, I had few opportunities to experience Pentecostal worship in English. Now during church, I just let the Holy Spirit flow through me. I love the worship, the music, the singing, the preaching, and the soft pews! After growing up worshiping God to the beat of drums while sitting on planks over rocks, there are some things I’ll never take for granted!

Coming to the States has brought new realizations: that I have new friends who can help me through the difficult times of adjustments, that I am an adult—but not quite, that new customs exist, and I must try to fit into a new culture, with a different blend of colors.

I have learned to appreciate my family, who are thousands of miles away. I have also learned to become part of an American family, who have opened their hearts to me, making me feel a vital part of their familiar and comfortable Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter activities. During these holidays away from home, I have gained new insights and have grown spiritually.

Now I have come to realize that it’s okay for me to be green—a blend of two colors, two cultures. Don’t feel sorry for me. I am richer for my experiences. I am at a place in life where I can begin to choose the best of these African and American heritages.

Be sensitive, however, to the needs I feel. I make mistakes, too. It’s hard, at times, to be green when others are yellow or blue. So I ask for your love, your understanding, and especially, your prayers—for me and the other TCKs. We’ve got a lot to offer, if encouraged and given channels to express ourselves.

I know many people pray for missionaries. Believe me, they appreciate it. Some pray specifically for a missionary family; that’s even better. But how many people have a missionary kid they pray for regularly?

Could I challenge you to that goal so other TCKs will know it’s okay to be green?