Through my time as a boarding home assistant (or “Professional Big Sister”, as I like to be called), Christ has granted me a place of work, worship, and family while allowing my time here to be purposeful. As I began the process of application for this position, I had one thing in focus: to minister to these teenagers the way their parents were ministering to the nations.
One of the greatest challenges I had as a fresh face on the mission field was that these children had arguably seen and lived through greater hardships than I could ever imagine. How do I come into their lives and make a difference? I was even warned that when it came time to say goodbye, I would be more affected because their lives as Third Culture Kids were in constant motion. They were used to people coming and leaving; I was not. I was told that they would probably have a far greater impact on me than I would have on them.
Being Third Culture Kids (TCKs) gave them a certain maturity and understanding of how the world works. It also brought a great deal of independence. Many of them were used to living in persecuted countries, places where they had grown up and navigated on their own as their families worked with the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. Despite their independence, there were still moments that reminded me that they were still just teenagers in need of Christ’s love and people to talk to. They sometimes needed to be reminded, in this ever-changing environment, that Christ is a constant and that he cares, not just for the powerless, but for them and their littlest problems as well. He is not limited to the poor.
One of the many events in which I saw Christ’s love for them was when the school dance reared its head and shook up the better part of our January. There was an underlying stress as the girls pretended that it wouldn’t bother them if they didn’t get asked to the dance. I prayed that, “if one girl gets asked, Lord, let them all get asked.” I told the girls I was praying for this, as I hoped God would answer, not only because it would be nice for them to get asked, but because I knew that they would understand that God really does care about them and all the things they care about. He probably cared more than I did, seeing as I thought the whole night was a silly waste of time and stress. But He did answer. Within 24 hours of my prayer, all the girls had been asked to the dance and I saw their faces light with anticipation and excitement. They understood that it wasn’t just that they had been asked, but that God had worked in their favor. “That’s so cool,” one girl said to me. “I really didn’t think he’d care.”
It really takes the pressure off when everything is focused on Christ. These kids have brought such a joy to my life as I watch them learn new things and face new challenges. And they have impacted me, in many ways. I love watching the hunger for Christ steer their lives in different directions.
They are beautiful creations of Jesus Christ and they all have their own paths to walk.
Regardless of whether our chapter together closes here or goes on to fill novels, I hope they can look back and use our conversations and devotions to help them work through the hardships of life. Even if they don’t remember that it was me who said something, I hope they can be assured that it was Christ speaking.
Do you love to work with children and teenagers? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of children and parents on the mission field? Find out more