Deciding to live and serve in another culture is a significant, life-changing choice. As parents, you will need to consider the impact on your children. EMM is ready to walk with you and your children before, during, and after your mission assignment. We want your family to thrive, not just survive!
At EMM, we refer to children who live between two cultures as Third Culture Kids (TCKs). TCKs often do not identify fully with one culture or the other, but instead experience life in a unique way. While TCKs often develop broader perspectives and the special ability to bridge cultures, there are distinct challenges to feeling like no culture is entirely their own.
EMM offers numerous parental and child-focused resources for families serving in missions:
- Discussions about family issues with EMM staff
- Educational consultations with EMM staff and former or current missionaries in the region of service
- Age-appropriate sessions for TCKs at pre-field training
- Home leave retreats for TCKs
- Personal contact and ongoing support from EMM’s TCK coach
- Family re-entry retreat at completion of service
- TCK-specific one- and two-week reentry retreats for youth 14 and up
Jeanette Hunt, EMM’s Third Culture Kid coach, grew up as a TCK herself. She is available to meet with you to discuss the benefits and challenges children encounter growing up in another culture. She will gladly answer your questions and can also put you in contact with other parents who are in a similar situation.
“We have never regretted raising our children abroad. Why? Our children are experienced travelers with a rich wealth of European experience and culture. They have sat around tables with Muslims, atheists, agnostics, wounded believers, and passionate followers of Jesus … having conversations which add flavor to the formation of their own faith. Our children give up their beds for visitors and say goodbye more often than hello, but know how to interact well with adults. Our children carry a mark that distinctly separates them from friends where they live and peers in the culture of their parents. They ache to belong, to be near family and friends, yet have a level of maturity often noted by others.” — EMM workers Alan and Carol Wert, parents of three, serving in Wales since 1999