Monday, July 18, 2011

Learning to Follow a Third Culture Kid

Grand Central Station

The following is an article I wrote for this week's CCMI Newsletter. It's just another glimpse into the life of our family as we prepare for life overseas.  If you'd like to read the other newsletter content from this week, you can do so here.

"On Wednesday evening, after our second session with Jeff Marlowe, our oldest son came bouncing down from the youth group sweaty, red-faced, and grinning from ear to ear. He asked, “Dad, can I choose where we eat dinner tonight?” When I asked him what he had in mind, he was very secretive and assured me that he knew the spot and how to get there. He had obviously given it a lot of thought.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, but it’d been a good day – and the family seemed up for the adventure with Joshua as our guide. He walked a few paces in front of us to the Queensboro Plaza station, where we boarded the 7 train toward Manhattan. We’ve been using the N train between Times Square and Queensboro, so this was a different route from the one we’d been taking.

Joshua looked up and grinned as we pulled into Grand Central Station. He said, “This is where we get off. You guys are going to love this!” He led us all over the station – recreating the tour that Ruthanne Burch had obviously given him earlier in the day. He showed us the main terminal, the room where you can whisper to one another across diagonal corners, and the big food court. As we walked, I pointed out that he’d seen parts of NYC that we hadn’t seen yet. I also complimented his good sense of direction and navigation skills. I was more than a little bit proud of him – and told him so. He puffed up a bit and rolled his eyes.

You should know that Joshua has really struggled with our decision to move to Japan. He’s 13 years old, which is hard in itself. He’s old enough to have a good sense of the things he’s giving up in this move, and he’s grieving that. Sometimes he grieves in a way that’s seasoned with faith, and sometimes (like me) he’s overtaken by fear and unbelief. It’s been hard and messy. We wish we could spare him this particular struggle, but we can’t. It’s part of the story that God has written for him. So we (like you) are moving forward and resting all of our weight in the covenant promises of God for us and our children – Joshua included.

Last Wednesday, God gave us a special moment as a family as he also taught Gina and me another lesson about parenting. I’m so glad we entrusted Joshua with the lead that night. Twelve dollar cheesburgers at rush hour in Grand Central Station wasn’t really what I’d have chosen for our dinner menu, but it was one of the best evenings we’ve had as a family since we’ve been in NYC. May God give us wisdom and grace as we continue to lead our kids toward our respective fields!"


Monday, July 4, 2011

Our first two days in NY

Those of you who receive our monthly newsletters already know that we're in New York City for CCMI during the month of July.  During the month, I'll be posting updates here, so you might like to check back from time to time.

Just to bring you up to speed, we flew out of Raleigh, NC bright and early on Friday morning.  By 10am, we were in our apartment, unpacked, and strolling down Broadway in search of our second breakfast since waking up at 3:45am.

After talking over sausage biscuits at McDonald's, we decided to go ahead and ride the subway to the central park zoo, which was high on Josiah's list of things to do.  It was a good first day, and all of us were ready for an early bedtime that night.

On Saturday, we reported to Evangel Christian School in Queens for orientation where we met our staff and mentors for the month.  On weekdays, we'll be spending our mornings planning and implementing an ESL course at Astoria Community Church (also in Queens).  Each afternoon, we'll be in a classroom setting studying things like team dynamics, ethnography, basics of cross cultural servanthood, and language acquisition on the field.

I'm writing this first post on Sunday evening.  Since our team was assigned to Astoria Community Church, we'll be worshiping there on Sunday mornings.  Astoria Community Church was founded by two pastors - an American (David Ellis) and a Brazillian (Darcy Caires).  Pastor Ellis preached this morning from the book of Proverbs and reminded us that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He's even given us this book full of strong, practical wisdom for day-to-day life.  Then, Pastor Caires served the Lord's supper and invited us to commune with the one who gave us the wisdom of proverbs.  We're so glad that in God's providence, he's connected us with this particular group of believers for the month of July.  They welcomed us and fed us well this morning.  We look forward to ministering alongside of them for the next 30 days!