Preparing Their Hearts for the Changes to Come

We went to Japan as missionaries with a three year old and a one year old. After living there for two and half years we needed to raise more support. We put our stuff in storage, packed our suitcases, and said our goodbyes to a home our girls had come to love.

As we pulled out of the driveway, our youngest tearfully said, “But now we don’t have a home.” Before we could respond, our 5 year old put her arm around her sister and said, “Don’t you know this is not our real home? Heaven is!”

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis

“Change can come in many forms in our lives. It might come forcefully like a tidal wave, or creep along incrementally like a glacier. It might come in the form of devastating tragedy, difficult choices, broken relationships, or even new opportunities. But even though change is often difficult, many times it’s also for the best. Accomplishing anything great in life requires significant change that pushes us beyond our comfort zones.” by Keep Inspiring Me

Change comes to all of us. From birth we are changing, learning and growing. Having to deal with all those changes as well as moving can be overwhelming. Our society is more transient today than ever. When these kind of changes come, we will feel like a ship tossed on a raging ocean of emotions, doubts, and fears, unless we have an anchor for our soul and a safe harbor to sail into for a respite from the storm. Jesus is that safe place for all of us.

Our children are TCKs (Third Culture Kids). In a family that comes from one culture which they had just begun to learn and accept as normal, they moved to another country and learned that culture too. In many ways both countries feel like home and yet in both they look, speak, or feel very differently from the people they see around them.

TCKs develop a third culture for themselves, a blend of the two. It helps them to cope, survive, and many times even thrive. Like all remedies it has side effects. Without help they will be on an endless treadmill of meeting others’ expectations in their search for their true identity

Many of the children in our classrooms are TCKS. They are adopted from other countries, have parents with different ethnicities, or come to live here from abroad. As teachers we have a mandate to teach them truth. “Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (The Net Bible) Every child needs to know their true identity is found in Christ. This will teach them to choose God’s ways over the evils in the cultures where they live.

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."