Family On Mission
Sep 12, 2023 | 4 min read | Dave Patty
Have you ever met a third culture kid?
They are special and unique. If you live in the country you were born in, you are a first culture person. If God calls you to serve in another country, where you learn a new language and way of life, you are a second culture person. But what about your children?
For them, the new culture and language are easier to assimilate because of their youth, but that doesn’t make them the same as the children around them. The country their parents call home is a bit strange as well, since they only go there periodically to visit. They are “third culture kids,” able to relate to two distinct cultures, but not fully belonging to either of them.
This gives them unique perspectives and unusual adaptive abilities. Their dual culture experience allows them to draw on the best of two worlds and gives them a particular resilience. But they also need extra help to build a clear identity, and they experience a certain rootlessness that others often don’t recognize. They feel most at home around other third culture people.
We have over 100 of these special kids in Josiah Venture, children of missionaries who are serving across cultures. Since we believe God calls entire families into mission, we consider them our youngest missionaries. They are bringing the light of Jesus to their friends and schoolmates, often joining their parents as they serve at various events as well.
These special kids need extra care to stay healthy on the front lines of the battle. Supporting these families on mission is a key priority for the JV team, so much so that we have full-time staff who lead our Josiah Venture Kids (JVK), visiting them, coaching them through various life transitions, and providing support and materials for their parents.
The most important event of the year for these kids is a JVK week-long camp, which just took place in August at our H2O facility in Poland. The JV kids travel in from 9 different countries; some come by public transportation, but most are driven in by their highly motivated parents.
Each of them is assigned camp counselors from the JV staff, who return every year and shepherd the same group of kids as they grow up. The week is full of laughter, games, Bible study, and special teaching about how to stay strong in the face of darkness. Most of the children attend national schools and many are the only believers in their entire grade. They need to be like young Daniel, who knew how to stand firm for his faith in a foreign land.
It is a joy to watch these kids graduate, often returning to their parents’ homeland for university, and then continuing to thrive and walk with God as adults. Many of them go on to serve God in full-time ministry—like a certain Claire Patty, who now leads our JVK ministry.
Thanks for making it possible for us to be family on mission,
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