Raised in the Jungles of Borneo

This is a big year for World Outreach. We’re celebrating our 90th anniversary as a Mission Agency. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re going to be looking back at our heritage through our 2022 Nations Issues. We enthusiastically invite you to join us as we take you on a journey from our humble, faith-filled beginnings to be poised at one of the most pivotal moments in modern day missions

Will you join in this ministry, and consider our projects for Displaced People Groups? Thousands of people around the world are displaced, and at World Outreach we are passionate about reaching these people. These funds will be used to purchase food, medicines and other basic necessities to help people struggling to get by.

I will never stop being thankful

Extreme needs & extreme blessings—a snapshot of MK* life.

* Missionary kids (or MKs) are the children of missionary parents, and thus born or raised abroad (that is, on the “mission-field”). They form a subset of third culture kids (TCKs).

Lydia B, the daughter of World Outreach missionaries, was raised in the jungles of Borneo. At age 1, her family moved from the USA to Indonesia and at age 9 moved to Malaysia. She‘s now living and studying in the USA. 

I could go on for hours about the many incredible moments that I’ve been immensely blessed to experience on the field. I could tell you about elephant rides through Thai rivers, or of waking up to the sound of howling monkeys in Borneo and eating frog legs with my dad for breakfast, or I could tell you about the awesome things God did on my family’s six-month-long journey through South-East Asia where we lived out of carry-ons and waited for him to show us where to move to.

I could also tell you about the many nights I spent crying overwhelmed by deep sadness whenever I would find out that my closest friend was going to leave within the next few weeks, and realising I was going to have to develop new friendships all over again. I can also tell you about how that feeling never gets easier. I can tell you the nearly equally painful feeling of disappointment when- ever you do feel sad about it, because by now you should be so used to saying goodbye that it doesn’t faze you. Or I can tell you about the feelings of worry I felt as my faith in God was painfully stretched when I tearfully asked God to make a way for my brother and me to go to school. I can tell you about the constant feeling of homesickness that I feel, as I realise that parts of my interests, cravings, and even family are scattered all around the world.

And I can also tell you about the strong mixture of sadness and guilt I felt growing up visiting villages and seeing kids my age barely living off of a meal or two a day and wearing rags, as I stood there fully knowing that my morning cereal and apple probably cost more than their family’s entire weekly income. These moments, too, I’m extremely blessed to have experienced. They developed my faith in God and understanding of who he is, established my core values, and taught me how to care deeply for others. 

I’m also so thankful that I can say that I wouldn’t change anything. God knew what he was doing when he put me in my family, moved me to Indonesia from America when I was just a one-year- old, and when he moved me to Malaysia when I was nine. He even knows what he is doing with me here in Utah, USA, even though honestly, I still often feel like I’m walking blindly in this season.  

I will never stop being thankful for my life as a Missionary’s Kid (MK). That said, it is extremely difficult on the field, and has been exponentially harder since leaving and starting college. Being an MK adult is much harder than I expected it to be. In many ways, I feel like I’ve lived so many lives and seen so many things—many of those things I couldn’t really process as a kid—that right now, even though it’s been a year since I left Malaysia, I still struggle with many questions. Who am I here in America? Who am I as an adult? Who am I outside of cultural contexts that I’ve constantly been required to adapt to? What do I do now? I call my parents a lot to talk about these things because they truly are the only ones who have seen me in every cultural context I’ve had to adapt to. They’ve seen me pre-adolescent, post-adolescent, and from a distance now as I try to figure out adulthood. But most of all, they’ve been pivotal to showing me how to follow and hear God, how to step out in faith and expect that God has the best for me; he has a plan and a purpose for me, especially when I don’t know what to do.  

If you’re an MK who is reading this, hi. I want you to know that you are not alone. There are people praying for you and here to support you. You are not a burden; your emotions and experiences are not too much, and even the seemingly small struggles are very much valid. You are loved 

I’m not very confident in much other than that God is faithful. This process of leaving the mission field, grieving the life I used to live, really processing the hardship that it entailed, being so overwhelmingly thankful for my life on the field, and also so thankful for all that he has walked me through in my first year here in the US, and as I sit in anticipation for what he has next, has shown me that God is so good. He is all knowing, all loving, all powerful and so much more than I can fathom.  

Author: Lydia B.