choices. It wasn't till I came back to America for our first furlough in 1989 that
I really started to notice how different the cultures were. In America strangers
are friendlier and even say “excuse me” when they pass by in the grocery store.
I noticed how dependent America was on cars. As a twelve-year-old I could not
just walk home from school or to the park as I did in Germany. Here I needed
my parents to drive me everywhere. I noticed how raising my hand in school and
telling my teacher I disagreed with her was not as acceptable in the US as it was
Most teenagers struggle to find their identity, and living within two cultures does
not make it easier. I grew to really love both cultures and this taught me to love
diversity. I think MKs might be better equipped to face the challenges of a world
that is getting smaller because they aren't afraid of differences in culture. They
understand that there is beauty in diversity.
These are just a few things that come to mind when I think about what a unique
opportunity it is to grow up as an MK. Although there are some tough things
about being an MK, the good things definitely outweigh them. Now in my thirties,
I can see how God is still using my experience of having grown up in two cultures.
God has allowed me to work at the BIMI World Missions Center where I serve
missionaries. I can understand and help them a little better because I know what
they are going through. Also God has sent many Germans to Chattanooga with the
opening of a Volkswagen plant. This gives me opportunities to use my knowledge
of the German language and culture to connect with them. I would not trade my
MK experiences for anything.
Jonathan Bergen serves as BIMI's graphic designer and is responsible for most
of what you see in BIMI World and www.bimi.org. He also designs many of the
prayer cards and other printed products used by BIMI missionaries.
My family at the Atlanta
Airport—December 3, 1985
Our destination: Munich, Germany