TCKs you should know—Tim

TimMeet Tim Downs.  He’s a former student and a wonderful friend.  Get to know him a little here, and feel free to ask him some questions of your own.

1.    When did you start your life as at TCK?

I started my life as a TCK when I was 9 yrs. old.

2.    Do you have any siblings?  If so, how old are they and what are they doing?

I have two siblings, one is 33 and is becoming a nurse.  The other is 30 and has her masters in nursing.  The 30 year old is getting ready to  move to N. Africa with her family in March.

3.    Where do you live now?


4.    Why do you live there?

I’m fulfilling an internship requirement and waiting on God to show me which way he would have me go in the future.

5.    Where else have you lived? How long did you live in each place?

Congo (Zaire), 2 years;  France, 1 year;  Côte d’Ivoire, 5 years;  Botswana, 3 months.

6.    Why did you move from those places?

Congo (Zaire) war started.  France, we were just learning French for the year. Côte d’Ivoire, I graduated from high school and moved onto college.  Botswana, I was a very short-term youth pastor.

7.    What languages do you speak?

English and French

8.    What are 6 words you would use to describe yourself?

Introvert, Intuitive, Compassionate, Pensive, Adaptable, and Quiet.

9.    Do you think you have any advantages in life because you’re a TCK? If so, what are they?

One of the advantages I have as a TCK is the ability to travel almost anywhere and feel at ease.  I am not intimidated by the unknown of a country.  I see it as a new “challenge”, a new experience, a new place to help add to my understanding of culture and people.

10. Do you think you have any disadvantages in life because you’re a TCK?

I don’t have any roots.  I want to move every couple of years.  The idea of actually staying in one place for a long period of time is so foreign to me.  I often feel people judge me because I move around so much.  But hey, it’s not their life.

Good/Great friends are hard to come by.  If I move in a couple of years, should I invest in a potential lifelong friendship that I will have to say good-bye to in the months to come not knowing if or when I will see them again?

11. What schooling options did you use?  (If more than one, why?)

We tried it all; I have been in British school, American school, French school, and I have been home schooled.  Up until high school, I had been in a different school every year of my life.  High School brought some stability.  I went to ICA (International Christian Academy) Miss O (that would be Sheryl) was my English teacher, so if I stink at grammar, talk to her about it! I was a day student so I did not have to do the boarding thing.

12. What were the pros and cons of those options?

PROS: I have a diversified portfolio concerning my education.

CONS: I think my education suffered a little just because of all the  school changes.  The teachers were great, but I felt as if I was always starting and never advancing.

13. What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you do now?

I wanted to be a missionary.  As of right now, I am a missionary and I think I will continue to be one; but God is changing my course as to what type of missionary I need to be.

14. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?  What has that person taught you?

I cannot say one person in particular has been an influence on my life.  A lot of my influence has been from books. Books that deal with people, faith, love, church, and community.

15. What are you proudest of in your life?

I am not a very proud person, but if there was one thing I can say I am proud of is my willingness to listen to the voice of God as he leads my life.  I don’t take it lightly and I try not to move until he says to move.  I just read a book the other day…the author said if you don’t have another position lined up, don’t jump ship.  I thought that was some good advice.

16. What advice do you have for those who are going to be TCKs?

Adapt quickly and realize the new place you are going to is not what you will be used to.  Lean on God, he sticks closer than a brother. Soak up everything you possibly can.  “Talk little, and listen much” Be ready for the unexpected.

17. What advice do you have for parents who are thinking about moving their family overseas?

Parents, listen to your kids.  The younger your kids are the better they will adapt,  the older your kids are, the harder it will be, they have a life back “home” and they are leaving everything they know.  Make it a point to pray that you do what is best for them in this prayer, include school, social activities.  In your haste to get the language and the culture don’t forget that your kids will be going through culture shock as well.

18. How has your life been different than you imagined?

Well, I imagined I would be living in Côte d’Ivoire right now, but in 2002 war broke out and I was unable to stay.  I thought I could plan my life, but God said, “Let me handle the planning and you just go where I tell you to, when I tell you to go.”

19. Do you have any regrets?


20. How do you think your childhood /adolescence as a TCK has influenced your adult life?

It has everything to do with my adult life.  Before I move, I wonder how long I will be staying in the new place, I wonder about friends and if I will have to say good-bye again.  Before buying something, I convert it into the number of bags of rice I could buy to help feed a starving family or village or orphanage.  Every decision I make I look at the world and ask how my decision is going to effect the world around me or as a whole. Is my decision about me, or is it about others around me?

21. What else would you like the world to know about you?  And/or what advice do you have for  anyone reading this?

There is nothing else to know about me, it took me forever just to type up these few pages.  And as for additional advice….Get to know Miss O! She was one of the best most memorable teachers I have ever had in my life. That is all!!!

7 responses to “TCKs you should know—Tim”

  1. Thanks for sharing Tim. You sound like you’re traveling where He leads. This is great. I’ll try to remember to pray for you that your journey will be used for the Kingdom. Go gettim Tim!

  2. What a special young man he is! Thank you for letting us get acquainted with him. He is wise, a man of God, and his info would be helpful to both parents and young people as they consider whether God is calling them to the mission field.


  3. Thanks, Ruth and Linda, for stopping by and leaving encouraging words for Tim. He’s a pretty amazing guy!

  4. Thanks for the kind words. I wasn’t sure this thing would be read. 🙂 I do appreciate the prayers. They are certainly needed and wanted. Thanks Miss O, for giving me the opportunity.

  5. Your welcome, Tim! The thing is the comments don’t reflect the readership. From the stats, there were over 70 people who read your profile. 🙂

  6. Wow, Tim Downs! How odd that I would find you here on Sheryl’s site — whom I only know from digital blogs. 🙂

    I am Jennifer Pinke Dougan, and I met your family in Albertville for language school when our parents were both there. Crazy. Your sister Hillary and I hung out then, and I went to Jean Moulin lycee.

    Blessings to you,
    Jennifer Dougan

  7. Jennifer–I just sent Tim a note to tell him that he’d better head over here to read this. How cool that you knew each other way back when! A few years ago I found another connection with the Downs. My Dad’s physical therapist had been a classmate of theirs in Albertville, too. Small world!

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