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Letters Never Sent: A Global Nomad’s Journey from Hurt to Healing

At the age of five, Ruth, a missionary child in Africa, was sent away to boarding school. In this moving memoir – in the form of letters that she could have sent her parents – Van Reken examines the impact of her cross-cultural upbringing.

The memoir has sold 32 000 copies since it was first published. The revised edition includes a 30-page epilogue and 15 pages of photographs.

“The new epilogue records ‘the rest of the story’,” explains Van Reken, “describing the amazing ongoing inner and outer journey that I have been privilleged to live since finishing what was originally intended to be a private journal.”

“Though Ruth’s story comes specifically from the mission community, others who have experienced the many separations and losses in a childhood lived abroad will find Ruth’s hurts their hurts, just as her healing becomes the beginning of their own.”

– Norma McCaig, founder and former Executive Director, Global Nomads Society

“Children who grow up cross-culturally have the same needs as anyone else. However, the demands and pressures of cross cultural involvemenet, high mobility, and highly motivated parents often create complexities in development that require unique insight and specific response. Ruth’s story helps us gain that insight and develop our ability to seek proper answers to our own confusing questions as well as reaching out to others in their struggles.”

– David C. Pollock, founder Interaction, Int., co-author, Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds

Ruth is co-founder of Families in Global Transition and an advisor on She is also the author of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds.

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