Don’t Underestimate the Missionary Kid: 5 things I see everyday
“Observations after nearly six months of teaching… Nope, I haven’t been here long. And to be fair, I didn’t even know the term “MK” until I was in college. An “MK,” or missionary kid, is a child of a parent or family that serves as a missionary and thus raised or living abroad in a country or area that is not their own.
More than half of my students are MKs. Cool, right!? Absolutely. But in my mind, I can’t afford to put them or their parents on a pedestal. (Reality check: we’re ALL on mission to fulfill the Great Commission.) Yet I am honored to be around such families. Parents who chose to leave the comforts of their home countries and cultures because they believe in the saving love of a God who lives and acts beyond borders. Parents who translate the Bible, meet with the poor, minister to the rejected, run into war zones, feed the hungry, pray for the sick, build churches and orphanages and schools. The parents I meet are stellar. But their kids are my treasure.
My students are unique. Their eyes are more open because they have to be. They see as much or as little as they choose. Either way, I believe its the exact amount of the world they need to take in at any given moment. The perfect amount they are able to handle at this season in their life. A season where they’re beginning to walk out their personal faith.
This walk brings questions and in their searching I’ve noticed a few things…
They’re not super heroes. Yet they’re the most valuable thing God has entrusted me with at this moment. They fail. They doubt. They question. They cry. They fight. They’re real. And I love it. It’s a beautiful messy dance between multiple cultures and languages and people… and then add the average high school drama. Could you do it?
They’re not apathetic. They’ve just seen and experienced more in their young lives so they may need more time to prioritize which passion to follow. They do care in their own way that appeals to their culture (whichever one they may identify with) within their generation. Let them.
They’re not ordinary. And I hope they never will be. They aren’t who their parents are. They are fully the Father’s just like you and me. The path they’ve walked until now has just been different. They may never adjust and conform to the patterns of this world… but isn’t that the point.
They’re not brainwashed weirdos. (OK, sometimes they can be weird – but that’s just what makes this so much fun!) They think for themselves and when wise and empowering mentors can come around them they flourish. They beg for their own voice to be heard. They need that trial and error experience in a safe place to walk this life of faith on their own two feet.
They’re not just a picture on a support card. For years I’ve collected support cards and prayed for families but skip over the kids’ names because they’re not emphasized like the parents are. I get to see these little human beings everyday. Young men and women who are here just as much on purpose as their parents. They are equal members of the Kingdom of Heaven. Their prayers are just as heard. They’ve got the same Holy Spirit. Their love is just as Jesus-like. Their faith can move mountains too. And they’re getting to see all of this first hand in real and hard ways nearly every day.
As I’m typing this out I’m listening to the song 10,000 reasons… this makes me think of an old youth kid I had. During high school she moved with her family from Africa to America. I remember how she missed Africa like crazy and had never been trick-or-treating. I remember her gentleness and constant pursuit of God. I remember that song because it was her dad’s favorite and it was played during his funeral. Her strength and faith remained constant in the years I’ve known her and only continues to grow as a young adult.
MKs show me hope everyday.
This weekend I’ll be joining a team from my school for Outreach. We’ll take 60-70 of these amazingly unique and weird students to love, pray and evangelize. They’ll get to practice the commands of Jesus. They’ll get to love their neighbor. They’ll get to share the message of the Cross. Please pray for us and the students as they have this great experience to display their faith and love for Jesus for the world to see.” – Caitlin Woodward