Posts Tagged ‘Growing Up as a Missionary Kid’

Missionary Kids Have to Be Perfect

Friday, April 4th, 2014


Missionary Kids Have to Be Perfect

It’s stressful when your survival depends on the opinion of others.

Missionary kids have to be perfect. The same is true for preacher’s kids. Why is this the case? And what can we as the church do to keep MK’s and PK’s from abandoning the church altogether because of a suffocating pharisaical standard that is not applicable to anyone else in the church?

It’s because missionary kids and preacher’s kids are held up as an example to the world. The church is watching their every move. The problem is that the child is still growing up, making mistakes, and learning, hopefully drawing closer to God. All of us stumble in our relationship with the Lord, and people in ministry are no different.

A man who is a missionary is required by God to support his wife and children. He must therefore care about the opinions of others, because supporters who disagree with your actions yank their support. If outward alterations in conduct will prevent your family from physically suffering because you don’t have enough money for food and bills, you go ahead and perform to the standard required by the people supplying your income. It’s bad enough to be on a missionary’s salary without supporters yanking the small income you have. Many missions agencies force missionaries to return to the United States if their support levels dip. If God has called you to the mission field, you feel forced to perform a certain way outwardly so that you can continue to obey God’s call on your life.

So what are missionaries or preachers reduced to doing? They put several outward rules in place that are not real. For example, when I grew up as a missionary kid in Guatemala, some Hispanics believed that going to movies was a sin, so we never went to movies. If you compound rule upon rule upon rule, you end up with a needlessly restricted life that is the opposite of the freedom we have in Christ. If we pursue true holiness and love God and others, no other outward rules should be enforced. Only the moral laws of God should matter.

Missionary kids and preacher’s kids have been pinched and glared at more by their parents than ordinary children, because those parents are under tremendous pressure. Church members distort their faces in an ugly way if a child of a preacher or missionary runs through the church sanctuary. Never mind that they give grace to the ordinary child doing the same thing. Ministry kids must have 100% self-control at all times or be punished.

No wonder so many children in ministry rebel against all of it and do the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do. They feel that maybe they would be able to breathe under freer circumstances. But then they go to the extreme and actually break God’s real moral laws and end up with permanent pain and sorrow. I saw many of my missionary kid friends turn away from God, take drugs, and get pregnant. All because we as the church put them in straight jackets since they were babies.

God has the same standard for all His people. Please stop putting families in ministry on pedestals, and give grace to them.

To keep up with these missionary kid posts, like my Missionary Kid Page.

Loss and Grief for MK’s

Friday, March 21st, 2014


The hardest part of being a missionary kid for me was saying good-bye to people that I loved. When my best friend left to the United States after having known her my whole life, I felt disoriented and lost. She knew me. I didn’t have to explain myself. She believed the best in me. I assumed that she would always be there, but her family moved back to the U.S., and I was left in Guatemala without her.

I slumped into a depression that I was unable to recover from for years. I suddenly had no sense of belonging. Of course I never belonged in Guatemala. But I belonged with my best friend.

I made other friends, and I was forced to say good-bye to them and never to see them again. It’s like going to a funeral every few years. Either MK’s learn to harden up and not let people close, or they continue to let people in and feel the stinging pain of loss every time we say good-bye.

Here is a video where many MK’s share a similar story to mine, where their loss is captured in words:

Here are some of their comments:

  • Because I’m an MK, I will always have somewhere or somebody to miss.
  • I think losses have just become something very normal and expected in life.
  • The weird thing about saying good-bye so often is that, at least for me, you don’t actually get used to it. You can either get used to it and become hardened against it and not want to attach to anyone, or you can remain loving just as hard, and it’s still hurting as much every single time.
  • Because I’ve said good-bye so many times, I expect to say good-bye to people when I meet them.
  • Because I’ve said so many good-byes, it’s a little bit harder for me at first to open up.
  • You always have a sense of longing for what could have been, but of course, there is nothing you can do about it, so you just live with the reality that you’ve lost it. It’s gone. It’s never coming back.
  • I used to not want to meet new people because I was going to say good-bye to them.
  • I often distance myself from people because I realize that I might leave them at some point.
  • So I go into a relationship, thinking that I’m going to lose it. But I do get close to them. It’s not that I draw back. It’s just know that I’m going to lose it.
  • Having to say good-bye all the time doesn’t mean it gets easier.
  • Even though I get attached to people, I still feel that I hold them at arm’s length. I don’t expect them to really care enough to stick around.
  • My mind set now is to enjoy every moment of life.

How can missionaries help their children to overcome this loss and grief for Mk’s that is a normal part of their lives? They can help their kids prepare for good-byes and understand the process of grief. They can encourage their kids to continue to value relationships while knowing that some of them will not last. They can encourage their kids to love others regardless of the pain of an eventual separation.

And the truth is that if those relationships are real, they can last a lifetime. My best friend is still my best friend, even though we live thousands of miles away from each other. We call each other once a week and talk for over an hour. We visit each other every few years. And she still knows and loves me more than anyone, except for maybe my husband!

Keep up with missionary kid posts by liking my Missionary Kid Page.

Pros and Cons of Being an MK

Friday, March 7th, 2014


What are the pros and cons of being an MK?

For me personally, I’m glad that I grew up as a missionary kid. I never fit in when I was in Guatemala, but fitting in is overrated. Who cares that the kids screamed, “Fire! Fire!” and ran away from me because I had red hair and white skin, while they had black hair and brown skin. Yes, I cried, but I got over it.

For all that, I know that living overseas in a third-world country has opened my eyes and given me more wisdom. I have more perspective on life. When I later lived in England as a teacher and my shower stopped working, I was not angry when it took six months for them to fix it. Americans become furious when their lives are not perfect. I’m not sure why they do this. They expect that life on this earth is heaven.

Having grown up in Guatemala, I can tell you that this life is not heaven, and it never will be. Heaven is what happens when you have a deep walk with God and care about God’s glory. Then your life can be heaven on earth, even if your body is put into flames, because more of God in your life is more incredible joy. Yes, heaven is the presence of God. You can have it here on earth when you die to self and stop seeking earthly ease.

Americans are really in the grip of materialism, and American Christians are oblivious to the fact that their walk with God is almost non-existent. They live for TV. They live for a nicer house. They live for all that they covet. They do not live for God. It’s hard to find an American Christian who actually walks by the Spirit. It’s easier to find true Christians in any third-world country, where their walk with God is raw and real.

I watched the following video that has many MK’s telling the pros and cons of being an MK, and I list what they said in the bullet points under the video:

Advantages of Being a Missionary Kid:

  • You get to taste amazing food from everywhere.
  • You get to meet a lot of interesting people.
  • You’re 5,000 miles away from your family.
  • You appreciate the small things in life.
  • You know another language.
  • You get to travel everywhere.
  • You can fit in to most contexts.
  • You understand people better.

Disadvantages of Being a Missionary Kid:

  • Pride keeps you away from good relationships.
  • Always saying good-bye.
  • Traveling everywhere.
  • Always feel like an outsider.
  • Lack of stability.
  • Not being there when your younger siblings are growing up, if you go to college in America.
  • Not being able to connect and feel like you’re a part of somewhere.
  • Not understanding American culture. Feeling “out of it.”
  • Home is ever changing.
  • Feeling misunderstood.

One MK said that she would never be truly home until she was in heaven. For me, home is where my husband is. It’s more the people that I’m with, rather than the physical location.

Can you think of any other pros and cons of being an MK?

Keep up with missionary kid posts by liking my Missionary Kid Page.

Praying for Missionaries

Friday, December 13th, 2013


Every believer should be praying for missionaries, specific families on the mission field that are leading people to Christ. Missionaries are on the front lines, attacked by the enemy on every side. If missionaries fall, many people fall. If your church does not support missions, encourage them to do so. And if your church sends out missionaries, please be faithful to pray for them.

The prayer letters do not include the real prayer requests, by the way. Those are the prayer requests that will not be judged and taken wrong, like the conversion of specific people, or progress being made for the Lord. The real prayer requests for the personal lives of the missionaries themselves can’t be given to the thousands of people in the churches because by and large, people are shallow. They yank their support if it looks like missionaries are struggling. But let me tell you: all missionaries are struggling. They struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness. (Ephesians 6:12) Shallow Christians in the supporting churches reason that if the missionaries are struggling with sin issues and personal things, God can’t possibly be blessing them, so God must not be in it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Missionaries need prayer about the things that everyone needs prayer for:

  • strong marriages
  • children who follow the Lord
  • ability to resist temptation
  • interpersonal relationships with difficult people
  • health issues from poor conditions like unsanitary water
  • overcoming anger, slander, or any other sin issue that everyone struggles with

Missionaries need prayer about not putting their work for the Lord above their spouse and children. This is very difficult to do. Spiritual work is all-consuming, and pretty soon marriages are distant, or idolatry has grabbed hold of the heart of the husband in the form of TV or any other hobby to escape from the pressures of being in ministry. Usually the idolatry is not a sin in and of itself, but taken in large amounts, a man will neglect his family. Preacher’s kids and missionary’s kids are notoriously rebellious because their parents pour their all into the ministry and not into them.

Please pray for the missionaries that your church supports, and I dare you to take a leap of faith and support a specific missionary family directly. You will find out specific prayer requests from them and be able to pray more effectively because you are personally invested in the work of the missionaries.

To follow news about missions and missionary kids, follow my Missionary Kid Page.