Posts Tagged ‘missions’

SETECA Seminary, Guatemala

Monday, August 7th, 2017

SETECA-seminary-guatemala

When I visited SETECA Seminary in Guatemala, I was astounded to see that nothing had changed in 25 years! My father was a professor of Greek and New Testament theology at this seminary (Semenario Teológico Centroamericano) for 20 years, which is why I grew up as a missionary kid.

Yes, I’m telling you there is a time warp in this location, as everything looks almost identical to when I was a little girl, going to Pioneer Girls here. I show you in the video the exact room where we had Pioneer Girls:

When we first drove up to SETECA, one of my dad’s former students was in my van, because he was the translator for the Compassion child visit. His name was German, and he told the gatekeepers that my dad was Dr. Gerardo Laursen. They looked at my face and exclaimed with joy, as they could see the resemblance of my face to my dad’s face. My dad was a well-loved professor here!

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The parking lot is slightly different, as they seem to have added another building where the previous parking lot used to be. Now cars park along the tree-lined road, and even on top of the basketball court, where we used to shoot baskets!

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The wood and iron benches are identical along the walls of the corridors of the double courtyard inside the main classroom area of the seminary. The floor is the checkerboard black and red squares that I remember so well.

seteca-benches

The well-manicured lawns are lined with neatly clipped hedges and tropical flowers.

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A large, multi-story building contains a library and the offices of the professors. I remember my dad had his office on the third floor, all the way to the end of the hall, on the left. It was strange to go up the gray pebbled-looking steps, remembering how I used to skip steps as a little girl on the way up to my dad’s office.

seteca-library

Everywhere I went, memories came flooding back. Even the laundry room had memories, as I looked at the pilas where students still washed some clothes by hand. (Washers and dryers line the walls as well, but I still see lots of pilas–large flat sinks for scrubbing clothes.)

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to stay at SETECA with my family after all these years!

Stay tuned for our next installment of our Guatemala Adventure series, and like our MK page to not miss any posts!

Are Most Americans Superficial?

Friday, July 24th, 2015

are-most-americans-superficial

At the risk of ticking off this whole country, I am going to address this issue head-on, from the point of view of a missionary kid—a person who grew up outside of the U.S. but then returned to the U.S to live as an adult.

Before answering this question: “Are most Americans superficial?”– I would like to clear the air and say that some of my closest friends are Americans, and they are not superficial. Those I relate to the most are people who have gone through suffering in their lives and have a real walk with God. These are the exception to the rule, and I married one of them.

I recently offended someone on my Missionary Kid Page when I said that missionary kids that return to the United States are shocked at how superficial Americans are. The Missionary Kid page exists to show how missionary kids perceive the world, not how other people perceive the world. Missionary kids don’t care about being politically correct. Our world view is opposite to most Americans. We’ve never truly belonged to any nation, so there is no reason to pander to anybody.

I have listened to thousands of missionary kids over the years, and here are the real reasons why we perceive Americans as being superficial:

1. Most Americans care about and pursue trivial things.

They love to talk about TV shows, sports, celebrities, and other topics that have no substance. After living in a third-world country my whole life, I perceived that part of the reason is that Americans are pampered because they have way more money than they need to survive. If they don’t, they use their charge cards to pursue the frivolous pampering that they “deserve.”

People in third-world countries are concerned about survival. When you are surrounded by suffering, your conversations are different. The conversations are more relational and less about trivia.

2. The U.S. educational system has churned out brainwashed, mindless idiots.

Ask any random American walking down the street basic information about any topic, and they just don’t know and don’t care. All they want is to be entertained and to stare down at their cell phones, snapping selfies to post to Facebook.

The reading level of this nation has been dumbed down so much that what was previously considered 5th grade reading is now college level. The majority of Americans do not read in their spare time—they watch TV for tens of thousands of hours, which brings us to the next point.

3. Whoever controls the media controls the minds of the U.S. population.

The morals of our nation are eroded as we watch sin and practice sinning over and over in our minds. Pretty soon we are actually committing the sin because we have been de-sensitized to it. Even if we don’t practice the sin ourselves, we allow the sin in the lives of the people around us because it’s so normal to us now.

We can’t perceive the heart of God on major issues because our hearts are so calloused to God because of the media.

The media is controlled by the world. We are told in Scripture to not be a part of the world, but instead we have morphed into the world. American Christians ARE the world.

The U.S. population is like a huge mob. The media can actually CAUSE riots and other problems by brainwashing people to believe lies. Then everyone is in an emotional frenzy, and if you stand against the emotional mob, you risk being killed. That’s because they no longer can think clearly.

That’s just it. Most Americans can’t think independently. Whether they are afraid of public opinion, or whether they have just been told their whole lives by their teachers and the media what the right answer is, who knows?

4. The American church is in a babyish catatonic state.

When talking about the deeper things of the Lord, very few people even understand what we are saying. Their eyes gloss over, and they would rather talk about fashion or what they are doing on Friday. The majority of American Christians do not pursue holiness—they even say that pursuing holiness is a sin because everyone is imperfect. Even if they have unrepented sins, you have to look the other way and not tell them that what they are doing is causing their misery.

I have never been in a third-world church where the native Christians were so apathetic about the things of God. True delight comes from pursuing God full-tilt. I guess if you’re poor, you have less to lose when you give up your life to gain Christ.

So I ask you, do you sense that most Americans are superficial? Does it disturb you? When you mention it, do people get offended and stomp off, like the woman on my Missionary Kid Page?

Missionary Kids and the Holidays

Monday, December 8th, 2014

missionary-kids-holidays

The holidays are a bittersweet time for missionary kids. Growing up, we didn’t see our loved ones on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Instead, we would invite another missionary family over so that there would be lots of people to eat the turkey, giving the illusion that we were surrounded by family. After all, we called all the missionaries “aunt” and “uncle.” They were our only extended family unless we were on furlough.

Christmases on furlough were completely different because you might actually see some extended family members. But you were so busy going from church to church and singing the same songs in front of everybody that furlough was just a spectacle after all. A spectacle punctuated by friendly faces of people who you were supposed to know but didn’t because you never saw them, even though you were blood related.

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And of course, if we had Christmas in the States, we wouldn’t have tamales and fireworks at midnight, and what kind of Christmas is it without those childhood traditions? At least both places had candlelight services, and both had Christmas trees with presents under them.

So Christmas was odd in the States, but in some ways it was way better because we could see Grandma and Grandpa.

To complicate matters, being an international person caused me to move to England my senior year of college. And then I didn’t have enough money to fly home for Christmas, so I spent Christmas in England. I was 21, so the family I spent Christmas with served us white wine with Christmas dinner. It was so bitter that I excused myself from the table to spit it out in the sink. And while I was over the sink, I thought of how Christmas crackers in England reminded me of fireworks in Guatemala, and I felt homesick for a land where I never belonged.

christmas-crackers

When I moved back to the States from England, I had happy memories of my year in England, and I wanted to move back. After getting my teaching degree, back I went to teach at an American school in London. And I was happy to pull Christmas crackers and wear paper crowns.

Now that I’m married and have made my own little family in the States, I insist on tamales, fireworks, Christmas crackers, and paper crowns, and I have folded in any traditions my husband wanted. A complicated and strange set of traditions, but it’s the only way I feel home for Christmas.

home-for-ChristmasKeep up with missionary kid posts: like my Missionary Kid Page on Facebook.

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Missionary Kids Have to Be Perfect

Friday, April 4th, 2014

missionary-kids-have-to-be-perfect

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.