Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Being an MK: Awesome or Terrible?

Question: Is being an MK (missionary kid) good or bad?

There are lots of cool things about being an Missionary Kid.  But every MK knows that there are also things that are not so cool.  I have learned that to get over some of things that bother me about being an MK, I have to make sure I don’t take the cool things for granted!  It is easy to get used to the awesome things that happen to an MK, and even easier to forget them when you are going through super hard times. 

I am 12 years old, and I have been an MK in South Africa for almost 8 years.  Over the years, I’ve grown up living in one country and saying that I belonged to another.  Some MK’s struggle with the fact that they never belonged to a certain country.   Or the fact that in some countries they look totally different(or talk totally different) than the majority of the natives.  My sister and I are the only girls in our Youth Group that are white and every single time I talk to someone, they ask me if I am American!  It took me quite a few years to get over that!  Still others feel like they are totally different and therefore they can’t fit in with their friends.  Some feel like they can’t talk to their parents or friends about how they feel because they haven’t shared the same experiences.  I struggled with that for years!  But trying to forget that you are different just won’t do any good.  So I just let it go, I acknowledged that I was not African, but when I got over how I felt about being different, I realised that my friends didn’t care!  I felt so dumb, because I had gone for years fretting and inwardly complaining about how different I was and then came to realise that my friends didn’t care if I was American, they liked me how I was, even if I talked with an accent or if I had no idea what was going on with the rugby teams, or the South African political strife! 

One of the worst things an MK can do is spend their whole time in the mission field trying to fit in and cover up their true identity.  Some hate that they are different than their friends, but sometimes it is fun to be different! For example, me being American gives people a chance to find out what Americans are like…or even what America is like.   I have answered lots of questions about America and sometimes they are absolutely CRAZY! You soon find out that the sooner you stop fretting about being different, you start developing your own “nationality”.  I’m American, there is no doubt about that, but I have started to fit in with my South African friends as the African/American! I’m different, and they love it!  I have cool stories to tell in America, and I have cool stories to tell here in South Africa.  I’m not an “oddball” that doesn’t fit in, I’m a girl that has tons of different stories and experiences to tell!  

There are lots of neat things that my family can do here, things we can do that we would NEVER be able to do if we lived in the States.  For example, we live super close to a game park, so we see lions, giraffes, hyenas, wild dogs, and lots of other animals almost every month!  And you know how people say to “embrace the chaos”?  Well, a town close to us called Felixton has a leopard that lives right on the edge of town.  Another town, called St. Lucia, its residents have reported hippos in their backyard!  And the town right next to us has had its share of a hungry lioness!  MKs all over the world have loads of stories that would fascinate other people for hours!   But some MK’s(such as me) sometimes forget that we have tons of experiences that most kids will never have a chance to have. We forget this detail and we never share our wonderful experiences!  
What many people have found out is that MKs often have more developed social skills, or better writing skills than most kids.  It is because being an MK means that you have to interact with TONS of people, sometimes they are kids in an orphanage, pastors in a rural area, or sick women in a hospital.  And although it just seems like a being in a torture chamber sometimes, you are learning how to interact with all different kinds of people, learning how to be encouraging and helpful, how to honour God through ALL your actions and words in any circumstance!  And  for MKs that travel a lot, or that have lots of different experiences, they’ve seen lots of different cultures, animals, and sceneries, and they often see the opportunity to add their experiences into a book, a blog, or even just in their daily talk! 

Being an MK has many things that sound awful, such as relocating to a different country, leaving family behind, and lots more.  But in each of those things, God has showed me and many others how cool these things can actually turn out to be! Some MKs have had an awful time on the field, they can lose a family member, they can get kicked out…but each of those MKs has had the opportunity to see God work in wonderful ways on the mission field!  
Answer: Being an MK is awesome, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

-Abby Farran

Friday, September 26, 2014


Matthew 7:9-11
"Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

God gives good gifts to His children.  It seems that many of the times, the gifts that lift my heart aren't items or things, but people, circumstances and encouragement.

This past week was one of those "gifts".

We traveled through to Durban (2 hours south) on Saturday.  Spent the night with the Pastor and his family (7 kids + our 3= lots of fun!).  Great conversation, lots of laughs, and most importantly- went to bed encouraged by the Christian fellowship and time spent with brothers and sisters in Christ.

These two were inseparable!

Sunday morning, we drove 45 minutes to the north side of Durban to be at a celebration service.  30 years of ministry at Fellowship Baptist Church started by ABWE missionaries.  What a wonderful time to look back on God's faithfulness and His incredible work.

That evening we stayed with Vic and Nicci Willis- the Pastor of Fellowship Baptist Chruch.  They will always hold a special place in my heart.  We stayed with them on our survey trip back in 2005.  They taught us so much about the country, helped us laugh at the things we didn't understand, and pushed us to brainstorm about the future.  After arriving here to live, they continued to help us adjust, cried with me while we missed family and always had hugs available for our girls.  

Nicci Willis and me

Monday morning, we packed our stuff up again.  Piled in the car and headed into Durban city center to work on Kyle's passport at the US Consulate.  Then rushed north 45 minutes for Abby's orthodontist appointment.  Thankfully, we rolled back into Richards Bay just in time for Emily to head to rhythmic gymnastics practice.  

But, it doesn't end there . . . 

Wednesday was a public holiday- Heritage Day.  So back to Durban we drove for a fellowship time with all the other missionaries and pastors.  The kids played so hard and loved every part of the day.  Definitely worth the 5 hours in the car :) 

Lots of time in the car!

Friday, September 19, 2014


It is so easy to forget some of the simple truths of the Bible.  Truths that we've heard for years that probably thrilled our heart at the beginning, but have somehow faded to just a plain fact.

Wednesday night's Bible study brought this idea front and center.

Kyle leads a Bible study at the Care Home.  Sometimes there are several people there, sometimes no one.  This Wednesday- just one.

We were studying Adam and Eve's sin in the garden and talking about Genesis 3:14-15.  Kyle was unpacking how God had a redemptive plan for humans through Christ from the very beginning.  He explained that God wasn't "thrown off" by their sin and then had to scramble around for hundreds of years to come up with a plan.  No, God cursed the snake and gave a glimpse into His saving plan.

The lady there that night said, "Wow, I've never known that.  That is big.  Comforting.  I'm going to have to take a bit to think through that.  Thanks."

It is big!

It is also a fact that we sometimes forget to dwell on.  A fact that gives deep peace in uncertainty.

Nothing surprises God or sneaks up on Him.

Nothing gets out of His control and leaves Him scrambling to fix our messes.

I love watching people get excited over God's truth.  But, I also love the opportunity it gives me to become re-excited over facts that somehow have become just facts.