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!