Perks of being a "MK"
Last month three of our Global Faith missionary families in South America had additions to their families within three days of each other. Missionary Patrick Pruett, one of the proud missionary parents, posted on his Facebook page, “Ezra is now a Peruvian citizen.”
I immediately “liked” the post as my mind went back to my own childhood. While I was born in the US, I was raised from age 9 in a different world. We spent our first year as missionaries in San Jose, Costa Rica where my parents attended language school. That year was a fundamental year of equipping for my own future personal mission ministry although I was ignorant of that fact as a nine year old.
Many assume that missionary children born or raised on a foreign field are at a serious disadvantage in life and “miss out” on many of life’s pleasures. And it is true, the MK (missionary kid) does not get to go to theme parks and other icons of American culture with the same frequency as young people raised in the US.
But one need not feel sorry for MKs. They are blessed in ways that many people don’t realize.
The average MK experiences things in his childhood and adolescence that many people only dream of doing. Here are some of the advantages of growing up in a foreign land.
• Most MKs are bilingual.
• MKs are bi-cultural, a huge advantage in life.
• MK’s are enriched by their cross-cultural experience.
• As a result of their cross-cultural experience MK’s are extremely adaptable.
• MKs have an expanded world view.
• Many MKs will take advantage of the skills they gain from having experienced life in another culture and will use this to great advantage in their life work.
My MK career started in August of 1965 when my parents went to the mission field. By the time I was a teen I was bilingual, bi-cultural, had seen both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, traveled through Central American rain forests, climbed ancient Mayan ruins and pyramids scores of times, experienced firsthand the joys and challenges of church planting and cross-cultural evangelism, translated for American pastors as they visited us on the field, shared missions with churches and radio audiences when we were on furlough, and had seen enough that the burden and blessings of world missions never left me. When I came back to the US to attend Bible School, I found that I could not wait to get back to the land, people, and culture in which I was raised so that I could continue the mission work which I began to learn as a nine year old.
We are thankful for these three recent missionary newborns and pray that their bi-cultural experience in life will open doors of service around the world.