Those who know me recognize that, like most people, I am many things. I am an aspiring writer, a martial artist, a tomboy, a student and a child of God. But one of the most prominent things I am is an MK, or missionary kid. This is a term that people who have little experience with missionaries have trouble understanding. It is not merely recognition of my parents’ job or a cool term we use to describe ourselves. It is a life. Here are a few important things to understand about MKs.
1. MKs are normal kids … just with different backgrounds. Missionary kids have experienced situations that most kids their age have not. They have been submerged in other cultures, learned other languages, befriended people of other nations and, in so doing, seen a glimpse of heaven. That doesn’t mean they’re better than their peers. Rather, they are better prepared to tackle various parts of life and ill-prepared to confront others. Just the other day, my sister and I, both highschoolers, had trouble addressing an envelope––a “first-world” skill that we did not yet possess. We can, however, manage fine with frequent power outages.
2. Home (not your passport) is where the heart is. This is an important concept to remember, especially for relatives greeting a missionary family on furlough: the parents might be coming home; the kids probably are not. While the adults have roots in one country and work in another, the kids have grown up in possibly multiple countries and cannot reserve their love for a passport country that they rarely visit. Even when an MK moves, a piece of their heart will always be back in another country.
3. Once an MK, always an MK. This is a role that stays with you forever. It’s such an amazing experience that not only is it impossible to forget, who would want to? The good and the bad all combine to create the exotic. This MK life molds you into a person who might be more adaptable or conversely, more afraid of change. You might embrace diversity or cling to a certain culture. You might find it easier to preach the Word or harder to leave your shell. For better or for worse, being an MK forever defines you.