Thursday, August 4, 2016

More about MKs, as they gather for CAMP

If you’ve been following along on Sowers4Pastors, you probably remember the fun I had talking to a bunch of MKs and some of their parents in phone interviews, during MK Youth Retreat. Well, I saved a little something back for MK Camp time. In case you’re confused, MK Youth Retreat is for mature 13-yr-olds and up. MK Camp is specifically geared for the younger missionary kids (though many of the older kids come too, as counselors). Rachel serves as director for both, while Allen and Russell do her bidding, and Allen assists with fundraising. It’s a good system! Especially for the MKs! MK Camp is happening this week!

Please, Don’t Eat the Dog!
Interview with Ella--Age 17

Ella was devastated when her parents announced they were going on the mission field. She was thirteen, at the time, and had grown up in the same town all her life. Upon arrival to Honduras, Ella attended a bilingual school. That meant 80% of her school day was in Spanish. It was a tall order for a young teen who didn’t speak Spanish!

She said their inability to speak the language fluidly causes frequent misunderstandings. We laughed over the story of her dad going to the grocery store for dog food. Rather than asking, “Do you have dog food?” he was asking, “Do you eat dog?” Oops!

Thus far, she has been homeschooled for high school. That’s about to change, though. Ella is moving back to the states this summer. She will live with family friends and attend school for her senior year. She’s sad to go, but feels it is the best choice for her academically, as she plans to go into medicine.

Ella has had plenty of opportunities to experience what it’s like to work in a medical mission field. She said, “One time, we were helping out with a bunch of islanders. They were asking if we had any dentistry stuff, but we were just doing general health check ups. We asked why they needed a dentistry clinic and learned it was because one of the women had a cavity and wanted toothpaste to put on it. They think toothpaste fixes cavities. Cavity? Use toothpaste! Sick? Take a vitamin. The way they view medicine is very different.”

What does Ella hope to do with a medical degree? She hopes to go into concierge medicine, which will allow for time off to travel and do third world missions.

She wants people to understand the loneliness that goes along with being an MK. She feels MK Youth Retreat and MK Camp are vital because, “You’re used to the lonely stuff and you’re with a group of people who get that. We know a lot of people who have moved on. Teams come down. You get attached to them and then they leave. We MKs understand how other MKs feel. We keep in touch with each other. It’s a lot of encouragement.”

One of the Chief Cooks and Bottle Washers
Interview with Tish (Ella’s mom)

Ella’s mom, Tish, helps out with the cooking for MK Camp and manned the kitchen alone for MK Youth Retreat. This is her third year to don an apron for the occasion. Why does she do it? Because, as a mother, she understands what the camps mean to the missionary kids. She also insists the kids are easy to please.

Tish said, “From a missionary’s perspective, it’s a very important time for my kids to connect with other kids who understand them. When they get together, they form an immediate bond. It’s a wonderful mental break for them. It’s a lot of fun. The Sowers do an amazing job with games, crafts, etc… The kids connect very deeply and keep up with each other all through the year. When your kids are doing well and have friends, you feel good."

She summed up her thoughts on MK Camp by saying, “For people in the states who don’t get why it’s important for the kids--the importance is for the kids and for their families… A lot of families don’t stay [on the mission field], and it’s often because of the kids. These camps facilitate and create a way for them to have lifelong friendships. Some of these kids are up in the mountains where trucks can’t even go. They would be more isolated without this. Isolation affects families’ ability to stay on the mission field."

Did You Hear the One About the Power Outage?
Interview with Mikayla--Age 17

Mikayla has lived in Honduras for 8 years. During that time, she and her family have lived in three different towns. She currently attends an international Christian school. Even so, there are few Americans in her school. In the past, she has attended a bilingual school, which wasn’t international.

She said that sometimes her Spanish is better than her English. The last time she was in the states, she didn’t understand the jokes and Americans didn’t understand hers. Mikayla said most of her jokes center around things like the electricity going out or running out of water. Yeah, those aren't things the typical American experiences on a regular basis!

After high school, Mikayla plans to go to the states, get a job, and go to college to study psychology. She has been profoundly inspired by Rachel. She hopes to be a camp director, herself.

She wants people to know, “Camp is my safe spot. Everyone gets me. No other Americans understand. No Hondurans understand. We [MKs] don’t have to pretend to get each other. We just do. It’s a place where everyone is accepted. It’s where I connect and help other people feel accepted."

- posted by Christi

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