Monday, June 27, 2016

Missionary Kids Retreat - Hear Their Voices! (Part 3)

MK Retreat, Part 3

When Allen asked me to speak to several MK teenagers on the phone and ask them some questions, I thought they might not want to open up and share. I needn’t have worried! It was a privilege to spend an afternoon talking to some of the world’s most mature teens. While they are definitely unique individuals, there were a few recurring themes. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoyed speaking to them.

Gunmen, Gringos, and a Plan for the Future
Elisa--Age 14

Elisa and her family moved to Honduras from their native Canada, three years ago. She attends a private school, and, unlike some of the other MKs, she has the opportunity to get together with other gringos her age because she attends an English church. She has only visited Canada once since going to Honduras, although she and her family will be going back for a wedding, this year.

When asked about her wildest experience as an MK, Elisa came through with a lulu! She explained that her family is friendly with some of the milder gangs because they offer protection against the more notorious gangs. She said, “One time, we were up in the mountains helping out and serving the kids. A friendly gang member came up and told us to, ‘GO!’ because a bad gang was coming our way.” Of course, they left immediately, but not without spotting five men approaching with guns. While Elisa and her family made it out safely, three other people were shot that day.

Elisa has big plans for the future. She would like to get a degree in missions and go to Republic of Congo to work with children.

She wants people to understand that MKs are not perfect Christians. They’re just people. They are, however, people who love getting together at MK Retreat! She spoke about the acceptance they feel there. She stated, “We don’t care what people look like or what they do. We feel like family… MK Retreat has changed my life. It’s amazing to see missionaries come together.”

Final Retreat. Next Stop, College.
Emma--Age 18

Emma has been in Honduras for ten years. She estimates that her family has served in seven different locations, within the country. Emma used an online homeschooling program and will be leaving for college in the states in August. While she’s excited about the future, she’s sad at the thought that her years at MK Retreat and MK Camp have come to an end. She’s not sure what she will do in the future, but she loves working with people.

Emma shared a cool missionary story with me. She said, “We’ve had several people live with us. We had a girl who had never had a language because she was deaf and her parents were abusive. She was 16 and she had no way to communicate. Where we lived happened to be near one of the only Spanish sign language missionaries in Honduras. The girl learned sign language and gained a community. She would have ended up a beggar. Now, she works selling jewelry and sewing. It’s proof that God cares and He wants us to do something with our lives.”

Even though she lives near other missionaries, their schedules do not allow for them to get together frequently. That’s one reason MK Retreat and MK Camp have been so important to her. She said, “MKs are spread out. It can be really hard to find a Christian community. There’s something amazing that happens when a bunch of missionary kids come together. They know that they’re home, in a way. You’re with people who understand. The counselors are always right there. They love us. It feels like a family.”

She wants people to know MKs aren’t perfect. Hmmm… That sounds familiar! She continued the thought by saying, “A lot of people think we’re on a pedestal and that we’re closer to God. We may seem weird. We don’t fit anywhere. We don’t fit in the states. We don’t fit in Honduras. We’re somewhere in between. The only people who understand are missionary kids.”

¿Como Se Dice “Mushrooms” en EspaƱol?
Abby--Age 15

Abby was in the 6th grade when her family moved to Honduras. Prior to that, she attended public school in the states. Since moving, Abby has been homeschooled. She’s fortunate to be able to see gringos around her age on a regular basis.

She thinks the funniest part of being an MK is always messing up her Spanish. She’s not the only member of her family whose Spanish could use some help. Once her father ordered some delicious looking mushrooms for them in a restaurant. They were very surprised when their mushrooms turned out to be livers! ¡No es bueno! (And that concludes my personal mastery of the Spanish language!)

Abby gets to visit the U.S. every other year, for a two month period. After high school, she wants to spend a year in Africa, in order to experience other missions. Then, she plans to attend college in the states, where she will study to become a dentist. She doesn’t think she will become a missionary, but she’s open to God’s calling.

MK Retreat and MK Camp is a time for Abby to get away from family and do her own thing. She said, “As missionary kids, you don’t get a lot of time alone. You’re always with someone. This is a time that’s about you. It’s meant for you. Usually things are for the mission.”

She wants people to know… (Wait for it!) “We’re normal. We’re just kids. Normal kids with different experiences. We’re not super Christians or anything like that.”

To Be Continued… Again! Stay tuned for more MK Retreat insights. Go to Part 1 and Part 2 for more MK Retreat Interviews!

- posted by Christi

1 comment:

Michelle Spanos said...

I am loving these posts and hearing first hand from Mk's. Thanks for sharing.