Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The final set of MK interviews

Do you know how it feels to return home from a trip you had been looking forward to taking for months and months? That’s what it feels like for the people who planned, worked at, and attended MK Camp. For those involved this is a time of basking in the memories of this most recent camp, while already looking forward to the next one. It was a pleasure to speak to a family involved in MK Retreat and MK Camp. I think you’ll enjoy hearing from the children and wife of Wes, MK Retreat’s 2016 speaker.
Skit night at MK Camp

Playing It By Ear
Joel--Age 17, turning 18

Joel’s family has been in Honduras for twelve years. Living in a particularly remote area, he has been homeschooled throughout his school career. For the first eleven years, he only saw other gringo kids twice a year--at MK Camp and at an annual conference. Did you catch that? Twice a year!

His family returns to the U.S. on average of about every 3 years. Normally, they stay for 6-8 months, when raising support. This summer, however, they will be going in for a family reunion and will only stay a few weeks.

After high school, Joel plans to attend college in the U.S. His tentative plan is to get a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, and then get a Master’s in a specialized area of biology. But, Joel already understands that plans can change and is open to do whatever God tells him to do. He said he is “willing to be a missionary and willing to not be a missionary.” Given the choice, he “would probably want my kids to experience what I have. It’s something I want to do as an adult. I’m playing it by ear--listening to God’s voice.”

Joel wants people to understand that being an MK is not just about moving. He said, “Life is really difficult. I don’t claim to have felt the worst pain. But people act like they understand. Maybe they’ve moved to a different town, but they don’t know what it’s like.”

In a poignant outpouring about what MK Retreat and MK Camp mean to him, Joel stated, “In an MK’s life, in general, there is little to no stability. No one seems to understand. There’s a lot of pain. A lot of sorrow. When I was a kid, once a year, I got to hang out with people who understood… I used to live for MK Camp every year--holding out for it. It’s really important."

Just Don’t Tell Taylor Swift!
Abigail--16 (Sister of Joel)

In 2009, Abigail and Joel’s family had to leave Honduras for a time, during a period of political unrest in their part of the country. At that time, Abigail found out how much she doesn’t understand about American culture--particularly, American pop culture. She was visiting a new friend, when the girl said, “My favorite music artist is Taylor Swift.” Abigail, proved to be the only 9-year-old American girl who didn’t know who Taylor Swift was when she responded, “I’m sorry; I don’t know who he is.”

Abigail says she will probably go to college in the states, after she graduates from homeschool. She’s thinking of studying psychology to become a counselor or a therapist. Sounding much like her brother, she then stressed, “My plan is to obey God.” Good plan, Abigail!

Returning to a theme from the last blog post, Abigail wants people to understand MK’s aren’t perfect. She said, “Our life is not always fun. Just like everybody else, we mess up. We have bad days. We struggle with God. We have our doubts. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all good, either. We have good stories and traumatic stories. It’s important to understand… When we visit the states and get involved in a youth group, everybody is like, ‘Yeah, you know this because you’re a missionary kid.’ I’m a missionary kid, but I’m also a Christian. Every Christian should know what’s in the Bible. I’m just a Christian.”

About MK Camp, (and now MK Retreat, as well), Abigail said, “Ever since I was a little kid, it has been the highlight of the year. I grew up in the middle of nowhere. We saw other missionaries twice a year. One of those times was MK Camp. It’s my favorite time of the year. We can get together with people who understand us. You don’t even have to talk about it. You just get along with each other better than you get along with anyone else. It’s amazing!”

A Mother’s Perspective
Cindy--Mother of Joel and Abigail, Wife of Wes

Water games at camp!
After hearing so much about the kids’ perspective, it was nice to get a mother’s point of view on MK Retreat. Cindy said, “It has been a lifeline to my children. It is so valuable. It is one of two events that my kids have looked forward to for their whole lives. It has also been an amazing break for us as parents. For ten years, we lived where we had no babysitting and couldn’t leave them alone. It was a blessing to us as a couple. When they were small, we used to take at least one day of camp to refresh as a couple.”

Cindy continued her thought by saying, “This time, Rachel has been asking if High School Retreat [which is actually for mature 13-year-olds and up] is really important. YES! They have so much pain inside their hearts that they feel they can’t share with anybody. They are getting to see they aren’t alone. They need time to be the recipients of all the ministry. It’s an important piece in healing their hearts and growing them as leaders. It shows them they’re not alone.”

Lots and lots more photos (and a video) available at these links:

Official Camp Video

Photos from camp - mid week

Photos from camp - final days

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