If you’re a missionary’s kid (or MK) there’s no doubt you will know it. Missionary kids are children of missionaries who grew up mostly on the field outside of the United States, joining in on their parents’ ministry.
It’s a pretty unique life to have, a life full of adventure and difficulties. I am not an MK, so I interviewed a few students from Bethany Global University to see what they had to say. I can’t help but feel a bit jealous of their journeys and the challenges they’ve overcome, but also grateful for their experiences and hilarious stories.
You Know You’re a Missionary Kid When…
When you know, you know.
You Always have a Crazy Story to Tell
Like watching your dad kill a black mamba, or trying to chase monkeys out of your yard, or bouncing down a bush road with no seatbelt. It’s just your average day.
You Ride a Giraffe to School
Or an elephant. Or a tuktuk. Or you don’t ride to school because you’re homeschooled.
You get ZERO Pop Culture References When Back in the States
TV shows, music, movies, it’s all harder to keep up with then learning a new language.
You Cringe When Someone Mispronounces the Name of a Foreign City
You also cringe when they try to repeat words you’ve said in the foreign language.
You are a Master Packer
Your parents trained you well, but now the student has become the master.
Grocery Stores Kinda Freak You Out Because There are so Many Options
Not only grocery stores, but all stores. The materialism is overwhelming at times, but it’s ok because you eventually find your way to the international foods aisle.
When You use your Time on Furlough to Travel to Different Churches While Your Dad Talks about You Up On Stage
The thing about furlough is, is that it’s really just a front for fundraising, catching up with friends and family all over the US, and making your loved ones schedule weddings when you’ll be in the country. You try to schedule the birth of their babies too, but, it is what it is.
You Think Eating Insects Is Normal
You think eating anything that looks weird is normal. Tails, snouts, tentacles, you’ve had it all. You’ve also forgotten how to use forks, knives, and spoons.
A Car Alarm is Your Country’s National Anthem
It may sound strange, but you sing it with more gusto than the United States’ national anthem.
You Don’t Know Where to Say You’re From
You’re not necessarily from the States, but you’re not from the country you serve in either… so you end up trying to explain how you’re from both but neither of them at the same time. Does that make sense?
You Tell a Joke that Plays on the Two Languages You Speak but No One Else Gets it
You swear you’re hilarious, but your friends just look at you like you have two heads.
You are Asked a Zillion Times How to Say Something in a Foreign Language
*Insert eye roll here* But… you can’t blame them. You sometimes forget how to say words in English and end up having to ask them.
You Get the Random Urge to Speak in a Different Language or Accent
If only your friends could understand you.
You’re Sick of People Asking What Country is Your Favorite
It’s too hard, it just is.
You Think the US Postal Service is Wicked Fast
So is pretty much anything in the United States. The West may be behind in the world time zone, but it makes up for it with those Prime deliveries.
People Know You Only Because Your Face is on a Prayer Card on Their Refrigerator
Yeah this one never gets less awkward.
You’ve Licked, Stamped, and Mailed a Thousand Prayer/Support Letters
You’ll probably never forget the taste of that glue.
You’re Surprised Not All Christian Adults Know How to Witness
Come on people, all it takes is a lifetime of living in a foreign country being trained by multiple missionaries and studying it in your homeschool class. No but really, it’s the Gospel.
You Once Wished You had a “Normal” Life
Of course it’s been crazy at times, going from place to place, but now you wouldn’t change it for the world.
The Best Part About Being a Missionary Kid Is…
- Experiencing different cultures and traveling to so many places. Not only that, but the people you meet and get to serve are the best thing about being an MK.
- You get to witness and tell so many incredible stories about what God is doing around the world.
- Being humbled by God’s work in your life at such a young age. It’s truly transforming, and knowing God like that is so unique.
- You get to widen your worldview and see things from different perspectives.
- Coming to the point where you can own your faith as your own, and not just because your parents believe.
The Worst Part About Being a Missionary Kid Is…
- Receiving praise from friends and family back in the States for being such a “good person.”
- Saying goodbye multiple times to loved ones on both ends.
- Feeling the pressure to fit in and never really feeling like you belong.
- Transitioning between countries and cultures, it takes some time to adjust, and is super hard being isolated from your other friends and family across the globe.
Wouldn’t Change it For the World…
Even though there are multiple obstacles to overcome and challenges to face as a Missionary Kid, you wouldn’t change it for the world. You’ve learned how to be cross-cultural, you’ve made so many amazing friendships across the globe, grown from unique and crazy experiences, and most importantly grown in your relationship with Jesus.
You’ve realized that the purpose behind missions and what your parents have raised you to do all along is not just about being a good person, it’s about fulfilling the great commission and bringing the Gospel to as many people as possible.
Jesus is just too good not to share, and His love is the greatest joy of your life. He’s the reason you look back on it all and say to yourself that even through the hard times, you’re grateful for the life God gave you to live. It’s all been worth it for Jesus’ glory, and you especially know you’re an MK when you believe that Jesus deserves to be worshipped in every tribe, tongue, and nation.
You’re Not Alone
If you’re a missionary kid who can relate to this blog, know that even though your life has been so uniquely challenging and beautiful, you are not alone.
You are not alone in your fears, you are not alone in the struggles, and probably not the only one who likes to eat really weird, disgusting foods. Don’t take it from me, take it from the memes. And if not from the memes, then from the amazing missionary kids and students at Bethany Global University who helped create this blog.
Liza (Ecuador) Instagram: @lizajoy_k
Bradyn (Zambia) Instagram @bryyyallen
Sophia (Southeast Asia) Instagram: @sophia_thackston
Gabe (Guatemala) Instagram: @gabe.sisneros