Top Ten Benefits of Being a Missionary Kid

Here’s my list of the top ten benefits of being a missionary kid:

The blessing of snail mail. One blessing of life on an isolated missions field is the correspondence we receive from friends and family. When you write snail mail back and forth to someone, you get to see a whole different side of that person. There is something distinctly special about finding an envelope in the mailbox with your name on it, and a rare sweetness in reading letters of news and fellowship and encouragement from afar.

Inspiration from comrades on the field. One of the benefits of being a missionary kid is the privilege of rubbing shoulders with Christian leaders, and specifically, with Christians who have given their lives to missions. We’ve had the opportunity to see the Hudson Taylors and George Muellers of this world at work, and been challenged and inspired by their examples.

Seeing the big picture of God’s church. As we’ve met Christians in different churches, different denominations, and different countries, we have seen the body of Christ in a very different way than when we lived in California. We’ve learned what truths transcend culture, and seen culture affect faith. As an MK, this varied experience of the body of Christ has made me flexible around other (often very different) believers, and given me an awareness of God’s global work that is much larger than the few people I see every Sunday.

The true value of the gospel. As we’ve seen the big picture of God’s church, we have also learned the true value of the gospel; what is authentic, valuable, and of eternal consequence. In Christianity’s big picture, Christ has called us to unity as a body. As we observe many different church contexts, we’ve seen Christians divide countless times over important, but secondary truths. These experiences continue to remind me to do the hard things for Christ, getting over my own disagreements with others so that disunity does not distract from the gospel of Christ.

Understanding foreigners and strangers. As a homeschooled MK, one of the great benefits of missions is the opportunity to observe and interact with people from different cultures. Last year, before we left the islands, we stayed for several weeks in our trailer, camped next to a youth hostel. In the afternoons, we would play music in the hostel, and once played for four hours with a student from mainland Quebec and a traveling musician from Spain. As MKs, we are learning to bridge differences and to enjoy what is different in others (while maintaining biblical standards of right and wrong). My own experience in learning to show compassion and empathy for everyone, not just those of my own background, continues to fuel my pursuit of medical missions.

Learning to be content in plenty and in want. His grace is made perfect in our weakness. Like the Apostle Paul, missions life has taught us to be happy with less, or to enjoy the blessings of abundance. For us, lean times are a family adventure. We enjoy making food stretch, looking for good deals, and finding our satisfaction in each other rather than in possessions. This last fall, in Vermont, God provided numerous pairs of shoes and coats through the watchful eye of an older RV park staff member in charge of the dumpster/recycle bin. And when we are content with little, having abundance is even more of a blessing.

Learning to be grateful for everything. One of the big benefits of MK life is the opportunity to learn gratitude for every little blessing of life. For me, gratitude is a lifesaver: a steady habit that keeps me content and that keeps my heart right before God. Not only have we been without many times, and learned to be grateful for every used book, gift of food, letter, or item of clothing people send, but we’ve also had the opportunity to see and hear from those who have very little themselves. Their stories make me grateful for what I have, and grateful to God who sustains us all.

Creativity. As many of you know firsthand, life on a shoestring budget is a lesson in creativity. 🙂 With the high cost of living, we’ve learned to make substitutions in recipes, do without where necessary, and look for alternate ways of finding food (like picking over 10 pounds of cranberries off the miles of these island sand dunes). For the guys, MK life has taught us creativity in developing location-independent cottage industries that we can take with us year round. And when it comes to the outdoors, you don’t have to have a fabulous location or equipment to have fun – we always enjoy a bike ride on cobbled-together bikes or a rip roaring beachwalk/swim in the icy waters of the Gulf (all winter).

Home is where the heart is. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. For me, moving from home to home and place to place has made me value my family. We’ve taken the time to think about our busy schedules and make them line up with one another so positive family time happens. For example, when Ems is cooking, we’ll often play a game or music around the kitchen table so she can feel like she is part of the experience. Home is about enjoying one another’s company, encouraging each other to be our best, and finding our home wherever we park for the night, or the winter.

Fostering family togetherness. The number one benefit of being an MK is the team spirit and togetherness of our family in a world of families fractured by educational, entertainment, and friendship choices. In the absence of friends to spend time with, we’ve become each other’s best friends. We talk to each other, exploring each others’ feelings, fears, dreams. We’ve spent hours around the dinner table, making difficult decisions about faith, finances, and the future. And remember the one-car trial? There’s a benefit to one car – with only two places to be (in the home or in the car) we spend more time around each other. :)Hardship can be a trial or a bonding experience. For us, MK life has been an incomparable blessing.

Young Adams in QC

4 Responses to “Top Ten Benefits of Being a Missionary Kid”

  1. Kendra Fletcher Says:

    “Learning to be grateful for everything. One of the big benefits of MK life is the opportunity to learn gratitude for every little blessing of life. For me, gratitude is a lifesaver: a steady habit that keeps me content and that keeps my heart right before God.”

    Such truth for all of us. Thanks!

  2. Tami Says:

    I haven’t checked in for a while. I can see God is continuing to work in your lives! You are all such a blessing!
    Okay, I was in the garage the other day and I saw a box way up on top of a shelf that looked very familiar…..ugh……it was one of your boxes!!! I’m so sorry I didn’t see it when you were here! What is the best way for me to sent the box? Let me know and I will send it ASAP!

    Love to you all…..and Happy Thanksgiving! Tami ; )

  3. Elena Says:

    This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this bit of your lives-it’s a blessing.

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