Friday, June 08, 2007

Missionary Kids

While teaching Sunday school, my wife asked her pupil what they would want to pray for. One of the children, a five-yare old daughter of a Filipino missionary answered, “I pray that my Tatay (Father) can buy an airplane so that we can go back home to the Philippines.” The answer was funny, but it expresses what a typical MK feels, they’re missing home so much. They miss their lolo and lola (grandparents), their cousins, their friends, and their home.

I look at my children and I sometimes get depressed for putting them in a situation they don’t exactly like. I’m not certain about their future. We don’t have a mission agency that gives us an assurance that they can go on with their education. Getting them to college in the future seems an impossible task for us, much more, the certainty that they will finish their high school here.
Although they have local friends here, most of the time I feel that my children are lonely. They didn’t have the chance to enjoy the friends that they might have if they are studying in a regular school. They won’t enjoy JS prom, or sports event among other. I just pray that everything would turn out to be okay for them.

On a positive note, here's a short article about missionary kids. MKs tend to be open-minded and tolerant of many diverse cultures. They often feel more at home in culturally rich environments and can be "homesick" for their foreign home. Their knowledge of a country and its culture typically exceeds language fluency. In many cases, MKs know more about a particular country, its history, geography, politics, etc. than the nationals of that country. Upon returning to their home country, MKs possess unique skills that can be helpful to academics and governments. Because of their international experience, they often have a much broader worldview than their peers. This broader worldview can also lead to mixed emotions about their passport country and its foreign policies.

MKs may not be aware of many of the pop culture influences within their passport country, yet are able to discuss, in great detail, world politics. They may be able to name the best places to get good food at any of 25 different international airports, and yet not be aware of the most popular television show in their passport country. They are likely to be able to mentally calculate the exchange rate of up to 5 different currencies yet not be able to identify the sport that a given athletic team plays. These things can cause awkwardness when they return to their passport country.

I’m hoping that there would be a ministry in the Philippines that would cater specifically to children of their missionaries.

1 comment:

Steve Hayes said...

A lot would depend on the age the kids are when they leave and return to their home country, surely?

Being bicultural is also the fate of Christians, for our homelnd is in heaven and on earth we are sojourners and strangers.