As I sit down to share with you about this last weekend, I do so with a mug full of Tanzania Chai Bora in my new mug made by Becca Zuber, past missionary to Tanzania, and given to all the MKs at the retreat. My delicious tea is all decked out with Nido (powered milk) and raw sugar – which is how we drink it in Tanzania and how a whole group of MKs sat around, enjoying it this past weekend.
March 6-8 we held Grace Ministries International’s (GMI) first Anchor MK Retreat for college age Missionary Kids. Shared Experience is what brought this group of young people together 80 miles north of Grand Rapids at Gary and Sherry Leyendecker’s cabin. MKs from both GMI and Things to Come Mission (TCM) organizations came and represented the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Tanzania and Zambia.
We were blessed to be joined by three speakers who “blessed our socks off.” The threesome started the weekend off by together leading a great discussion about the process of transition. They shared valuable information and had great interaction from the MKs. Saturday morning Amber Kemper gave the MKs a special challenge to seek contentment in Christ where He has them and what he has them doing, all the while balancing the tension of pursuing excellence in those things. Zach Kemper spoke on Saturday night to the issue every MK faces, “Where is home, and who am I?” He shared with them that Heaven is our true home – that we do not need to find it here on earth and that our identity is in Christ. The challenge; “We are Christians who happen to be MKs not MKs whot happen to be Christians.” Who Christ says we are in him should come first, and we have to make the choice to do that. In connection with that thought, Trevor Sherman said, “You can be passive as an MK but you can’t be passive and have your identity be in Christ.” There was truly some great input, sharing, and wisdom that was involved in discussion every session.
Kaleb Kemper closed the retreat on Sunday morning with the topic of the “MK Challenge and MK Privilege.” Kaleb spoke to many of the attitudes and experiences that each MK in that room could relate to and reminded them of the privilege they had been blessed with by being given a Third Culture life. He used Colossians 4:5-6 to challenge the MKs to make the most of every opportunity given them, to be wise, kind, and gracious towards everyone and warned them against pride that can sneak into our hearts and the defensive measures that can sometimes be taken to make sure we feel good about ourselves. Each session gave the MKs opportunities to process their past and gave them tools for their future. A deep impact was made that I believe will change the lives of these MKs. Adam Wolf joined us for the weekend and provided leadership in worship before each speaker, which was a very special time. He even found the song “Anchor” from Hillsong that fits perfectly with the ministry’s theme and became a favorite of the group.
Time for relaxing around a woodstove drinking tea and coffee, talking, playing games, crafts, and even a nap or two was included in the schedule. It was a wonderful time to build community with one another. One afternoon the boys all went sledding while the girls went on a winter walk out on the frozen lake. We enjoyed lots of ethnic food including; Gallo Pinto (a Costa Rican breakfast), Fried Yuca at lunch (Bolivian specialty), and Tanzanian style chicken and rice with curried cabbage and chapaties with samosas. Lots of other fun international snacks were discovered at a fun international supermarket like sugar cane, tamarind, guava juice, Plantain chips, chefta, and Haribo candy.
We give God all the thanks for making this last weekend happen, bringing in everyone he wanted to be there, and blessing us through it. Don and Sandy Ten Hoeve joined us as well and we could not have done it without their help, support, encouragement, and presence.
I want to thank you for your prayers for this weekend. They were answered. I want to remind and challenge you to continue to pray for our MKs that they would be a light in the dark. Pray that they would be used for his honor and glory as they find contentment in him, pursue excellence because of him, place their identity in him, and embrace the life they were privileged to be given, thanking him for it.