In the spirit of Thanksgiving I (Erin Kemper, also an MK) wrote to many of GMI’s teen and up MKs (missionary kids) whose parents were or still are serving with Grace Ministries International around the world. I asked them to share with us why they were thankful to be MKs. Being an MK is a unique life-style filled with many hardships and joys and as you will read from what our MKs have shared, it is an experience that none of us would trade for anything! God gives all of us a unique life-calling. What are you thankful for about the life God has called you to?
Now, here is what our MKs have to say:
Elenrae Befus (Costa Rica):
Being able to grow up and be a part of two different cultures!
Danae Wolf (Benton) (Tanzania):
I am thankful to have had the opportunity first hand and be apart of ministry, of something that held eternal value. Growing up in that has definitely helped prioritize my decisions as an adult. I am thankful for the closeness it brought to our family. I am thankful for the opportunity to travel. I am even thankful for the hard times and seeing hard things, hearing hard things, and experiencing hard things, because it allowed me to grasp the importance of life.
Laura Mouanoutoua (Vinton) (Congo):
Some things I am thankful for being an MK: 1. That I grew up with a global worldview 2. Developing friendships with majority of others from different cultures 3. Had a lot of family time in the Congo (especially when there was no power or internet!) 4. Met many godly people who were examples to me when I was young 5. Learned about what it means to love and serve God from multiple cultures and perspectives.
Leah Befus (Benton) (Tanzania):
1.Being very closely acquainted with the real and the raw of a different culture, people, and land. 2. It drew our family even closer together. 3. I gained several very special Uncles and Aunts in other missionaries. 4. I do not fear going to new places and it has taught me to love culture and people of different cultures.
Erin Befus (Costa Rica):
1.I am thankful for how much our parents involved us in their ministries so it was just as much mine as theirs. 2.Being able to learn about a totally different culture and language. 3. Learning how to serve and see needs from a young age!
Naomi Caprari (Kemper) (Tanzania):
I am thankful that through being an MK I got a front row seat to see God do amazing things through our family. I am thankful I got to be a part of following God’s calling as a family. I am also thankful that I got to see my parents go through hard cultural/ministry pains and hurts, but I saw them rise above and love. All these things prepared me for life. Gave me an example of following Christ no matter where I ended up in life. That has been a new thing I have come to cherish and enjoy about being an MK and that I have used in my life most recently.
I am also thankful for the perspective on life it has given me. Perspective on things and the little importance they actually hold. Perspective on people and how to relate despite differences of culture or opinion. Perspective on moving and the heart ache of it, but how to enjoy the blessings of the new places and people. Perspective on life and how two very different cultures make up my world. Perspective on different ways to love, live, and work.
Zechariah Kemper (Tanzania):
I am thankful for the people that being an MK led me to meet. I am also thankful for the perspective it gave me of the world and getting to experience other cultures.
Autumn Befus (Costa Rica):
1.Thankful that I grew up knowing two cultures and languages! 2. Thankful I’ve been so involved in church/ministries 3. Thankful I was brought up in a Christ-centered home
Trevor Sherman (Tanzania):
1.I have loved the perspective on life it has given me; both in the sense that I have seen my parents and other missionaries give of themselves 2. And in the broader world knowledge, I have meaning I feel like I have a broader perspective than the average American
Tasha Reed (Bolivia):
1.That I can blame my weird outfits, gestures or sayings on being an MK and no one will know the difference 2. That the adaptability/flexbibility learned from moving around various times has helped me be able to go with the flow in various jobs such as being a camp counselor or RA 3. That being an MK truly shows me that God knows what I need. I don’t need to feel “at home” in either place (the States or Bolivia) because neither of them will be my true home. If I need security, God will give it to me in unimaginable ways. 4. That I have learned to pack lightly and fast–especially realizing that I don’t need as much as I have.
Camron Befus (Costa Rica):
1.Understanding people better 2. Knowing that we all come from different places and cultures and areas
Stefanie Sherman (Tanzania):
1.I’m thankful for being an MK because of the different worldview it offered me. I was able to see the world from a different perspective and that continues to impact me in my everyday life even now. 2. I’m also thankful for the huge “family” I get to be a part of because of it, I get a whole new extended family of missionaries
Taylor Reed (Bolivia):
I am thankful for first hand, direct experience of folks seeking to right things in the world, at great expense and sacrifice, but out of deep love and tenderness. Their example and their acts of coming alongside others speak to a life-giving spirit moving within and about them. Seeing this, I myself am inspired to “lessen noise”, “seek signal” and live that out wherever I might be, whatever I’m doing, and whomever I’m with.
Amber Kemper (Befus) (Costa Rica):
I am thankful for Perspective. Seeing ministry as a way of life. We are only here to being praise to God and doing that as a life style since childhood.
Thane Befus (Costa Rica):
Being able to speak two languages
Kaleb Kemper (Tanzania):
Seeing that one culture’s values aren’t necessarily universal, and each culture has values that don’t align with God’s.
I echo what each of these MKs have shared as what first strikes them as things to be thankful for about their childhoods as MKs. I also am thankful for the deep longing it put in my heart to live a life of full-time ministry, thankful that it provided me to experience what real mangos taste like and for the sound of an African rain storm lulling me to sleep at night.