MK Ministries works hard each year to promote our ministry and get the message out about the importance and need for this ministry. Many of you can remember a time when we didn't have a ministry exclusively for MKs! Looking back into my generation, I can see that there was such a need for this ministry. Then to see the progress that we have made for this new generation - IT IS SIMPLY AWESOME! However, the biggest obstacle is getting the news of this great ministry out to others for their support and connection. To that end, we write articles and submit blurbs about our ministry to many of the UPCI magazines and any other opportunities that we have. This was an article written by me last year and used in promotion of MKM. I trust you will enjoy it but more importantly SHARE IT!! Let's get word out about MK Ministries.
Arithmetic was never my greatest subject in school, but, yes, even I know that in the “math” world the title of this article is not true. But in the world of missionary kids there is no truer statement. This equation reflects the concept of Third Culture Kids.
Missionary kids are considered third culture kids! This simply means that they come from one (1) culture, they add to that one (1) other different culture then they merge these into a third (3) culture. Most missionary kids are just like any other kids in the fact that they are born into a western culture. Most of our missionaries come from America and Canada and even if they are born while their parents are on the field, they still grow up with a western culture perspective. But you also have to understand that MKs (missionary kids) absorb much of the environment of the countries where their parents are missionaries. Both of these cultures will influence their thinking, speech, compassion and perspective about life, creating this third culture. So in our world – 1+1=3 – is really the truest statement reflecting our perspective of life.
|Cylinda Nickel & Carla Burton|
Let me share some Third Culture Kid perspective. Many of us are bilingual. There are MKs that actually think and process in another language and then translate it back into English. Many of our MKs that were raised in Spanish speaking countries have adapted so to the language that they consider it their first language. Because of this, Third Culture MKs have a hard time understanding western concepts, idioms and slang when they return to their first culture. I remember growing up in the Philippines, southern colloquialisms just didn’t translate. We had an American preacher speaking and he used the phrase, “. .that is just a bunch of HOGWASH!” The translator didn’t understand this but translated it as , “it is MUCH CLEAN PIG!” The faces of the Filipinos were quite humorous because they didn’t clean their pigs – they raised them to eat. It just didn’t translate. For many missionary kids returning back to America or Canada this is often how they feel in conversations while trying to adapt. But the beauty of MKs is that in many of our churches throughout America they are putting their Third Culture language abilities to work by becoming a part of ethnic outreaches and ministries.
Most Third Culture kids don’t think like their western culture. They share a “world perspective” realizing that the world is made up of more than just the west. Many Americans don’t really have an idea about the world and what is happening. They don’t understand things like civil wars, daily military violence, lack of financial resources, or the hardship of providing for basic necessities such as shelter, food and water. Third Culture kids have an understanding of living life this way. One of the hardest transitions for me with my Third Culture perspective was the contrast financially in America. I had come from a culture (the Philippines) where most people earned $5.00 per day. They lived in homes constructed from bamboo, sheet metal and scraps of plastic rolled over the roof. Most of them didn’t have running water or electricity. They worked hard each day to earn enough to stop by the market and buy the food they needed to feed the many people living in the hut. So when I returned here and saw people shopping and buying $100.00 dresses just to have something new to wear to church that weekend, or throwing away plates of food, or not being willing to share with others – it caused a lot of transitional issues that I had to learn to deal with. Third Culture kids bring a perspective to the table that is good for western cultures to receive and learn from.
|Carla Burton & Mark Hattabaugh|
Third Culture kids have compassion. After seeing the conditions that much of the rest of the world lives in, after watching their second culture people and falling in love with them, they bring big hearts back with them to America and Canada. MKs will be some of the most compassionate, loving, helpful and able workers in your church. They want to reach out to others and they want to see people helped. Take advantage of the compassion developed by the merging of these two cultures.
But along with all the advantages that Third Culture (MK) kids develop, they also have some difficulties transitioning either from their first culture to their second or back from their second to their first culture. Through the years, we have seen many missionary kids lost in this void of transition due to the fact that they had no ministry that understood and would watch over them. But with the development of MK Ministries through the Foreign Missions Division of the United Pentecostal Church, we have seen a change in the tide of this transition.
Our goal in MK Ministries is to be the bridge between these cultures. Our heartbeat is to see them walk confidently and successfully from one culture to another and back again. Our ministry bridges this gap with many tools. Our website (www.upwithmks.com) is a great tool because it provides access to MKs ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD – both in their first and second cultures. Our latest project being completed at the time of this publication is our MKM Re-Entry DVDs. These are a series of 9 lessons covering emotional, physical and spiritual issues faced by missionary kids upon returning to their first culture. We talk about dealing with loneliness and transitional perspectives. We teach lessons about how to handle your finances and deal with day-to-day living issues. We encourage them spiritually to connect to a local church, youth group and Pastor. They watch the DVD along with student handouts and these are available to all our MKs returning to their first culture!
MK Ministries also bridges the gap for these kids through fellowship events such as our pizza bash at General Conference, our MK Retreat (hosted every other year) which provides them an opportunity to physically come together and share. We also minister through e-publications such as devotionals and our latest endeavor – MK Blogs – info on all these can be found at our website. But our greatest tool is our membership of MKs. By connecting MKs to MKs and creating relationships, we are developing a safety net for our Third Culture kids. They minister to one another through Facebook, email, phone calls and mentorship. Since the inception of MK ministries we have seen a decline in MKs being lost to the void of transition and we have seen many older MKs who were lost returning and connecting back to God, local churches and other MKs. This is the power of a designated missionary kid ministry.
So even though 1+1 doesn’t really equal 3 in the math world, in the Third Culture Kid world it is perfect math! Speaking of math, MK Ministries is a ministry that is fully funded through your PIMS, so if you want to do some math that will really make sense (or I should say cents), join us. You can do this through our website – www.upwithmks.com. And remember that in our world 1+1 really does equal 3!