Posts Tagged ‘missionaries’

Missionary Kid: How I Learned to Say Goodbye

Monday, January 29th, 2018


I have to admit that John Haines’ book about being a missionary kid is better than mine, so if you’re only going to buy one, buy his. Many of you have read mine, which was written from the point of view of a child. His point of view is of an adult looking back with nostalgia and wistfulness at what once was. I like the processing that he went through in a humorous, stream-of-consciousness style. If I ever re-write my own book, I will stop and philosophize from time to time like he did. The memoir of his life made me laugh and cry as I relived my own experiences.

I hadn’t even finished the prologue when I got a lump in my throat and wanted to cry.  It seems that we MK’s have explosively deep emotions that are buried out of sight like land mines. In the book, his land mine was set off by seeing a Moroccan woman who looked so much like his maid/nanny when he was young. It was like he imprinted on her like a mother figure, and then when he moved away from Morocco and hadn’t seen her for decades, he went back as an adult, and the familiar face triggered all the childhood memories. This set off an overwhelming sensation, almost as if he was re-united with his mother for the first time in years.

So I knew by page 4 that I was going to enjoy doing this review, which I agreed to do for compensation. It was the most emotionally satisfying review I’ve done. I wrote notes all over the margins as I pondered why I felt a certain way about what the author was saying (whether grief, laughter, empathy, or whatever emotion was evoked).

The personality (or voice) behind the writing had a detached bluntness and humor combined with the friendliness of a tour guide telling someone the way things are for missionary kids. This is not a religious book, and it is written to believers, unbelievers, and what he calls “innocent ones.” Each category is sometimes addressed separately. The “innocent ones” are not Christians, but they are not against Christians either, so they are taking in the story as impartial recipients.

The author is blunt about everything he experienced as a missionary kid, so I believe that MK’s especially will love the book because he says things with shocking honesty that we would never dare say at the time we were on the mission field.

There was so much MK humor in the book. For example, he mentions “lists of three being a feature of the sermons I grew up on,” and “What better home for an uprooted missionary kid than a boarding school full of missionary kids?” That second quote is from the chapter describing his interesting boarding school experiences.

Many pearls of MK wisdom were tossed out at us throughout the book. Here’s one: “Wandering like the Children of Israel in a land that was not ours, we never got to stop and savor one of life’s most priceless commodities: friends.” As you can see, he uses the language of someone who grew up with what I call church language, and he says things that are profound in a boy-next-door kind of way. The topic itself has poignancy because we constantly had to say good-bye to our friends. Hence the title: Missionary Kid: How I Learned to Say Goodbye.

The book ended in a satisfying way as he returned to the lands of his childhood. I believe that every missionary kid should go back to their motherland at some point in their adult lives to be able to come full circle and heal from all the unresolved grief of having to say good-bye so much in our lives. Last year I did just that, and I felt a sense of completion. I too felt that I had finally come home.

To grab a copy of the book, click here.

My Most Popular MK Memes and Pins

Monday, January 1st, 2018


Having grown up as a missionary kid and written a book about it, I decided to start a Facebook page that would resonate with missionary kids. If you’re an MK or enjoy reading about MK’s, you will love our community over there. I post original MK memes, videos from my recent trip back to Guatemala where I grew up, blog posts I’ve written about being an MK, poignant blog posts from other sites that apply to MK’s, news that would interest MK’s, travel stuff, humor, etc. Come join us by liking our page!

Top 10 Popular MK Memes on Facebook:

So far I’ve created 86 original MK memes. These are the 10 most popular, in case you missed them. I’ve linked to the actual FB post after each meme {in brackets}, in case you want to share the meme to your friends and family, to reminisce and sigh and re-live the good old times:

1. Furlough: a fake vacation where you drive all over kingdom come, only stopping to visit churches and have your cheeks pinched. (“Look how much you’ve grown.”) {FB} 199 likes, 181 shares


2. You know you’re an MK when singing in front of an audience was not optional, even if you were mortified… {FB} 157 likes, 32 shares


3. You know you’re an MK when you’ve heard the same furlough sermon over and over. {FB} 94 likes, 32 shares


4. You know you’re an MK when this looks normal. {FB} 70 likes, 66 shares


5. You know you’re an MK when you hesitate before drinking tap water. {FB} 68 likes, 15 shares


6. You know you’re an MK when you spread out American food like it’s contraband. {FB} 63 likes, 27 shares


7. You know you’re an MK when you will never see your childhood home again… (Hey, when I wrote this meme, I believed it, but guess what? I saw my childhood home last summer and filmed it! Watch it here.) {FB} 61 likes 20 shares


8. You know you’re an MK when you can pack all of your belongings into two checked bags and a carry-on. {FB} 60 likes, 11 shares


9. You know you’re an MK when you see your family picture hanging on someone’s refrigerator. {FB} 56 likes, 14 shares


10. You know you’re an MK when you long for the beauty of another world. {FB} 51 likes, 2 shares


My first MK meme ever: Missionary Kid Bat Mobile (aka furlough car) {FB} 47 likes, 12 shares


My 10 Most-Pinned MK Posts:

1.2K pins = You know you’re an MK when you hesitate before drinking tap water. {pin}

709 pins = You know you’re an MK when this looks normal. (bus packed with people) {pin}

144 pins = You know you’re an MK when open markets remind you of home. {pin}


133 pins = Furlough: a fake vacation where you drive all over kingdom come, only stopping to visit churches and have your cheeks pinched. (“Look how much you’ve grown.”) {pin}

109 pins = You know you’re an MK when the maid was a part of your family. {pin}


106 pins = You know you’re an MK when your thoughts are not the same as a typical American. {pin}


95 pins = You know you’re an MK when you’re homesick for a place you will probably never see again. {pin}


94 pins = You know you’re an MK when you long for the beauty of another world. {pin}

93 pins = You know you’re an MK when singing in front of an audience was not optional, even if you were mortified… {pin}

91 pins = Missionary kids have to be perfect (blog post) {pin}

If you would like to follow my MK board on Pinterest, click here.

To watch the video playlist on YouTube of our Guatemala Adventure, click here.

Buy the book here.


SETECA Seminary, Guatemala

Monday, August 7th, 2017


When I visited SETECA Seminary in Guatemala, I was astounded to see that nothing had changed in 25 years! My father was a professor of Greek and New Testament theology at this seminary (Semenario Teológico Centroamericano) for 20 years, which is why I grew up as a missionary kid.

Yes, I’m telling you there is a time warp in this location, as everything looks almost identical to when I was a little girl, going to Pioneer Girls here. I show you in the video the exact room where we had Pioneer Girls:

When we first drove up to SETECA, one of my dad’s former students was in my van, because he was the translator for the Compassion child visit. His name was German, and he told the gatekeepers that my dad was Dr. Gerardo Laursen. They looked at my face and exclaimed with joy, as they could see the resemblance of my face to my dad’s face. My dad was a well-loved professor here!


The parking lot is slightly different, as they seem to have added another building where the previous parking lot used to be. Now cars park along the tree-lined road, and even on top of the basketball court, where we used to shoot baskets!


The wood and iron benches are identical along the walls of the corridors of the double courtyard inside the main classroom area of the seminary. The floor is the checkerboard black and red squares that I remember so well.


The well-manicured lawns are lined with neatly clipped hedges and tropical flowers.


A large, multi-story building contains a library and the offices of the professors. I remember my dad had his office on the third floor, all the way to the end of the hall, on the left. It was strange to go up the gray pebbled-looking steps, remembering how I used to skip steps as a little girl on the way up to my dad’s office.


Everywhere I went, memories came flooding back. Even the laundry room had memories, as I looked at the pilas where students still washed some clothes by hand. (Washers and dryers line the walls as well, but I still see lots of pilas–large flat sinks for scrubbing clothes.)

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to stay at SETECA with my family after all these years!

Stay tuned for our next installment of our Guatemala Adventure series, and like our MK page to not miss any posts!

Pros and Cons of Being an MK

Friday, March 7th, 2014


What are the pros and cons of being an MK?

For me personally, I’m glad that I grew up as a missionary kid. I never fit in when I was in Guatemala, but fitting in is overrated. Who cares that the kids screamed, “Fire! Fire!” and ran away from me because I had red hair and white skin, while they had black hair and brown skin. Yes, I cried, but I got over it.

For all that, I know that living overseas in a third-world country has opened my eyes and given me more wisdom. I have more perspective on life. When I later lived in England as a teacher and my shower stopped working, I was not angry when it took six months for them to fix it. Americans become furious when their lives are not perfect. I’m not sure why they do this. They expect that life on this earth is heaven.

Having grown up in Guatemala, I can tell you that this life is not heaven, and it never will be. Heaven is what happens when you have a deep walk with God and care about God’s glory. Then your life can be heaven on earth, even if your body is put into flames, because more of God in your life is more incredible joy. Yes, heaven is the presence of God. You can have it here on earth when you die to self and stop seeking earthly ease.

Americans are really in the grip of materialism, and American Christians are oblivious to the fact that their walk with God is almost non-existent. They live for TV. They live for a nicer house. They live for all that they covet. They do not live for God. It’s hard to find an American Christian who actually walks by the Spirit. It’s easier to find true Christians in any third-world country, where their walk with God is raw and real.

I watched the following video that has many MK’s telling the pros and cons of being an MK, and I list what they said in the bullet points under the video:

Advantages of Being a Missionary Kid:

  • You get to taste amazing food from everywhere.
  • You get to meet a lot of interesting people.
  • You’re 5,000 miles away from your family.
  • You appreciate the small things in life.
  • You know another language.
  • You get to travel everywhere.
  • You can fit in to most contexts.
  • You understand people better.

Disadvantages of Being a Missionary Kid:

  • Pride keeps you away from good relationships.
  • Always saying good-bye.
  • Traveling everywhere.
  • Always feel like an outsider.
  • Lack of stability.
  • Not being there when your younger siblings are growing up, if you go to college in America.
  • Not being able to connect and feel like you’re a part of somewhere.
  • Not understanding American culture. Feeling “out of it.”
  • Home is ever changing.
  • Feeling misunderstood.

One MK said that she would never be truly home until she was in heaven. For me, home is where my husband is. It’s more the people that I’m with, rather than the physical location.

Can you think of any other pros and cons of being an MK?

Keep up with missionary kid posts by liking my Missionary Kid Page.

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