Saturday, October 9, 2010

raising MMK's

When I was a kid, I really wanted to be an MK (missionary kid).  Unfortunately, this isn't something you can choose for yourself.  Your parents have to do it.  And, try as I might, I couldn't talk them into sub-saharan Africa.  So I was an MMK (missions-minded kid) instead.  At about 8 years of age I remember a missionary couple speaking at our church.  They fed us African stew and showed us slides of their work in Sierra Leone.  And then they challenged us to commit our lives to helping others hear the good news.  I distinctly remember thinking it over in a matter of moments and realizing, 'Hey!  I don't have other plans.  I could be a missionary!'  A few years later, in junior high, my Bible teacher asked us to memorize Matthew 28:18-20.  That was the beginning of a two-week period of time where that passage followed me everywhere I went.  We went to two different churches that Sunday, one in the morning and one at night.  In both churches the same passage was read.  I would open a Bible and it would fall open to that reference.  I would open a hymnal and my eyes would land on it.  I would turn on the radio and hear a song about it.  I couldn't get away from the sense that God was calling me to "go and make disciples."

As a teenager I devoured everything I could get my hands on that related to missions - biographies, magazines, newsletters - and poured over brochures about summer mission trips.  It was all I could think about.  I headed to Venezuela and Panama in 1992 and 1993 respectively, sharing the gospel with a bunch of other crazy teenagers using drama.  {Note: My parents may not have been called to go themselves, but they were tremendously supportive of my own desire to go.  Imagine putting your 14-year-old on a plane to Latin America without knowing anyone else who was going!}  And then I headed to Bible College to learn the skills that I would need as a missionary.  If you've known us for a while, you know that Danny and I did end up as missionaries.  We lived in the Philippines from 2002-2005 reaching out to several minority tribal groups there.  Eliana - our first MK - was almost 2 when we arrived and 4 when we left.  I loved it that she was experiencing another language and culture at such a young age.  Our second MK was conceived shortly before we returned to the States.  And though we are in the US, we are still serving as missionaries with SIM.  So technically speaking, we have 3 MK's.

But this week I had a startling realization.  (Don't ask me why it took so long).  We are living a normal, American life.  Our children attend public school.  We buy groceries at Wal-mart.  We own a house and 2 cars.  And on nice evenings we ride bikes in the cul-de-sac.  Though they have far more ethnic diversity in their classroom than I ever did, I'm not sure if they really "get" missions.  It's probably not fair to call them MK's.  Weird.

So on Wednesday evening I pulled out a map and spread it across the living room floor.  We put stars on all the places where we know people who are working full-time to tell others about Jesus.  Very, very cool.  They loved it.  Eliana and I are currently reading a great book by Joanne Shetler: And the Word Came With Power.  It's the story of Joanne's life as a missionary among the Balangao people of the Northern Philippines.  Joanne translated the Bible into Balangao and watched God transform an entire people group from fear to faith.

I'd like to be more intentional about praying together for missionaries, too.  Just because I read newsletters and pray, doesn't make our kids MMK's.  I want them to grow up knowing how important it is for the good news to be shared with all nations.  And I would love it if they wanted to be part of making it happen.

1 comment:

  1. Please show them where Anna lives....and have them write her a letter or color a picture....we miss real mail more than anything!

    Our address is Apartado 191-2250-30301
    Tres Rios, Cartago,
    Costa Rica, America Latina

    Hope school is going well! Hugs,Cathi for all the Duggans