A Missionary Kid

A Perfect Cultural Mess

The most frustrating thing about being an MK (missionary kid) is not being an MK! As a child I grew up in a Central Asian country. Coming home I was uprooted from familiar surroundings, deposited back in my “home” country and expected to fit in.  This doesn’t always work as well as it should. After 6 ½ years travelling and living in politically and economically unstable places, New Zealand is a shock to my system.  I haven’t seen a single gun since arriving at Auckland airport 4 years ago.  I have not heard the local imam’s morning call to prayer, nor felt the ground shudder with military explosions.  Outside of other MK’s I haven’t met another teenager who understands why this is strange.  Most teens I meet aren’t interested in the plight of spiritually starved people in faraway places.  Few care that human rights don’t exist in many nations.  I even met one boy who didn’t believe countries outside of NZ existed!

So I’m here; a quiet Year 11 student with a Kiwi accent.  Over time my memories, language and behaviours learned in Central Asia have faded.  I am no longer expected to be different.  People don’t ask about my life overseas anymore.  They no longer ask how I’m fitting into NZ, as I’m supposedly an established Kiwi now.

Only, on the inside I’m not.  I’m a cultural mess, a confusion between Asian and Western; Muslim influences, Western behaviours, jumbled etiquette and expectations.  Mostly I’ve learned to be Kiwi, but I still make occasional mistakes; saying or doing the wrong things, that draw confused looks from those around me.  “She is not an MK now”, they seem to say, “Why does she still behave differently?”

It is hard to understand where I belong and it is hard to help others understand.  However, being an MK is well worth it.  My view of the world is much wider and perceptive than if I’d stayed in NZ.  My faith and trust in God is very personal and real.  He chose my life for me. He understands better than anyone the trials of life.  God has taught me that his friendship is the best friendship a girl can have.

Looking ahead, I want to become a teacher of MK’s.  This dream has been on my heart since I was 12.  God has led me through the joys, sorrows and incredible experiences of being an MK, so I may grow up to serve him and the next generation of MK’s.


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