May 27, 2012

Summa Plans: Colorado!

Just FYI, everyone, I'll be spending the majority of the summer in Colorado! Here's the support letter I wrote, which explains a little more what I'll be doing:

“Where are you from?” may seem like a straightforward question, but when people ask me that I’m not always sure how to answer. Do I say where I was born? Where I grew up? Where I live now? How much of my story are they actually interested in hearing? During my first year of college, when this question was asked constantly, it took me several months to develop a succinct yet satisfying answer – “I grew up overseas,” I say now, which allows people to choose to ask more if they’d like. Yet despite moments like this, I love that fact that I am an MK (Missionary Kid), or a TCK (Third Culture Kid). So much of my adult identity, how I see the world, and the things I value grow directly from my experience of growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I know what it is like to not feel completely at home in either my home country or the country I grew up in, and from here, it’s not hard to understand myself as a “stranger and alien” in this world (as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 2:11).

Because of my experiences in Ethiopia, and attending an international mission school there, I have always been drawn to other MKs and TCKs. I am currently studying to be a Secondary English teacher, and, if you know me or my family well, you probably know that I have always intended on eventually returning overseas to teach at an international high-school like the one I went to. This group of kids is a demographic where I see a certain set of needs that, as a TCK myself, I am uniquely equipped to help.

With these future goals in mind, I am especially excited that this summer I have the opportunity to minister to a group of families who are beginning their international ministry, just like my own family did when we first moved to Ethiopia! My team and I will be working to build important connections with children and teens from ages 5-18.  Some of the goals of this five-week program are to teach these new MKs to handle issues of transition, of expectation, and of identity. We will be using a multitude of activities and discussions to approach these topics so they may have practical and successful tools in their transitions. But more importantly, our goal is to build relationships with these kids and their families so that we may be the hands and feet of Jesus as He communicates to them how much they are valued and how they are individually precious to Him.

The ministry I will be going with is called mk2mk, a part of Campus Crusade for Christ. Mk2mk seeks to build up missionary kids to impact their world for Christ, wherever they may be. This summer I will be serving in Ft. Collins, CO, assisting a cross-cultural training program for newly assigned missionaries.  Some of the concepts deal with expectations, transition, tools for observing and learning about a culture, language learning and communication, healthy friendships, coping with stress and healthy family dynamics. The curriculum is enhanced with Bible study, games, crafts and role-playing.

Though I will be spending the majority of my time pouring into the children and teens, I will also be there as a resource for parents and single adults – there to answer all kinds of questions about life and success as an MK. My team and I will be participating in a panel during one of the adult training sessions to give them a better idea of what expectations they can have for their own children or those on their extended team overseas. We also aim to build a life-long relationship between these families and mk2mk that, I believe, will be a helpful resource to them as they follow the call to the ends of the Earth.

I have seen God working already in bringing me to this position that so perfectly fits my experiences, my interests and my skills – combining what I am learning through my five-year Masters of Education program I am in with my missionary background as well as my involvement in UVA’s chapter of Cru for the past four years. I would love for you to partner with me during my summer through prayer and/or financial support. I look forward to seeing how the Lord will use us together to impact the kids and families who are about to set out into the world for the sake of the gospel. If you have any questions please contact me and I would love to share more with you about this great opportunity!

God is so good and I am way over on my support, in case you were wondering, but of course I would still love your prayers! I'll head out June 10, so I'll still be able to work in some Charlottesville adventures (including moving, ughh) before then. But I can't wait to hang out with a bunch of MK kiddos in just 2 weeks!

[image via Pinterest]

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