In this post, we will be exploring what it means to be a missionary kid, some topics that are relatable to missionary kids, and some statistics about them. However, this post might seem very confusing if you don’t know what a missionary kid is, so allow us to tell you.
What is a missionary kid? A missionary kid, or “MK,” are children who were raised in another culture by parents who were missionaries. They typically feel more at home in their foreign culture rather than their parent’s culture and they are typically bilingual, or even trilingual.
We hope that this is a relatable post to all of the missionary kids out there and that this will help others to understand those who are missionary kids a little bit better.
Statistics About Missionary Kids
Missionary kids are a unique subset of culture and society. Often times when returning to their “home” culture, they may feel out of place. However, according to the statistics, many missionary kids have been very happy with their unusual upbringings.
Let’s look at some statistics to better understand missionary kids. These statistics come from a “Survey of Adult MKs” by Michele Phoenix. This survey was extensive, so we have not included nearly the entire amount. We have, however, placed snapshots for you to get a better idea of what adult missionary kids are saying about their childhood. If you would like to see the entire study, click here.
My early life (before age of 18) as an MK was:
As we can see here, over 80% of missionary kids had a positive experience with their childhood. This is very encouraging to hear that life as a missionary kid can be favorable, even in unique circumstances.
My feelings about being an MK today are:
As adults who were raised as missionary kids, over 60% said that they would never trade their opportunity for the world. They thoroughly enjoyed being raised in a separate culture. Additionally, close to 30% said that they had positives experiences as a missionary kid.
The best part of being an MK for me was: (Pt. I)
One of the greatest attributes that missionary kids have is a strong sense of worldview. They are typically very cultured and understand that there are multiple ways of viewing the world around them. This is clearly shown through the survey when nearly 50% of all missionary kids said that they developed a global worldview through their childhoods.
The hardest part of being an MK for me was: (Part I)
Of course, there is no perfect childhood, but missionary kids usually face a unique set of challenges compared to their counterparts. For missionary kids, some of the biggest challenges were not feeling like they belong in a certain place and also saying goodbye to close connections that they had made.
Often times, missionary parents will have to move a lot, causing those hard goodbyes. Likewise, this may affect the missionary kid with feeling like they do not have roots in any one place. Also, missionary kids will feel attached to two separate nations, causing a disruption in the feeling of belonging.
Memes About Missionary Kids
Below are memes that will really be relatable to those who are missionary kids. From the statistics above, it will become more evident why these memes are so relatable, and they will also help you to better understand the culture of missionary kid’s childhoods and what it’s like for them to return to their home country.
Your life story uses the phrase “then we moved to…” five times
As we mentioned before, oftentimes, missionary parents will have to relocate their families. This could be due to a number of reasons, such as requests from the government, safety, finances, etc. Missionary kids might move simply because their parents work demands it or because they have to go back to their original home country. Whatever the case may be, many missionary kids can relate to this meme because they have moved so much in their lives.
You have a passport, but no driver’s license
A lot of missionary kids will be able to relate to this because they have traveled so much, that a passport was very necessary. However, because they move so much, they haven’t had the time or the right place to receive a driver’s license.
You tell people where you’re from and their eyes get big
This is a really funny statement and it is probably very relatable to missionary kids, depending on where they’re from. Many missionaries go to very foreign or unheard of nations, so as a missionary kid, your place of origin will be very foreign and unheard of as well. People may get startled or very surprised, hence the big eyes.
You have friends in 29 different countries
This is often the case for missionary kids because they will know other families and missionary kids from countries besides their own. They also sometimes live in places that have very ethnically diverse backgrounds, causing there to be a lot of friends from new and different countries.
You think in grams, meters, and liters
Believe it or not, the rest of the world, besides the U.S, actually uses the metric system (which includes grams, meters, and liters). As a missionary kid, returning back to America may have been very strange for you, because you think in an entirely different way of measurement. Most missionary kids can probably relate to the fact that this change took a lot of getting used to, whether moving back to America or moving away from it.
You speak with authority on the quality of airline travel
Missionary kids grow up with a lot of air travel. They are oftentimes well-seasoned travelers so they’ve had plenty of experience with many different airlines. This is why they know more than the next person about the best airlines.
If you’re a missionary kid, then National Geographic might make you homesick. That may seem kind of peculiar, although it does have a legitimate reason. The reason is that National Geographic will make documentaries about places that seem very abstract or foreign compared to our Western countries, and this is usually where missionary kids have grown up.
You keep dreaming of a green Christmas
This meme might seem contradictory to our Western culture, but for many missionary kids, they had a “green” Christmas growing up. This meant that they were in very warm climates and that snow will not remind them of Christmas, nor will they be used to the snow.
If you are a missionary kid, then you might have grown up eating a very different way than the rest of us. If you grew up in any Asian culture, then you’re probably a lot more accustomed to their way of eating. In this case, you’d be more comfortable with chopsticks rather than the traditional fork and spoon.
When you were a missionary kid, you might have been given a computer in your first language, such as English. But as a missionary kid, you want to be able to type in your current language. This would mean that you may have spent hours looking on the computer for fonts that support your more uncommon current language.
You realize that furlough is not a vacation
As a missionary adult, you would know that furloughs are for raising support and reconnecting with the Church back home. It is a time to reconnect and to find financial security. To a missionary kid, however, it may have felt just the same as a vacation. But one day, when they realize that furloughs are actually a lot of work, which they hadn’t known their entire lives, they may be blown away by surprise.