When you live overseas, it can be easy to feel disconnected from others. And as we’ve all seen, the last year of pandemic has made connection harder than ever. For MKs and their families in particular, though, there is an ongoing need to be reminded that we are not making this journey alone. There are others who understand our experiences and can support us. Paul exhorts us in Galatians 6 to “share each other’s burdens,” and that has been one of my primary goals as IM’s new Global Coordinator for MK and Family Care – to help people connect with each other in ways that enable them to be an encouragement and support to each other.
This goal has led to several new initiatives for MKs and their families, the first being the beginning of a Facebook group just for IMMK (International Ministries Missionary Kids) teens, parents, and young adults. Whether it’s answering silly “would you rather” questions, seeing pictures of what different families are doing, or reading articles that particularly apply to the life of MKs, the IMMK Connect Facebook group has become a great meeting place for friendship and encouragement.
It’s been especially easy for teens to feel disconnected, so we’ve also started bi-weekly Zoom parties for all of the IMMK high schoolers. This has been an awesome way to connect our teens with each other. We play games together, learn about each other, and also focus on what it means to be an MK.
Another primary goal has focused on better equipping others to support and encourage our MKs and their families. Before heading to the field, each Global Servant gathers a team of partners around them to provide support for them while they are serving overseas. As part of this MPT (mission partnership team), MK families have one or more people dedicated as MK Advocates. But often MK Advocates are uncertain of how best to show MKs and their parents the love and support they feel in their hearts. Out of this was born a monthly newsletter just for MPT members, the IMMK MPT Connect. Each month, MK Advocates are provided with resources, ideas, and greater understanding of what it means to live as an MK.
However, I believe that this is only the beginning. Beyond being a part of a specific MPT, there is a great need for prayer support for our MKs and their parents. IM currently has 25 amazing Global Servant families with 60 children college-aged and younger. These children and their families regularly face huge transitions, grieve losses and good-byes, struggle to find their places in their multi-cultural world, and face challenges to their faith and their unity as family.
To enable churches and individuals to better support our MKs and their families through the power of prayer, I’ve created a resource entitled “How to Pray for Missionary Kids,” which can be passed out at churches or given to individuals who desire to pray. There are two formats: a full page, in depth list of ideas, and an edited bulletin insert. If you would like a copy to use for yourself or your congregation, please email me (email@example.com) and let me know.
Thank you for joining me on this journey with our MKs and their families. I encourage you to get to know them – check out the Global Servant lists and find out more about the families with MKs. Consider “adopting” a family to pray over and encourage with notes and support. Together we can form connections that will assure MKs and their families that they aren’t alone.
Grace and Peace,
Debby Witmer, IM Global Coordinator for MK and Family Care