Parenting - Blog

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Helping missionary kids transition after living overseas.

Rich Atkinson
Oh, the places you'll go main image

For missionaries and their families, returning from overseas requires adjustments long after their jetlag has subsided. Children tend to face the most difficult transition. MK2MK, a ministry of Cru is there to help. MK2MK’s mission is to build a global spiritual movement of MKs (missionary kids) who impact their world for Christ.

Staff member Amanda Hill says, “MK2MK ministers to third culture kids—meaning kids that grow up in between two worlds forming their own culture.” For example, their parents are American, yet the children may have only experienced living overseas.

MK2MK staff members help families transition from overseas through things like debriefing weekends and visiting them when they’ve returned to the States.

Amanda and another MK2MK staff member traveled to Texas to visit the Runn family who recently returned from serving in Europe. Their teenage daughter Courtney wrote on her blog about the difficulties of the transition process after living overseas for five years: "A girl in my English class asked me how my transition was going and I almost wanted to cry,” she said. “I couldn't believe someone I wasn't even close to thought to ask me that question and cared about my answer."

Her mom, Carrie, also appreciates the care from MK2MK. "As a parent, I am thankful to have godly men and women who serve with MK2MK pray and care for my kids in this new season of life," she says.

“Our heart is really to allow them to tell their stories,” says Amanda, “to be able to express grief if that is where they are.”

During a debriefing weekend in Melbourne, Fla., staff members gathered children and parents together to listen to the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the places, you’ll go!” and took part in a “hands-on” potted plant illustration. They showed the children the plant and said, “look how happy he is in his home.” But then it is time to move. They took the plant out of the pot, and with the kids, moved it from station to station around the room. They talked about what leaving feels like and they shook the plant up a bit, leaving the roots hanging out.

The staff members reminded the kids that transition won’t be like this forever, although it feels hard at the moment.

When they came to the station representing their new home, there was a bigger pot for the illustration, because the plant needs room to grow. The staff members emphasizes that God will help the Mk’s grow, too.

“We make it fun, too, like the places that they will go,” says Amanda. “The adventure of life being ups and downs and transitions.”

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