The young teenage girl growing up in Tokyo never would have thought she’d come to live and work anywhere in Europe, let alone Budapest, Hungary. Goodness, she barely survived moving to the US for college. So what brought her halfway across the world? Well, it’s simple: the call to discipleship.
I remember growing up in Tokyo and all the joys of living in a city filled with kind people, phenomenal cuisine, and familiar sights. There are so many things I love about that country and despite holding a Singaporean passport I still call Japan home. My parents are missionaries, I grew up around other missionary families and attended a Christian school. Early on I learned about how Jesus spent His life on earth discipling others and teaching them what it meant to follow and love Him. I think I knew what that looked like seeing as I was exposed to ministry from a young age. Christ left His disciples, and all believers with a call to continue the work He had already started. However, I don’t think I fully understood how much deeper this calling was in shaping who I was, and how much I could apply it into my own life and get involved with discipleship myself.
My desire for control and the franticness I feel when I lack it became pronounced when I moved to Budapest last Fall. One of my responses to this transition has been to try to control as much as I can around me; whether that be the messiness of my apartment, being super punctual, and sometimes, trying to control the people around me like my teammates and friends. You can imagine how that goes… I don’t like to acknowledge how much I don’t like not feeling in control, but I come face to face with it when life don’t go my way.
I am the kind of person that likes structure; I like it when everything fits into neat little boxes. I like to be in control. Being in control of my life makes me feel secure and comfortable. It makes me feel like I am the authority of my life. But most of the time, the second we start to feel like we’re in control something comes along that changes our plan and messes that up. And I think I know why. Because if life worked in perfectly, calculated ways that we could have full control over, then we would try to make life work without God.
This past weekend MK2MK hosted its first college retreat. We had 24 college students either fly or drive to Florida for a weekend of fun, community, and learning how to be a TCK (Third Culture Kid) in college.
Jessi is an MK who has lived all over. She hopes to one day become a counselor for MK’s but right now she is living in Tennessee with her family. She joined the MK2MK team this summer to lead Xtrack.
Growing up I prided myself in being what I thought was a “good” missionary kid: obedient, respectful and above all, honest. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I had lied almost every day of my life to my family, friends, and even myself with two simple words: “I’m fine.”
Bekah directed the MK2MK summer missions trip to Bosnia this past summer. Here is a reflection of her experiences and some exciting ways God worked this past summer.
God Creating a Masterpiece out of a Mess
Our very first day of ministry was spent ministering to families staying in a refugee house outside of Sarajevo. It was hectic; we had to make game-time decisions, small children were running around everywhere, and I felt very out of control. The staff was supportive and the kids were so excited for us to be there, but in my limited human view, all I could see was a messy situation. I was not looking forward to the rest of the week there. But, God took what I saw as a mess and turned it into a masterpiece. The children looked forward to us coming every day, our students were so sad when the week was over, and the staff told us how much of a blessing it was to them that we came and served there. God showed me that I can trust Him; that He can take what I see as a scattered mess of broken pieces, and turn it into something beautiful; that He uses for our good and His glory.
Growing up overseas has made me an expert on long-distance friendships. In fact, I think that I’ve probably had more significant long-distance friendships than I have in person.
One of the sad parts of long-distance is that the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” can often be true. I love when I can get together with my long-distance friends and family in person. It’s so much fun and so often it’s like we were never apart.
While it often feels like we were never apart and thankfully due to modern technology we can readily talk in-between the times that we get to see each other, these drop-in-drop-out friendships aren’t the same as the ones I have with the people that I get to see every day. The people who are consistent, who are present, who I don’t have to spend an hour or more explaining where I’m at because they already know. They know because they do life with me.
This summer we had to write an I am From poem to share with our team. As an MK and TCK I hate the question “Where are you from?” because it is never simple or easy to answer. I’m not from one place but many. Most memories are mingled with bittersweet loss and a sense of longing. It took me five tries before I came up with a poem I was comfortable sharing. Continue reading →