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* “Station” kid?! Move away!

September 17, 2015

It was an interesting group to be a part of. We had all been “missionary kids” in quite a few different countries back in the day Gasy MKs(we were all 30 or 40 somethings at this point) and had gathered to share some of our experiences. We were going around the circle introducing ourselves. The person to my right shared that she had grown up in Tanzania where her dad had been a missionary doctor and she had gone to a boarding school for missionary kids. She was working as an ER nurse out on the west coast. And then it was my turn. I indicated I had grown up in Madagascar where my parents had been teachers at a school for missionary kids so, while the school had a dormitory, I had lived at home.

“A station kid!” the people on either side of me said and picked up their chairs and moved them away from mine, leaving me alone at the end of the circle. As it turned out, the person to the left of me had grown up in Liberia where his dad had been a missionary pastor. He had also gone to a school for missionary kids. He had also lived in a dormitory that was part of that school.

I think all 3 of us were surprised by their reactions, as they were only partially joking. But it represented something deeper. Because their parents had lived and worked in towns some distance from the schools they went to, they had grown up in dormitories for missionary kids. Because my parents had taught at a school for missionary kids, I lived at home.

As well run as the dormitories were, it hadn’t always been easy living that far from home when you were in grade, middle or high school. And then there was the reality for some of heading back to the US to go to college while parents and siblings continued to living overseas. As I very inadequately understand it all, it was very complicated for some kids. And now, some 20 or more years later, they still felt it. And wanted to let me know I hadn’t been part of that experience.

go ye thereforeI’m now old enough to realize better just how complex this thing which Christians understand and respond to as “Calling” is. Something my parents responded to and something my wife and I responded to, both in going over to Madagascar and in coming home which felt much more like “home” to me for many years. It all leaves me with many questions. Some of which I probably won’t ever get answers to.

I’m reminded of that shared with me by a Malagasy colleague and friend of my parents who felt Called enough to pursue advanced theological education that he left family back in Madagascar for the duration of his studies here in the US. At a very difficult point in my family’s life, he came to visit us.

And said, “We must have faith.”

Indeed.

If only it were easier!

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