by A. Scott Moreau and Mike O’Rear
Sites with particularly rich offerings of MK resources and links, and those with substantial online content.
Few technologies seem better designed to serve the global MK community than the Internet. In particular, the Web enables a geographically dispersed community of people-many of whom are pioneers and early adapters-to stay connected. This issue of "Missions on the Web" focuses on resources for MKs and those who minister to MKs. Our related MisLinks web page (www.mislinks.org/practical/ mk.htm) gives you one-click access to the links mentioned here.
Of course, the Web contains far more MK resources than we can cover in this limited article. Our purpose here is to get you started, to point to sites with particularly rich offerings of resources and links, and those with substantial online content.
CORE MK SITES
Let’s begin with a few excellent Web sites dedicated explicitly to serving the MK community and the broader Third Culture Kid (TCK) world. From there, we’ll go on to direct you to where specific MK needs are addressed.
MK Connection is "a central place for finding things of interest to MKs and TCKs." It includes extensive lists of links to international Christian schools around the world, Internet-based mailing lists and newsgroups (online discussions) for alumni of many schools, alumni e-mail directories, online articles for and by MKs.
Barnabas International is "a world-wide ministry of encouragement to missionaries, MKs and national pastors." For MKs, in particular, they offer an excellent reentry seminar and they sponsor the Mu Kappa International site. Mu Kappa is "a fraternal association for MKs…by MKs, for MKs…a chance to embrace our past while building toward our future." It includes a list of college and university chapters, Web links to great resources, and a description of up-coming seminars.
Interaction is one of the richest sites serving the MK world, "working cooperatively as a catalyst and resource in the development of programs, services and publications to provide and contribute to an ongoing flow of care that meets the needs of third-culture kids (TCKs) and internationally mobile families." It offers seminars and books, a great set of web links, as well as lists of movies, books and writings of particular interest to MKs.
TCK World, "the largest site on the Internet with its particular mission," contains almost 300 web pages. Here you will find documents of humor, prose and articles on TCK issues; interviews with trainers, authors and others who are working to help TCKs; suggested readings including book reviews and summaries, contact information for the publishers of TCK materials; bibliographic citations to selected books, journal articles and dissertations; and links to many other sites of interest.
Many of the larger international Christian schools now have their own website, and several have an on-line directory of the e-mail addresses of their alumni. MK Connection includes an extensive list of links to international Christian schools and alumni e-mail directories.
MK Connection also has a good list of Internet mailing lists and newsgroups.
If face-to-face connections is more your style, you will find Mu Kappa’s directory of local MK chapters on some 50 college and university campuses helpful.
JOURNALS, ARTICLES AND BOOKS
Interaction’s quarterly magazine Among Worlds seeks "to excel as the premier publication to encourage adult TCKs…" Their other quarterly magazine, Interact, "provides a forum for discussing a variety of MK/TCK issues and promotes networking and dialogue among all those who are interested or involved in the care and education of MKs."
ACSI’s World Report is a quarterly to MK schools that offers news, research and articles in the area of international Christian education; articles are available online.
Women of the Harvest, "a ministry of support and encouragement for women in cross-cultural missions," is certainly not limited to MK issues, but moms of MKs will find this online magazine a rich resource.
Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up among Worlds, by David Pollock and Ruth Van Reken, is one of the best on the subject. It presents "a balanced perspective of the benefits as well as the challenges inherent in being raised as a TCK."
Ruth Van Reken has placed some excellent articles online, including "Religious Culture Shock" from the book Strangers at Home and "The Paradox of Pain and Faith."
MKs will surely recognize themselves-no doubt with a bit of emotion-in Andrew and Deborah Kerr’s delightful little book, You Know You’re an MK When… (over 5000 copies sold).
BRAchor.com offers great advice, books and publications (for all ages) on moving internationally. It is especially valuable for those moving with a business into a restricted access area.
For MKs about to re-enter the USA-and for non-Western MKs desperately trying to make sense of their American classmates, a useful resource for discussion of American cultural values in a classroom or family setting is "The Ten Commandments of American Culture". This is the introductory chapter of a booklet that draws a profile of American culture based on common American sayings.
SEMINARS, PROGRAMS AND COUNSELING
You will find an array of seminars listed on the Interaction site. Interaction offers seminars for MK Caregivers, Pre-field Education Planning, and TCK Transition.
The Mu Kappa site describes Barnabas International’s MK re-entry seminars for missionary kids who have just completed high school overseas and are returning to the United States and Canada. These focus on personal assessment, personal development and orientation back into North American culture.
Mission Training International (www.mti.org) offers a Debriefing and Renewal Program giving returning international staff the opportunity to rest, reflect and seek guidance upon re-entering North American culture and lifestyle. MTI accompanies each of their training programs with Children’s Intercultural Programs, helping the whole family make cultural transitions together.
A group of former MKs who were abused as children provide an invaluable service through the Missionary Kids Safety Net. They call evangelical mission agencies and their supporting churches to pursue justice and healing for abused MKs, as well as reach out with support, healing and hope to abuse victims. This is a full-service site, offering reports, articles, essays, letters and poems; encouraging the appropriate reporting of abuse; and providing a safe on-line meeting place.
The WEF-sponsored Task Force for Member Care provides seminars, holds regional consultations, and offers models and other resources in the broader area of missions member care.
The ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) site provides a comprehensive directory of international schools, some of which have links to their own home page on the Web. ACSI serves the needs of Christian educators of over 700 schools outside North America; nearly every MK school in the world is a member.
Teachers seeking opportunities to teach missionary kids can search ACSI’s database of hundreds of openings in Christian schools outside North America. Or they can request ACSI to automatically send their name and qualifications to all their member schools around the world. ACSI posts the schedule for their annual recruiting fairs to give schools and sponsoring missions organizations an opportunity to meet Christian teachers interested in teaching overseas. On a smaller scale, the Network of International Christian Schools also helps connect teachers with opportunities to teach MKs around the world.
One of the best education link pages for mission families is at SIL’s website.
Several schools work hard to provide excellent distance education for MKs ages 5-18. One is Northstar Academy, which offers a complete school online following Canadian, UK and USA standards. Northstar is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, an important issue to many families. Another organization especially interested in serving the missions community is The Potter’s School, which offers synchronous instruction using CU-SeeMe Internet technology.
An important site for families with MKs using non-traditional education systems in Europe and Central Asia is SHARE Education Services. SHARE "exists to help expatriate Christian families in Europe and the former Soviet Union meet the challenge of educating their children cross-culturally by providing resources and educational consultations through a network of resource centers."
The US Department of Education provides their primary database on public elementary and secondary education via the Web. Here you can find valuable tips for getting MKs into US schools. Speaking of returning to the US, there is another category of MK service accessible via the Web: those who provide housing for MKs during their college years, such as Gatehouse Ministries (www.gatehouseministries. com).
Transition Dynamics "a consultancy serving the international expatriate community" also provides an annotated list of solid resources for the TCK world.
In exploring MK resources available on the Web, don’t overlook the popular search engines. Google, AltaVista, and Northern Light are three of our favorites. For instance, searching for "missionary kids" using Northern Light finds a wealth of nearly 2000 items; as always, their Special Collection documents are worth exploring. In addition to searching for "missionary kids" and "MKs" you will find additional helpful material by entering related terms and acronyms, including "Third Culture Kids," "TCKs," and "Global Nomads."
BLUE RIBBON AWARDS
Finally, we want to acknowledge a few mission agencies and schools that are leading the way in harnessing the power of the Web for the benefit of their MKs.
The Assemblies of God site, International Society of Missionary Kids, is a model of design and value, great even for MKs with other agencies.
The Rift Valley Academy site is a real winner: attractive, informational sections on campus life and alumni, a 1700-person e-mail directory for the classes of 1946-2004, a photo album, and even a movie clip about dorm life.
SIL does an outstanding job of providing Web resources for Parents and Teachers.
The reality of today’s multicultural mission teams brings new challenges to agencies and schools for effective MK care. As caregivers increasingly seek to prepare MKs to return to a multitude of different home cultures, non-Western websites will grow in value. MK Nest (in Korean), for instance, is an outstanding ministry service provided by Global Missionary Fellowship.
It is a delight to see God using this new technology to enable his people to minister more deeply and broadly to MKs around the world. And we believe the best is yet to come!
A. Scott Moreau is editor of EMQ and chair of Intercultural Studies at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.). His email address is A.S.Moreau@wheaton.edu and the Wheaton Missions Department web address is www.wheaton.edu/intr
Mike O’Rear is the president of Global Mapping International (Colorado Springs, Colo.), which is dedicated to providing access to information for church and mission leaders, especially in the Majority World. He also serves as Lausanne senior associate for information technology. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the GMI web address is www.gmi.org
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