by Far Eastern Gospel Crusade
MKs respond to questions.
1. Can we provide you with information about your folks that would be helpful? If so, what and how?
Most felt they were well-informed by their families and the mission. Like to hear directly from parents, especially "what is happening inside of them." Want to know them as individuals, not as missionaries. Want to know how the mission operates financially and what happens to donations. Want mission to provide easy forms for parents to complete with medical history of entire family, birth place and dates, voting district, etc., which information often is needed in applying for scholarships. Want addresses (they are forgetful.)
2. Recognizing the distance and time lag between you and your parents, what is the best method of communication? What do you miss most about your family?
Regular letters seem to be the most popular way of keeping in touch. Tapes are good, but take longer and are more work; they sometimes make you homesick when you hear your folks’ voices; one-sided conversation gets tiresome. Telephone would be nice, but too expensive.
Many miss most the opportunity to sit and talk with their folks; one misses brothers and sisters also – and most of all, mom’s home cooking! Others miss vacations and doing things together, having parents available to help make decisions that need to be made immediately, and sharing exciting times, like the arrival of a new baby. "I think dad has a lot to teach me yet, so I’d like chances to talk with him so he can share with me," one said.
3. In the absence of your parents, where would you look for help an the event of an emergency?
Relatives were mentioned ten times as the first place to turn for help. Friends came second, the mission and the school followed, and one mentioned a pastor and donors.
4. How do you feel about your family taking shorter but more frequent furloughs?
Comments in favor: I could never spend the whole year with them anyway….Furloughs don’t drag out this way….Get to see friends and relatives more often….Would feel less guilty about all the paid vacations, when most folks get only two weeks a year….They are great….A year is too long….It’s great to get to see them more often.
Negative reactions: It’s hard on parents as well as younger children….Makes it difficult when you get ready to settle down . . . . Schooling disrupted and more money spent on travel….Inconvenient for parents….Can’t get to see everybody on a long furlough, so would be harder in less time.
5. Have you visited your family on the field, or would you like to do so? Any comments?
Most feel it is a good thing. One fellow put it this way: "I went back last summer and it was a very good experience. When I left home after high school, I must have been ready to go, because I was not too interested in what they were doing, but now that I’ve been back I rally want to know what is going on back home. Having been gone for awhile, I could go back with a more objective attitude. My parents weren’t my `mother’ and `father’ filling assigned roles. I could appreciate them more as personalities, and I feel that in only one summer I barely got started in building up relationships which I had not been aware of, or had neglected before. This same is true of my relationship with the other members of my family – especially the older ones. I think everyone should go back at least once during college. I really appreciated the complete freedom my parents gave me while home – it was like them saying they trusted my judgment."
Other comments were: Very valuable experience; each MK needs to evaluate for himself what his feelings are on his identity with two countries as much as his attitudes toward missions….It’s easier to visit them than for folks to take a short furlough….I enjoyed it very much …. It did a lot in helping me….I learned a lot after being away, and I got a different perspective on things.
The main drawback was missing the opportunity to work and earn necessary funds. But one said, "It is very difficult to move back in with your family, perhaps more so than usual because being away from them we are forced to become more independent much faster. I was ready to come back after three weeks." "I spent two Christmases at home, but all things considered, it wasn’t worth the money, because there wasn’t enough time," another said.
Still another said, "It would be good if the mission had some way of assisting us in visiting our parents and homeland at least once during four years of college. Otherwise, a student loses a whole summer’s income, often adversely affecting chances for financial aid."
6. List the way you have spent school vacations. Rate them great, fair, bead.
This produced a very interesting and varied response. Some enjoyed visiting relatives-others thought it was bad news; working drew about the same response. A choir tour and missionary outreach in Mexico were rated great. Some enjoyed camp counselling, and a few even thought attending extra school sessions was great. There is no guaranteed way to have an enjoyable vacation, but if it meets a need and you get a sense of fulfillment somehow, it helps.
7. Would you like the mission to be more or less help to you? How?
A few comments were: Like to keep in touch with mission, as it reminds me of where I came from and shows that mission is concerned about me …. I don’t feel like you are butting into my business; you take an interest, but don’t pressure me…..Appreciate the personal interest in us by the mission leaders here in the U.S….Actually, the money sent is more than enough; I really wouldn’t expect any more.
Suggestions were: The mission should be a member of more Oriental airline travel clubs….Would like to get the Yamcabako (field news from Japan) on a regular basis; also, prayer requests from all the islands….Can tax deductible receipts be given to those who contribute to your personal schooling expenses? (Answer, no.)
8. What do you feel were the advantages of being an MK? The disadvantages?
Most felt it was an advantage and had a hard time thinking of any disadvantages. Comments about schooling: Boarding school taught me independence….The school system in Japan is better than in U.S….Dorm life taught me to get along with other kids.
Advantages: Gives another perspective on life and values, has something to compare America with, is more openminded, was forced to grow up….Had a lot of good traveling experiences and met a lot of people, and grew up in a Christ-centered home….Grew up as an international citizen instead of an ultra-patriotic nation-worshiper….Opportunity to see parents and others working at the "gut level."….I got to see what the mission field is all about; now if I am called there, I will know what to expect….Was able to grow up naturally without society pushing me into something I wasn’t ready for….Spiritual and Christian background unsurpassed (my parents,; educational and general experiences more broad.
Disadvantages: Being looked upon as some kind of a super-saint….Not being able to observe firsthand adults who have boring jobs, due to the fact that we only come in contact with missionaries and teachers….Being reared in a rather "protected" group and not learning to be friends with non-Christians, or learning how to communicate Christ with them….Growing up in a culturally deprived area and overly sheltered….Getting used to college life is harder; not being able to go home for vacations….I was afraid of "sophisticated U.S. kids."
9. As you look back on at, what means the most now about your having grown up overseas or in Alaska?
"Being an integral part of mom’s and dad’s activities and knowing the struggles as well as joys of mission work, I can now decide to be a missionary myself, knowing what it is to face the discouragement. But none of this could have been possible if my parents had not put the family before the work. I saw too many kids whose parents put them in the dorm because they didn’t want to spend the time and bother to bring them up. Stress this importance to new missionaries. It’s not wrong to send your children away, but a great deal has to do with the parents’ attitude. Our family did not suffer from attending boarding school."
"It’s a good feeling to know you’ve experienced something different. I’m proud of where I’ve come from, and I feel I have something to fall back on when I reject what I don’t like about American culture. I can take the best from both."
Academic and athletic experiences with the kids were better than I could ever hope to find elsewhere….Being able to live above a narrow-minded nationalism, both culturally and politically….Having grown up in an atmosphere congenial to Christian growth….Being a part of God’; work and seeing how important it is for people to come to know Christ, and seeing and understanding missions today….A sensitivity for people….Seeing a change in an uncivilized tribe as they came to know the Lord . . . . Our work was a family effort, which I feel is important….I got to see God’s beautiful creation (Alaska) before man could pollute it!
10. Other comments or suggestions for changes.
"I think there should be more emphasis on the foreign culture one is living in at the missionary schools. Most of the MK’s I know wish they knew more about their country, especially the language." Several others urged the schools to teach the language of the country, starting as a beginner.
"Perhaps a handbook for `scared MK’s’ arriving in the U.S. would help. Include anything from getting a driver’s license, trying to find a good dentist, applying for Social Security numbers, and how to go about applying for scholarships."
"I think it would be interesting to find out more about the high school and college MK’s – maybe a mailing list? Send us the results of this survey; find out their reactions to the change from overseas to college. Let’s have more communication among us."
11. What should be done to prepare young people for separation from parents?
"I feel that it is the parents’ job to prepare the child for separation. Whether he is an MK or not, sooner or later he will have to separate. Help them to have a firm base of belief in God, and to examine the issues, contemporary, theological, etc. In other words, allow them to be somewhat mature people."
"I think what helped me the most was the way our family was so close. Knowing they really are praying for me right now, concerned about me, makes being away from them so much easier. I believe the good attitude between me and my parents prepared me most for the separation."
"I believe the best thing that can be done to prepare an MK for separation from home is something in the home itself. Parents should be trained to disciple their children in a full mental and practical knowledge of God’s Word and their individual relationship to God. If young people can be trained to view life from God’s perspective, and then to live in response to that perspective, they have the necessary preparation to go out to live on their own (basically). Included in this is training the young person in Bible study and continual spiritual growth, and in thinking through his faith, so that he is not caught unaware by the things taught in our society today."
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