More than 50 missionary kids (MKs) traveled from various areas around the world to gather for the MK Re-entry Retreat hosted by Alabama WMU at WorldSong Missions Place, Aug. 2–6, 2022. The retreat is for children of international missionaries who are entering college in the United States for the first time and provides a setting for MKs to process the transition to college and life in the US.
“Missionary children face their own set of challenges as they enter a culture many have not grown up in,” said Candace McIntosh, executive director, Alabama WMU. “The MK Re-entry Retreat gives these students a place to ‘adult in’ for one week to prepare them for the days, weeks, and years ahead.”
McIntosh said during the retreat the students learned to change a tire, check the fluid levels in their cars, search for a job using the unique skills they have from overseas, and how to navigate the college culture in America.
“While these are important skills, I think the relationships they forge in this week gives them the emotional, physical, and spiritual foundation they need as they head out alone to begin this new journey,” she said. “MKs were challenged to build unity among their team, try new things, and evaluate where they are in their walk with the Lord.”
Praying for MKs
McIntosh shared an experience that underscored the importance of prayers for MKs.
“One night as the pastor took the stage, I was slipping out to head to my room,” she said. “As I left, I encountered one of the precious students. She stood and then quickly took a seat; the trembling of her hands and rapid breathing helped me know she was experiencing a moment of anxiousness.
“Knowing she needed someone beside myself,” McIntosh continued, “I went in to get her some water and a trusted leader. As I walked away, I thought how grateful I was this sweet girl had a safe place to deal with the heavy things on her heart.”
Retreat is ‘Gift’ to WMU Leaders
Reflecting on the week, McIntosh described the experience as “a gift the Lord has given us as state WMU leaders.
“I will be forever grateful for Beverly Miller, retired executive director of Alabama WMU, and those who came alongside her and decided we would minister to children of missionaries in this way,” she said.
The MK Re-entry Retreat originated with Alabama WMU and her partnership with retired missionaries Bill and Audrey Cowley, who served in Nigeria. Over the years, it has evolved and is hosted by a different state WMU each year. A grant from the WMU Vision Fund is given annually to the host state to assist with costs of the event. In 2023, the retreat will be hosted by Mississippi WMU.