With back-to-school season in full gear, many families are transitioning their children to their post high school location. Whether college, vocational school, a gap year, or something else, many parents tearfully wave goodbye as their child explores their new adulthood.
Whether their children are going far away or staying nearby, most people can agree this is a pivotal time in a person’s life. Students forge ahead and make their own decisions and experience the ramifications of them, whether good, bad, or in between.
Knowing this, WMU and IMB partner each year to help missionary kids during this time of transition by hosting a weeklong event called MK ReEntry Retreat.
This well-beloved tradition happens around the first week of August 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.
This year, Mississippi WMU graciously hosted roughly 50 students at Camp Garaywa near Jackson, Mississippi, August 1–5.
While at ReEntry, students participated in times of worship, games, life advice sessions, small group times, and more. Some sessions were specifically intended for those students who have been living in various countries overseas, such as how to change a tire, how to tip, and how to find a Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) at their new school.
In addition, some sessions were designed for students to consider their spiritual habits and personal walk with the Lord. Knowing that just because a child was raised by a missionary does not necessarily mean he or she is a Christian, worship services and small groups are intentional about creating environments for students to process their walk with the Lord. Women involved in WMU surround these students with love and support, and connect them with local WMU groups in areas where they will be living.
While parents may be thousands of miles away, WMU and IMB try their best to envelop these students with resources, connections, and lots and lots of prayer. Whether through individually written cards from Mississippi WMU, providing students with back-to-school items, or offering prayer and support to those present, Mississippi loved on missionary kids well.
As one student shared, “Being around other MKs — being able to share, laugh, and pray together — it means more than you know. It really fills my heart.”
Hannah Clark Maynard grew up as a TCK (Third Culture Kid) in East Asia and now works with other TCKs as they transition to new places.