A post I hope the kids don't notice
There is no way to really understand what it means to grow up as a missionary kid, in a culture not your own, unless you do it. Even as the parent of such a young person, you cannot share the same experience that your child has. Krakovian and i realized a long time ago that the thirty-something years we lived in the US give us a foundation, an anchor in a culture that our children do not have.
Our oldest was not quite seven years old when we came to Poland over ten years ago, and we have spent less than 2 of those 10 years visiting the US. For us, those trips to the States fell under the heading of "going home," at least to some extent. For our children, it was much more a case of "visiting the US." They feel less at home there than we do, lacking the experience and years that we had there. At the same time, they are by no means entirely integrated into the culture here. As they've gotten older, we've become more and more aware of the difference. No one knows how a missionary kid feels...except another missionary kid.
Which is on reason we were so thrilled that our oldest two children were able to attend a teen retreat in northern Spain (the Basque region) last week. A total of 26 young people from several European countries gathered at a partially-refurbished barn (they were roughing it!) for several days of preaching (Dr. Hays from the The Wilds, and his wife, were there), fellowship, and fun. They have rarely had the opportunity to enjoy preaching and teaching directed at young people (and in English, too!), and it was very special for them to make friends with other young people who can talk about furlough, language issues, and...whatever else they commonly experience that young people living "at home" do not.
They came home Saturday evening positively effervescing with the joy of the experience. We haven't heard all the stories yet...they've said it will take some time to share it all...but we've heard names, jokes, meal reports, and questions such as, "Why didn't you tell us about The Wilds?" Ummm...what was there to tell? (I've never been there, either, E., and why mention a Christian Camp you're never likely to attend to you at all?)
Well, they had a great time, and they don't like me to blog about them, so I can't go into great detail. I just want to make a public *thank you*--so very much--to the generous churches and individuals that made it possible for them to go. This is a yearly event, and we'll be praying that they'll be able to attend again. K, who is only 10, is already counting the years until she can go, too.
(And that, dear few readers, is 3 for 3.)