Tuesday, 13 December 2016
What’s it like to be a Missionary Kid (MK) at Christmas time?
For many of our MKs, Christmas is bitter-sweet. For many children, they enjoy the festivities of the country where they’re serving. For cultures that do not celebrate Christmas, many missionary families try to recreate Australian Christmas traditions and find their own special ways to celebrate. Christmas can be a hard time for families serving in the field as they miss their extended family and Australian festivities.
Here’s what some of our MKs had to say about how they celebrate Christmas in their home country:
“We set up our Christmas tree together and have a special meal with Turkey or chicken.”
-Annabelle, aged 9, Peru
“It is mainly the same but we sing special Christmas songs on Christmas Eve in another church from ours as our church does not have a Christmas day/Eve service. At the end they say "Feliz Navidad!" and serve hot chocolate and Panetón (bread with sultanas).”
-Amelia, aged 9, Peru
“I am missing Panetón from Peru as we are in Australia right now.”
-Samuel, aged 6, Peru
“Christmas here is cold, it always snows and we stay inside. Last year we had to go local Christmas on Christmas day! Our family have presents and Mum makes food. I miss having Christmas in Australia. I miss the beach!”
-Mikayla, aged 7, Central Asia
“Christmas here is very cold and local people don’t have Christmas. It is fun to play in the snow! In my family we give each other presents. We make Christmas food with Mum, like a Gingerbread House! We make decorations for our apartment. I miss our big family at Christmas.”
-Evangeline, aged 7, Central Asia
Peruvian Nativity Scene, © David Wilkie
On 5 December, SIM commemorates Founders’ Day. This year the day focused on prayer for Missionary Kids. International Director, Dr Joshua Bogunjoko, said: “I am inviting the SIM worldwide community to pause and acknowledge the remarkable gift of our MKs. Let us honour them with our personal and corporate prayers to the One who knit each one together and placed them into our mission family.”
This Christmas, please keep MKs in your prayers. You could pray for the following:
- Pray for Missionary Kids serving in the field this Christmas. Pray that they would enjoy the Christmas period in a different culture and bond with their families over Australian Christmas traditions. Pray for those who miss extended family, that they would be comforted by the Spirit, our Comforter.
- Pray for our Missionary Kids who are currently on Home Assignment. Pray for a smooth adjustment to life back in Australia and good times connecting with supporter churches, friends and family. Pray that these children would not feel unsettled, but rather that the peace of Christ might reign in their hearts.
- Pray for the children of applicants of SIM as they prepare to serve. Pray for children who are learning a foreign language. Pray that they might know that wherever they go, Christ goes before them and with them.
- Pray for Missionary Kids who have grown up and moved home to Australia while their parents are still serving abroad. Pray that they would feel loved and supported by their family despite the distance. Pray that they would be embraced by other friends and family during the Christmas period. Pray ultimately that adult MKs would know the love and presence of Jesus.
Other things you can do to love MKs this Christmas:
- Send an email of card via snail-mail with Christmas wishes and special encouragement.
- Get your kids involved - ask them to make a Christmas video or post hand-drawn paintings.
- Send a care package with Christmas treats and gifts. One SIM Australia family who have now returned from serving in Burkina Faso said they loved receiving a recording of Melbourne's 'Carols by Candlelight!' Their kids loved received some Christmas music CDs.