“If not for the school, we could not be here.” - Missionary parent
When parents become missionaries, what happens to their children? They move to another country with their parents, but are not (and shouldn’t be) expected to be ‘mini-missionaries’. Whether at home or on the field, they need all the same things that any child needs to grow and thrive, like education and friends.
One of the major concerns for missionary parents is how to provide an adequate education for their children so that they can eventually transition well into the education system in their home country. But what if the parents are serving in a location where the local schools are not suitable? Even if there are international schools there, those run on commercial lines charge very high fees. Not all families are able to homeschool, which also ties up at least one parent for significant amounts of time each day.
Missionaries are often torn between their call to serve God overseas and their responsibility as parents. Many missionary families are forced to leave the field prematurely because they are unable to find suitable educational provision for their children.
A solution: MK schools
One solution which has been a Godsend to many missionary families is “missionary kid school” (MK school). These are schools set up in field locations to educate the children of missionaries. They may be day schools or boarding schools (often both), and fees are considerably lower than commercial international schools as the teachers raise their own financial support. These teachers are also full-time missionaries whose mission is to educate missionary kids on the field, directly supporting the work of the missionary parents. Students are able to attend school while living with their parents, or at least board near enough to see them frequently.
Such schools do a lot more than just fill an educational need. Parents benefit from hearing the experiences of other parents who have been there longer, and can support one another in helping their children through cross-cultural transitions. The children get to interact with others who have been through the same transitions and face similar challenges.
MK schools around the world have blessed many missionary families by providing a Christ-centered education for missionary kids, thus enabling their parents to serve wherever they have been called to. A couple whose children attend one of these schools says: “Knowing that our children's educational, social and spiritual needs are taken care of means we can do ministry while the children are in good hands.”
Some MK schools in Asia are:
The great need – teachers!
MK schools can only serve missionary communities if there are teachers and administrators who are willing to serve. If there is no teacher for a particular subject, the school may not be able to offer that subject. This is especially so for higher-level subjects. As one student said, “Because of the nature of missionaries - they come and go - there is no guarantee you will have a teacher, or that a specific subject will be offered the following year, or even the following term.” This can be a cause of anxiety for families as they make plans for their children’s futures.
Are you a teacher, and do you have a desire to serve in missions? As a teacher of missionary kids, you will minister to their educational, spiritual and social needs, and enable their parents to serve with peace of mind.
If God is calling you to use your teaching gifts in missions, contact us!
Watch this video: Traditional MK Schools