Goodbye, My Precious
By Grace Hwang
Missionary Kids (MK’s) are a lot like nomads – only, we do not follow herds of animals as a necessity of life. Instead we follow our parents whenever they are touched by God’s calling as it is necessary to save the lost souls of this world.
As MK’s, we are always saying goodbye. Even when we finally feel settled in and feel like we can call a place home, the next thing we know, someone says: “Time to go.” That is where the “goodbye” part comes in. Goodbye. Goodbye to friends. Goodbye to family. Goodbye to the old way of life and routines. However, goodbyes aren’t just an ending. They are also a beginning. A beginning to make new friends, see new things and places, and learn about a new culture. But, beginning a new way of life does not mean to start over. No. We will still carry old memories of our previous homes. That is what makes it hard being an MK sometimes.
What is one big difference between an MK and a nomad!? Nomads trek through different lands carrying only essential items, a tent, and animals. They battle fierce weather and rocky paths to track their prey or look for pastures or water. However, nomads do this as a way of life, a need to survive. So whenever they leave a site that they lived in they do not have an emotional attachment to that certain place. On the other hand, as MK’s, we are like young explorers looking for more fun and adventure in our lives so we usually absorb as much of the place as we can. Therefore, when we depart from the place we usually leave with reluctant hearts and cling onto the memories of the place, usually the area where our missionary parents serve in.
When we went back to California last year due to unexpected medical leave, we were always moving around, and never really settling in one spot. We lived out of suitcases and luggage, and were always carrying around portable items. At one point I thought: “Wait a minute. Time out! I didn’t ask for this life! I want to go back home to Kenya! Not stay in this strange and foreign place!” I thought it was unfair for me. I thought it was unfair for all the MK’s around the world, always missing their friends and homes. But that is one thing in life that all MK’s must go through. It is the price we all pay. We must step out of our comfort zone and check around what is outside of our box.
Although I will never get used to saying goodbye, and I doubt that I ever will, at least I still know that there is always more to this world, and that I will deserve the chance to make friends all around the world. I am also very privileged and blessed to see God’s power and deeds everywhere and not just from one perspective. There is a lot more to life than our tiny narrow boxes of TV and a bag of potato chips. Sure, we need some nudging and pushing sometimes to step out into the real world, but it’s always worth it in the end. It always is. There are always different reactions to these situations, some grieve at the thought of leaving their home and might even resent it, but others look upon it optimistically as a new chapter, the adventure in our lives. My choice? I will definitely choose to embrace the opportunity.