Small Acts of Kindness: Ministering to Missionary Kids and Their Families

Becky Courson grew up as a missionary kid (MK) and currently serves on staff with the International Mission Board (IMB). It can be difficult for MKs who come to the United States for college, but Becky was blessed when she attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

“During my senior year at the MK school in Taiwan, I applied and was accepted at Samford University. Soon after, I received a letter from Doris DeVault who served with national WMU, saying that if I ever needed anything, please give her a call,” Becky explained.

“After my brother dropped me off and left to go to his university in another state, I found out that Samford dorms were not open yet. I dug Aunt Doris’s letter out of my bag and found a payphone to call her. She came and picked me up and took me home. Having her there was such a blessing when I felt so alone!” Doris probably didn’t realize the impact she had on Becky’s life, but one small act of kindness can go a very long way.

Becky continued, “Doris and the other ladies at WMU continued to support me along with other MKs through our four years at Samford. They had special dinners for us and provided a ten-minute phone call for each of us to call our parents every Christmas back when an overseas phone call could cost $10 a minute. That was the only time I got to talk to my parents each year!”

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Could your missions passion be ministering to MKs?

No matter where you are living, you can reach out to MK college students to let them know they’re not alone.

  • Find out if there are MKs in your church, association, or local college and reach out to them. Collect a list of places they would like to see while in the States and help provide for these opportunities. “Our kids were blessed by the churches we were a part of during their three childhood visits to the States by adults who provided opportunities to give them American experiences,” Becky said, “whether taking them to the beach, on a boat, to a baseball game, or on a tacky light tour.”
  • Ask if you can pray for them in specific ways. First, get to know MKs, and then ask questions that can give you insight into their relationship with God. Many times, their parents have served as not only their parents but also as teachers and spiritual leaders. Having another person speak into their relationship with God and disciple them can have a deep influence.
  • Ask if they have any needs. If a college-age MK visits your church, invite them home for lunch or give them gift cards and notes of encouragement. They love community and desire to be a part of a larger family. You may invite them to your home or church for a holiday or a long weekend—sometimes they stay in the dorm because they don’t have a place to go during school breaks or because they don’t have transportation to travel.

    Although we are currently in a pandemic season and opportunities for outings are limited, please don’t let this hinder you from discovering creative ways to get to know MKs and missionary families who are currently stateside.

    “If any WMU member knows of any families that are stateside now during this pandemic, reaching out to them could be a huge ministry,” said Kris Howington, Becky’s supervisor at IMB. “I know there are many missionaries who are stuck in the US and could use some encouragement right now. Send a care package to a family or offer to Facetime with them and listen to their stories. Things like that are very tangible ways of ministering to these families in this time of waiting.”

  • Give. The WMU Foundation offers several ways to support MKs and their families. You can give to the WMU Vision Fund to help support the MK Re-entry Retreat or to a specific scholarship that would benefit MKs, like the Julia C. Pugh Scholarship.

However you’re able to connect with MKs, remember that even the smallest step can make a big impact. Becky concluded, “My heart will ever be grateful for WMU and the WMU women who support God’s work and His servants around the world!”

Written by Frank Drinkard and Maegan Dockery.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement