“Hi! I hear your parents are missionaries.”
“Yeah, they’re in the Philippines…”
“Cool. My parents are in Taiwan. Where are your parents now?”
“They’re on furlough this year in Kansas.”
“That’s great. Mine were here last year, so now I won’t see them again until I graduate.”
So the conversation often goes when college students meet other students who, like them, have missionaries for parents.
Many Christian and secular colleges across North America have clusters of such students. They wear the tag, “MK,” short for “missionary kid.” Though this invisible group exists on lots of campuses, not many schools have organized MK fellowship groups. Mu Kappa is changing that.
The embryo stage of Mu Kappa was spawned at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. A group of MKs got together and found out that they had some unique needs related to their experience of growing up overseas. Because they had ties with a foreign culture, the school expected them to integrate into the international student organization.
Sure, they shared with those students the experience of having been raised in another culture than North American. And, like them, they were a long way from family, friends, and the familiar. But some of the MKs didn’t feel at home in their club. The MKs desired not to be distinctively foreign, but to integrate into the overall student life.
The MKs had special needs…practical needs…different even from their North American classmates. So the MKs at Taylor brainstormed the idea of starting their own organization on campus. That’s how Mu Kappa (the Greek letters for “M” and “K”) was born.
Mu Kappa is run by students, a key factor in its success. The group operates under the principle that MKs relate best to other MKs. There are few who understand an MK better than another MK.
Mu Kappa’s main goals are to help MKs face adjustments to college and to deal with the social, emotional and spiritual needs during this major transition of life. In addition to planning social activities, Mu Kappa members help each other obtain driver’s licenses, make travel arrangements, and find places to store belongings for the summer.
Freshman year can be especially difficult. Until an MK has shared some experiences with his or her classmates to explain how his growing up years happened in a context different from the typical North American life, it is sometimes hard just to carry on a friendly conversation with other students whose lives did not include much of an international flavor. Mu Kappa aims to provide an atmosphere where an MK will be accepted as he or she is. Sometimes just having a circle of friends to talk to can give an MK the sounding board he or she needs to iron out wrinkles that come along the way.
Many Mu Kappa chapters welcome international students and students with an interest in missions or international living (a.k.a. “IIPs” – “internationally inclined persons,” on some campuses). In any case, Mu Kappa is a welcome presence on college campuses that have a vision for the world. How better to see the world than through the eyes of people who have lived in so many of those cultures?
If you have a group of MKs on your campus and would like to organize formally for both fellowship and campus impact, contact us and we will help you get started.